November 29, 2010

VATICAN CITY,  (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at midday Friday a press conference was held to present the “Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI”. The conference was presented by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the foundation’s academic committee; Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti, president of the foundation, and Fr. Stephan Otto Horn S.D.S, president of the “Ratzinger Schulerkreis” and of the “Joseph Ratzinger Papst Benedict XVI - Siftung”.

Msgr. Scotti explained how on 1 March this year the Holy Father had ordered the creation of a new foundation, with the name of “Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI”, in order “to respond to a desire expressed by many scholars over the course of the years”. As regards the financing of the new body, he explained, “a first ample contribution will come from the Pontiff himself, who has chosen to devolve a large part of the proceeds from his author rights”.

For his part Cardinal Ruini explained how, apart from himself, the academic committee will be composed of Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.; Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B. prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues O.P., secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer S.J., prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The committee will have three tasks, he said, “firstly, drawing up criteria and objectives for the annual and long-term programme of the foundation’s activities; secondly, establishing criteria of excellence for the creation and conferral of prizes to scholars who have distinguished themselves in academic publications and/or research; and finally, organising cultural and academic initiatives”.

“The theology of Joseph Ratzinger moves forward, looking to the present and the future on the basis of an extraordinary knowledge of the origins and history of the Christian faith. His capacity, what I would call his tastefulness, in keeping these two aspects united … likens Joseph Ratzinger to great teachers of other periods of Christian history. It is no coincidence that the foundation which bears his name will focus particular attention, on the one hand on biblical and patristic studies, and on the other on fundamental theology. The aim is to bring out the truth, significance and beauty of Christianity in its relationship with contemporary culture and society”.

Fr. Horn then spoke to explain that, even before Cardinal Ratzinger’s election to the papacy, his students had thought of creating a Joseph Ratzinger Foundation. “Not only did they feel profound gratitude towards their teacher”, he said, “but they were also deeply convinced of the importance of his theology for the Church. … In the meeting of the ‘Schulerkreis’ with the Holy Father at Castelgandolfo in 2007 we received his approval to create an autonomous foundation”.

This foundation, Fr. Horn went on, “has a clear direction and broad ranging projects. Its goal is to promote the study of Joseph Ratzinger’s theology and spirituality, propagating his ideas in the Church and society, and ensuring they are absorbed. Thus will his memory be conserved for the future”.

One of the foundation’s projects concerns the University of Regensburg “with the creation of chair for a visiting professor in the faculty of theology during the summer term”. In September this year a “Benediktakdemie” (Benedict Academy) for young students was held at Salzburg in Austria, while in Rome (in collaboration with the “Casa Balthasar”, an institution for discerning vocations in young Catholic men) there is a plan to crate a study centre for theology and spirituality. “And we have also”, Fr. Horn concluded, “collected the recollections of more than forty of Joseph Ratzinger’s former students in order to establish an archive”.


September 15, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 15 SEP 2010 (VIS) - A communique made public yesterday afternoon announced that, on the morning of 14 September, a ceremony took place in the Vatican to exchange the instruments of ratification of an Agreement between the Holy See and Bosnia Herzegovina concerning religious assistance to Catholic faithful who are members of that country’s armed forces. The Agreement itself was signed in Sarajevo on 8 April.

The ceremony was attended by, among others, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, and Sven Alkalaj, foreign minister of Bosnia Herzegovina.

The Agreement came into effect on the day the instruments of ratification were exchanged.


May 7, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 6 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received in audience His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, emir of Kuwait. Sheikh Sabah 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 cordial discussions”, reads a communique on the meeting, “attention turned to certain questions of mutual interest, with particular reference to the promotion of peace in the Middle East, and of inter-religious dialogue. The positive contribution that the significant Christian minority makes to Kuwaiti society was also highlighted, and consideration given to the particular needs of that minority”.


May 7, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 6 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique today:

“This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Doris Leuthard, president of the Swiss Confederation. The president 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.

“In the course of the cordial meeting, apart from mentioning the president’s participation later today in the swearing-in ceremony for new recruits to the Pontifical Swiss Guard, attention also turned to questions concerning social and economic life and the current international situation, with particular reference to inter-religious dialogue”.


March 27, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 26 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

“This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Alvaro Colom Caballeros, president of the Republic of Guatemala. The president 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 cordial discussions attention turned to the good relations that exist between Church and State, and to the specific contribution the Church makes to the country’s development. There followed an exchange of opinions on the international situation, with particular reference to the challenges of poverty, organised crime and emigration. The discussions also served to underline the importance of promoting human life from the moment of conception, and of the role played by education”.


March 18, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 17 MAR 2010 (VIS) - In a brief ceremony following today’s general audience, the Holy Father received the honorary citizenship of Romano Canavese, the hometown of Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. which the Pope visited last July during his holiday at the alpine resort of Les Combes.

“What characterises Romano Canavese more than anything else”, said Benedict XVI, “is its long history of faith, which begins with the blood of the martyrs (among them St. Solutor) and comes down to our own day. On this occasion, I renew my call to protect and cultivate the genuine values of your tradition and culture, which have their roots in the Gospel and, in particular, to bear witness … to your faith in the crucified and risen Lord, your attachment to the family and your spirit of solidarity”.

The Pope called on the representatives from Roman Canavese, and from the Italian region of Piedmont in which it is located, always “to trust in the assistance of God Who never abandons His children and Who, with loving concern, remains close to those who work for goodness, peace and justice”.


November 18, 2009

VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Made public yesterday was a letter from Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. to priests of the Catholic Church in the People’s Republic of China, for the occasion of the Year for Priests which was called to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, the saintly “Cure of Ars”.

“In the Letter that the Holy Father addressed to the bishops, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful in the People’s Republic of China on 27 May 2007, a number of guidelines are indicated for the future journey of the Church”, explains the cardinal in his letter which was published in Chinese, English and Italian. “Among those I wish to emphasise reconciliation within the Catholic community and a respectful and constructive dialogue with the civil authorities, without renouncing the principles of the Catholic faith. In this regard, despite the persisting difficulties, the information that has come from different parts of China points also to signs of hope”.

Cardinal Bertone also expresses the view that, “at a distance of only two years since the publication of the papal Letter, it does not seem that the time has come to make definitive evaluations. Using the words of the great missionary of China, Fr. Matteo Ricci, I believe we can say that it is still more a time of sowing than of reaping”.

“There are”, the secretary of State tells Chinese clergy, “various practical ways in which you can make your valuable contribution: for example, by visiting Catholic and non-Catholic families frequently; … increasing efforts to prepare and train good catechists; fostering greater use of charitable services directed especially to children and to sick and old people; … organising special gatherings where Catholics could invite their non-Catholic relatives and friends in order to become better acquainted with the Catholic Church and Christian faith; distributing Catholic literature to non- Catholics”.

“In this Year of the Priesthood, I wish to remind you of the source where you can find the strength to be faithful to your important mission, … the Eucharist. … A truly Eucharistic community cannot retreat into itself, as though it were self-sufficient, but must stay in communion with every other Catholic community”.

Addressing bishops, Cardinal Bertone says: “Your paternal solicitude will suggest to you, according to the possibilities and conditions of each diocese, suitable initiatives for promoting vocations to the priesthood, such as prayer days and meetings or the opening of places where priests and faithful, especially the young, can come to pray together under the guidance of expert and good priests acting as spiritual directors”.

“The Holy Father Benedict XVI realises that ‘in China too, as in the rest of the Church, the need for an adequate ongoing formation of the clergy is emerging. Hence the invitation, addressed to you bishops as leaders of ecclesial communities, to think especially of the young clergy who are increasingly subject to new pastoral challenges, linked to the demands of the task of evangelising a society as complex as that of present-day China’”.

“The saintly ‘Cure of Ars’ teaches us that the worship given to the Eucharist outside of Mass is of inestimable value in the life of every priest. This worship is closely joined to the celebration of the Eucharist”.

After then highlighting how, “if we are united in the Eucharistic Christ, all of the miseries of the world echo in our hearts to implore the mercy of God”, the cardinal secretary of State emphasises the need “to seek reconciliation with concrete gestures. … In order to obtain it, there is an urgent need to pay attention also to the human formation of all the faithful, priests and sisters included, because the lack of human maturity, self-control and inner harmony is the most frequent source of misunderstandings, lack of co-operation and conflicts within Catholic communities”.

Finally, Cardinal Bertone concludes by “entrusting to the Most Blessed Virgin the wish that your priestly life may be guided more and more by those ideals of the total giving of oneself to Christ and to the Church which inspired the thought and action of the saintly ‘Cure of Ars’”.


September 19, 2009

VATICAN CITY, 17 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

“This morning Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, met with Emil Boc, prime minister of Romania. The prime minister was received by the Holy Father Benedict XVI at the end of the general audience yesterday, 16 September.

“The cordial discussions enabled a fruitful exchange of opinions to take place concerning the current international situation, with particular focus on certain aspects of bilateral co-operation between the Holy See and Romania. Some important questions concerning relations between the Catholic Church and the Romanian State were also touched upon. In this context, the secretary of State expressed an interest in, among other things, the situation of St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Bucharest and of Catholic communities in Romania”.


July 17, 2009

VATICAN CITY, 16 JUL 2009 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. sent the following English-language telegram of condolence, in the Holy Father’s name, to Archbishop Jean-Paul Gobel, apostolic nuncio to Iran, for the 168 victims of yesterday’s plane crash in that country:

“Saddened by news of the great loss of life in the air tragedy over Jannatabad near Qazvin, the Holy Father offers heartfelt condolences to the civil authorities and the families of the victims. He prays for the eternal repose of the dead and implores the almighty and merciful God’s gifts of comfort and strength on those who mourn the loss of their loved ones”.


July 9, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY, 9 JUL 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

“Today, 9 July, the Holy Father received in audience Kevin Rudd, prime minister of Australia, who subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.

“During the cordial discussions mention was made of the Holy Father’s trip to Sydney in July 2008 for World Youth Day, recollecting the great spirit of collaboration between the ecclesiastical and civil authorities that characterised the organisation of that event. Attention also focused on the current international and regional situation, with reference to both respect for religious liberty and environmental problems”.

The Holy See Press Office also released another communique today, concerning the Pope’s subsequent meeting with Lee Myung-bak, president of the Republic of Korea:

“The cordial discussions”, the text reads, “provided an opportunity for an exchange of ideas on certain themes of common interest, among them the effects of the world economic crisis, especially on the poorest countries, and the political and social situation on the Korean peninsula.

“At a bilateral level, mention was made of the good relations that exist between the Republic of Korea and the Holy See, as well as of ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue, and of co-operation between Church and State in the educational and social fields”.

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