La Santa Sede Menu Ricerca
La Curia Romana Pontifici Consigli


NEWS  19/2009




The President to the readers

Dear friends,

One of the documents we are using in preparation for the Congress of Catholic Laity in Asia which is scheduled to take place in Seoul (Korea) from 31 August to 5 September 2010, and of which we give further information in this publication, is the encyclical letter of the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio. It is an important document addressed to the Church by the Pope in which he spoke of the urgent need to give new life and impetus to the mission. Although time has passed since then, it continues to call on the consciences of all the baptised, shaking us from the torpor of a tired Christianity that is discouraged, self­referential, quietly content with self­preservation, and comfortable (someone called it “ Christianity in slippers ”). It exhorts us to direct our gaze towards the fascinating horizons of Christ’s missionary mandate: “ Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation ” (Mk 16: 15). It is therefore worthwhile going back over its essential contents. This would be very appropriate in 2010, twenty years after its publication.

In our world today there is an increasing number of people who do not know Christ, both in the traditionally Christian countries and in the mission ad gentes countries largely in Africa and Asia. There is a growing need for missionary evangelisation that is “ the primary service which the Church can render to every individual and to all hu­manity in the modern world ” (no. 1). In this situation – in many ways dramatic – the Pope asked for a renewal of missionary awareness in all the people of God. He strongly reaffirmed that “ no believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples ” (no. 3), and that “ missionary activity is a matter for all Christians ”, in particular the lay faithful, because “ faith is strength­ened when it is given to others! ” (no. 2).

John Paul II warns against reductive tendencies that arise from relativistic and anthro-pocentric thought. These are extremely prevalent in our times, and they could slow down the missionary impetus of the Church. He asks some stimulating questions: “ Is mission­ary work among non­Christians still relevant? Has it not been replaced by inter­religious dialogue? Is not human development an adequate goal of the Church’s mission? Does not respect for conscience and for freedom exclude all efforts at conversion? Is it not possible to attain salvation in any religion? Why then should there be missionary activity? ” (no. 4). Over the past twenty years, similar objections, certainly obstructions to the mission, were spread to such a degree that it was necessary to have a clear position made by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by means of two major documents: the declaration Dominus Iesus that dealt with the unicity and salvific universality of Jesus Christ and the Church (2000), and the Doctrinal Note on some Aspects of Evangelisation (2007). In Redemptoris Missio, to the question “ why mission? ”, the Pope responded simply that “ Mission is an issue of faith, an accurate indicator of our faith in Christ and his love for us ” (no. 11). He reaffirmed that “ the Church is missionary by her very nature, for Christ’s mandate is not something contingent or external, but reaches the very heart of the Church ” (no. 62). This affirmation of the close link between missiology and ecclesi­ology gives the encyclical clear doctrinal content.

The point of departure and reason for the missionary work of the Church is that “ every person has the right to hear the ‘Good News’ of the God who reveals and gives himself in Christ, so that each one can live out in its fullness his or her proper calling ” (no. 46). This right is matched by the clear duty of the baptised to evangelise the world, according to the words of the apostle to the gentiles: “ For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! ” (1 Cor 9: 16). In every age, and our times more than ever, in order to take up the missionary challenge, the Church needs true witnesses of the Gospel. John Paul II quoted Paul VI when he said “ people today put more trust in witnesses than in teachers, in experience than in teaching, and in life and action than in theories ” (no. 42). The Pope reminded missionary witnesses that their duty is holiness. He said that “ the future of mission depends to a great extent on contemplation. Unless the missionary is a contemplative he cannot proclaim Christ in a credible way ” (no. 91). A missionary of Christ in the world is therefore a “ contemplative in action ”, aware that the principle agent of all ecclesial missionary work is the Holy Spirit (cf. no. 21), and love is its driving force (cf. no. 60): “ for the love of Christ impels us ” (2 Cor 5: 14).

Places for the Christian and missionary instruction of the baptised who live in the mission ad gentes countries, include the “ ecclesial base communities ” (no. 51). The Pope also pointed to the ecclesial movements which he defined as “ a true gift of God both for new evangelization and for missionary activity properly so­called ”, as long as they humbly join the life of the local Church and are cordially welcomed by the bishop and priests in diocesan and parochial structures (cf. no. 72).

The challenges the Church must face in our times in order to proclaim the Gospel are many and complex, and the Pope does not hide this fact. The message of Redemptoris Missio, however, is decisively positive and full of hope. In the encyclical letter, John Paul II, while pointing out the negative points that could lead to pessimism, en­courages us by speaking of the arrival of “ a great springtime for Christianity, and we can already see its first signs ” (no. 86). He also says: “ Today, as never before, the Church has the opportunity of bringing the Gospel, by witness and word, to all people and nations. I see the dawning of a new missionary age, which will become a radiant day bearing an abundant harvest, if all Christians, and missionaries and young churches in particular, respond with generosity and holiness to the calls and challenges of our time ” (no. 92). This is the hope that the Pontifical Council for the Laity wishes to share with the Church in Asia at the Congress of Catholic Laity that will take place in Korea. From there we shall relaunch the heartfelt call of the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II in Redemptoris Missio: “ Peoples everywhere, open the doors to Christ! His Gospel in no way detracts from man’s freedom, from the respect that is owed to every culture and to whatever is good in each religion. By accepting Christ, you open yourselves to the definitive Word of God, to the One in whom God has made himself fully known and has shown us the path to himself ” (no. 3).


Card. Stanisław Ryłko


Congress of Lay Catholics in Asia


One of the various tasks of the Pontifical Council for the Laity is to organise oc­casional congresses of delegations of the laity from countries in a particular region or continent, accompanied by their bishops, to dis­cuss and evaluate the situation of the Catholic laity in those areas. These congresses are won­derful opportunities to exchange ideas on life sit­uations and Christian experiences of the lay faithful, to go into questions in depth, and to evaluate challenges and priorities that are identified with regard to their vocation and mission in the Church and the world. They are also occa­sions to set out with new impetus in participating in the communion and mission of the Church in the various areas and different circumstances.

The next continental congress programmed by our dicastery will take place in Seoul, South Korea, from 31 August to 5 September 2010. This congress of Catholic laity in Asia will be di­rectly organised by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, in close collaboration with the Episcopal Commission for the Laity of the Korean Bishop­s’ Conference and the National Council of Laity in that country. The tentative programme of the congress has already aroused keen interest. We have received many signs of encouragement and suggestions from various sectors of the Church in Asia. Moreover, the congress will be a wonderful opportunity to consolidate and give new impetus to the Christian and missionary educa­tion of the lay faithful in Asia.

The idea of this congress is to be a sign of missionary concern for a continent rich in tradi­tions, cultures and religions, a continent that is clearly emerging on the global scene, both po­litically and economically, and that is undergoing huge transformations in every sphere. At the same time, this will be a sign of pastoral care towards the lay faithful who are called, in communion with their pastors, to witness to Je­sus Christ and proclaim his presence as a gift of salvation for Asia. “ Proclaiming Jesus Christ in Asia today ” is the theme chosen for the con­gress.

“ One solid cause of hope is the increasing number of better trained, enthusiastic and Spirit­filled lay people, who are more and more aware of their specific vocation within the ecclesial community ” (no. 9). It is these lay people that the congress addresses in particular. It is also taking into account that “ the apostolic and charismatic movements too are a gift of the Spirit, bringing new life and vigour to the for­mation of lay men and women, families and the young ”. It also calls all Christians who are “ devoted to the promotion of human dignity and justice ” and who “ make accessible and tangible the universality of the evangelical message of our adoption as children of God ” (ibid.). For these reasons, delegations of Catholic laity have been invited from all the member and associate countries of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), who will be led by their respective bishop presidents of the bishops’ conferences or episcopal commissions for the apostleship of the laity, together with some people in key posts in the FABC. Invitations were also sent to delegations from associations, eccle­sial movements and new communities that are recognised by the Holy See and are present in various countries in Asia.

Some texts from the Church’s magisterium will serve as points of reference and guides for the participants at the congress, particularly the apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Asia, but also the encyclical Redemptoris Missio and the apostolic exhortation Christifideles Laici. In addition, due consideration will be given to some documents of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, like the Declaration on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church – Dominus Iesus, and the Doctrinal Note on some Aspects of Evangelization. Finally, we shall take up the conclusions of the Asian Missionary Congress which took place in Thailand in October 2006 on the theme “ Telling the Story of Jesus in Asia – go and tell it to everyone ”.

The event programme will have two keynote lectures that will serve to give a general framework to the sessions: “ Two thousand years of the Church’s mission in Asia: currents of evangelisation, holiness and martyr­dom ” and “ Jesus Christ, a gift for Asia: demands, tasks and challenges of evangelisation today ”. After this substantial introduction to the sessions, the various national delegations will have ample time to give their presenta­tions concerning the life and mission of the Church in Asia, with all their numerous and different circumstances and milieus. The second day will be introduced by a keynote speech on “ The vocation and mission of the lay faithful in the light of the post­synodal apostolic exhortation Christifideles Laici”. This will be followed by time for questions and discussion, and then another talk: “ Christian instruction and missionary engagement of the laity in Asia ”. Then there will be panel discussions on the following topics: initiation and Christian instruction of the laity; participation of the laity in the life of the parish and small communities; the witness given by lay people in various sectors of society (work, education, media, politics); the engagement of the laity in the inculturation of the Gospel and in the dialogue between faith and culture; experiences of the laity in ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue; witnesses of Chris­tian charity and service to the poor; questions regarding religious freedom in the lives of Christians; the laity as builders of peace and justice.

During the course of the congress there will be ample space to concentrate on some areas and priorities of evangelisation in Asia (renewal of the parish, pastoral ministry and mission of the family, identity and mis­sion of Catholic schools, evangelisation and pastoral ministry of youth, the role of women in the Church and in society, participation of the laity in politics and in the workplace). Finally, the various ecclesial move­ments and new communities present will speak about their experiences in the light of the “ new era of group endeavours of the lay faithful ”, their presence in Asia and their contribution to the work of evangelisation. The sessions will conclude with a talk on the role of the laity as prime movers of the mission and their wit­ness of hope “ for the good of the people of Asia ”, followed by the conclusions.

The participants at the Congress of Catholic Laity of Asia will visit the shrine of the martyrs of Korea and celebrate Mass there, and they will join the local community at Seoul Cathedral for Mass together to con­clude the event.



Men and women who help the Gospel

Co­responsibility of the laity in the Church

In February 2010, a new cycle of lec­tures will begin that are organised by the “ Laikos ” Institute of the Pontifi­cal Gregorian University (PUG), promoted by the International Forum of Catholic Action and by Azione Cattolica Italiana, in collaboration with the PUG and the Christian Life Community, and under the patronage of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

The course will take inspiration from the apostolic exhortation Christifi­deles Laici and will attempt to bring about awareness of the co­responsibility of the laity in the life of the Church and in its growth. This co­responsibility is understood as collaboration in pastoral care, capable of being an expression of adults conscious of their baptism, an el­ement of communion and experience of discernment.

There will be lessons for the students who have registered (guest students can also register), but the main lectures will be open to all those interested. Time will be given to questions and discussion. The speakers include Cardinal Ryłko, presi­dent of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Bishop Josef Clemens, secretary of the dicastery, Enzo Bianchi, prior of the Community of Bose, and lecturers from pontifical universities and athenaeums in Rome. In the session introduced by Enzo Bianchi (29 April, “ To live according to the Spirit. Discernment and education ”) there will be talks by the leaders of Catholic Action in Italy, the Christian Life Movement and the Focolare Movement.

The full programme and the topics of the lectures can be found on the web­site of the Pontifical Gregorian Univer­sity:­dattica/Laikos/index.php.



Sport, education, faith:

towards a new season for Catholic sport associations


On 6 and 7 November 2009, the “ Church and Sport ” Section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity held a seminar on the theme “ Sport, education, faith: towards a new season for Catholic sport associ­ations ”. It was an occasion to look at the opportunities that Catholic sporting associations can offer to furthering the Church’s mission. The seminar was held at Villa Aurelia in Rome, and there were around ninety delegates from the five continents participating.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his message sent to Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko for the occasion, stated: “ sports have considerable educational potential in the context of youth and, for this reason, great importance not only in the use of leisure time but also in the formation of the person ”. The Holy Father observed that this was particularly true for activities “ in parish youth centres, schools and sports associations, with the aim of assuring the new generations a hu­man and Christian formation ”.

The Pope pointed to the importance of the Church being present in the sporting world of young people. He said that “ through sports, the ecclesial community contributes to the formation of youth, providing a suitable environment for their human and spiritual growth. In fact, when sports initiatives aim at the integral development of the person and are managed by qual­ified and competent personnel, they provide a useful opportunity for priests, religious and lay people to become true and proper educators and teachers of life for the young. In our time when an urgent need to educate the new generations is evident it is therefore necessary for the Church to continue to support sports for youth, making the most of their positive aspects also at competitive levels such as their capacity for stimulating competitiveness, courage and tenacity in pursuing goals. However, it is necessary to avoid every trend that perverts the nature of sports by recourse to practices that can even damage the body.”

Pope Benedict’s words draw attention to the enormous potential that sporting activities, con­nected to the Church, can have in the human and Christian development of young people, and they help us to see the contribution of the Catholic faith to sport.

In Cardinal Ryłko’s introductory speech, he gave a brief description of four characteristics that distinguish a Catholic sporting association. An association can be said to be truly Catholic when it promotes and manages sporting activity on the basis of Christian principles, that is, if it is truly “ directed towards education ”; if it devotes time and resources to preparing trainers and educators to fulfil their mission; if it appreciates the social aspects of sport, like fellowship in human relations; and if it directs the youth involved in sport towards God.

The Most Rev. Carlo Mazza, former bureau chief in the Italian Bishops’ Conference office for sport and leisure, discussed the contribution of various popes regarding the identity and mis­sion of Catholic sporting associations. In quoting Pius XII, he emphasised that the Church, in emphasising the institution of a Christian sport­ing movement, certainly did not aim to take over and monopolise certain activities. It aimed rather at integrating something that was lacking in an idea, an activity or an undertaking that, through excess, defect or absence of basic ideas, did not respond to, or worse, was entirely contrary to Christian dignity.

Bishop Mazza recalled the importance that the popes of the past century attached to sport­ing activity in the Church because, in respect­ing the dignity of the human person, it can be­come an example and a “ leaven ” in the vast world of sport. Drawing upon the teaching of the Magisterium, Bishop Mazza, several times chaplain at the Olympics, explained that, if there is to be a new season, then Catholic sporting associations must do more than guarantee pastoral concern for human beings, but must al­so ensure that the association itself is an environment that educates for life. It should be a place where human and personal relations between trainers and athletes can flourish and where the charism of unity that is inherent in sport can have greater results.

Professor Mike McNamee from the Univer­sity of Swansee spoke about the educational purpose of sport and how virtues can be devel­oped through sporting activity. In acquiring virtue, he said, “ practice makes stable, not per­fect ”. Therefore, it is of fundamental importance that children are trained in sport by peo­ple of moral integrity who can be models of ex­cellence as well as trainers of a sport.

A panel discussion on “ training true cham­pions ” looked at how a “ win at all costs ” mentality —something that is rampant in youth sports— can be overcome. Demetrio Albertini, an Italian former world football champion, spoke about how his success in sport was more a gift than due to any personal merit. He said that much help was received from his family, trainer, and the other members of the team. Sir Philip Craven, former wheelchair basketball champion and currently president of the International Paralympics Committee, spoke of the significance of becoming a champion in spite of a physical handicap. It is precisely because of this handicap that a testimony is given of how difficulties challenge people to give the best of themselves. Another speaker in the panel discussion was Valerio Bianchini, a basketball coach, who has led several professional Italian teams to victory. He told us how the task of a coach requires much time, patience and discipline, and that these factors give each one of the players a sense of discipline and self-esteem and hence bring forth the champion that is within each young person. These are skills which are not only very useful for team play, but also for so many circumstances in life.

The first day of the seminar concluded with a personal reflection by writer and former Olympic rower Susan Saint Sing. She illustrated the similarities between the effort and suffering we experience in sport as we accept discomfort and injuries, and the effort and suffer­ing that we must endure in life.

The second day opened with a talk by Edio Costantini, president of the John Paul II Foun­dation for Sport. He spoke about some new approaches and strategies that could and are being tried out in Italy and elsewhere by Catholic sporting associations in order to foster this educational component. In times of a serious crisis in education that threatens the youth of today, Costantini emphasised the fact that youth sport­ng associations are the one of the only meeting places for an age group that tends to prefer the solitude of the personal computer. These associations can be places for acceptance and guidance, and especially of hope, for young people who cannot find meaning in their lives. They can be encouraged to resist the tendency prevalent in sport to consider people as homo economicus and to restore that of considering them as imago Dei, when relating with others.

Another panel discussion was held on the second day of the seminar to specifically explore the opportunities that these sporting associations offer for witness to be given to Christ. In addition to pointing out the explicit witness to the gospel that a trainer can transmit to the athletes, it was also seen how sport can build bridges between people of different faiths even where people are divided by prejudice or war.

In his conclusions, the secretary of the Pon­tifical Council for the Laity, Bishop Josef Clemens, asked these Catholic associations not to give way to the assaults of secularisation, but rather to confirm once again their own Catholic identity and to be a “ creative minority ” in the vast world of sport. He recalled the words of Pope Benedict XVI pronounced in his homily at the start of his pontificate: “ Are we not per­haps all afraid in some way of letting Christ enter fully into our lives? ” The Pope responded to this question: “ No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. […] He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return ”.

Our hope is that this third seminar held by the “ Church and Sport ” Section on the specific mission and Catholic identity of sporting associations may serve to motivate all those engaged in youth sport as volunteers, trainers, or in other capacities, to take full advantage of the many wonderful opportunities that sport offers to help in the pastoral care of young people.



A pastoral plan for the laity in the Middle East


From 5 to 9 October 2009, the 19th Con­gress of the Council of Oriental Catholic Patriarchs (CPCP) was held at the residence of the patriarch of the Syro­Catholics in Charfeh, Lebanon. The theme was: “ The vocation and mission of the lay faithful in the Middle East ”. Those present were the patriarchs of the Maronite, Greek­Melkite Catholics, Armenian Catholics, Syro­Catholics, Coptic Catholics, Chaldeans from Iraq and the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, to­gether with members of their teams. Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, gave a talk on the topic “Christifideles Laici in the light of the magisterium of Pope Benedict XVI”. Most Rev. Dominique Rey, bishop of Fréjus­Toulon (France) spoke on: “ A theological reflection on the identity of the lay faithful ”, and Professor Guzmán Carriquiry, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, gave a talk on the new era of group endeavours of the lay faithful. This congress was a splendid opportunity to get a better understanding of the situation of the Catholic laity in the Middle East and the concern of their pastors. The three speakers were very warmly welcomed as guests of the patriarchs. They were also guests of the Catholic University of Saint Joseph in Beirut where they gave lectures to a group of Lebanese lay people who were invit­ed by the National Laity Council of Lebanon, with which the Pontifical Council for the Laity maintains excellent relations of dialogue and consultation. Their stay in the “ Land of the Cedars ” also included pilgrim­ages, visits and instructive encounters.

On the occasion of this congress, the patriarchs unanimously approved a major pastoral plan that will give renewed impetus and guidance, with greater awareness, to the presence of the Catholic laity in the region, the cradle of Christianity, rich in Christian tradition but burdened with dramatic problems and faced with substantial challenges. The decision was made to promote in all the countries in the region (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Iraq and Israel), national congresses of the Catholic laity, accompanied by their pastors. These will take place between November 2009 and June 2010, and will be important occasions for extensive dialogue between bishops and laity in each country, in the light of the vocation and mission of the lay faithful in each place and in the particular circumstances in which they live and are called to give witness to Christ. These occasions of reflection and dialogue are expected to make a useful contribution in the lead­up to the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East which the Holy Father has convened for the month of Octo­ber 2010.

This journey will conclude with the Sec­ond Congress of the Laity of the Middle East, expected to take place at the end of 2011, with the presence of the patriarchs and bishops of the region, delegations of the lay faithful from each country and delegations from ecclesial movements and new communities present in that area. A main point of reference could be the discussions and out­come of next October’s synod. We recall that the first congress of the laity in the Middle East took place in Beirut from 10 to 14 June 1997.

It was also decided to republish the post­synodal apostolic exhortation Christifideles Laici and distribute it widely in the region and to have it available as a useful reference from the ecclesial magisterium in the nation­al and regional congresses.

The Pontifical Council for the Laity gives encouragement and support to this project, and will be prepared, at the opportune moment, together with the patriarchs, to convene the second congress of the Catholic laity in the Middle East.



Juridical recognition and approval of statutes


The Pontifical Council for the Laity:

•   by decree of 22 June 2009 recognised the Pan­American Catholic Health Care Net­work as an international association of the faithful with approval of the statutes ad ex­perimentum. The Pan­American Catholic Health Care Network arose in response to the requests expressed by the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II in the post­synodal apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in America (nos. 21 and 22). The aim of the association is the promotion of works of charity, piety and social development, according to the tradition of the Church, through commitment to pro­viding health care and help to the sick, suffering and most in need in all of Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean.

•   By decree of 16 July 2009 it recognised the Comunità Cenacolo as an international association of the faithful with approval of the statutes ad experimentum. The Comunità Cenacolo arose through the initiative of Rita Petrozzi, known as Mother Elvira, who responded to a call from the Lord and decided to dedicate her life to young people who are alone, addicted to drugs and on the margins. The deep intuition that guides Mother Elvira comes from the perception that young people are not searching for things but for Someone: the Father. That is why the members of the association try to offer to all who come to the houses of the Community, not only a place to be helped, but also an explicit path of con­version and rebirth in the light of Christ.

•   By decree of 15 August 2009 it granted definitive approval to the statutes of Encoun­ters of Married Couples.

•    By decree of 8 September 2009 it ap­proved the new statutes of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations.

•    By decree of 14 September 2009 it recognised the Movimiento Consolación para el Mundo as an international association of the faithful with approval of the statutes ad experimentum. The Movimiento Consolación para el Mundo is connected to the Congrega­tion of the Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation, and it calls its members to take part in the charism of Saint Maria Rosa Molas. By knowing Christ and loving him, they work to proclaim this as the only consolation of hu­mankind. They bring it to their occupations in life as lay people, and so fill society with the Christian spirit of consolation.

•   By decree of 14 September 2009 it granted definitive approval to the statutes of the Amigonian Cooperators.

•    By decree of 24 September 2009 it approved the modifications made in the statutes of the St Francis de Sales Association.

•   By decree of 17 October 2009 it approved the new statutes of the International Movement of the Apostolate for Children.

•   By decree of 10 December 2009 it suspended the Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration association.


The Dicastery is presently studying the demands for canonical recognition submitted by the following groups: Apostolic Movement of Schönstatt, Movimiento de la Palabra de Dios, Legio Mariae, Chemin Neuf Community, Comunità Gesù Risorto, Misioneros de la Esperanza, Comunità Nuovi Orizzonti, Hogar de la Madre, Movimiento Athletae Christi, Comunidades Cristianas Comprometidas EAS, Movimento Apostolico, Jesus Youth.



Ad limina visits


Last September the ad limina visit of the bishops of Brazil began. This is a nation that has over four hundred and fifty bishops. During the last four months of 2009 we received the visit of five groups of bishops coming from the Federal State of Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Alagaos, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará, Piauí, São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. The ad limina visit of the Brazilian bishops will continue in June 2010 and conclude in November. Brazil undoubtedly forms part of the emerging nations group. In spite of their serious problems and difficult challenges, there are plenty of reasons to trust in the human and social progress in the coun­try. The Church in particular is going through a time of promising transition. A new and decisive spurt has been given to evangelisation since the fifth Conference of Latin American Bishops which was held in Brazil at the Aparecida Shrine, and the associated visit by the Pope. The Pope at that time wished to make a contribution from the magisterium to the Church in Brazil. The serious problems of this great nation are well known. There is great poverty mostly concentrated in the outskirts of the large cities, and there is great social inequality and family breakdown that deeply affects the conditions of marginalisa­tion and hardship for so many children and young people. Unfortunately, the reaction of many men of the Church in recent decades to this great suffering and injustice has some­times reduced the message of the Gospel to one social dimension and assumed categories of extraneous thought that often contradicted the Gospel itself, as well as spreading a feeling of distrust towards the universal Church. Impoverishment of preaching and attitudes of grievance against the hierarchy brought about a massive exodus of Catholics who joined protestant confessions, especially the pentecostal, and sects of all kinds who took advantage of this disorientation of the faithful and the gap in the message that Catholics were giving. In spite of this, the Lord did not abandon his Church. Over the past few years there has been a surprising renewal through the Holy Spirit and confirmed by the new awareness that is growing in the Church. The bishops who visited us spoke of the new drive in evangelisation and the effective contribution of the conclusions at Aparecida to pastoral ministry, especially in the lives of the lay faithful. One of the most evident signs is the work of the ecclesial movements and new communities, in particular the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which are helping the Church to find itself. Particu­larly impressive is the number and strength of some new communities of charismatic inspiration. They arose in this country and are now spreading in Latin America and around the world, rich in vocations and missionary zeal. These groups are certainly not yet mature, and they are almost entirely composed of young people, full of courage, who sometimes have to deal with ecclesial structures and mentalities that find it hard to understand the new. The bishops are working promptly to govern this extraordinary vitality in the Church and to relaunch pastoral ministry at all levels. They are encouraging the proclamation of the Gospel and the Christian instruction of the lay faithful, especially of the many Christians who have direct responsibilities with catechesis. They also give empha­sis to the social doctrine of the Church to help the faithful engaged in society and politics to pursue the true common good, particularly with regard to respect for life, family sup­port and social justice. In short, we met with bishops who are certainly aware of the difficulties and the complex challenges that the Church must deal with, but who are motivated and strengthened by the hope that comes from the Lord, confirmed by the new era being experienced by the Church in Brazil.



The power of the Cross


A new video about the WYD Cross

In 2005 our dicastery produced a DVD film to present the WYD Cross. The title was John Paul II and the World Youth Day Cross and the duration was thirty four minutes. It was the idea of Mgr. Francis Kohn, head of the Pontifical Council for the Laity Youth Section at that time. It was put together by Manuel de Yeiffé (Shineout). The film gives the history of the Cross from the time it was entrusted to the young people of the world by John Paul II in April 1984, and it follows all the WYDs until 2005.

We now feel it is time to have another DVD programme available to show to young people visiting the San Lorenzo centre and to send with the Youth Cross as it goes on pilgrimage around Spain. This complements the first DVD and is shorter (eighteen minutes).

It explains the meaning of the Cross to young people today. Why is the WYD Cross loved by so many people? What can it change in the lives of young people?

After a brief medley of historical facts about the Cross, seventeen young people from five continents speak about their experi­ences. With personal and often moving accounts, they describe various aspects of the mystery of the Cross and its impact on the lives of Christians. On the Cross, Jesus comes close to those who suffer. From the Cross, Christians receive forgiveness for their sins and they learn to forgive their enemies. As the resurrection comes from the Cross, this opens grieving hearts to hope in eternal life. The young people interviewed are very convinced as they witness to this.

Some brief scenes from the film Jesus of Nazareth are included, and there are many pictures that were taken during the pilgrimages of the Cross around the world. The video is not only a powerful catechesis, but it is also a firm invitation to the youth of the world to come and venerate the WYD Cross. Benedict XVI, in the footsteps of John Paul II, calls on young people to come and say their own “ yes ” to the Cross, and so find the way to fulfilment in their lives. The idea was conceived of by Reverend Eric Jacquinet, the present head of the Pontifical Council for the Laity Youth Section, and it was made with the collaboration of the San Lorenzo Centre and the Emmanuel School of Mission. It was produced by H2O News. It will be available in the month of February 2010 in six lan­guages: English, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish.



Contacts with associations and movements


During the second semester of the year, Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, president of the Pontifi­cal Council for the Laity, met with leaders and representatives of the following movements, associations and new communities: Interna­tional Federation of Pueri Cantores; Interna­tional Forum of Catholic Action; Communauté des Béatitudes; Work of Nazareth; Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships; Comunità Nuovi Orizzonti; Christian Life Movement; Chemin Neuf Community; Prayer and Life Workshops; Foco­lare Movement; World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO); Comunità Gesù Risorto; Fraternity of Communion and Liberation; ICPE Mission. He received the visit of Laurent Landete, the new moderator of the Emmanuel Community.

•    Cardinal Ryłko took part in the Meeting for Friendship among the Peoples that was held in Rimini from 23 to 29 August.

•     On the occasion of the international meeting for peace “ Religions and cultures in dialogue ”, organised in Cracow by the Sant’Egidio Community from 6 to 8 September, Cardinal Ryłko moderated the panel discussion on “ Memory and prophecy: the legacy of John Paul II”.

•     On 22 September he gave a talk on “ The Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the Church ” to the participants in the third International Training Course for Leaders, organ­ised in Rome by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS).

•      On 27 December, feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth, he was in Madrid to take part in the European meeting of families organised by the archdiocese of the Spanish capital in col­laboration with the Neocatechumenal Way.


The secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Bishop Joseph Clemens, received the visits of leaders of the International Catholic Conference of Scouting (ICCS), the participants in the third International Training Course for Leaders, organised in Rome by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS), the leaders of the International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (ICMICA­Pax Romana), Obra Social Nossa Senhora da Glória ­Fazenda da Esperança, Foyers de Charité, Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships, and the International Federation of Pueri Can­tores.

•     On 25 and 26 August, Bishop Clemens was in Rimini for the 30th Meeting for Friendship among the Peoples.

•      On 13 December, he presided a Eucharistic concelebration in the church of Santa Maria in Traspontina on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the death of Riccardo Lombardi SJ, founder of the Service of Community Animation of the Movement for a Better World.


The undersecretary of the dicastery, Professor Guzmán Carriquiry, met with the leaders and representatives of the International Coordination of Young Christian Workers (ICYCW), International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (ICMI­CA­Pax Romana), International Young Catholic Students (IYCS), and the Sociedad San Juan (Argentina).

•      On 11 July Professor Carriquiry gave a talk to young leaders of the Regnum Christi Apostolic Movement (Rome) on the Christian and ecclesial commitment of young people.

•      On 1 August he gave a talk on “ Signs of hope ” at the 4th global “ Ultreya ” of the Cur­sillo Movement held in Los Angeles, USA.

•      From 28 to 30 August he was in Schönstatt, Germany, for the International Congress of the Priestly Society of the Fathers of Schönstatt. He gave a talk on the challenges to be addressed by the Apostolic Movement of Schönstatt in the Church.

•      On 7 November he gave a talk at the European Congress of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) in Budapest, Hungary.


The bureau chief of the dicastery, Mgr Miguel Delgado Galindo, represented the Pontifical Council for the Laity at the national gathering of the movements “ Together for Europe ”, which took place in Loppiano on 19 and 20 September. Also present at the gathering was Dr. Stefano De Pasquale Ceratti.


•      On 10 July, Rev. Eric Jacquinet, head of Youth Section, gave a talk on WYD to lead­ers of the Regnum Christi Apostolic Move­ment who were meeting in Rome.

•       On 8 and 9 August he took part in the “ Forum des Jeunes ” organised in Paray­le­Moni­al, France, by the Emmanuel Community.

•      On 22 August he took part in the “ Festival Saint­Jean ” organised by the Communauté Saint­Jean in Saint­Quentin­sur­Indrois, France.


Ana Cristina Villa Betancourt of the Women’s Section met with the president and the presiden­tial committee of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO).



Other engagements


During the second semester of the year, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, received the visit of Most Rev. Giovanni Tonucci, prelate of Loreto and pontifical delegate of the Shrine of the Holy House; Most Rev. Luigi Negri, bishop of San Marino-­Montefeltro; Most Rev. Tommaso Ghirelli, bishop of Imola; Most Rev. Giambattista Diquattro, apostolic nuncio in Bolivia. He received the visit of Yago de la Cierva, director of communications for WYD in Madrid 2011; Lola Velarde, president of the Institute for Family Policies European Network; the superior general of the Society of Jesus, Rev.Adolfo Nicolás; Marguerite Peeters, di­rector of the Institute for Intercultural Dia­logue Dynamics.

•    Cardinal Ryłko presided the concluding Mass of the first day of an international conference at the Pontifical Theological Academy in Cracow on 11 and 12 September on the topic “ The role of the Catholic Church in the process of European integration ”.

•     On the 26 September, on the invitation of the bishop of Fabriano­-Matelica, Most Rev. Giancarlo Vecerrica, Cardinal Ryłko was at the cathedral of Fabriano to preside at the closing Mass of the diocesan pastoral conven­tion on the role of lay groups in the Church.

•     On 9 December, in the Marconi room of Vatican Radio, he spoke at the presentation of the book “A civilization of love” by Carl Anderson, chief knight of the Knights of Colum­bus and member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.


Bishop Josef Clemens, secretary of the dicas­tery, received the visit of Cardinal Eusébio O. Scheid, archbishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro; Most Rev. Robert Zollitsch, arch­bishop of Freiburg, Germany, and president of the German Bishops’ Congress; Most Rev. Czeslaw Kozon, bishop of Copenhagen, Den­mark; Most Rev. Egon Kapellari, bishop of Graz­Seckau, Austria; Most Rev. Miguel A. Aguilar Miranda, military ordinary of Ecuador, bishop in charge of lay pastoral min­istry; Most Rev. Mathew Arackal, bishop of the diocese of Kanjirapally of the Syro­-Mal­abarese, India; Professor Gino Ferretti, Rector of the University of Parma; the minister of the interior of the Republic of Austria with re­sponsibility for sport, Maria Fekter; Mgr Al­fredo Zecca, Rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina accompanied by Dr. Nicolás Lafferriere, academic secretary, and by Dr. Gabriel Limodio, dean of the faculty of Law; Michael Thielen, secretary general of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation; a group of parliamentarians from the two Houses of the Republic of Austria; Elsbeth Beha, vicepresi­dent of the German Catholic Sporting Associ­ation (DJK), together with thirty leaders of the association; Benjamin Harnwell, president of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute of Brussels, Belgium; Rev. Robert A. Sirico, president of the Acton Institute; a group of novices from the congregation of Legionaries of Christ; a group of students led by the head of campus ministry, Rev. Markus Wasserfuhr, of the archdiocese of Cologne, Germany.

•    On 8 July Bishop Clemens spoke at a press conference to present the sporting season 2009­10 of the Centro Sportivo Italiano, at the Sala Giunta at CONI (Rome).

•     From 2 to 4 October he led a delegation of the Holy See to the 13th  congress held by the International Olympics Committee (IOC) in Copenhagen, Denmark. He gave a talk on “ Olympic values ”.

•     On 9 November in Rome he was present at the opening of the 6th  World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees or­ganised by the Pontifical Council for the Pas­toral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

•     On 18 December, in the Aula Magna of the Libera Università Maria Assunta (LUMSA) in Rome, he was present at a meeting on “ Football, values at play ”, and he gave a talk on “ Football and sport in the thought of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI”.


The undersecretary, Professor Guzmán Car­riquiry, received the visit of Alejandro Carba­jal, president of Serra International; leaders of the national Laity Council of Venezuela; the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL); the Latin American Centre for Devel­opment, Integration and Cooperation (CELADIC); the Dignitatis Humanae Institute.

•       On 5 and 9 July Professor Carriquiry gave the opening and closing lectures at the course on “ The Church and the economic crisis. Di­agnosis and proposals from a Christian stand­point ”, organised by the Universitat Abat Oli­ba CEU in Barcelona, Spain.

•      On 3 and 4 October he took part in the Inter­national Sturzian Conference organised in Catania, Italy, by the Rinnovamento nello Spirito Santo and the Mgr Francesco Di Vin­cenzo Foundation.

•     During the course of the 19th Congress of the Council of Oriental Catholic Patriarchs (Lebanon, 5­9 October), he gave a lecture on the new era of group endeavours of the lay faithful in the Catholic University of Saint Joseph in Beirut.

•    On 18 October he sent a message to the trade union leaders meeting in Buenos Aires, Ar­gentina, on the occasion of their seminar on the encyclical Caritas in Veritate organised by the Union of Metallurgy Workers (UOM).

•     On 18 November he was at the offices of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America in Rome to attend a presentation on “ an alternative model of integral human development for Latin America ” proposed by the director general of the Latin American Centre for Development, In­tegration and Cooperation (CELADIC).

•     On 20 November he took part in a confer­ence organised by the diocese of Cassano allo Ionio on the theme “ The Church that I would like to see ”, with a talk on “ The laity in the Church today ”.

•     On 12 December, invited by six mayors in Monferrato, Italy, he gave a talk in Ponti on Benedict XVI’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate.


Rev. Eric Jacquinet, head of Youth Section, received the visit of Most Rev. Francis Xavier Osamu Mizobe, bishop of Takamatsu, Japan, accompanied by a group of young people; Most Rev. Claude Feidt, bishop of Aix­en­Provence, France, and seminarians from the diocese; Professor Alvaro Granados, lecturer in the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome; Rev. Paul Tiga Zangre, ecclesiasti­cal assistant of the International Young Catholic Students (IYCS).

•       On 19 July, Rev. Jacquinet visited the John Paul II Centre in Loreto and met with Most Rev. Giovanni Tonucci, prelate of Loreto and pontifical delegate of the Holy House.

•       From 29 to 31 August, Rev. Jacquinet took part in the youth ministry convention “ Keryg­ma ” in La Sainte­Baume organised by youth ministry leaders of the diocese of Aix­en­Provence, France.

•       He took part in the meeting of youth min­istry leaders from the dioceses of Spain that took place from 2 to 4 October in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, organised by the youth ministry department of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference. He gave a talk on “ WYD and youth ministry according to John Paul II and Benedict XVI”.

•       On 12 and 13 October he took part in a train­ing course for youth ministry leaders organ­ised by the national service for youth ministry of the Czech Bishops’ Conference in the dio­cese of Hradec Kralové. He gave talks on “ WYD and youth ministry according to John Paul II and Benedict XVI”, “ The evangelisa­tion of youth according to Paul VI’s Evangelii Nuntiandi”, and “ The mission of the Church with young people according to the message of Benedict XVI for WYD 2009 ”.

•       On 22 October he was in Metaponto, Italy, to take part in a conference organised by the national service for youth ministry of the Ital­ian Bishops’ Conference. He gave a talk on “ Why take part in WYD in Madrid 2010? ”.

•      He was present at the “ National Catholic Youth Day ” organised by the Dutch Bishops’ Conference on 8 November in Den Bosch, and he gave a talk on WYD.


Rev. Kevin Lixey of the “ Church and Sport ” section, received the visit of Rev. Chris Townsend, director of the press office of the South African Bishops’ Conference, and Gen­eral Gianni Gola, president of the Internation­al Military Sports Council (CISM).

•      On 18 September Rev. Lixey took part in the 14th Congress of the European Committee for Sports History which took place in Pisa at the Polo Universitario ‘Carmignani’, from 17 to 20 September 2009 on the topic: “ The body and awareness of limits ”.

•       On 19 September he was in Milan to take part in a conference for managers of the Cen­tro Sportivo Italiano.

•      On 28 November he was at a conference in Nitra, Slovakia, held on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Catholic sporting as­sociation OROL Slovakia. He spoke on “ What faith brings to the practice of sport ”.

•      On 6 December he was in Assisi to take part in the annual conference of the Centro Sportivo Italiano. He spoke on “ The beauty of sport, a bearer of hope ”.­


Ana Cristina Villa Betancourt of the Wo­men’s Section, member of the committee of the Mulieris Dignitatem Institute for studies of the man/women uni­duality, received the visit of the director of the Institute, Professor Laura Tortorella. She met with the Hon. Paola Binetti to discuss the possibility of a conference of Catholic women involved in politics. She had a meeting with collaborators of the Women’s Section, the professors Attilio Danese, Giulia Paola Di Nicola and Giorgia Salatiello. She met with Dr. Cristian Ricci, president of the as­sociation “Scienza e vita” in Pontremoli­Luni­giana, Italy.

•     At a seminar organised by the Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas Institute in Rome from 1 to 6 Ju­ly on the theme “ Co­Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord ”, she introduced the theme of the panel discussion “ Co­Workers Called to Communion and Mission ”.

•     On 11 July she gave a talk on women in the Church to a group of young women of the Regnum Christi Apostolic Movement who are studying in Rome.


Cardinal Ryłko received the visit of H.E. Miguel Humberto Díaz, Ambassador of the United States to the Holy See; H.E. Hans­Henning Horstmann, Ambassador of the Fed­eral Republic of Germany to the Holy See; H.E. Anne Leahy, Ambassador of Canada to the Holy See.


Bishop Clemens met with the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Holy See H.E. Hans­Henning Horstmann; the British Ambassador to the Holy See H.E. Francis Campbell, accompanied by H.E. Rowan Williams Archbishop of Canterbury. On 14 December, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the inauguration of the German Embassy to the Holy See, he took part in a cere­mony of commemoration which was attended by the Hon. Hans­Dietrich Genscher, former minister of external affairs in Germany.