1CONCERT FOR SIXTH ANNIVERSARY OF PONTIFICATEVATICAN CITY, 6 MAY 2011 (VIS REPORT) - Yesterday afternoon in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope attended a concert offered in his honor by the president of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of his pontificate. (RADIO VATICANA IMAGE)
The orchestra and choir of the Opera Theatre of Rome, respectively conducted by Maestro Jesus Lopez Cobos and Maestro Roberto Gabbiani, performed Antonio Vivaldi's "Credo RV 591" and Gioachino Rossini's "Stabat Mater".
Once finished, the Pope thanked President Napolitano for his "exquisite courtesy" that "again this year wished to give us a moment of musical elevation for the anniversary of the beginning of my pontificate".
Benedict XVI specifically thanked the directors, the soloists, the Orchestra and the Choir for their "splendid execution of the two works of art" by Vivaldi and Rossini, "two great musicians of whom Italy - which celebrates 150 years of political unification - should feel proud".
"'I Believe' and 'Amen'", he said, "are the words that begin and end the 'Credo'. ... What does 'I believe' mean?", he asked. Credo "is a word that takes on a much deeper meaning. It confidently affirms the true meaning of the reality that sustains us, that sustains the world. It means embracing this meaning as the solid ground upon which we can stand without fear. It means knowing that the fundament of everything, of our very selves, cannot be made by us but can only be received. And Christian faith doesn't say 'I believe is something' but rather 'I believe in Someone', in God who has revealed himself in Jesus; in Him I perceive the true meaning of the world and this belief implies the entire person who is on a journey toward Him".
The Holy Father noted that the word "'Amen', which in Hebrew has the same root as the word for 'faith', captures the same concept: confidently placing oneself on a firm foundation, on God".
Commenting on Rossini's "Stabat Mater", the Pope recalled that "it is a great meditation on the mystery of the death of Jesus and the profound sorrow of Mary. ... Rossini's piety expresses a rich range of feelings in the face of the mysteries of Christ with a very strong emotional tension".
Benedict XVI ended by expressing the desire that the interpretations of Vivaldi and Rossini "nourish our faith" and asking that his "ministry in the vineyard of the Lord" be kept in everyone's prayers.
SWISS GUARDS: WITNESS TO FAITH THROUGH COHERENT CONDUCT
VATICAN CITY, 6 MAY 2011 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father met with the thirty-four recruits of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, accompanied by their parents, who will be sworn in during a ceremony to take place this afternoon.
Referring to the "infamous Sack of Rome, during which the Swiss Guards valiantly defended the Pope, even giving their lives for him", the pope said that "the memory of that earthly pillage makes us reflect that there exists the threat of an even more dangerous pillage, one that can be called a spiritual attack. In today's social context, many youth run the risk of falling into an progressive impoverishment of the soul because they are chasing after the ideals and perspectives of a superficial life that only seeks to fulfill material needs and demands".
"Act so that your time in Rome", he continued, "be a propitious time for you to make the most of the innumerable possibilities that this city offers in order to give an ever more solid and profound meaning to your lives. ... Take advantage of the opportunities offered you to widen your cultural, linguistic, and above all spiritual horizons. The time that you will spend in the 'Eternal City' will be an exceptional moment in your lives. Live it with a spirit of sincere fraternity, mutually helping one another to live an exemplary Christian life that corresponds to your faith and your unique mission in the Church".
Benedict XVI noted that this encounter offered him the "possibility to show the new recruits my profound gratitude for your decision to be, for a period of time, at the disposition of Peter's Successor and to thus contribute to guaranteeing the necessary order and security within Vatican City".
"May your meaningful presence at the heart of Christianity, where crowds of faithful are constantly arriving to meet Peter's Successor and to visit the tombs of the Apostles", he concluded, "arouse more and more in each of you, the purpose of intensifying the spiritual dimension of your lives, as well as the intention of deepening your Christian faith, joyfully bearing witness to it by the coherent conduct of your lives".
CHURCH'S LITURGY GOES BEYOND CONCILIAR REFORM
VATICAN CITY, 6 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received participants in the Ninth International Congress on the Liturgy sponsored by the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Rome's St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum, on the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation.
The Pope recalled that "Blessed John XXIII, recognizing the requests of the liturgical movement that sought to give new impetus and a new spirit to the Church's prayer, shortly before Vatican Council II and during its celebration, asked the faculty of Benedictines on the Aventine Hill to establish a center for study and research to ensure a solid basis for conciliar liturgical reform".
Referring to the title chosen for the congress: "The Pontifical Liturgical Institute: Between Memory and Prophecy", the Pope said that the "'memory' pertains to the very life of the Institute that has offered its contribution to the Church dedicated to the reception of the Second Vatican Council over fifty years of academic liturgical formation".
Benedict XVI highlighted that, "with the term 'prophecy', our gaze opens to new horizons. The Liturgy of the Church goes beyond the 'conciliar reform', the objective of which in fact was not mainly to change the rites and texts but rather to renew the mentality and to put the celebration of Christ's paschal mystery at the center of Christian life and pastoral work. Unfortunately the liturgy has perhaps been seen - even by us, pastors and experts - more as an object to reform than a subject capable of renewing Christian life, seeing that "a very close and organic bond exists between the renewal of the liturgy and the renewal of the whole life of the Church".
"The liturgy, ... lives a proper and constant relationship between sound 'traditio' and legitimate 'progressio', clearly seen by the conciliar constitution Sancrosanctum Concilium at paragraph 23. ... Not infrequently are tradition and progress in awkward opposition. Actually though, the two concepts are interwoven: tradition is a living reality that, in itself, includes the principle of development, of progress".
The Holy Father concluded, expressing the wish that the "Faculty of Sacred Liturgy continue its service to the Church with renewed enthusiasm, in full fidelity to the rich and valuable liturgical tradition and to the reform desired by Vatican Council II, in accordance with the magisterial directives of the Sancrosanctum Concilium and the pronouncements of the Magisterium".
VATICAN CITY, 6 MAY 2011 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops, in a private audience.
New York, May 5, 2011 (C-FAM REPORT) - Last week, Hungarian President Pal Schmitt signed a controversial new constitution into law that includes a provision for the protection of unborn life “from conception” and the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.
While the new constitution easily passed in the Hungarian Parliament by the governing majority, it was without any participation from the smaller opposition party who walked out before the vote. The Council of Europe, UN staff and non-governmental organizations are also questioning the legitimacy of the new Constitution as controversy continues to rage over both the content and the process by which the Constitution was passed.
Abortion rights groups have targeted Article 2, which states, “The life of a fetus will be protected from conception.” The pro-abortion law firm Center for Reproductive Rights, along with Amnesty International, has campaigned against the provision, saying it will lead to restricted access to abortion either by legislative reform or constitutional challenge.
Amnesty International and a number of homosexual rights groups have criticized the constitution’s exclusion of sexual orientation from the protected grounds of discrimination and the clause protecting the traditional definition of marriage because it could serve as the basis of a ban on “same-sex marriages,” which they argue violates European anti-discrimination standards.
Beyond the social issues, critics bemoan what they call a lack of transparency and the short time frame of nine days in which the Constitution was passed in Parliament.
The Council of Europe has tasked constitutional experts with reviewing the new law. Experts of the Venice Commission, an independent advisory body, are set to travel to Budapest this month and report back to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to address the concerns surrounding the drafting process.
C-Fam’s Friday Fax first reported on the Venice Commission in 2008. The Commission featured prominently in the Kosovo constitutional process, pushing a draft constitution that removed protection for unborn life by only providing protection “from birth,” included non-discrimination status on the basis of “sexual orientation,” and removed references to men and women in its marriage article. Kosovo’s parliament ultimately adopted the controversial draft constitution, but removed “from birth” from its right to life article.
Roger Kiska of the European Center for Law and Justice said he was “overjoyed” by the new Hungarian constitution, calling it a victory for democracy, for life and the family, and for Hungary. Kiska said he found “shameful” the attempts by the European institutions to undermine the Hungarian government, a government overwhelmingly approved by popular electoral vote. “I hope that Hungary stays strong in its convictions because what is at stake, life and the family, are too high a price to pay simply to appease the bureaucrats in Brussels.”
The Hungarian government has maintained that the law is fully in line with the European Union’s fundamental charter of human rights and argued that the reform was necessary to replace the outmoded ‘Stalinist’ document dating from 1949. The new constitution comes into force on January 1, 2012.
About 40 members of the Young Family of St. Bosco in Tianshui diocese made a three-day pilgrimage in the beginning of the Marian month, during which they celebrated the beatification of late Pope John Paul II.
The pilgrimage was led by Father John Baptist Wang, the diocesan administrator, who is not affiliated with the “open” Church structure.
The youth group stopped at several parishes and the religious sister’s convent of Fengxiang diocese in neighboring Shaanxi province. They presented bookmarks specially made to commemorate Pope John Paul II’s beatification to the Catholics they met on their trip.
They also spent one evening for sharing session with the lay leaders and priests of Fengxiang on the late pope.
Before they arrived at their last leg at the Shizishan (Hill of the Cross) pilgrimage site in Meixian county, the young people also visited Bishop Luke Li Jingfeng of Fengxiang, a former “underground” prelate who can now work publicly.
Bishop Li encouraged them to help build the Church community, citing Pope John Paul’s words that young people are the future and hope of the Church.
He also answered questions they raised concerning about the Church in China.
At the pilgrimage site, the Catholic youth wearing the same uniform first prayed the Rosary together.
They made meditation along the Way of the Cross while Father Wen gave brief homilies at each station with themes related to the young people nowadays.
The Way of the Cross that leads up to the hilltop took them two and a half hours to complete. When they reached their destination, six priests who accompanied their trip concelebrated a Mass to end the pilgrimage.
The Young Family of St. Bosco was formed in 2010 after a summer camp for more than 80 university students.
It aims to connect young people of Tianshui to provide them pastoral care through activities and different Internet platforms since some of them are working or studying outside the backward northwestern Gansu province.
Sister Rosa says: "In four weeks of fighting, from late March to the death of Coulibaly, I was alone in the dispensary. I treated the wounded in the fighting, you cannot imagine the amount of bullets I removed and how many people I stitched up ! "
"But were you not afraid of the guerrillas? we ask Sister Rosaria. "I was not afraid of them because they could not do anything to me - the nun responds -. I told them: if you kill me, I will gain, because I go to Heaven. So you had better respect me”.
The nun is however used to situations of crisis: "I have been working for 40 years in hospitals, including 35 on a mission. I was in Guatemala in 1973 at the time of the guerrillas and then I was in Libya at Benghazi and Tobruk, where I worked with the current Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, Bishop Giovanni Martinelli. In particular Mgr. Martinelli supported me in my battle for the recognition of my diploma of nursing nuns by the Lybyan State. "
Sister Rosaria describes the health status of Abobo: "Every day we have more than 100 patients. We work from morning to night. The health situation is serious because people do not have money to buy medicine and pay for clinical analysis. Pregnant women are especially those most at risk, as well as children. You see children dying of malaria, a situation that was more rare before the war, especially in Abidjan. It is true that the Ivorian crisis has lasted since 2000 and since that time, there have been areas of the Ivory Coast exposed to suffering. Before working in Abobo, I was in a town in the north, on the border with Mali and Burkina Faso, and there we did not have anything to eat. "
"The crisis seems over, but the poor have remained poor - Sister Rosaria concludes -. In the hospital where I work they continue to go ahead with the supply of medicines that I had set aside. The state has promised to send other medicines that may come next Monday. In the meantime, we must move forward with our small supply of medicines. Most of the patients suffer from malaria and anemia, as well as malnutrition. "
Feast: May 6
Venerable Bede assures us, that this holy man excelled both in the knowledge of the holy scriptures, and in the observance of the divine precepts. All his lifetime he was remarkable for his alms-deeds, and it was a law with him to lay aside yearly the tenth part of his goods for the poor. He was ordained successor to St. Cuthbert, in the see of Lindisfarne, in 687, and most worthily governed that church eleven years. It was his custom twice a year, in Lent, and during forty days before Christmas, to retire into a solitary place, encompassed by the waters of the sea, where St. Cuthbert had for some time served God in private before he went to the isle of Ferne. St. Eadbert spent this time remote from all company, in abstinence, prayers, and tears. St. Cuthbert had been buried about eleven years, when the brethren desired, with the approbation of Eadbert, to take up the bones of that eminent servant of God, whose life had been signalized by many illustrious miracles. Instead of dust, to which they expected they were reduced to their great surprise they found the body as entire, and the joints all as pliable as if it had been living—all the vestments and clothes in which it was laid were also sound, and wonderfully fresh and bright. The monks made haste to inform the holy bishop, who was then in his Lent retreat, and they brought him part of the garments which covered the holy body. These he devoutly kissed, and ordered that the blessed body should be laid in other garments, put into the new coffin which was made for the holy relics, and, for greater veneration, placed above the pavement in the sanctuary. He added, that the grave which had been sanctified by so great a miracle of heavenly grace, would not remain long empty. This was accordingly done, and presently after Eadbert, the bishop beloved of God, fell dangerously sick, and his distemper daily increasing, on the 6th of May following he departed to our Lord. His body was laid in St. Cuthbert's grave, and over the place was deposited the uncorrupted body of that glorious servant of God. "Miracles here wrought from time to time, in curing the sick, bear testimony to the merits of them both," says Bede. The same historian informs us, that St. Eadbert covered with lead the church of Lindisfarne, which was dedicated by the archbishop Theodorus, under the patronage of St. Peter. It had been formerly built by bishop Finan, after the Scottish fashion, of oak boards and thatched with reeds.