February 22, 2010

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY: 20 - 22 FEBRUARY


PRESENTATION OF PONTIFICAL YEARBOOK 2010

VATICAN CITY, 20 FEB 2010 (VIS) - This morning, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Archbishop Fernando Filoni, substitute for General Affairs, presented the Holy Father with the 2010 edition of the "Annuario Pontificio" or pontifical yearbook. Also present were the officials responsible for compiling and printing the volume.

  A note concerning the presentation highlights some of the facts contained in the new volume. In 2009, the Pope erected eight new episcopal sees and one territorial prelature. Furthermore, a territorial prelature was elevated to the rank of diocese, and three prefectures to that of apostolic vicariate. A total of 169 new bishops were appointed.

  The number of Catholics in the world increased from around 1,147 million in 2007 to 1,166 million in 2007, an increase of nineteen million faithful which corresponds to a growth of 1.7 percent.

  The note also indicates that the number of bishops grew between 2007 and 2008 from 4,946 to 5,002. As for priests, both regular and diocesan, their numbers have increased over the last nine years from 405,178 in 2000 to 409,166 in 2008, although their distribution differs considerably from continent to continent. While numbers of priestly vocations are growing in Africa, Asia and America, and remain stationary in Oceania, in Europe they have dropped from 51.5 percent to 47.1 percent of the total.

  Among the pastoral workers who assist bishops and priests in their activities, female religious constitute by far the largest group. In the year 2000 they numbered 801,185 but this figure fell to 739,067 in 2008. They are most heavily represented in Europe and America (respectively, 40.9 percent and 27.5 percent of the total), and the greatest losses were on those continents and in Oceania, while in Africa and Asia their numbers grow by 21.2 percent and 16.4 percent respectively. Although this helps to counterbalance the abovementioned losses it does not cancel them out, the notes says.

  The number of candidates to the priesthood has also grown slightly, from 115,919 in 2007 to 117,024 in 2008. Here too the different continents show a different evolution: Africa, Asia and Oceania grew by, respectively, 3.6 percent, 4.4 percent and 6.5 percent. Europe registered a fall of some 4.3 percent, while the situation in America remained unchanged.

 

LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER MEETS WITH POPE

VATICAN CITY, 20 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "Today in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Saad Hariri, prime minister of Lebanon. The prime minister 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 discussions, which took place in an atmosphere of great cordiality, attention turned to the situation in Lebanon with the hope being expressed that the country, through the exemplary coexistence of the various religious communities of which it is composed, may continue to be a 'message' for the region of the Middle East and for the whole world.

  "Having then highlighted the need to find a just and global solution to the conflicts affecting that region, reference was made to the importance of inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue for the promotion of peace and justice In this context, mention was also made of the forthcoming Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East.

  "Finally, recalling the importance of the presence and activities of Christians in the country, great appreciation was expressed for the contribution made by the Catholic Church for the benefit of all society, especially through her educational, healthcare and aid institutions".

 

HOLY FATHER MEETS ITALIAN CIVIL AVIATION ASSOCIATIONS

VATICAN CITY, 20 FEB 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received managers and staff of the Italian associations ENAC (National Company for Civil Aviation) and ENAV (National Company for Air Navigation Services).

  The Pope described the activities undertaken by those who work in the field of civil aviation as "truly remarkable", highlighting how "in any project or activity the primary asset to be protected and appreciated is the person in his entirety, who must represent the end and not the means towards which to strive incessantly".

  "Respecting such principles may seem particularly complex and difficult in current conditions, because of the economic crisis which provokes problematic effects in the civil aviation sector, and the threat of international terrorism which sets it sights on airports and aeroplanes in order to implement its subversive ends", said the Holy Father. "However, even in this situation it is important never to lose sight of the fact that respecting the primacy of the person and caring for his needs not only does not make service less effective or penalise economic management, but is an important guarantee of true efficiency and authentic quality".

  Benedict XVI noted how the Church "reserves a particular form of pastoral care for the world of civil aviation". Airport chapels and chaplains "are principally intended for aircrew and ground staff, for police, customs and security officers, and for medical and paramedical personnel, but also for all airport users.

  "This presence", he added, "reminds us that every person has a transcendent dimension, a spiritual dimension, and helps us to recognise ourselves as one family made up of people who are not simply near each other but who, relating to one another and to God, create a fraternal solidarity founded on justice and peace".

  The Pope concluded by recalling how in the year 1920, Benedict XV proclaimed Our Lady of Loreto as the patroness of aviators and entrusted to her the work and initiatives of everyone who works in this sector.

 

AUDIENCES

VATICAN CITY, 20 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, apostolic nuncio to Canada.

 - Frank E. de Coninck, ambassador of Belgium, accompanied by his wife, on a farewell visit.

 - Juan Gomez Martinez, ambassador of Colombia, accompanied by his wife, on a farewell visit.

 - Fr. Joaquin Alliende, international president of the "Aid to the Church in Need" association.

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

 

ANGELUS: LENT, A PERIOD OF SPIRITUAL "COMBAT"

VATICAN CITY, 21 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The significance of the Lenten journey was the theme of Benedict XVI's remarks before praying the Angelus this morning with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  The Pope commented on the story of the temptation of Jesus in the desert, which was the Gospel reading for today, the first Sunday of Lent, explaining that the temptations "were not a by-the-way incident, but the consequence of Jesus' decision to complete the mission entrusted to Him by the Father".

  "Christ came into the world to free us from sin and from the ambiguous lure of seeking to plan our lives without God. He did this not with high-sounding proclamations but by struggling personally with the Tempter, all the way to the Cross. This example holds true for us all: that the world is improved by beginning with ourselves, by changing, with God's grace, what is wrong with our lives".

  Of the three temptations of Jesus, the first "had its origin in hunger, in material want", said the Pope. "But Jesus responded with the words: 'One does not live by bread alone'". The second temptation came when the devil showed Christ all the kingdoms of the earth; this, the Holy Father explained, "is the lure of power which Jesus unmasked and rejected". To the third temptation, the proposal to perform a miracle that everyone might believe in Him, Jesus responded: "Do not put the Lord your God to the test.

  "Making constant reference to Holy Scripture", the Pope added, Jesus "made human criteria subject to the only true criterion: obedience to the will of God. This is a fundamental lesson for us too: if we carry the Word of God in our minds and hearts, if it enters our lives, then we too can reject all the tricks of the Tempter".

  "Lent is like a long 'retreat' during which we can turn back into ourselves and listen to the voice of God, in order to defeat the temptations of the Evil One. It is a period of spiritual 'combat' which we must experience alongside Jesus, not with pride and presumption, but using the arms of faith: prayer, listening to the word of God and penance. In this way we will be able to celebrate Easter in truth, ready to renew the promises of our Baptism".

  In closing his remarks the Holy Father invoked the help of the Virgin Mary "that we might live this period of grace joyfully and fruitfully. May she particularly intercede for me and my collaborators in the Roman Curia as we begin our spiritual exercises this evening", he concluded.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 22 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Msgr. Antonio Bartolacci, bureau chief of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, as head of the chancellery of the same tribunal.

 - Bishop Luis Antonio Sanchez Armijos S.D.B. of Tulcan, Ecuador, as bishop of Machala (area 5,819, population 542,000, Catholics 513,000, priests 39, permanent deacons 1, religious 92), Ecuador. He succeeds Bishop Nestor Rafael Herrera Heredia, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

  On Saturday 20 February it was made public that he:

 - Appointed Archbishop-elect Novatus Rugambwa, apostolic nuncio to Sao Tome and Principe, also as apostolic nuncio to Angola.

 - Appointed Bishop Francis Kallarakal of Kottapuram, India, as metropolitan archbishop of Verapoly (area 1,500, population 3,063,000, Catholics 310,500, priests 377, religious 1,569), India. The archbishop-elect was born in Kottapuram in 1941, he was ordained a priest in 1968 and consecrated a bishop in 1987.

 - Elevated the territorial prelature of Calama (area 43,000, population 157,500, Catholics 130,000, priests 15, permanent deacons 14, religious 43), Chile, to the rank of diocese, with the same territorial configuration as before, giving it the name of "San Juan Bautista de Calama" and making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Antofagasta. He appointed Bishop Guillermo Patricio Vera Soto, prelate of Calama, as first bishop of the new diocese.

 - Appointed Fr. Jorge Patricio Vega Velasco S.V.D., national director of Pontifical Missionary works in Chile, as bishop prelate of the territorial prelature of Illapel (area 10,350, population 85,400, Catholics 81,400, priests 19, religious 39), Chile. The bishop-elect was born in Santiago, Chile in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1984. He succeeds Bishop Victor De la Barra Tagle, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same territorial prelature the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Gerhard Ertl, professor of physical chemistry at the "Frtitz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft" in Berlin, Germany, as an ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

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