December 21, 2009

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

The following, in it's entirety, is a copyrighted transcript of the Vatican Information Service.

SUMMARY: 19 - 21 DECEMBER


DECREES OF THE CONGREGATION FOR THE CAUSES OF SAINTS

VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorised the promulgation of decrees concerning the following causes:

MIRACLES

 - Blessed Stanislao Soltys, called Kazimierczyk, Polish professed religious of the Order of Canons Regular Lateranense (1433-1489).

 - Blessed Andre Bessette (ne Alfred), Canadian professed religious of the Congregation of the Holy Cross (1845-1937).

 - Blessed Mary of the Cross MacKillop (nee Mary Helen), Australian foundress of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart (1842-1909).

 - Blessed Giulia Salzano, Italian foundress of the Congregation of Sisters Catechists of the Sacred Heart (1846-1929).

 - Blessed Battista da Varano (nee Camilla), professed nun of the Order of Poor Clares and foundress of the monastery of St. Clare in the Italian town of Camerino (1458-1524).

 - Venerable Servant of God Giuseppe Tous y Soler, Spanish professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins and founder of the Capuchin sisters of the Mother of the Divine Shepherd (1811-1871).

 - Venerable Servant of God Leopoldo Sanchez Marquez de Alpandeire (ne Francesco), Spanish professed layman of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins (1864-1956).

 - Venerable Servant of God Manuel Lozano Garrido, Spanish lay person, (1920-1971).

 - Venerable Servant of God Teresa Manganiello, Italian laywoman of the Third Order of St. Francis (1849-1876).

 - Venerable Servant of God Chiara Badano, young Italian lay woman (1971-1990).

MARTYRDOM

 - Servant of God Jerzy Popieluszko, Polish diocesan priest (1947-1984).

HEROIC VIRTUES

 - Blessed Giacomo Illirico da Bitetto, professed layman of the Order of Friars Minor (circa 1400-1496).

 - Servant of God Pope Pius XII (ne Eugenio Pacelli), Supreme Pontiff, born in Rome 2 March 1976, died at Castelgandolfo 9 October 1958.

 - Servant of God Pope John Paul II (ne Karol Wojtyla), Supreme Pontiff, born at Wadowice, Poland 18 May 1920, died in Rome 2 April 2005.

 - Servant of God Louis Brisson, French priest and founder of the Oblates of St. Francis of Sales (1817-1908).

 - Servant of God Giuseppe Quadrio, Italian professed priest of the Salesian Society of St. John Bosco (1921-1963).

 - Servant of God Mary Ward (nee Joan), English foundress of the Institute of Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, today called the Congregation of Jesus (1585-1645).

 - Servant of God Antonia Maria Verna, Italian foundress of the Institute of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (1773-1838).

 - Servant of God Maria Chiara Serafina Farolfi (nee Francesca), Italian foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (1853-1917).

 - Servant of God Enrica Alfieri (nee Maria Angela), Italian professed nun of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of St. Jeanne-Antide Thouret (1891-1951).

 - Servant of God Giunio Tinarelli, Italian layman of the "Pia Unione Primaria Silenziosi Operai della Croce" (1912-1956).

 

SAINTS ARE PART OF THE PRESENT AND FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2009 (VIS) - At midday today the Pope received members, consultors, postulators and officials of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for the fortieth anniversary of that dicastery.

  Saints, said the Pope in his address, "are not representatives of the past; rather, they form part of the present and future of the Church and society. ... The lives of these extraordinary believers, who come from every region of the earth", are characterised by "their relationship with the Lord, ... and by an intense dialogue with Him". The lives of the saints likewise reveal "a continuous search for evangelical perfection, the rejection of mediocrity and a tendency towards total adherence to Christ".

  "The principal stages in the Church's recognition of sanctity - beatification and canonisation - are united by a coherent bond. ... The gradual approach to the 'fullness of light' emerges in a unique way in the passage" from one stage to the other, said the Pope.

  The passage from beatification to canonisation "involves events of great religious and cultural significance, in which invocation in the liturgy, popular devotion, imitation of virtues, historical and theological study, and attention to the 'signs from on high' come together and mutually enrich one another. ... The truth is that the witness of the saints highlights ever new aspects of the evangelical message, and makes them known".

  The Pope then reiterated some words pronounced in the opening address by Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, affirming that "in the process of recognising saintliness there emerges a spiritual and pastoral richness which involves the entire Christian community. Sanctity - in other words, the transfiguration of people and of human reality in the image of the risen Christ - represents the final goal in the plan of divine salvation".

 

CHILDREN OF CATHOLIC ACTION: IMITATE ZACCHAEUS

VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2009 (VIS) - Children from Italian Catholic Action were received this morning by Benedict XVI who, in his address to the group, compared them to the Gospel figure of Zacchaeus who climbed a tree in order to see Jesus.

  "You too", he told his audience, " are small like Zacchaeus" whom "the Lord, raising His eyes, saw amidst the throng. Jesus sees and hears you too, even though your are small, even though sometimes adults do not consider you as you would wish".

  "Imitate the example of Zacchaeus who immediately descended from the tree and welcomed Jesus into his house with great joy and feasting. Welcome Him into your lives every day, into your games and your work, into your prayers, when He asks your friendship and your generosity, when you are happy and when you are afraid. ... He always speaks to you of the 'greater love', capable of giving itself unlimitedly and of bringing peace and forgiveness".

  "Thus", the Holy Father concluded, "you will be able to tell your friends, parents and teachers that you have managed to establish a contact with Jesus", also as "you stand alongside the many boys and girls who are suffering, especially those from faraway countries who are often abandoned, without parents or friends".

 

DECLARATION ON THE PROTECTION OF THE FIGURE OF THE POPE

VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2009 (VIS) - This morning the Secretariat of State of the Holy See ordered the publication of the following declaration concerning the protection of the figure of the Pope:

  "Recent years have witnessed a great increase of affection and esteem for the person of the Holy Father. There has also been a desire to use the Pope's name in the title of universities, schools or cultural institutions, as well as associations, foundations and other groups.

  "In light of this fact, the Holy See hereby declares that it alone has the right to ensure the respect due to the Successors of Peter, and, therefore, to protect the figure and personal identity of the Pope from the unauthorised use of his name and/or the papal coat of arms for ends and activities which have little or nothing to do with the Catholic Church. Occasionally, in fact, attempts have been made to attribute credibility and authority to initiatives by using ecclesiastical or papal symbols and logos.

  "Consequently, the use of anything referring directly to the person or office of the Supreme Pontiff (his name, his picture or his coat of arms), and/or the use of the title 'Pontifical', must receive previous and express authorisation from the Holy See".

 

AUDIENCES

VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life and rector of the Pontifical Lateran University.

 - Gianni Letta, under secretary of the Italian council of ministers, accompanied by members of his family.

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

 

CHRISTMAS IS GOD'S RESPONSE TO THE DRAMA OF HUMANKIND

VATICAN CITY, 20 DEC 2009 (VIS) - Bethlehem, considered as a symbol of peace, was the theme of the Pope's reflections before praying the Angelus at midday today with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  The Pope began by referring to today's liturgy in which the prophet Micah invites people to look to "Bethlehem of Ephrathah, ... one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel". Bethlehem, the Pope explained, "is also the symbolic city of peace, in the Holy Land and throughout the world.

  "Unfortunately", he added, "in our own time it does not represent a firm and stable peace, but a peace still sought and awaited. Yet God never resigns Himself to this state of affairs and thus, this year too, in Bethlehem and throughout the world, the mystery of Christmas will be renewed in the Church, a prophecy of peace for all mankind which calls on Christians to enter into the closures and dramas of the world, often unknown and unseen, and into the conflicts of the contexts in which they live. There they must being the sentiments of Jesus so that everywhere they may become instruments and messengers of peace and bring love where there is hatred, forgiveness where there is injury, joy where there is sadness and truth where there is error, in the words of a famous Franciscan prayer".

  The Holy Father concluded by saying that "today, as in Jesus' own time, Christmas is not a children's fable but God's response to the drama of humankind as it seeks true peace. 'He shall be the one of peace' says the prophet referring to the Messiah. It is up to us to open wide the doors to welcome Him. ... Happy Christmas to everyone!"

 

POPE TO CURIA: 2009, A YEAR PASSED UNDER THE SIGN OF AFRICA

VATICAN CITY, 21 DEC 2009 (VIS) - Today in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father held his traditional meeting with the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and members of the Roman Curia and of the Governorate of Vatican City State, in order to exchange Christmas greetings.

  Opening his address, the Pope recalled two events that marked the year 2009 - the conclusion of the Pauline Year and the beginning of the Year for Priests - affirming that both St. Paul and the saintly "Cure of Ars" demonstrate "the broad scope of priestly ministry".

  "The year now drawing to a close passed largely under the sign of Africa", said the Holy Father. In this context he mentioned his apostolic trip to Cameroon and Angola where, "in the meeting with the Pope, the universal Church became manifest, a community that embraces the world and that is brought together by God through Christ, a community that is not founded on human interests but that arises from God's loving attention towards us".

  In Africa "the celebrations of the Eucharist were authentic feasts of faith" characterised by "a sense of holiness, by the presence of the mystery of the loving God moulding ... each individual gesture", said Benedict XVI. He also recalled his meeting with African bishops in Cameroon and the inauguration of the Synod for Africa with his consignment to them of the "Instrumentum laboris".

  His visit to Africa likewise "revealed the theological and pastoral force of pontifical primacy as a point of convergence for the unity of the Family of God". And, when the Synod itself was celebrated in Rome in October, "the importance of the collegiality - of the unity - of the bishops emerged even more powerfully", he said.

  "The Vatican Council II renewal of the liturgy took exemplary form" in the liturgies in Africa while, "in the communion of the Synod, we had a practical experience of the ecclesiology of the Council".

  Referring then to the theme of the 2009 Synod - "The Church in Africa at the service of reconciliation, justice and peace" - the Pope described it as "a theological and, above all, a pastoral theme of vital relevance. Yet", he said, "it could also be misunderstood as a political theme. The task of the bishops was to transform theology into pastoral activity; in other words, into a concrete pastoral ministry in which the great visions of Holy Scripture and Tradition are applied to the activities of bishops and priests in a specific time and place".

  The problem of "a positive secularism, correctly practised and interpreted", which was the focus of the African bishops' concerns, was "also a fundamental theme of my Encyclical 'Caritas in veritate'", published in June. That document "returned to and further developed the question concerning the theological role - and the concrete application - of Church social doctrine".

  On the subject of reconciliation, which "the Synod attempted to examine profoundly ... as a task facing the Church today", the Pope noted that "if man is not reconciled with God, he is also in disharmony with the creation. ... Another aspect of reconciliation is the capacity to recognise guilt and to ask forgiveness, of God and of neighbour", he said.

  "We must learn the ability to do penance, to allow ourselves to be transformed, to go out to meet others and to allow God to grant us the courage and strength for such renewal. In this world of ours today we must rediscover the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation". In this context, the Holy Father described the fact that people are confessing less than they used to as "a symptom of a loss of veracity towards ourselves and towards God; a loss that endangers our humanity and diminishes our capacity for peace".

  "If the power of reconciliation is not created in people's hearts, political commitment lacks the interior precondition necessary for peace. During the Synod, the pastors of the Church worked for this interior purification of man, which is the essential preliminarily requirement for creating justice and peace. But such interior purification and maturity ... cannot exist without God".

  The Holy Father then turned his attention to the pilgrimage he made in May to Jordan and the Holy Land. In this respect, he thanked the king of Jordan for "the exemplary manner in which he works for peaceful coexistence among Christians and Muslims, for respect towards the religion of others and for responsible collaboration before God".

  The Pope also thanked the Israeli government "for all it did to ensure my visit could take place peacefully and securely", and for having enabled him "to celebrate two great public liturgies: in Jerusalem and in Nazareth". He likewise expressed his thanks to the Palestinian Authority for its "great cordiality" and for having given him the opportunity to celebrate a "public liturgy in Bethlehem and to perceive the suffering and the hopes present in their territory".

  "The visit to Yad Vashem represented a disturbing encounter with human cruelty, with the hatred of a blind ideology which, with no justification, consigned millions of human beings to death and which, in the final analysis, also sought to drive God from the world: the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, and the God of Jesus Christ". Thus the museum is, "first and foremost, a commemorative monument against hatred, a heartfelt call to purification, forgiveness and love".

  The Holy Father also mentioned his September trip to the Czech Republic where, "I was always told, agnostics and atheists are in the majority and Christians now represent only a minority". In this context he noted how "people who describe themselves as agnostics or atheist must also be close to our hearts, as believers. When we speak of a new evangelisation these people may perhaps feel afraid. ... Yet the critical question about God also exists for them. ... We must take care that man does not shelve the question of God, the essential question of his existence".

  In closing his address, the Holy Father again mentioned the current Year for Priests. "As priests", he said, "we are here to serve everyone. ... We must recognise God ever and anew, and seek Him continually in order to become His true friends".

  "This is my hope for Christmas," he concluded, "that we become ever greater friends of Christ, and therefore friends of God, and that in this way we may become salt of the earth and light of the world".

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

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

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Monterrey, Mexico, presented by Bishop Jose Lizares Estrada, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Cincinnati, U.S.A., presented by Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr.

 - Appointed Msgr. Donald Bolen, vicar general of the archdiocese of Regina, Canada, as bishop of Saskatoon (area 44,800, population 292,000, Catholics 88,900, priests 88, permanent deacons 3, religious 225), Canada. The bishop-elect was born in Gravelbourg, Canada in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1991.

  On Saturday 19 December it was made public that he appointed Fr. Maurice Muhatia Makumba of the clergy of Kakamega, Kenya, rector and professor of the major national seminary of St. Thomas Aquinas in Nairobi, as bishop of Nakuru (area 18,149, population 1,571,097, Catholics 224,653, priests 134, religious 202), Kenya. The bishop-elect was born in Lirhanda, Kenya in 1968 and ordained a priest in 1994.

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