|(Radio Vaticana Image Share) THE POPE TO FRENCH BISHOPS: RELIGIOUS IGNORANCE IS ONE OF THE GREATEST PROBLEMS OF OUR TIMES |
Vatican City, 30 November 2012 (VIS) - "The Church in France has a long heritage of saints, doctors, martyrs and confessors of the faith. You are the heirs to a history of great human experience and immense spiritual richness. … These origins and this glorious past, always present in our thought and dear to our spirit, nurture great hope in solid and bold faith, allowing us to rise to the challenges of the third millennium and to listen to the hopes of contemporary humanity, to which only God can give a satisfactory answer".
With these words, Benedict XVI received the third group of bishops from the Episcopal Conference of France at the end of their "ad limina" visit. The Pope observed that "the Good News we must announce to mankind in all times and in all languages and cultures, may be summarised in these words: God, creator of mankind, in His son Jesus, has shown us His love for humanity. 'God is love' and pursues the happiness of His creation, of all His children. The pastoral constitution 'Gaudium et spes' asks key questions on human existence, the meaning of life and death, evil, disease and suffering, all present in our world. It recalls that, in His paternal goodness, God brings answers to all these questions and that Christ founded His Church in order to bring those answers to all mankind. This is the reason why one of the gravest problems of our time is the ignorance of religion on the part of many men and women, also among the Catholic faithful".
"This is why the new evangelisation, in which the Church is resolutely engaged, … assumes such importance", the Pope continued. "One of the most formidable obstacles to our pastoral mission is ignorance of the content of faith. Indeed, this is a dual form of ignorance: the ignorance of Jesus Christ as a person and ignorance of the sublime nature of His teachings, of their universal and permanent value in the search for the meaning of life and happiness. In the new generations this ignorance produces an inability to understand history or to recognise themselves as heirs to this tradition, which has shaped European life, society, art and culture".
"The new evangelisation will be effective if it engages deeply with communities and parishes. The signs of vitality and involvement of the laity in French society are already encouraging. … The laity are the face of the world within the Church, and at the same time the face the Church presents to the world". Benedict XVI emphasised, however, that the Church in Europe and in France can no longer remain indifferent to the diminution of vocations and priestly ordinations. ... All available energy must be urgently mobilised so as to bring the voice of the Lord to the young. God calls when and to whom He wishes. Without doubt, Christian families and communities offer particularly fertile ground".
"The young are the hope and future of the Church and the world", continued the Holy Father, emphasising "the importance of Catholic education". "Catholic institutes clearly play a primary role in the great dialogue between faith and culture. The love of truth that shines in them is in itself a great evangeliser. Places of learning and dialogue, as well as centres of research, must be further developed and more ambitious in scope". The Pope praised the initiatives of some French dioceses to encourage greater knowledge of theology among young people who study other disciplines. "Theology is a source of wisdom, joy and wonder that should not be reserved only to seminarians, priests and consecrated persons", he added.
Benedict XVI concluded by mentioning Catholic schools, which "have shaped the Christian and cultural life" of France, and which bear 'historical responsibility'. "A way must be found to place faith at the centre of their educational mission … Education in Christian values provides the key to the culture of your nation. By opening young people to hope and true freedom, such education will continue to be a source of dynamism and creativity. The ardour of the new evangelisation will be our greatest contribution to the flowering of human society and the best answer to the varied challenges we face at the beginning of the third millennium".
|CATHOLICS AND ORTHODOX MUST NOT LOSE THEIR RICH HARVEST THROUGH WEAKNESS AND DIVISION |
Vatican City, 30 November 2012 (VIS) - Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, is leading a delegation sent by the Holy See to Istanbul to participate in celebrations marking the Feast of St. Andrew, patron of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Holy See and the Patriarchate exchange regular annual visits for the feast days of their respective patrons.
The Holy See delegation to this year's celebration is made up of Cardinal Koch; Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Fr. Andrea Palmieri, an official of the same dicastery, and Archbishop Antonio Lucibello, apostolic nuncio to Turkey. The group attended a divine liturgy celebrated by Bartholomew I in the patriarchal church of Fanar, then met with the Patriarch and the synodal commission which oversees relations with the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Koch gave Bartholomew I a gift and a message from the Holy Father which was read out at the end of the divine liturgy. He then met with representatives of the local Catholic community and the ecumenical council of the apostolic vicariate of the Catholic Church in Istanbul.
In his message, the Pope explains that this annual exchange of delegations "is testimony to the fraternal bonds which join us together. It is a profound and genuine communion, if still imperfect, which is based not on human motives of courtesy or convenience but rather on our common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. … This solid foundation allows us to proceed together confidently on the path to the re-establishment of full communion".
"In our times, the most urgent challenge, about which we have always been in perfect agreement, … is how we must connect the proclamation of God's merciful love for contemporary man, so often distracted and incapable of reflection on the meaning of his own existence, and as such often misled by plans and utopias that can lead only to disillusionment. The Church has only one message, 'God's Gospel', and no method other than its apostolic proclamation, supported and guaranteed by the testimony and sanctity of the life of priests and the people of God. The Lord Jesus told us that 'the harvest is rich', and we must not accept that it may be lost as a result of our weaknesses and divisions", concluded the Holy Father.
|HOLY SEE'S SATISFACTION AT THE UN RESOLUTION ON PALESTINE |
Vatican City, 30 November 2012 (VIS) - Given below is the Holy See's declaration on the majority approval by the General Assembly of the United Nations to the Resolution by which Palestine has become a Non-member Observer State of the UN Organisation.
"The Holy See has followed actively the steps which have led to this important decision, while striving to remain neutral between the Parties, and to act in accordance with its particular religious nature and universal mission, and in consideration also of its specific attention to the ethical dimension of international problems.
"The Holy See considers, moreover, that today’s vote should be placed within the context of the efforts of giving a definitive solution, with the support of the international community, to the question already dealt with by Resolution 181 of the General Assembly of the United Nations of 29 November 1947. That document is the juridical basis for the existence of two States, one of which has not been constituted in the successive sixty-five years, while the other has already seen the light.
"On 15 May 2009, while departing from 'Ben Gurion' International Airport, Tel Aviv, at the conclusion of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Pope Benedict XVI expressed the following: No more bloodshed! No more fighting! No more terrorism! No more war! Instead let us break the vicious circle of violence. Let there be lasting peace based on justice, let there be genuine reconciliation and healing. Let it be universally recognized that the State of Israel has the right to exist, and to enjoy peace and security within internationally agreed borders. Let it be likewise acknowledged that the Palestinian people have a right to a sovereign independent homeland, to live with dignity and to travel freely. Let the two-state solution become a reality, not remain a dream.
"In the wake of that appeal, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, speaking before the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2011, expressed the hope that the competent Bodies of the United Nations would adopt a decision which would help give concrete implementation to that goal.
"Today’s vote manifests the sentiment of the majority of the international community and recognises a more significant presence to Palestinians within the United Nations. At the same time, it is the conviction of the Holy See that this result does not constitute, per se, a sufficient solution to the existing problems in the Region: which, in fact, can only find an adequate response through the effective commitment to building peace and stability, in justice and in the respect for legitimate aspirations, both of the Israelis and of the Palestinians.
"Therefore, the Holy See, at various times, has invited the leaders of the two Peoples to restart the negotiations in good faith and to avoid actions, or the placing of conditions, which would contradict the declarations of goodwill and the sincere search for solutions which could become secure foundations for a lasting peace. Moreover, the Holy See has made a pressing appeal to the International Community to increase its commitment and to encourage its creativity, through the adoption of suitable initiatives which may help to achieve a lasting peace, that respects the rights of Israelis and of Palestinians. Peace needs courageous decisions!
"Considering the outcome of today’s vote of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and to encourage the International Community, and in particular the Parties directly concerned, towards concrete action in view of the aforementioned objectives – the Holy See welcomes with favour the decision of the General Assembly by which Palestine has become a non-member Observer State of the United Nations. It is a propitious occasion to recall also the common position that the Holy See and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation expressed in the Basic Agreement of 15 February 2000, intended to support the recognition of a internationally guaranteed special statute for the City of Jerusalem, and aimed, in particular, to safeguarding the freedom of religion and of conscience, the identity and sacred character of Jerusalem as a Holy City, respect for and freedom of access to its Holy Places".
|MEETING OF THE SECRETARIAT GENERAL OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS |
Vatican City, (VIS) - The twenty-third Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme of "The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith" was held from 7 to 28 October. Continuing the theme of the Synod, the topic of new evangelisation for the transmission of Christian faith inspired the work of the second meeting of the twenty-third Ordinary Council of the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops, which took place on 26 November 2012.
At the beginning of the session, the general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, spoke about Jesus' missionary mandate: "Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Gospel to all creation". This, he said, was "the origin of the proclamation of the Gospel, and retains its validity for the evangelising work of the Church in all times".
"Following the day's agenda, the general secretary gave a full and detailed analysis of the themes which emerged from the Propositions of the recent twenty-third Synodal Assembly. This analysis was followed by a discussion which gave rise to suggestions to present to the Pope in view of the Post-Synodal Exhortation".
"The missionary mandate which the Lord entrusted to the Apostles is now that of the Church in the new evangelisation, which she addresses to the entire human race, involved in a constant process of transformation which takes place in a context of globalisation and a cultural and moral climate of secularisation and agnosticism. This situation presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the proclamation of the Gospel.
"The Church carries out this work of proclaiming anew the Gospel through priests and lay faithful. And the Gospel she proclaims involves all humankind and is destined for every person: the baptised, believers who have drifted away from the faith of the Church, non-believers, the indifferent, believers of other Christian confessions, and believers of other religions, in accordance with the mandate of the Risen Lord".
The next meeting will take place on 23 and 24 January 2013.
|BENEDICT XVI'S PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR DECEMBER |
Vatican City, 30 November 2012 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for December is: "That migrants throughout the world may be welcomed with generosity and authentic love, especially by Christian communities".
His mission intention is: "That Christ may reveal Himself to all humanity with the light that shines forth from Bethlehem and is reflected in the face of His Church".
Vatican City, 30 November 2012 (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in audience Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
|OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS |
Vatican City, 30 November 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto of Jullundur, India, as archbishop of Delhi (area 15,420, population 19,633,000, Catholics 110,300, priests 262, religious 1,154), India. He succeeds Archbishop Vincent Michael Concessao, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Bishop Binay Kandulna, auxiliary of Ranchi and apostolic administrator of the diocese of Khunti, as bishop of Khunti (area 3,765, population 911,000, Catholics 90,672, priests 75, religious 196).
- Appointed Fr. Angel Francisco Caraballo Fermin of the clergy of the diocese of Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela, pastor of the Parish of "Santisimos Pedro y Pablo" at Puerto Ordaz, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Maracaibo (area 11,365, population 2,259,000, Catholics 2,096,000, priests 135, permanent deacons 16, religious 303), Venezuela. The bishop-elect was born in Puerto Ordaz in 1965 and ordained a priest in 1991. He studied in Spain and in Rome and, among other things, has served as professor of Canon Law at the major seminary of "El Buen Pastor" in Ciudad Bolivar, and as vicar general and judicial vicar of his diocese.