Friday, December 30, 2011



VATICAN  CITY, 29 DEC 2011 (VIS) - In a recent interview on Vatican Radio, Holy See  Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. reviewed the activities of  the Holy Father over the course of 2011. A summary of his remarks is given  below. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

   Fr. Lombardi first turned his attention to the Pope's trips, noting that the  visit to Germany in September had reflected the Holy Father's concern to  speak to modern secularised society, especially in Europe, about God and His  primacy. By contrast, his visit to Spain for World Youth Day was "a  great experience of the vitality of the faith, of its future". In Benin,  Benedict XVI had signed the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Africa  munus" in which he examines the problems facing Africa and  "identifies reasons for realistic hope with which to face the future,  recognising the dignity of the African people", Fr. Lombardi said.

   Another key moment of 2011 was the inter-religious meeting at Assisi in  October, which had focused on "the search for truth". The event had  been attended not just by representatives of different religious confessions,  but also by "people who, though they do not recognise a God, sincerely  seek after the truth".

   Among the documents published during 2011, Fr. Lombardi mentioned the Motu  Proprio "Porta Fidei" with which Benedict XVI proclaims a  "Year of Faith" to begin in October 2012. This, he noted, is  associated with one of the great themes of the pontificate: new evangelisation.  The Holy See Press Office Director also recalled the recent Mass to mark the  independence of various Latin American countries, during which the Pope had  announced his forthcoming trip to Mexico and Cuba.

   At Christmas every year the Holy Father makes special visits of solidarity,  and this year's took him to the Roman prison of Rebbibia where he gave  spontaneous answers to questions put to him by the inmates. That meeting,  said Fr. Lombardi, shows "how the Church, though recognising that civil  society has legislative responsibility for dramatic issues such as justice  and prisons, ... can send out a strong message ... about reconciliation, hope  and reintegration into society".

   Also during 2011 the Pope was able to speak with astronauts orbiting the  earth on the international space station, "thus underlining with great  willingness and joy the Church's benevolence towards scientific research and  technology, when they serve the good of humanity". The beatification of  John Paul II was another key moment of the past year, which "mobilised  the entire Church" and was experienced "with immense delight".

   The year also saw the publication of part two of Joseph Ratzinger's book  "Jesus of Nazareth", focusing on the death and resurrection of  Christ. "We continue to hope", Fr. Lombardi concluded, "that  he will write a third volume, on the infancy, in order to complete this  extraordinarily vivid and profound presentation of Jesus for us today".
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VATICAN  CITY, 29 DEC 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 -  Appointed Bishop Waclaw Depo of Zamosc-Lubaczow, Poland, as archbishop of  Czestochowa (area 6,925, population 824,993, Catholics 819,921, priests 901,  religious 1,165), Poland. He succeeds Archbishop Stanislaw Nowak, whose resignation  from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon  having reached the age limit.

 -  Appointed Bishop Jan Kopiec, auxiliary of Opole, Poland, as bishop of Gliwice  (area 2,250, population 725,500, Catholics 660,900, priests 473, religious  357), Poland. He succeeds Bishop Jan Walenty Wieczorek, whose resignation  from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon  having reached the age limit.

 -  Appointed as members of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications:  Cardinal Josip Bozanic, archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia; Cardinal Oswald  Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India; Cardinal John Njue, archbishop of  Nairobi, Kenya; Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa,  Democratic Republic of Congo; Archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan of New York,  U.S.A.; Archbishop Mark Benedict Coleridge of Canberra and Goulburn,  Australia; Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical  Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation; Bishop Manuel Jose Macario do  Nascimento Clemente of Porto, Portugal; Bishop Joseph Befe Ateba of Kribi,  Cameroon, and Bishop Barthelemy Adoukonou, secretary of the Pontifical  Council for Culture.

 -  Appointed as consultors of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications:  Fr. Antonino Spadaro S.J., director of the magazine "Civilta  Cattolica"; Fr. Eric Salobir O.P., general assistant for social  communications of the Order of Friars Preachers, France; Fr. Augustine  Savarimuthu S.J., director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Social  Communications of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome; Sr. Dominica  Dipio O.P. associate professor of literature at the Makerere University in  Kampala, Uganda; Antonio Preziosi, director of "Giornale Radio Rai"  and of "Rai Radio Uno"; Erminio Fragassa, president and managing  director of "MicroMegas Comunicazione S.p.A."; Marco Tarquinio,  director of the "Avvenire" newspaper; Paul Wuthe, secretary of the  media commission of the Austrian Bishops' Conference; Greg Erlandson, president  of the Catholic Press Association, U.S.A.; Gian Maria Vian, director of the  "Osservatore Romano" newspaper, and Susana Nuin Nunez of the  Focolari Movement, executive secretary of the commission for social  communications media of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM).

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