|(RADIO VATICANA IMAGE) THE HOLY FATHER MEETS WITH THE PRESIDENT OF BENIN|
Vatican City, 19 November 2012 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Thomas Boni Yayi, president of the Republic of Benin. 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 cordial discussions pleasure was expressed at the good relations that exist between the Holy See and Benin, with particular reference to the Holy Father's apostolic visit there last year. Mention was also made of the positive contribution that the Catholic Church makes to development in the country.
Attention then turned to the question of the value of local cultures in Africa, and to the important role the Church has in educating people in peace and reconciliation. Finally consideration was given to certain regional challenges currently affecting the continent, which are of particular interest to the head of State in his role as president of the African Union.
|CHRIST GUIDES THE JOURNEY OF HUMANITY|
Vatican City, 18 November 2012 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to recite the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. He commented on this Sunday's Gospel, focusing on Jesus' words about the end of time, often considered one of the most difficult texts in the Gospel.
"This difficulty derives from both the content and the language", explained Benedict XVI. "It describes a future that exceeds our own categories of comprehension, and Jesus therefore uses images and words from the Old Testament, but above all, He introduces a new centre, Himself, the mystery of His person, His death and His resurrection. … It is Jesus Himself who connects present and future; the ancient words of the prophets finally find a point of reference in the Nazarene Messiah: He is the true foundation which, amid the world's disorder, remains firm and stable".
"We know that in the Bible the Word of God is the origin of creation. All of creation, starting from the heavenly bodies - the sun, the moon and heavens - obey the Word of God, and exist inasmuch as they are 'called into being' by the Word. This creative power of the Divine Word is concentrated in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, and passes through His human words, the true 'firmament' that guides man's thoughts and actions on earth. Therefore, Jesus does not describe the end of the world, and when He uses apocalyptic images, He does not act as a 'seer'. On the contrary, He wishes to ensure that His disciples in every age remain unmoved by dates and predictions, and gives them instead a more profound understanding, showing them the right path to take, now and in the future, towards eternal life. Everything changes, the Lord reminds us, but the Word of God does not change, and before it each of us is responsible for our own actions. It is on this basis that we will be judged".
"Natural disasters occur in our times too, as, unfortunately, do wars and violence. We too need a stable foundation for our lives and our hopes, especially in view of the relativism that surrounds us. May the Virgin Mary help us to find this stable centre in the person of Christ and His Word", the Pope concluded.
Following the Angelus, in his greetings in several languages the Pope mentioned the fact that Maria Crescencia Perez (1897-1932) had been beatified yesterday in Pergamino, Argentina. She was a religious of the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Orchard and was known as "an example of gentleness inspired by faith. We give thanks to God for her witness", Benedict XVI said.
|BENEDICT XVI CONGRATULATES THE NEW COPTIC ORTHODOX PATRIARCH|
Vatican City, 18 November 2012 (VIS) - His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, recently elected as the one hundred and eighteenth patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, was enthroned today at St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt. The ceremony was attended by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who brought a letter from the Holy Father.
In the text, Benedict XVI expresses his hope that the Almighty may grant "abundant spiritual gifts to strengthen you in your new ministry, as you guide the clergy and laity along the paths of holiness, for the good of your people and the peace and harmony of the whole of society".
The Holy Father mentions Tawadros II's predecessor, Pope Shenouda III, his interest in improving relations with other Christian Churches, and his concern that this might "reinforce our hope that one day all the followers of Christ will find themselves united in that love and reconciliation which the Lord so earnestly desires".
He adds, "I pray that the Holy Spirit will sustain you in your ministry, so that the flock entrusted to your care may experience the teaching of the Good Shepherd. May they be blessed with the serenity to offer their valuable contribution to the good of society and the well-being of all their fellow-citizens".
The Pope concludes, "I pray too that the relations between the Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church will continue to grow closer, not only in a fraternal spirit of collaboration, but also through a deepening of the theological dialogue that will enable us to grow in communion and to bear witness before the world to the saving truth of the Gospel".
|THE POPE TO FRENCH BISHOPS: EXERCISE THE PROPHETIC DIMENSION OF YOUR MINISTRY|
Vatican City, 17 November 2012 (VIS) - "Your nation has a long and rich Christian history that cannot be ignored or diminished, which bears eloquent witness to truth", said the Pope in his address to prelates from the Episcopal Conference of France on their five-yearly ad limina visit.
"The Year of Faith helps us to grow in confidence in the intrinsic strength and richness of the evangelical message", observed the Pope. "How many times have we seen that it is precisely the words of faith, those simple and direct words filled with the wisdom of the Divine Word, that best touch our hearts and minds, and best illuminate our decisions? … The Divine Word contains those words, basic convictions and ways of thinking which alone are able to bring hope to the world.
"In society's key debates, the voice of the Church must make itself heard ceaselessly and with determination. This must be achieved with full respect for the French tradition regarding the distinction between the respective spheres of competence of Church and State. It is precisely in this context that the harmony between faith and reason gives you special reassurance: the message of Christ and His Church is not merely a religious identity that demands to be respected as such; it carries also the wisdom that permits us to provide concrete answers to the pressing and sometimes troubling questions of our times. In continuing to exercise the prophetic dimension of your ministry, as you do at present, you bring to these debates the indispensable word of truth, which frees our hearts and opens them to hope".
The Pope went on to praise the many French intellectuals, believers and non-believers, who "are aware of the enormous challenges of our age, where the Christian message is an irreplaceable point of reference", and recalled the vitality of religious and especially monastic communities which "enrich the whole of society, not only the Church" in France. He also mentioned the liturgy and its "contribution to the civilising work" of the Church, emphasising how "respect for its established norms expresses love and fidelity to the faith of the Church. The beauty of her celebrations, far more than innovations and subjective adjustments, constitutes a durable and effective form of evangelisation".
Benedict XVI also turned his attention to the question of transmitting the faith to the young generations. "You are well aware of the challenges in that field", he told the bishops. These challenges include "family and social difficulties associated with the transmission of received faith, those associated with a faith adopted by people as they enter adulthood, or with a break in transmission as when several generations drift away from living faith. There is also the enormous challenge of living in a society which does not always share the teachings of Christ and at times ridicules and marginalises the Church in the attempt to confine her to an exclusively private sphere. To face these immense challenges, the Church needs credible witnesses".
"While remaining aware of the importance of example, you must also find the necessary words and gestures to encourage the faithful to incarnate the 'unity of life'", continued the Pope. "They must feel involved in their faith, that it represents liberation and not a burden, that its coherence is a source of joy and fruitfulness. This also applies to their observance of the moral teaching of the Church, for example in demonstrating the courage to adhere to their Christian convictions - devoid of arrogance but with respect - in the various environments in which they live. In this context, those who are engaged in public life bear special responsibility. Along with bishops, they must be wary of planned legislation which threatens marriage between a man and a woman, the protection of life from conception to death, and the correct guidance of bioethics in harmony with magisterial documents. It is necessary, more than ever, for Christians to follow the path of the common good and to deepen their awareness of the social doctrine of the Church".
|THE "CHRISTIAN SCIENCE OF SUFFERING" IN HOSPITALS|
Vatican City, 17 November 2012 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI addressed the participants in a conference being held by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (for Health Pastoral Care) on the theme of "The Hospital, setting for evangelisation: a human and spiritual mission". The Church, he told them, "turns to those who experience pain with a spirit of brotherly participation, inspired by the Spirit of the One Who, through the power of love, restored meaning and dignity to the mystery of suffering.
"With the same sense of hope, the Church also reaches out to healthcare workers and volunteers", the Pope continued. "Yours is a unique mission which requires study, sensitivity and experience. However, for those who choose to work in the world of suffering, experiencing their activity as a 'human and spiritual mission', an additional competence is required, beyond academic qualifications. This is the 'Christian science of suffering', described by the Council as 'the only truth capable of answering the mystery of suffering. … Christ did not do away with suffering. He did not even wish to unveil to us entirely the mystery of suffering. He took suffering upon Himself and this is enough to make you understand all its value'.
"Be experts in this 'Christian science of suffering!' The fact that you are Catholic ... gives you greater responsibility in society and in the Church. … This is a commitment of new evangelisation also in times of economic crisis in which resources are withdrawn from healthcare. Precisely in this context, hospitals and health centres must rethink their role in order to ensure that healthcare remains a universal right to be guaranteed and defended, rather than becoming a mere commodity subject to market laws, and thus a privilege reserved to the few. We must never forget the special attention due to the dignity of the suffering, applying the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity also in the field of healthcare policy".
"It is to be hoped that the language of the 'Christian science of suffering' - of which compassion, solidarity, sharing, abnegation, selflessness and self-giving are a part - becomes the universal lexicon of those who work in the field of healthcare", the Pope emphasised. "From this point of view, hospitals are to be considered as an important location for evangelisation, because where the Church 'is the bearer of the presence of God' she also becomes an 'instrument for the true humanisation of man and the world'. Only by clearly focusing medical and healthcare activities on the well-being of man at his most fragile and defenceless, of man who searches for meaning in the unfathomable mystery of pain, can we conceive of hospitals as a place in which care is a mission and not merely an occupation".
The Holy Father concluded by addressing the sick: "Your silent testimony is an effective sign and instrument of evangelisation for those who assist you and for your families, in the certainty that 'no tear, neither of those who are suffering nor of those who are close to them, is lost before God'".
|OPENING UP TO GOD DOES NOT DETACH US FROM THE WORLD|
Vatican City, (VIS) - Benedict XVI addressed a message to the participants in the Portuguese session of the Courtyard of Gentiles, which is being held in Guimaraes and Braga, Portugal, on 16 and 17 November, on the theme of "The value of life".
"Awareness of the sacredness of life … is part of the moral heritage of humankind", writes the Pope. "We are not the chance product of evolution; rather, each of us is the fruit of God's will: He loves us. … God loves every person who, therefore, is unconditionally deserving of life. 'The blood of Christ, while it reveals the grandeur of the Father's love, shows how precious man is in God's eyes, and how priceless the value of his life is'".
"However, in the modern age, man has sought to subtract himself from the creating and redeeming gaze of the Father, looking only to himself and not to divine Power. … In a building without windows, it is man who has to provide air and light; yet even in such a self-constructed world, man seeks God's 'resources', which are thereby transformed into our own products. … We must reopen the windows, look anew upon the vastness of the world, the sky and the earth, and learn to use them in the correct way. The value of life becomes evident only if God exists; therefore it would be good if non-believers could live 'as if God existed'. While they may not have 'the strength to believe', they should live on the basis of this hypothesis. … So many problems exist, but they will not be resolved unless God is placed at the centre … once more visible in the world and crucial to our lives".
"He who opens himself to God does not distance himself from the world and man, but instead finds brothers: in God, the walls that separate us are broken down, we all become brothers, each a part of the other", the Pope concludes.
|CARDINAL DUKA TO TAKE POSSESSION OF HIS TITLE|
Vatican City, 19 November 2012 (VIS) - A note released today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announces that Cardinal Dominik Duka, archbishop of Prague, Czech Republic, will take possession of the title of Santi Marcellino e Pietro in Via Labicana 1, Rome, at 7 p.m. on Sunday 25 November.
Vatican City, 19 November 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Ten prelates of the Episcopal Conference of France on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Andre Lacrampe of Besancon.
- Bishop Claude Schockert of Belfort-Montbeliard.
- Bishop Jean-Louis Papin of Nancy.
- Bishop Vincent Jordy of Saint-Claude.
- Bishop Jean-Paul Mathieu of Saint-Die.
- Bishop Francois Maupu of Verdun.
- Archbishop Jean-Pierre Grallet O.F.M. of Strasbourg, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Dollman.
- Bishop Pierre Raffin O.P. of Metz.
- Fr. Daniel Ducasse, diocesan administrator of Pontoise.
- Archbishop Guido Pozzo, almoner of His Holiness.
|OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS|
Vatican City, 19 November 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Nil Yuriy Lushchak O.F.M., professor of philosophy in the major seminary of Uzhorod, Ukraine, as auxiliary of the eparchy of Mukachevo of the Byzantine rite (Catholics 58,000, priests 39, permanent deacons 1, religious 72), Ukraine. The bishop-elect was born in Uzhorod in 1973 and ordained a priest in 1996. He has worked in pastoral service in various parishes within the eparchy of Mukachevo.
On Saturday 17 November it was made public that the Holy Father:
- Msgr. Henryk Ciereszko of the clergy of Bialystok, Poland, as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese (area 5,550, population 515,400, Catholics 455,400, priests 393, religious 202). The bishop-elect was born in Hermanowka, Poland in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1981. He obtained his doctorate from the Catholic University of Lublin and is currently a teacher in the Seminary of Bialystok, a promoter of justice at the metropolitan tribunal and a member of the presbyteral council.
- Bishop Lorenzo Ghizzoni, auxiliary of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla, Italy, as archbishop of Ravenna-Cervia (area 1,185, population 223,130, Catholics 200,000, priests 118, permanent deacons 6, religious 255), Italy. He succeeds Archbishop Giuseppe Verucchi, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Archbishop Luigi Pezzuto, apostolic nuncio to El Salvador and Belize, as apostolic nuncio to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to Montenegro.