Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Monday, November 30, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received in separate audiences Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, president of Argentina, and Michelle Bachelet, president of Chile, to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the two States.

  The Pope subsequently met with the two presidents together, each accompanied by a delegation, in the Vatican's Clementine Hall. In his address to them he recalled how the treaty "brought to an end the territorial dispute the two countries had maintained over a long period of time".

  "This", he said, "is an appropriate and joyful commemoration of those intense negotiations which, through pontifical mediation, concluded with a dignified, reasonable and equitable solution, thus avoiding an armed conflict which was on the point of breaking out between the two peoples".

  The Holy Father went on to highlight how the "Treaty of Peace and Friendship, and the meditation which made it possible, are indissolubly linked to the figure of Pope John Paul II who, moved by feelings of affection towards those beloved nations and in keeping with his tireless efforts as messenger and architect of peace, did not hesitate to accept the delicate and crucial task of mediator in the conflict". In this he was able to rely on "the priceless help of Cardinal Antonio Samore, who personally followed all the vicissitudes of those long and complex negotiations until the ... signing of the Treaty in the presence of delegations from both countries and of the then secretary of State, Cardinal Agostino Casaroli".

  "Twenty-five years on, we may note with satisfaction that that historic event made a beneficial contribution to strengthening fraternal feelings in both countries, and to ensuring greater co-operation and integration, which takes concrete form in numerous economic plans, cultural exchanges and important infrastructure projects, thus overcoming the prejudices, suspicions and reserve of the past", said the Pope.

  He also pointed out that "Chile and Argentina are not only neighbour States, but much more; they are brother peoples with a shared vocation of fraternity, respect and friendship which, to a large extent, is the fruit of the Catholic tradition lying at the foundations of their history and of their rich cultural and spiritual heritage".

  Referring once again to the treaty being commemorated today, the Holy Father described it "as a shining example of the force of the human spirit and of the will for peace against the barbarism and unreason of violence and war". In this context he also highlighted the need "always to persevere with firm resolve (and until the final consequences) in seeking to resolve controversies, with a true desire for dialogue and agreement, through patient negotiation and necessary compromise, and always bearing in mind the just requirements and legitimate interests of everyone".

  "In order for the cause of peace to open a way into the minds and hearts of all human beings, and especially of those called to serve their fellow citizens from the highest offices of State, it must be founded on firm moral convictions, on serenity of soul, ... and on the constant search for the common good at the national, regional and global level".

  Benedict XVI concluded by underlining the fact that achieving peace "requires the promotion of a true culture of life which fully respects human dignity, and the strengthening of the family as the basic cell of society. It also requires the combating of poverty and corruption, access to quality education for everyone, greater economic solidarity, the consolidation of democracy and the eradication of violence and exploitation, especially against women and children".
AC/PEACE TREATY/ARGENTINA: CHILE            VIS 20091130 (610)


VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today.

  "This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, for the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Chile and Argentina, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in separate audiences Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, president of the Argentine Republic, and Michelle Bachelet, president of the Republic of Chile. The two illustrious guests also met with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. The Holy Father subsequently delivered an address to the delegations of the two presidents gathered in the Clementine Hall.

  "During the cordial discussions, grateful recollection was made of the meritorious efforts undertaken by Servant of God Pope John Paul IIand by the late Cardinal Antonio Samore who, by following the path of dialogue, helped the two States to resolve a long-standing territorial controversy. Attention dwelt particularly on the fact that, in the course of this last quarter of a century, the agreement has brought tangible fruits of goodness and prosperity to the two brother peoples, and continues to stand as an example and model for the countries of Latin America and for the entire international community. Opinions were also exchanged on the current international situation".
OP/AUDIENCE/ARGENTINA:CHILE                VIS 20091130 (240)


VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica this evening, Benedict XVI presided at first Vespers for the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of a new liturgical year for the Church.

  In his homily the Pope reflected upon the meaning of the word Advent which "Christians used", he said, "to express their relationship with Jesus. ... The meaning of the expression advent also includes that of 'vistatio', ... a visit, which in this case means a visit from God: He enters my life and wishes to address Himself to me".

  "In daily life we all know the experience of having little time for the Lord, and little time for ourselves. We end up becoming absorbed by 'doing'. Is it not often true that it is activity itself that possesses us, society with its multiple distractions that monopolises our attention? Is it not true that we dedicate a lot of time to entertainment and leisure activities of various kinds?"

  "Advent, this potent liturgical period we are entering, invites us to remain silent as we come to appreciate a presence. It is an invitation to understand that the individual events of the day are signs God addresses to us, signs of the care He has for each of us. How often does God make us aware of some aspect of His love! To maintain what we might call an 'inner diary' of this love would be a beautiful and rewarding task in our lives. Advent invites us and encourages us to contemplate the living Lord. Should not the certainty of His presence help us to see the world with different eyes?"

  The Holy Father went on: "Another fundamental aspect of Advent is that of waiting: a wait that is, at the same time, a hope. ... Hope marks the journey of humankind, but for Christians it is enlivened by a certainty: the Lord is present in the events of our lives, He accompanies us and will one day dry our tears. One not-far-distant day everything will reach fulfilment in the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of justice and peace.

  "Yet", he added, "there are many different ways to wait. If the present time is not filled with meaning, the wait risks becoming unbearable. If we await something, but at this moment have nothing - in other words, if the present is empty - then every passing instant seems exaggeratedly long and the wait becomes an over-heavy burden because the future remains too uncertain. When, on the other hand, time has meaning and at every instant we perceive something specific and valid, then the joy of waiting makes the present richer".

  The Holy Father encouraged the faithful "intensely to live the present, where we already obtain the gifts of the Lord. Let us live projected towards the future, a future charged with hope". The Messiah, "coming among us, brought us and continues to bring us the gift of His love and His salvation. He is present among us and speaks to us in many ways: in Sacred Scripture, in the liturgical year, in the saints, in the events of daily life, in all creation, which changes its appearance depending upon whether [we see Him] behind it or whether [we see it] shrouded in the fog of an uncertain origin and uncertain future".

  "We in our turn", Pope Benedict concluded, "can address Him, present Him the sufferings that afflict us, the impatience and the questions that arise in our hearts. We are certain that He always listens to us! And if Jesus is present, then there can be no meaningless or empty time. If He is present we can continue to hope, even when others can no longer offer us their support, even when the present becomes burdensome".
HML/ADVENT/...                            VIS 20091130 (640)


VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today published the following communique concerning the preparatory committee for the third phase of the "Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission" (ARCIC).

  "Following the 21 November meeting in the Vatican between Benedict XVI and Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, in the course of which they reiterated their desire to strengthen ecumenical relations between Anglicans and Catholics, on 23 November the meeting took place of the committee entrusted with preparing the third phase of the 'Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission' (ARCIC). It was decided that this new phase will begin during next year.

  "The third phase will focus on fundamental questions concerning the Church - local Church and universal Church - understood as communion, and on the way in which the local and universal Church can, in communion, discern just moral teaching.

  "Over coming months the members of the commission will be appointed, and the date of its first meeting will be announced".
OP/ARCIC/WILLIAMS                        VIS 20091130 (180)


VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Archbishop Anton Stres C.M. coadjutor of Maribor, Slovenia, as metropolitan archbishop of Ljubljana (area 6,134, population 768,647, Catholics 570,895, priests 438, permanent deacons 9, religious 604), Slovenia. He succeeds Archbishop Alojzij Uran, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Bishop Peter Stumpf S.D.B., auxiliary of Maribor, Slovenia, as bishop of Murska Sobota (area 1,102, population 119,818, Catholics 95,135, priests 64, religious 26), Slovenia.

 - Appointed Bishop Marjan Turnsek of Murska Sobota, Slovenia, as coadjutor archbishop of Maribor (area 3,682, population 419,849, Catholics 356,427, priests 199, permanent deacons 3, religious 136), Slovenia. The archbishop-elect was born in Celje, Slovenia in 1955, he was ordained a priest in 1981 and consecrated a bishop in 2006.
RE:NER:NEC/.../...                            VIS 20091130 (150)


VATICAN CITY, 29 NOV 2009 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  The Pope began by recalling how today marks the beginning of "a new liturgical year, which naturally opens with Advent, the period of preparation for the Lord's Nativity". In this context he explained how Vatican Council II, in its constitution on the liturgy, affirmed that the Church, 'within the cycle of a year, unfolds the whole mystery of Christ, from the incarnation and birth until the Ascension, the day of Pentecost, and the expectation of blessed hope and of the coming of the Lord'".

  The Council, he went on, "underlined the fact that the focus of the liturgy is Christ, like the sun around which revolve, like planets, the Blessed Virgin Mary (the closest), then the martyrs and the other saints, who 'sing God's perfect praise in heaven and offer prayers for us'.

  "This", the Pope added, "is the reality of the liturgical year seen, so to say, 'from God's side'. And what, we might ask, of the side of man, of history and of society? What importance can they have?

  "The answer is given us by the journey of Advent itself, which we begin today. The modern world has need, above all, of hope. It is needed by people in developing countries, but also by the economically evolved. We are becoming ever more aware that we are all in the same boat and must save ourselves together. Above all, we are aware that, as we see so many false hopes collapse, we need a reliable hope, and this is only to be found in Christ Who, as the Letter to the Hebrews says, 'is the same yesterday and today and forever'".

  Christ "embraces all dimensions of time because He died and rose again. He is 'the Living One' and, while sharing our precarious human condition, remains forever and offers us the stability of God Himself. ... Those who thirst for freedom, justice and peace, can stand up and raise their heads because in Christ freedom is drawing close".

  "Thus we can affirm that Jesus Christ concerns not only Christians, or only believers, but all men and women, because He, Who is at the centre of the faith, is also the foundation of hope. And hope is something of which all human beings have constant need".

  After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father mentioned World AIDS Day which falls on 1 December. "My thoughts and prayers go", he said, "to everyone suffering from this disease, especially to children, the poor and those who are rejected.

  "The Church", he added, "never ceases to strive to combat AIDS through her institutions and personnel dedicated to that task. I call upon everyone to make their contribution, with prayer and tangible assistance, so that people affected by the HIV virus may experience the presence of the Lord Who offers comfort and hope. Finally, I trust that, by increasing and co-ordinating efforts, we may manage to halt and eradicate this disease".
ANG/ADVENT AIDS/...                        VIS 20091130 (530)


VATICAN CITY, 30 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning in the Vatican the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Alan Garcia Perez, president of the Republic of Peru. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "The cordial discussions provided an occasion for a fruitful exchange of opinions on questions concerning the current international situation, especially in the region.

  "Attention then focused on certain aspects of the situation in Peru, especially the government's commitment to eradicating poverty, on promoting the rule of law, on protecting the environment and on areas of collaboration between Church and State".
OP/AUDIENCE/PRESIDENT PERU                VIS 20091130 (140)


VATICAN CITY, 30 NOV 2009 (VIS) - As is traditional for the Feast of St. Andrew, the Pope has written a Message to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. The Message was delivered during the course of a visit to Istanbul by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

  In his English-language Message for the feast of the patron of the patriarchate of Constantinople, the Pope recalls how that saint was brother to St. Peter and, like him, suffered martyrdom. "The memory of the holy martyrs compels all Christians to bear witness to their faith before the world", he writes. "There is an urgency in this call especially in our own day, in which Christianity is faced with increasingly complex challenges".

  "Our Churches have committed themselves sincerely over the last decades to pursuing the path towards the re-establishment of full communion, and although we have not yet reached our goal, many steps have been taken that have enabled us to deepen the bonds between us".

  The Holy Father goes on to note that "this openness has guided the work of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue, which held its eleventh plenary session in Cyprus last month" on the theme "the role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Church in the first millennium". This subject was "certainly complex and will require extensive study and patient dialogue if we are to aspire to a shared integration of the traditions of East and West", he says.

  "The Catholic Church understands the Petrine ministry as a gift of the Lord to His Church. This ministry should not be interpreted in the perspective of power, but within an ecclesiology of communion, as a service to unity in truth and charity. The Bishop of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity ... is understood to be the 'Servus Servorum Dei' (Servant of the Servants of God). ... It is a question of seeking together, inspired by the model of the first millennium, the forms in which the ministry of the Bishop of Rome may accomplish a service of love recognised by one and all".

  And, "even as we make this journey towards full communion, we should already offer common witness by working together in the service of humanity, especially in defending the dignity of the human person, in affirming fundamental ethical values, in promoting justice and peace". Our Churches, Pope Benedict concludes, "can work together in drawing attention to humanity's responsibility for the safeguarding of creation".
MESS/ST. ANDREW/BARTHOLOMEW I                VIS 20091130 (440)


VATICAN CITY, 30 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Thirteen prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Dedeus Grings of Porto Alegre, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Remidio Jose Bohn and Alessandro Carmelo Ruffinoni C.S.

    - Bishop Irineu Silvio Wilges O.F.M. of Cachoeira do Sul.

    - Bishop Gironimo Zanandrea of Erexim.

    - Bishop Zeno Hastenteufel Novo Hamburgo.

    - Bishop Jaime Pedro Kohl P.S.D.P. of Osorio.

    - Bishop Jacinto Bergmann of Pelotas.

    - Bishop Jose Mario Stroeher of Rio Grande.

    - Bishop Aloisio Sinesio Bohnm of Santa Cruz do Sul.

    - Bishop Helio Adelar Rubert of Santa Maria.

    - Bishop Jose Clemente Weber of Santo Angelo

    - Bishop Federico Heimler S.D.B. of Cruz Alta.

 - His Royal Imperial Highness Otto von Hapsburg, archduke of Austria, accompanied by an entourage.

  On Saturday 28 November he received in audience Bishop Airton Jose dos Santos of Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Paulo Antonino Mascarenhas Roxo, on their "ad limina" visit.
AL/.../...                                VIS 20091130 (180)

Friday, November 27, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 27 NOV 2009 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, the presentation took place of the Holy Father's Message for the ninety-sixth World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The theme of this year's Message is "Underage migrants and refugees".

  Participating in the press conference were Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto and Msgr. Novatus Rugambwa, respectively president, secretary and under secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

  Archbishop Veglio explained how the reasons behind the migration of minors are similar to those behind the migration of adults: "armed conflict of an ethnic or religious nature, economic and social crises, lack of future prospects". Yet at the same time their migration has a specific characteristic, in that "an unaccompanied minor cannot be repatriated".

  Consequently there are cases in which "parents, sometimes entire families, place all their hopes in the success of a minor who emigrates. This then becomes a powerful psychological pressure for the youth, who does not wish to disappoint them". Thus, such minors "are ready to suffer injustices, violence and mistreatment in order to obtain a residency permit, perhaps a school education, and above all a job with which to help the families who have 'invested' so much in them".

  For his part, Archbishop Marchetto recalled how "mobility is a macro-phenomenon of our time, one which simultaneously involves the elderly, adults and children all over the world. It is, as we say in evangelical language, a 'sign of the times'. The Church is particularly close to refugees and forced migrants, not only through her pastoral presence and material support for those in need, but also through her commitment to defend their human dignity".

  Turning his attention to child refugees, the prelate noted how "there are many minors who ... cross frontiers alone. ... This is, in the final analysis, a survival strategy. ... The reasons for the forced abandonment of their homes are linked to war, adverse political situations, the killing of a member of the family or the persecution of the child itself. ... These reasons are more than sufficient to request asylum, a situation for which provision is made in long-standing international humanitarian law, at least in principle".

  Nonetheless "it must be recognised with great sadness that members of civil society act and react to the arrival of refugees on the basis of stereotypes, preconceptions and prejudices. ... Such discrimination, ... even racism, must be met with policies appropriate for safeguarding ... the rights of refugees and internally displaced persons".

  "Our Christian communities", Archbishop Marchetto concluded, "have the 'duty to welcome whoever comes knocking out of need', to show solidarity, hospitality, and a pastoral commitment aimed at the needs of minors, especially unaccompanied minors and other refugees separated from their families. We must give them hope, courage and love".

  Referring to the problems faced by migrant and refugee children, Msgr. Rugambwa pointed out that "language in particular is an important variable linked to their suffering. ... Education and the development of new skills, especially that of speaking the new language in order to be able to communicate adequately in the host country, enable [migrants] to play an active role in integration and to take their proper place in the host society.

  "Unfortunately", he added, "a large number of these migrants and refugees often encounter obstacles on their educational itinerary, and in their subsequent professional training or higher education".

  Msgr. Rugambwa concluded by underlining the need for commitment "to counter the tendency towards scholastic segregation; ... the absence of equal-opportunity policies, and ... the lack of financial resources to resolve these difficulties".
OP/WORLD DAY MIGRANTS/...                VIS 20091127 (620)


VATICAN CITY, 27 NOV 2009 (VIS) - "Underage migrants and refugees" is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for the ninety-sixth World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is due to be celebrated on 17 January 2010.

  Some extracts from the English-language translation of the Pope's Message are given below:

  "The celebration of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees once again gives me the opportunity to express the Church's constant concern for those who, in different ways, experience emigration. This is a phenomenon which, as I wrote in the Encyclical 'Caritas in Veritate', upsets us due to the number of people involved and the social, economic, political, cultural and religious problems it raises on account of the dramatic challenges it poses to both national and international communities. The migrant is a human being who possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance".

  "While the Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly states that the best interests of minors must always be safeguarded, recognising their fundamental human rights as equal to the rights of adults, unfortunately this does not always happen in practice. Although there is an increasing public awareness of the need for immediate and incisive action to protect minors, nevertheless, many are left to themselves and, in various ways, face the risk of exploitation".

  "It is my heartfelt hope that proper attention will be given to underage migrants, who need a social environment that enables and fosters their physical, cultural, spiritual and moral development. Living in a foreign land without effective points of reference generates countless and sometimes serious hardships and difficulties for them, especially those deprived of the support of their family.

  "A typical aspect of the migration of minors is the situation of children born in the host country or of those who do not live with their parents, who emigrated after their birth, but join them later. These adolescents belong to two cultures with all the advantages and problems attached to their dual background, a condition that can nevertheless offer them the opportunity to experience the richness of an encounter between different cultural traditions.

  "It is important that these young people be given the possibility of attending school and subsequently of being integrated into the world of work, and that their social integration be facilitated by appropriate educational and social structures. It should never be forgotten that adolescence constitutes a fundamental phase for the formation of human beings.

  "A particular category of minors is that of refugees seeking asylum, who, for various reasons, are fleeing their own country, where they are not given adequate protection. Statistics show that their numbers are increasing. This is therefore a phenomenon that calls for careful evaluation and co-ordinated action by implementing appropriate measures of prevention, protection and welcome, as set forth in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  "I now turn in particular to parishes and to the many Catholic associations which, imbued with a spirit of faith and charity, take pains to meet the needs of these brothers and sisters of ours. While I express gratitude for all that is being done with great generosity, I would like to invite all Christians to become aware of the social and pastoral challenges posed by underage migrants and refuges.

  "Jesus' words resound in our hearts: 'I was a stranger and you welcomed me', as, likewise, the central commandment He left us: to love God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind, and to associate this with love of neighbour. This leads us to consider that any of our interventions must first be nurtured by faith in the action of grace and Divine Providence. In this way also, hospitality and solidarity to strangers, especially if they are children, become a proclamation of the Gospel of solidarity. The Church proclaims this when she opens her arms and strives to have the rights of migrants and refugees respected, moving the leaders of nations, and those in charge of international organisations and institutions to promote appropriate initiatives for their support".
MESS/WORLD DAY MIGRANTS/...                VIS 20091127 (700)


VATICAN CITY, 27 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

 - Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq.

 - Three prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Vilson Dias de Oliveira D.C. of Limeira.

    - Bishop Antonio Carlos Altieri S.D.B. of Caraguatatuba.

    - Bishop Jose Maria Pinheiro, apostolic administrator of Braganca Paulista.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
AP:AL/.../...                                VIS 20091127 (110)


VATICAN CITY, 27 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Milton Luis Troccoli Cebedio, episcopal vicar for pastoral care and for vocational pastoral care in the archdiocese of Montevideo, Uruguay, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 540, population 1,381,000, Catholics 871,800, priests 245, permanent deacons 35, religious 751). The bishop-elect was born in Montevideo in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1988.
NEA/.../TROCCOLI                            VIS 20091127 (70)

Thursday, November 26, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 26 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Vietnam is celebrating a Jubilee Year to commemorate 350 years since the foundation of the apostolic vicariates of Tonkin and Cochinchina, and fifty years since the creation of the Catholic hierarchy in the country. The Holy Father has joined the commemoration, sending a Message to Bishop Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon of Dalat, president of the Episcopal Conference of Vietnam.

  In the text, dated 17 November, Benedict XVI notes how the opening of the Jubilee coincided with the feast of the 117 Vietnamese martyrs and expresses the hope that "the recollection of their noble witness may help the People of God in Vietnam to intensify their charity, increase their hope and consolidate their faith, which daily life sometimes tests very harshly".

  The Pope likewise recalls how the opening celebrations took place at So-Kien in the archdiocese of Hanoi, location of the first apostolic vicariate in Vietnam, and expresses the hope that this site may become "the centre for a profound evangelisation which brings Vietnamese society the Gospel values of charity, truth, justice and rectitude. Such values, if lived following Christ, take on a new dimension which surpasses their traditional moral sense, because they are anchored in God Who desires the good and happiness of all creatures".

  "The Jubilee Year", he writes, "is a time of grace in which to reconcile ourselves with God and our fellow man. To this end, we should recognise past and present errors committed against brothers in the faith and against fellow countrymen, and ask for forgiveness. At the same time, it would be appropriate to commit to increasing and enriching ecclesial communion, and to building a more just, united, equal society through authentic dialogue, mutual respect and healthy collaboration. The Jubilee is also a special time given to us to renew the announcement of the Gospel to everyone, and to become, to an ever greater degree, a Church of communion and mission".

  Benedict XVI concludes his Message by greeting religious and laity in Vietnam who, he writes, "are ever present in my thoughts and daily prayers", and by encouraging bishops "to bear witness with courage and perseverance to the greatness of God and the beauty of life in Christ".
MESS/JUBILEE/VIETNAM:NGUYEN                VIS 20091126 (380)


VATICAN CITY, 26 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi and Francesco Buranelli, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, today held a press conference marking the twentieth anniversary of their dicastery.

  Archbishop Ravasi recalled how, until the year 2007, the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church had had separate presidents, each with his own autonomy.

  Yet, said the archbishop, when he himself was chosen to lead the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Pope decided to unify that dicastery with the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church and with the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology, because all three deal with strictly cultural matters: the first with culture in general, the second with the Church's cultural and artistic heritage, and the third with the catacombs and their history.

  For his part, Francesco Buranelli explained how "the administration of ecclesiastical cultural heritage is organised in accordance with the hierarchical structure of the Church. The universal Church", he said, "is the competency of this pontifical commission, while each episcopal conference is invited to establish a national office for the cultural patrimony of the Church".

  On the subject of Holy See involvement with international organisations (UNESCO, Council of Europe, etc.), "the main objective ... consists in spreading an ever greater awareness of the role and specific value of religious cultural heritage, especially that of Christianity, in the cultural heritage of each nation and, consequently, in the global heritage of humankind", explained Professor Buranelli.

  He likewise highlighted how the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, following the teachings of Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, undertakes "not to fear the friendship between the Church and art, accepting once more the specific character of art in the West: ... that of seeking God on the basis of its own vision of man, while respecting the sensibility and culture of each artist".

  Holy See participation in the 54th Venice Biennale of modern art, with a pavilion promoted by the pontifical commission will, Professor Buranelli concluded, "through interaction between artists and theologians, enable the development of a connective fabric of images and symbols which will allow our society to regain an awareness of its cultural roots and reacquire its capacity to see the invisible".


VATICAN CITY, 26 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The International Theological Commission, which is presided by Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is due to celebrate the first annual plenary session of its new five-year term. The session, due to take place from 30 November to 4 December in the Vatican's "Domus Sanctae Marthae", will be chaired by Frt. Charles Morerod O.P., secretary general of the commission.

  According to a communique published today the commission, which this year celebrates the fortieth anniversary of its creation by Paul VI, will decide what questions must be examined over this new five-year term and how to organise the work. Among the subjects Cardinal Levada has put before the commission is "the important question of theological methodology", which was also examined during the last five-year term.

  The members of the International Theological Commission will also be invited to participate in a Mass celebrated by the Holy Father in the Apostolic Palace.


VATICAN CITY, 26 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences five prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Fr. Jamil de Souza, diocesan administrator of Franca.

    - Bishop Benedito Goncalves dos Santos of Presidente Prudente.

    - Fr. Joaquim Waldimir L. Dias, diocesan administrator of Jundiai.

    - Bishop Jose Benedito Simao of Assis.

    - Bishop Benedito Beni dos Santos of Lorena.
AL/.../...                                VIS 20091126 (80)


VATICAN CITY, 26 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father erected the new diocese of Tenancingo (area 2,896, population 350,406, Catholics 332,829, priests 65, religious 86) Mexico, with territory taken from the diocese of Toluca, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Mexico. He appointed Fr. Raul Gomez Gonzalez, vicar general of the diocese of San Juan de los Lagos, Mexico, as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Capilla de Guadalupe, Mexico in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1983.
ECE:NER/.../GOMEZ                            VIS 20091126 (90)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 25 NOV 2009 (VIS) - During today's general audience, which was celebrated in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father spoke about Hugh and Richard of St. Victor, two monks who lived and exercised their magisterium in the abbey of St. Victor in Paris which, from the twelfth century, was home to an important school of monastic and scholastic theology.

  Little is known, said the Pope, of the origins of Hugh of St. Victor. He was born "perhaps in Saxony or in Flanders" and died in the year 1141. "He acquired considerable fame and respect, to the point of being called a 'second St. Augustine'" for his dedication to "the profane and theological sciences".

  "Hugh of St. Victor is a typical representative of monastic theology, which is founded entirely on biblical exegesis". He maintained that, "before discovering the symbolic value and moral teaching of Bible stories, it is necessary to know and study the meaning of the history narrated in Scripture. Otherwise - he said using an effective metaphor - we run the risk of being like students of grammar who do not know the alphabet. For those who know the meaning of the history recounted in the Bible, human events appear marked by Divine Providence, in accordance with a well-ordered plan, ... though always preserving man's freedom and responsibility".

  Benedict XVI then recalled how in the treatise "De Scaramentis christianae fidei" Hugh identified three elements that define a Sacrament: "institution by Christ, communication of grace, and analogy between the visible element (the matter) and the invisible element (the divine gifts)".

  "Today too", he went on, "it is important that liturgical animators, especially priests, use pastoral wisdom in employing the signs specific to sacramental rites, paying especial attention to catechesis, so that each celebration of the Sacraments may be experienced by all the faithful with spiritual devotion, intensity and joy".

  Turning his attention to Richard of St. Victor, the Pope explained that he was a native of Scotland and "prior of the abbey of St. Victor from 1162 to 1172, the year in which he died". In his study of the Bible, "unlike his master [Hugh], he favoured the allegorical significance, the symbolic meaning of Scripture".

  In his teachings he invited the faithful "to exercise the virtues, and to learn how to use reason in order to discipline and control their inner sentiments and feelings. ... Only when man has achieved balance and human maturity in this field is he ready to move on to contemplation".

  "Hugh and Richard of St. Victor raise our souls to the contemplation of heavenly reality, ... to admiration and praise of the Blessed Trinity" as a model "of perfect communion", the Holy Father concluded. "How our world would change if in families, parishes and all other communities, relationships were always lived following the example of the three divine Persons, in which each lives not only with the other, but for the other and in the other!"

  Having concluded his catechesis, the Pope greeted directors and staff of the Lebanese television station "Tele Lumiere - Noursat", encouraging them "to continue generously their mission of service to the Gospel, and to peace and reconciliation in Lebanon and throughout the region".
AG/HUGH AND RICHARD OF ST. VICTOR/...            VIS 20091125 (550)


VATICAN CITY, 25 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Ricardo Ernesto Centellas Guzman, auxiliary of Potosi, Bolivia, as bishop of the same diocese (area 118,218, population 761,000, Catholics 685,000, priests 65, permanent deacons 8, religious 109). He succeeds Bishop Walter Perez Villamonte, 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.

 - Appointed Bishop Aloisio Jorge Pena Vitral, auxiliary of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, as bishop of Teofilo Otoni (area 25,376, population 466,000, Catholics 332,000, priests 38, religious 65), Brazil. He succeeds Bishop Diogo Reesink O.F.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
NER:RE/.../...                                VIS 20091125 (130)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 24 NOV 2009 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at 11.30 a.m. on Thursday 26 November, Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi and Francesco Buranelli, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, will present a press conference marking the twentieth anniversary of their dicastery.

  On Friday 27 November, also in the Holy See Press Office, the presentation will take place of the Holy Father's Message for the ninety-sixth World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The Day, due to be celebrated on 17 January 2010, has as its theme: "Underage migrants and refugees".

  Participating in Friday's press conference will be Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto and Msgr. Novatus Rugambwa, respectively president, secretary and under secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.
OP/CULTURAL PATRIMONY MIGRANTS/…                VIS 20091124 (150)

Monday, November 23, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 21 NOV 2009 (VIS) - This morning in the Sistine Chapel, Benedict XVI met with artists in an event promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture to mark the tenth anniversary of John Paul II's Letter to Artists of 4 April 1999, and the forty-fifth anniversary of Paul VI's meeting with artists of 7 May 1964.

  The 262 artists participating in the meeting came from different continents and were divided into five categories: painting and sculpture; architecture; literature and poetry; music and song; cinema, theatre, dance and photography.

  Before the Pope's address, the Sistine Chapel Choir sang "Domine, quando veneris" by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, and the Italian actor Sergio Castellitto read out some extracts from John Paul II's Letter to Artists.

  "At this gathering", the Holy Father began his address, "I wish to express and renew the Church's friendship with the world of art, a friendship that has been strengthened over time; indeed Christianity from its earliest days has recognised the value of the arts and has made wise use of their varied language to express her unvarying message of salvation. This friendship must be continually promoted and supported so that it may be authentic and fruitful, adapted to different historical periods and attentive to social and cultural variations".

  The Pope recalled how in 1964 "an historic event took place, at the express wish of Paul VI" when that Pope "made a commitment to 're-establish the friendship between the Church and artists', and he invited artists to make a similar shared commitment, analysing seriously and objectively the factors that disturbed this relationship, and assuming individual responsibility, courageously and passionately, for a newer and deeper journey in mutual acquaintance and dialogue in order to arrive at an authentic 'renaissance' of art in the context of a new humanism".

  Benedict XVI then went on to refer to the Sistine Chapel fresco of the Last Judgement, explaining that it "reminds us that human history is ... a continuing tension towards fullness, towards human happiness. ... Yet the dramatic scene portrayed in this fresco also places before our eyes the risk of man's definitive fall. ... The fresco issues a strong prophetic cry against evil, against every form of injustice. For believers, though, the Risen Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. For His faithful followers, He is the Door through which we are brought to that 'face-to-face' vision of God from which limitless, full and definitive happiness flows".

  The Holy Father also noted how the present is marked, "not only by negative elements in the social and economic sphere, but also by a weakening of hope, by a certain lack of confidence in human relationships, which gives rise to increasing signs of resignation, aggression and despair".

  "What is capable of restoring enthusiasm and confidence, what can encourage the human spirit to rediscover its path, to raise its eyes to the horizon, to dream of a life worthy of its vocation - if not beauty?" he asked.

  "Beauty ... reminds us of our final destiny" and "gives us the courage to live to the full the unique gift of life. The quest for beauty that I am describing here is clearly not about escaping into the irrational or into mere aestheticism.

  "Too often", the Pope added, "the beauty that is thrust upon us is illusory and deceitful, superficial and blinding, ... a seductive but hypocritical beauty that rekindles desire, the will for power, possession, and domination over others, it is a beauty which soon turns into its opposite, taking on the guise of indecency, transgression or gratuitous provocation. Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond".

  "Art, in all its forms, at the point where it encounters the great questions of our existence, ... can take on a religious quality, thereby turning into a path of profound inner reflection and spirituality. This close proximity, this harmony between the journey of faith and the artist's path is attested by countless artworks that are based upon the personalities, the stories, the symbols of that immense deposit of 'figures' - in the broad sense - namely the Bible, the Sacred Scriptures".

  The Holy Father then turned his attention to "a 'via pulchritudinis', a path of beauty which is at the same time an artistic and aesthetic journey, a journey of faith, of theological enquiry. ... The way of beauty leads us to grasp the Whole in the fragment, the Infinite in the finite, God in the history of humanity.

  "Simone Weil wrote in this regard: 'In all that awakens within us the pure and authentic sentiment of beauty, there, truly, is the presence of God. There is a kind of incarnation of God in the world, of which beauty is the sign. Beauty is the experimental proof that incarnation is possible. For this reason all art of the first order is, by its nature, religious'".

  In his Letter of 1999 Pope John Paul II "restated the Church's desire to renew dialogue and co-operation with artists" writing that, "in order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art". However, noted Pope Benedict, John Paul II "immediately went on to ask: 'Does art need the Church?' - thereby inviting artists to rediscover a source of fresh and well-founded inspiration in religious experience, in Christian revelation and in the 'great codex' that is the Bible".

  "You are the custodians of beauty", the Pope told the artists, "thanks to your talent, you have the opportunity to speak to the heart of humanity. ... Through your art, you yourselves are to be heralds and witnesses of hope for humanity! And do not be afraid to approach the first and last source of beauty, to enter into dialogue with believers, with those who, like yourselves, consider that they are pilgrims in this world and in history towards infinite Beauty!

  "Faith takes nothing away from your genius or your art: on the contrary, it exalts them and nourishes them, it encourages them to cross the threshold and to contemplate with fascination and emotion the ultimate and definitive goal, the sun that does not set, the sun that illumines this present moment and makes it beautiful".

  Following the Holy Father's words, the Sistine Chapel Choir sang "Veni delicte mi", also by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. After the Pope had bid farewell to the artists, Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, gave each of them, in Benedict XVI's name, a medal to commemorate the event.
AC/MEETING ARTISTS/RAVASI                    VIS 20091123 (1110)


VATICAN CITY, 21 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today released the following communique:

  "This morning His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI received in private audience His Grace Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.

  "In the course of the cordial discussions attention turned to the challenges facing all Christian communities at the beginning of this millennium, and to the need to promote forms of collaboration and shared witness in facing these challenges.

  "The discussions also focused on recent events affecting relations between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, reiterating the shared will to continue and to consolidate the ecumenical relationship between Catholics and Anglicans, and recalling how, over coming days, the commission entrusted with preparing the third phase of international theological dialogue between the parties (ARCIC) is due to meet".
OP/AUDIENCE/WILLIAMS                    VIS 20091123 (140)


VATICAN CITY, 21 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Jose Ignacio Munilla Aguirre of Palencia, Spain as bishop of San Sebastian (area 1,977, population 694,944, Catholics 641,515, priests 523, religious 2,136), Spain. He succeeds Bishop Juan Maria Uriarte Goiricelaya, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Jesus Sanz Montes O.F.M. of Huesca and of Jaca, Spain, as metropolitan archbishop of Oviedo (area 10,565, population 1,059,136, Catholics 1,006,179, priests 565, religious 1,096), Spain. The archbishop-elect was born in Madrid, Spain in 1955, he was ordained a priest in 1986 and consecrated a bishop in 2003.

 - Conferred the "ad personam" title of archbishop on Bishop Peter Liu Cheung-chung of Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

 - Appointed Bishop Brian Joseph Dunn, auxiliary of Sault Sainte Marie, Canada, as bishop of Antigonish (area 18,800, population 226,000, Catholics 130,600, priests 124, permanent deacons 1, religious 279), Canada.
NER:RE:NA/.../...                            VIS 20091123 (170)


VATICAN CITY, 22 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Today, Solemnity of Christ the King and the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Pope told the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square that today's feast, though "established relatively recently, nonetheless has deep biblical roots".

  "The tile of 'King' applied to Jesus is very important in the Gospels and allows us to gain a full understanding of His person and His mission of salvation. ... When Jesus is placed upon the cross, the Jewish leaders mock Him saying: 'He is the king of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him'. The truth is that, precisely because He is the Son of God, Jesus gave Himself up freely to His Passion, and the cross is the paradoxical sign of His royalty which consists in the victory of the love of God the Father over the disobedience of sin".

  Yet, the Holy Father asked, "in what does Jesus' 'regal' power consist? It is not that of the kings and leaders of the world; it is the divine power to give eternal life, to free people from evil, to defeat the dominion of death. It is the power of love which knows how to draw good from evil, to soften hardened hearts, to bring peace to the harshest conflict, to enkindle hope in the murkiest darkness.

  "This Kingdom of Grace never imposes itself and always respects our freedom. Christ came 'to testify to the truth'. ... It is necessary then, for each conscience to make a choice: whom to follow? ... Opting for Christ does not guarantee success according to the criteria of the world, but it does ensure the peace and joy that only He can give. This is apparent, in every age, from the experience of so many men and women who, in Christ's name, in the name of truth and justice, have shown themselves capable of resisting the lure of earthly power in its various disguises, even to the point of crowning their faithfulness with martyrdom".
ANG/CHRIST THE KING/...                    VIS 20091123 (360)


VATICAN CITY, 22 NOV 2009 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus at midday today, the Pope recalled today's ceremony in Nazareth, Israel, for the beatification of Sr. Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas, born in Jerusalem in 1843 to a Christian family of nineteen children.

  "To her", said the Holy Father, "goes the merit of having founded a congregation formed exclusively of local women with the aim of teaching religion, combating illiteracy and improving the condition of women in that time, in the same land where Jesus Himself had exalted their dignity".

  "The beatification of such a significant female figure is of particular comfort to the Catholic community in the Holy Land, and is an invitation for them always to entrust themselves, with firm hope, to Divine Providence and to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary", he concluded.

  Benedict XVI then went on to refer to yesterday's Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin in the Temple, which also marks "'pro orantibus' Day, in support of cloistered religious communities".

  He invited everyone to support such communities and publicly thanked the nuns who successively occupy the small cloistered convent founded by John Paul II in the Vatican: Poor Clares, Carmelites, Benedictines and, most recently, Visitandines.

  "Your prayer, dear sisters, is very valuable for my ministry", he told them.
ANG/BEATIFICATION NUNS/...                    VIS 20091123 (230)


VATICAN CITY, 23 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "Today, 23 November, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, prime minister of the State of Kuwait. The prime minister subsequently went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "During the cordial discussions mention was made of the excellent bilateral relations, which have existed for more than forty years, between the Holy See and Kuwait. Likewise, consideration was given to certain questions of mutual interest, with particular reference to the promotion of peace and inter-religious dialogue in the Middle East. Subsequently, emphasis was given to the positive contribution that the significant Christian minority makes to Kuwaiti society, underlining the need for pastoral assistance to that community".
OP/AUDIENCE/PRIME MINISTER KUWAIT                VIS 20091123 (160)


VATICAN CITY, 23 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", the Holy See dicastery responsible for the Church's charitable agencies, is due to travel to Australia at the invitation of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference. During his visit, scheduled to last from 22 to 29 November he will meet with the bishops gathered at their plenary assembly in Sydney.

  "The aim of the visit", according to an English-language communique announcing the event, "is to strengthen the Catholic Church's witness in the field of charity. Benedict XVI has made the mission of 'diakonia' a focal point of his teaching, which together with the proclamation of the Word of God and the celebration of the Sacraments, expresses the Church's deepest nature. Cardinal Cordes will reflect together with the pastors on the teaching of 'Deus Caritas Est' in the light of the experience of the local Churches.

  "In the course of his trip, Cardinal Cordes will discuss the different facets of charity with priests, seminarians, charity workers and various lay groups. He will also deliver a lecture at the Australian Catholic University on the Encyclical 'Caritas in veritate'".
CON-CU/TRIP/CORDES:SYDNEY                VIS 20091123 (200)


VATICAN CITY, 23 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that in the Vatican Basilica at 5 p.m. on Saturday 28 November, Benedict XVI will preside at the celebration of first Vespers for the first Sunday of Advent.
OCL/VESPERS ADVENT/...                    VIS 20091123 (60)


VATICAN CITY, 23 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences six prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Fernando Mason O.F.M. Conv. of Piracicaba.

    - Bishop Irineu Danelon S.D.B. of Lins.

    - Bishop Paulo Mendes Peixoto of Sao Jose do Rio Preto.

    - Bishop Osvaldo Giuntini of Marilia.

    - Archbishop Maurício Grotto de Camargo of Botucatu.

  On Saturday 21 November he received in audience Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
AL:AP/.../...                                VIS 20091123 (90)

Friday, November 20, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 20 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace Runaldo Ronald Venetiaan, president of the Republic of Suriname, was received in audience by His Holiness Benedict XVI. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "The cordial meetings provided an opportunity for a fruitful exchange of opinions on questions concerning the current international and regional situation.

  "Attention then focused on certain aspects of the situation in Suriname, in particular on the social policies being introduced by the government, on the defence of the environment and on fields of collaboration between Church and State".
OP/AUDIENCE/PRESIDENT SURINAME                VIS 20091120 (140)


VATICAN CITY, 20 NOV 2009 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received 400 participants in the international conference "Effata! Deaf people in the life of the Church". The event is being promoted by the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, the president of which is Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski.

  In his address to them the Pope explained the reason the theme of "effata" was chosen for the meeting. "It is", he said, "a paradigm of how the Lord works for people with hearing impairment", and he went on to refer to the passage from the Gospel of Mark in which "Jesus takes a deaf man aside and, having performed certain symbolic gestures, raises His eyes to heaven and says: 'effata', that is, 'be opened'. In that moment ... the man recovered his hearing, his tongue was loosened and he spoke plainly.

  "Jesus' actions are full of loving attention and express profound compassion for the man before Him", Benedict XVI added. "He expressed real concern, took him aside from the confusion of the crowds, and made him feel His closeness and understanding through certain highly significant gestures".

  But Jesus does not only cure physical deafness, "He also indicates the existence of another form of deafness from which humanity must be healed, or rather from which it must be saved. This is the deafness of the spirit which raises ever-higher barriers to the voice of God and of our fellow man, especially the cry for help of the poor and the suffering, and which encloses man in a profound and destructive selfishness".

  "Unfortunately experience has shown that hearing-impaired people do not always meet with ready acceptance, committed solidarity and affectionate communion. The many associations which have come into being to defend and promote their rights are evidence of the existence of an underlying culture marked by prejudice and discrimination", said the Pope.

  "Much more numerous, however, are the initiatives prompted by institutions and associations, both ecclesial and civil, which are inspired by authentic and generous solidarity and have improved the living conditions of many deaf people", the Holy Father went on. He also recalled how "the first schools for the education and religious formation of these our brothers and sisters came into being in Europe in the 1700s. Since then charitable initiatives have been multiplying within the Church, ... with the aim of offering the deaf, not only formation, but integral assistance for their complete self-realisation.

  "Yet we must not forget the serious situation in which deaf people still live in developing countries, both because of a lack of appropriate policies and legislation, and because of difficulty of access to basic healthcare. Deafness, indeed, is often the consequence of easily-curable diseases".

  In this context, the Pope launched an appeal "to the political and civil authorities, as well as to international organisations, to offer the support necessary to promote, also in those countries, due respect for the dignity and rights of deaf people, favouring ... their full social integration".

  "Dear hearing-impaired brothers and sisters", he concluded, "you are not only recipients of the announcement of the Gospel but, by virtue of your Baptism, also its announcers. Live every day, then, as witnesses of the Lord in the environments in which you live, making Christ and His Gospel known".
AC/DEAF PEOPLE/ZIMOWSKI                    VIS 20091120 (560)


VATICAN CITY, 20 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Luigi Ventura, apostolic nuncio to France.

 - Two prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Gorgonio Alves da Encarnacao Neto C.R. of Itapetininga.

    - Bishop Carmo Joao Rhoden S.C.I. of Taubate, Brazil.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
AP:AL/.../...                                VIS 20091120 (80)

Thursday, November 19, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 19 NOV 2009 (VIS) - At midday today in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, the Pope received professors and students of Roman pontifical universities, and participants in the general assembly of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (FIUC).

  At the beginning of his address the Holy Father recalled how John Paul II's Apostolic Constitution "Sapientia christiana", the thirtieth anniversary of which falls this year, "underlines the urgent need, which still persists today, to overcome the separation between faith and culture, calling for a greater commitment to evangelisation in the firm conviction that Christian Revelation is a transforming power destined to permeate patterns of thought, standards of judgment and norms of behaviour. It is capable of illuminating, purifying and renewing man's conduct and his cultures, and must remain the focal point for teaching and research, as well as the horizon illuminating the nature and goals of all ecclesiastical faculties".

  The underlying ideas of "Sapientia christiana", Benedict XVI went on, "still retain all their validity. Indeed, in modern society where knowledge is becoming ever more specialised and sectorial but is profoundly marked by relativism, it is even more necessary to open oneself to the wisdom which comes from the Gospel. Man, in fact, is incapable of gaining a full understanding of himself and the world without Jesus Christ; He alone illuminates man's true dignity, his vocation and ultimate destiny, and opens his heart to a firm and lasting hope".

  Professors and students "must never lose sight of the goal to be pursued, that of becoming instruments for the announcement of the Gospel. ... At the same time, it is important to remember that the study of the sacred sciences must never be separated from prayer, from union with God, from contemplation, ... otherwise reflection on the divine Mysteries risks becoming an empty intellectual exercise".

  Turning then to address participants in the general assembly of the FIUC, which this year celebrates the sixtieth anniversary of its canonical recognition, the Holy Father encouraged them to make "further efforts to renew your will to serve the Church. In this context, your motto also represents a programme for the future of the federation: 'Sciat ut serviat', to know in order to serve.

  "In a culture which reveals a 'lack of wisdom and reflection, a lack of thinking capable of formulating a guiding synthesis'", he added in conclusion, "Catholic universities, faithful to an identity which makes a specific point of Christian inspiration, are called to promote a 'new humanistic synthesis', knowledge that is 'wisdom capable of directing man in the light of his first beginnings and his final ends', knowledge illuminated by faith".
AC/.../ROMAN PONTIFICAL UNIVERSITIES                VIS 20091119 (450)


VATICAN CITY, 19 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences eight prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, archbishop of Sao Paulo, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Pedro Luiz Stringhini, Joaquim Justino Carreira, Joao Mamede Filho O.F.M. Conv., and Tarcisio Scaramussa S.D.B.

    - Bishop Ercilio Turco of Osasco.

    - Bishop David Dias Pimentel of Sao Joao da Boa Vista.

    - Bishop Jose Luiz Bertanha S.V.D. of Registro.
AL/.../...                                VIS 20091119 (90)


VATICAN CITY, 19 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - As consultors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops, and Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues O.P., secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

 - John C. Cavadini, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame at South Bend, U.S.A., as a member of the International Theological Commission.
NA/.../MONTEIRO:BRUGUES:CAVADINI            VIS 20091119 (80)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique yesterday evening.

  "This evening in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, His Holiness Benedict XVI received in audience Pierre Nkurunziza, president of the Republic of Burundi. The president subsequently went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "In the course of the meetings, which took place in a cordial atmosphere, questions of mutual interest were considered, such as the importance of dialogue and of respect for human rights, as fundamental elements in the creation of a stable society oriented towards the good of all its members. Emphasis was likewise given to the Church's commitment to contributing to the integral development of the nation of Burundi in the fields of spiritual assistance, education, healthcare and social-humanitarian work.

  "In this context, the hope was expressed for a framework agreement to define and guarantee the juridical status of the Church and her activities in the country".
OP/AUDIENCE/PRESIDENT BURUNDI                    VIS 20091118 (180)


VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - "The Christian faith, profoundly rooted in the men and women of the Middle Ages", said the Pope in his catechesis during this morning's general audience, "not only gave rise to masterpieces of theological literature, it also inspired some of the most exalted artistic creations of all civilisation: the cathedrals".

  Apart from the more favourable historical conditions, such as greater political stability, the artistic fervour Europe witnessed over three centuries from the year 1000 was due also to "the ardour and spiritual zeal of monasticism", thanks to which the abbeys were built. There "the faithful could remain in prayer, drawn by the idea of venerating the relics of saints, which led to incessant pilgrimages", said Holy Father to the 8,000 faithful gathered in the Paul VI Hall.

  Thus the Romanesque churches and cathedrals came into being, one of the novelties of which was the introduction of sculptures which, more than seeking technical perfection, "had an educational aim. ... Their recurring theme was the representation of Christ as Judge, surrounded by the figures of the Apocalypse. In general it is the portals of Romanesque churches that present this image, underlining the fact that Christ is the Door that leads to heaven".

  Benedict XVI then turned his attention to the Gothic cathedrals of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries characterised, he said, by "their vertical thrust and luminosity". They "reveal a synthesis of faith and art, harmoniously expressed through the universal and captivating language of beauty. ... The Gothic cathedrals thus sought to translate - in their architectural lines - the longing of the soul for God", while their stained glass windows caused "a cascade of light to fall upon the faithful, recounting the story of salvation".

  "Gothic sculpture made cathedrals 'Bibles of stone', depicting the episodes of the Gospel and illustrating the passages of the liturgical year, from the Nativity to the Glorification of the Lord. ... Nor were the figures of the Old Testament overlooked, whose story thus became familiar to the faithful".

  Yet "the artistic masterpieces created in Europe over previous centuries are incomprehensible is we do not take account of the religious spirit that inspired them", said Pope Benedict. "When faith, especially as celebrated in the liturgy, encounters art, a profound harmony is created because both wish to speak of God, to make the Invisible visible". He also indicated that during his forthcoming meeting with artists, scheduled for 21 November, he will renew his "proposal of friendship between Christian spirituality and art, as expressed by my predecessors, especially ... Paul VI and John Paul II".

  "The force of the Romanesque and the splendour of Gothic cathedrals remind us that the 'via pulchritudinis', the way of beauty, is a privileged and fascinating way to approach the Mystery of God", said the Holy Father.

  "May the Lord help us", he concluded, "to rediscover this way of beauty as one of the paths, perhaps the most attractive and captivating, to encounter and to love God".
AG/CATHEDRALS/...                        VIS 20091118 (510)


VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Holy Father recalled the fact that Friday 20 November marks the United Nations Day of Prayer and Action for Children, called to mark the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  "My thoughts go", said Benedict XVI, "to all the children of the world, especially those who live in difficult conditions, and suffer because of violence, abuse, sickness, war or hunger.

  "I invite you to join my prayers. At the same time I make an appeal to the international community to increase its efforts to offer an adequate response to the dramatic problems of infancy. May a generous commitment on everyone's part not be lacking, so that the rights of children may be recognised and their dignity given ever greater respect".
AG/APPEAL CHILDREN/...                    VIS 20091118 (150)


VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "At the end of his general audience today, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received Sheikh Hasina, prime minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. She subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "During the cordial discussions, opinions were exchanged concerning the current situation in Bangladesh, the principal challenges facing the country, and the efforts to promote a society that is ever more open to, and respectful of, the human rights of all its citizens. Furthermore, with reference to the regular contacts between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, attention also focused on the positive and much-appreciated contribution the Catholic Church makes to human promotion and social life in the country, through her activities of education, healthcare and assistance".
OP/AUDIENCE/BANGLADESH                    VIS 20091118 (160)


VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in separate audiences four prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Luiz Antonio Guedes of Campo Limpo, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Emilio Pignoli.

    - Bishop Jose Moreira de Melo of Itapeva.

    - Bishop Francisco Jose Zugliani of Amparo.
AL/.../...                                VIS 20091118 (70)


VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Jean (John) Bosco Baremes S.M., former provincial counsellor of the province of Oceania of the Marist Fathers, as bishop of Port-Vila (area 11,870, population 230,000, Catholics 32,500, priests 24, permanent deacons 1, religious 86), Vanuatu. The bishop-elect was born in Han, Papua New Guinea in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1987.
NER/.../BAREMES                            VIS 20091118 (70)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2009 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, the presentation took place of the 24th international conference promoted by the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care. The theme of this year's gathering is "Effata! Deaf people in the life of the Church", and the event is due to be held in the Vatican's New Synod Hall from 19 to 21 November.

  Participating in today's press conference were Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, Bishop Jose L. Redrado O.H. and Msgr. Jean-Marie Mpendawatu, respectively president, secretary and under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care; Fr. Savino Castiglione of the Congregation "Little Mission for the Deaf", and Marco Radici, director of the ENT unit of the Hospital of St. John of God "Fatebenefratelli" in Rome.

  There are 278 million people in the world who suffer from hearing impairment, of whom 59 million are profoundly deaf. Eighty percent of deaf people live in the less-developed areas of the planet. It is also estimated that there are around 1.3 million deaf people in the Catholic Church who, Archbishop Zimowski explained, "face particular difficulties in participating fully in religious practices".

  The forthcoming conference - which will be attended by 498 people, 89 of whom are deaf - arises from the need to promote and improve commitment in this field of disability in order "to achieve true integration for deaf people", he said.

  "According to the timetable", the archbishop continued, "the three days of the meeting will be subdivided into sections focusing on various aspects of deafness. The first day will examine the themes of: 'deaf people in the world, past and present'; 'the psychological world of deaf people'; the 'medical aspects of deafness', and 'experiences from the world of deafness'".

  The second day, during which the participants will also be received by the Pope, will consider such themes as "the family and deaf people" and "pastoral care of the deaf".

  The conference will come to an end on 21 November with a summarisation of the subjects discussed, roundtable discussions and the presentation of a final report.

  Among those attending the conference will be Archbishop Patrick A. Kelly of Liverpool, England, and Terry O'Meara, respectively president and director of the International Catholic Foundation for the Service of Deaf Persons; Silvio P. Mariotti, an expert of the World Health Organisation, and Fr. Cyril Axelrod, a blind and deaf priest.

  Also participating in the event will be Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan and Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini, presidents emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, which is due to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its foundation on 11 February 2010.
OP/EFFATA/ZIMOWSKI                        VIS 20091117 (450)


VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2009 (VIS) - This evening Holy Father is due to receive in audience Pierre Nkurunziza, president of the Republic of Burundi, accompanied by an entourage.
AP/.../...                                VIS 20091117 (30)


VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted:

 - The resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Sapporo, Japan, presented by Bishop Peter Toshio Jinushi, upon having reached the age limit.

 - The resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Douala, Cameroon, presented by Cardinal Christian Wiyghan Tumi, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Samuel Kleda.
RE/.../JINUSHI:TUMI:KLEDA                    VIS 20091117 (80)


VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Bishop Roque Antonio Adames Rodriguez, emeritus of Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, on 31 October at the age of 80.

 - Bishop Jose Afonso Ribeiro T.O.R., prelate of emeritus of Borba, Brazil, on 11 November at the age of 80.

 - Bishop Hubertus Brandenburg, emeritus of Stockholm, Sweden, on 4 November at the age of 85.

 - Bishop Abraham Escudero Montoya of Palmira, Colombia, on 6 November at the age of 69.

 - Bishop Antonio Rosario Mennonna, emeritus of Nardo, Italy, on 6 November at the age of 103.

 - Bishop Manuel Romero Arvizu O.F.M., prelate emeritus of Jesus Maria, Mexico, on 6 November at the age of 90.

 - Bishop Arturo Salazar Mejia O.A.R., emeritus of Pasto, Colombia, on 1 November at the age of 88.
.../DEATHS/...                            VIS 20091117 (150)


VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Made public yesterday was a letter from Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. to priests of the Catholic Church in the People's Republic of China, for the occasion of the Year for Priests which was called to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, the saintly "Cure of Ars".

  "In the Letter that the Holy Father addressed to the bishops, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful in the People's Republic of China on 27 May 2007, a number of guidelines are indicated for the future journey of the Church", explains the cardinal in his letter which was published in Chinese, English and Italian. "Among those I wish to emphasise reconciliation within the Catholic community and a respectful and constructive dialogue with the civil authorities, without renouncing the principles of the Catholic faith. In this regard, despite the persisting difficulties, the information that has come from different parts of China points also to signs of hope".

  Cardinal Bertone also expresses the view that, "at a distance of only two years since the publication of the papal Letter, it does not seem that the time has come to make definitive evaluations. Using the words of the great missionary of China, Fr. Matteo Ricci, I believe we can say that it is still more a time of sowing than of reaping".

  "There are", the secretary of State tells Chinese clergy, "various practical ways in which you can make your valuable contribution: for example, by visiting Catholic and non-Catholic families frequently; ... increasing efforts to prepare and train good catechists; fostering greater use of charitable services directed especially to children and to sick and old people; ... organising special gatherings where Catholics could invite their non-Catholic relatives and friends in order to become better acquainted with the Catholic Church and Christian faith; distributing Catholic literature to non-Catholics".

  "In this Year of the Priesthood, I wish to remind you of the source where you can find the strength to be faithful to your important mission, ... the Eucharist. ... A truly Eucharistic community cannot retreat into itself, as though it were self-sufficient, but must stay in communion with every other Catholic community".

  Addressing bishops, Cardinal Bertone says: "Your paternal solicitude will suggest to you, according to the possibilities and conditions of each diocese, suitable initiatives for promoting vocations to the priesthood, such as prayer days and meetings or the opening of places where priests and faithful, especially the young, can come to pray together under the guidance of expert and good priests acting as spiritual directors".

  "The Holy Father Benedict XVI realises that 'in China too, as in the rest of the Church, the need for an adequate ongoing formation of the clergy is emerging. Hence the invitation, addressed to you bishops as leaders of ecclesial communities, to think especially of the young clergy who are increasingly subject to new pastoral challenges, linked to the demands of the task of evangelising a society as complex as that of present-day China'".

  "The saintly 'Cure of Ars' teaches us that the worship given to the Eucharist outside of Mass is of inestimable value in the life of every priest. This worship is closely joined to the celebration of the Eucharist".

  After then highlighting how, "if we are united in the Eucharistic Christ, all of the miseries of the world echo in our hearts to implore the mercy of God", the cardinal secretary of State emphasises the need "to seek reconciliation with concrete gestures. ... In order to obtain it, there is an urgent need to pay attention also to the human formation of all the faithful, priests and sisters included, because the lack of human maturity, self-control and inner harmony is the most frequent source of misunderstandings, lack of co-operation and conflicts within Catholic communities".

  Finally, Cardinal Bertone concludes by "entrusting to the Most Blessed Virgin the wish that your priestly life may be guided more and more by those ideals of the total giving of oneself to Christ and to the Church which inspired the thought and action of the saintly 'Cure of Ars'".
SS/.../CHINESE PRIESTS                        VIS 20091117 (710)

Monday, November 16, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 14 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following two communiques at midday today:

  "This morning the Holy Father received in audience Boris Tadic, president of the Republic of Serbia. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "During the meetings, which took place in a very cordial atmosphere, the positive state of bilateral relations was highlighted. Particular attention was given to the main regional challenges and to Serbia's journey towards full integration into the European Union. The contribution the Catholic Church wishes to make to Serbian society was underlined, with mention being made of the factors appropriate to ensuring her presence and activities therein. Furthermore, the positive dialogue with the Orthodox Church was noted, also with a view to the 2013 commemoration of the Edict of Milan, the work of the emperor Constantine who was born in Nis".

  The second communique announces that the Pope also received in audience Jan Fischer, prime minister of the Czech Republic. He too subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "The cordial discussions provided an opportunity to continue conversations that had begun during His Holiness Benedict XVI's recent apostolic trip to the Czech Republic. The good relations that exist between the Holy See and the Czech Republic were highlighted, and the mutual desire confirmed to continue constructive dialogue on bilateral themes concerning relations between the ecclesial and civil communities. Finally, an exchange of opinions took place on questions concerning current international relations, in particular the coming into effect of the Treaty of Lisbon".


VATICAN CITY, 14 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received in audience prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Region South 1, which includes the city of Sao Paulo), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  The Pope began his remarks to them by pointing out that the Brazilian people "guard in their hearts a strong religious sentiment and noble traditions. These are rooted in Christianity and are given deeply-felt and genuine expression in religious and civil life; a heritage rich in values which you make every effort to defend ... and promote. I invite you to continue this constant and methodical work of evangelisation, in the certainty that the authentically Christian formation of consciences is decisive for a profound life of faith, as well as for social maturity and the authentic and balanced wellbeing of the human community".

  "Since a well-formed conscience leads to the true good of human beings", the Holy Father went on, "the Church, by defining that good, illuminates men and women and, through all of Christian life, attempts to educate their consciences. The Church's teaching - due to its source (God), its content (truth) and the place it seeks to occupy (the conscience) - finds a profound and persuasive echo in the heart of each person, believer or non-believer".

  "The question of life, and its defence and promotion, is not just a prerogative of Christians. ... The 'people of life' are happy to share their commitment with others in such a way that they may become ever more numerous and the new culture of love and solidarity may grow, for the true good of human civilisation".

  Benedict XVI encouraged the prelates to speak "to people's hearts" and "to unite their efforts ... in order to face the growing wave of violence and contempt for human beings" who, "from being a gift of God welcomed in the loving intimacy between man and woman, have reached the point of being considered as mere human products".

  In this context he quoted his own recent Encyclical "Caritas in veritate": "A particularly crucial battleground in today's cultural struggle between the supremacy of technology and human moral responsibility is the field of bioethics. In this most delicate and critical area, the fundamental question asserts itself forcefully: is man the product of his own labours or does he depend on God? Scientific discoveries in this field and the possibilities of technological intervention seem so advanced as to force a choice between two types of reasoning: reason open to transcendence or reason closed within immanence".

  "The conviction - founded on proper reason and the certainty of faith - that human life, from conception to natural death, belongs to God and not to man, gives life that sacred character and individual dignity which justify the only correct legal and moral attitude: one of profound respect", said the Pope.

  "We must never lose heart in our call to people's consciences", the Holy Father concluded, and he invited the bishops to work for the cause of God, "not with the sadness of those who see only shortcomings and dangers, but with the firm trust of those who know they can be sure of Christ's victory".
AL/.../BRAZIL                            VIS 20091116 (540)

Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service