CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: SUN. FEB. 20, 2011: Headlines-
CHRISTIAN CHARITY MEANS RECONCILIATION OF ENEMIES
VATICAN CITY, 20 FEB 2011 (VIS REPORT) - In his remarks before praying the Angelus today with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope turned his attention to this Sunday's Bible readings which speak to us, he said, "of God's desire to bring mankind to share in His life: 'You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy' as it says in the Book of Leviticus. IMAGE : RADIO VATICANA
"With these words and the precepts that follow", the Holy Father added, "the Lord invites the people He chose to remain faithful to their covenant with Him by following His path, and He founds social legislation on the commandment: 'you shall love your neighbour as yourself'. If, then, we listen to Jesus, in Whom God took a mortal body in order to come close to all men and to reveal His infinite love for us, we rediscover this same call, this same bold objective".
The Pope continued: "Jesus Himself says: 'Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven'. Those who welcome the Lord into their own lives and love Him with all their hearts are able to make a new start. They manage to accomplish the will of God: that of creating a new form of existence, inspired by love and destined for eternity. ... If we are truly aware of this fact and our lives are profoundly moulded around it, then our witness becomes clear, eloquent and effective".
The Holy Father then went on to recall the fact that 22 February marks the Feast of the Cathedra of St. Peter, the "first of the Apostles", to whom "Christ entrusted the role of master and pastor for the spiritual guidance of the People of God, that they might be raised unto heaven. Thus", he said, "I exhort all pastors 'to assimilate that new style of life which was inaugurated by the Lord Jesus and taken up by the Apostles'".
In his greetings delivered in various languages after the Angelus prayer, the Pope emphasised the importance of reconciliation. "When we suffer because of evil, persecution or injustice, let us avoid retribution, revenge and hatred, and pray for our persecutors", he said. "'Overcome evil with good'. Let us entrust all these adversities to God in order to achieve freedom and spiritual peace".
Finally, speaking Spanish, the Holy Father reaffirmed that today's liturgy invites us "to the fullness of Christian life and perfection of charity by forgiving our enemies and praying for our persecutors, which is the source of lasting reconciliation".
PONTIFICAL FILIPINO COLLEGE MARKS ITS FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY
VATICAN CITY, 19 FEB 2011 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the rector, students and teachers of the Pontifical Filipino College, which this year is commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation by Blessed John XXIII.
Your "first and most important task", the Pope told them, speaking English, "remains to assist students in their formation in the sacred sciences. This the college has accomplished well". In this context he encouraged the students "to grow in faith, to strive for excellence in your studies, and to grasp every opportunity afforded you to attain spiritual and theological maturity, so that you will be equipped, trained, and stout-hearted for whatever awaits you in the future.
"As you know", he added, "a complete priestly formation includes not only the academic: over and above the intellectual component offered to them here, the students of the Filipino College are also formed spiritually through the Church of Rome's living history and the shining example of her martyrs, whose sacrifice configures them perfectly to the person of Jesus Christ Himself.
"I am confident that each of you will be inspired by their union with the mystery of Christ and embrace the Lord's call to holiness which demands from you as priests nothing less than the complete gift of your lives and labours to God. Doing so in the company of other young priests and seminarians gathered here from throughout the world, you will return home, like those before you, with a grateful and permanent sense of the Church of Rome's history, of her roots in the paschal mystery of Christ, and of her wonderful universality".
Pope Benedict then went on to encourage the priests "to consider the needs of those around them, including the members of the Filipino community living in Rome and its environs. In doing so, let the use of your time always strike a healthy balance between local pastoral concerns and the academic requirements of your stay here, to the benefit of all".
"I urge you all to return to the Philippines", he concluded, "with an unshakeable affection of your own for the Successor of Peter and with the desire to strengthen and maintain the communion which binds the Church in charity around him. In this way, having completed your studies, you will surely be a leaven of the Gospel in the life of your beloved nation".
VATICAN CITY, 19 FEB 2011 (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 2011 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 edition. In 2010, the Pope erected ten new episcopal sees, one apostolic exarchate and one apostolic vicariate. One diocese was elevated to the rank of metropolitan see, two prelatures to the rank of diocese, and two apostolic prefectures and one apostolic administration to the rank of apostolic vicariates.
The number of Catholics in the world increased from around 1,166 million in 2008 to 1,181 million in 2009, an increase of fifteen million faithful which corresponds to a growth of 1.3 percent.
The distribution of Catholics between the continents is notably different from that of the general population. Between 2008 and 2009 the Americas maintained their proportion of the global population fixed at 13.6 percent; by contrast, over that two-year period Catholics there reached 49.4 percent of the Catholic population of the world. Over the same period, Asia's Catholic population increased from 10.6 percent to 10.7 percent of the world total, considerably lower than the 60.7 percent of the global population living in that continent. Europe's share of the world population is three percentage points lower than that of the Americas, but its share of world Catholics is nearly half that of the Americas, at 24 percent. For States in both Africa and Oceania, their share of the world population differs little from their share of the world Catholic population (respectively, 15.2 percent and 0.8 percent).
The note also indicates that the number of bishops grew between 2008 and 2009 from 5,002 to 5,065. As for priests, both regular and diocesan, their numbers have increased over the last ten years from 405,178 in 2000 to 410,593 in 2009, although their distribution differs considerably from continent to continent. Numbers of diocesan clergy are falling in Europe and increasing in all the other continents, while numbers of religious clergy are in general decline, with the exception of Asia and Africa.
Numbers of permanent deacons have increased by 2.5 percent, from 37,203 in 2008 to 38,155 in 2009. Their presence grew more rapidly in Oceania (19 percent) and in Asia (16 percent), while in Europe and America the increase was of 2.3 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.
Among the pastoral workers who assist bishops and priests in their activities, female religious remain the largest group, although their numbers fell from 739,067 in 2008 to 729,371 in 2009. The crisis continues despite the fact that numbers have increased in Africa and Asia.
The number of candidates to the priesthood grew by 0.82 percent, from 117,024 in 2008 to 117,978 in 2009. Here too the different continents show a different evolution, for while in Africa and Asia numbers grew by 2.39 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively, in Europe and America they fell by 1.64 percent and 0.17 percent.
VATICAN CITY, 19 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Six prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on their "ad limina" visit:
- Msgr. Claro M. Caluya, diocesan administrator of Masbate.
- Bishop Arturo M. Bastes S.V.D. of Sorsogon.
- Bishop Manolo A. de los Santos of Virac.
- Bishop Pedro D. Arigo, apostolic vicar of Puerto Princesa.
- Bishop Edgardo S. Juanich, apostolic vicar of Taytay.
- Bishop Leopoldo S. Tumulak, military ordinary.
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
VATICAN CITY, 19 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
- Msgr. Miguel Angel D'Annibale, vicar general of the diocese of San Isidro, as auxiliary of Rio Gallegos (area 265,614, population 300,000, Catholics 210,000, priests 55, permanent deacons 9, religious 94), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1985.
- Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, apostolic nuncio to Ukraine, as apostolic nuncio to the Russian Federation.
- Fr. Juan Nsue Edjang Maye, pastor of the parishes of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and of Our Lady of Help on the Island of Bioko, Equatorial Guinea, as bishop of Ebebiyin (area 12,000, population 204,000, Catholics 164,000, priests 33, religious 89), Equatorial Guinea. The bishop-elect was born in Mikomeseng-Kie Ntem, Equatorial Guinea in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1995.