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La Curia Romana Pontifici Consigli


NEWS  20/2010






The President to the readers

What we most expect of Catholics engaged in public service is the witness they give that comes from their profound sense of belonging to the Church and their lives lived according to the faith they profess, that is, a clear and strong Catholic identity. This is the "Christian style " of political involvement, according to the participants at the 24th Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity held in Rome from 20 to 22 May this year on the theme "Witnessing to Christ in politics ". Attacks on the dignity and inalienable rights of the person, marriage and family on the one hand, and the new questions that have arisen in the field of bioethics on the other, mean that lay Catholics, today more than ever, need to rediscover their right and duty to actively and responsibly take part in the political life of their country. There is no need for any inferiority complex. Catholics should be actively present in legislative bodies, and they should work as guardians and defenders of the ethical dimension of democracy and of politics itself. This question was raised by the Pope in November 2008 when he met with the members and consultors of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. He insisted on " the necessity and urgency of the evangelical formation and pastoral accompaniment of a new generation of Catholics working in politics, that they be coherent with the professed faith, that they have moral firmness, the capacity of educated judgment, professional competence and passion for service to the common good " (15 November 2008). This is the key point about the presence of lay Catholics in public life and hence of the evangelisation of culture and its fora, encompassing the world of politics. Benedict XVI often reminds us that our faith is not a retreat into a kind of religious individualism, nor is it escape from the reality of the serious economic, social and cultural problems that afflict humanity. On the contrary, " only those who recognize God know reality and are able to respond to it adequately and in a truly human manner. [Â…] Hence the unique and irreplaceable importance of Christ for us, for humanity. If we do not know God in and with Christ, all of reality is transformed into an indecipherable enigma; there is no way, and without a way, there is neither life nor truth. God is the foundational reality, not a God who is merely imagined or hypothetical, but God with a human face; he is God-with-us, the God who loves even to the Cross " (Aparecida, 13 May 2007). This is the driving force of our presence as Christian citizens in the world and also the key to this presence. The dramatic and often unfamiliar challenges that humanity must face at the threshold of the third millennium, and which place high demands on public leaders, fully justify the PopeÂ’s call to work for the emergence of a " new generation of Catholic involved in politics ". This call comes from a deep conviction that Christians have the spiritual resources to confront the serious problems that afflict the world. We read in Christifideles laici: "A new state of affairs today both in the Church and in social, economic, political and cultural life, calls with a particular urgency for the action of the lay faithful. If lack of commitment is always unacceptable, the present time renders it even more so. It is not permissible for anyone to remain idle " (no. 3). Today, unfortunately, even Catholics can be seen to be indifferent, sceptical and generally disillusioned with politics. The causes of this worrying situation can be traced to a deterioration in politics, so often the consequence of inflammatory rhetoric and futile populism. These politics have recourse to self-referential language that is mostly incomprehensible and inconsistent. They are incapable of developing concrete programmes, or they simply do not care about these things because corruption, careerism and scandals have taken over. People feel that they are less and less represented by the contesting political parties, and they feel ill-at-ease at not being able to use their free vote for the furthering of the common good instead of having to block the worst with the " lesser of the evils ". In a situation like this it is really urgent for Christians to be more aware of their special vocation within the political community, and that they give example by developing in themselves a sense of responsibility and dedication to the common good (cf. Gaudium et Spes, no. 75). It says in Christifideles laici: " In order to achieve their task directed to the Christian animation of the temporal order, in the sense of serving persons and society, the lay faithful are never to relinquish their participation in ‘public lifeÂ’, that is, in the many different economic, social, legislative, administrative and cultural areas, which are intended to promote organically and institutionally the common good. [Â…] Every person has a right and duty to participate in public life, albeit in a diversity and complementarity of forms, levels, tasks and responsibilities " (no. 42). Political involvement is therefore a moral obligation for lay Catholics because of the fact of being Christians. It is a noble task they carry out, not in view of their own interests and material advantage, but to do all they can with integrity in the service of everyone. "You are the salt of the earth [Â…] You are the light of the world " (Mt 5: 13,14). the Lord tells us. How important it is that they never lose this quality in the challenging domain of politics. They also need to have a good grasp of the teaching and social doctrine of the Church, a passion for service for the common good, and honesty and competence. They must give expression to a life that finds inspiration in the Gospel as well as the strength to fully carry it out. How can we prepare a " new generation of Catholics involved in politics " of which the Pope speaks? How can we help the lay faithful to rediscover the full significance and importance of the " hallmark of the laity " in the world, something to which they are specifically called? How can we reawaken a passion for service for the common good in the Catholic laity? How can we help the administration of public affairs to become again a noble art, and help citizens to have a high regard for political involvement? How can we help those Catholics already generously involved in politics to feel that the Catholic community is not disregarding them, but supports them and stands with them? The Pope gives an answer when he refers to the urgent need for " evangelical formation " and " pastoral accompaniment ", an undisputed priority of the ChurchÂ’s mission today. Moreover, when we speak of the education of the laity for engagement in public life, it is natural to think of the social doctrine of the Church. It is a safe compass in the important field of Christian witness. Its teaching and dissemination, John Paul II tells us in Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, form part of the evangelising mission of the Church (cf. no. 41). Yet, in our times, the real priority and the core of education are to be found at the deeper level of faith. Benedict XVI often reminds us that the basic problem for human beings today is the God question. During his recent trip to Portugal he said: "Often we are anxiously preoccupied with the social, cultural and political consequences of the faith, taking for granted that faith is present, which unfortunately is less and less realistic. Perhaps we have placed an excessive trust in ecclesial structures and programmes, in the distribution of powers and functions; but what will happen if salt loses its flavour? (Lisbon, 11 May 2010). This is the core of the problem. That is why the Church today has such hope for the " new era of group endeavours ". Together with all the great lay movements with long traditions, there has been an emergence of ecclesial movements and new communities. Their initial charisms have been directed towards Christian education and training and their methods have been very effective. They have brought a great number of the lay faithful – men and women, youth and adults –, to discover the joy of faith and the beauty of being Christians, and have awakened in them wonderful missionary enthusiasm. In order to witness to Christ in the political world, we need men and women of great faith and with the necessary coherence and courage to be " signs of contradiction " in the world. The venerable servant of God John Paul II wrote, not by chance, when he was proclaiming Thomas Moore as patron saint of government leaders and politicians: "The life and martyrdom of Saint Thomas More have been the source of a message which spans the centuries and which speaks to people everywhere of the inalienable dignity of the human conscience [Â…] Whenever men or women heed the call of truth, their conscience then guides their actions reliably towards good. Precisely because of the witness which he bore, even at the price of his life, to the primacy of truth over power, Saint Thomas More is venerated as an imperishable example of moral integrity " (Motu proprio E Sancti Thomae Mori, no. 1). Card. Stanisław Ryłko President


Learning to love
10th International Youth Forum

In Rocca di Papa from 24 to 28 March, the 10th International Youth Forum took place with the theme " Learning to Love ": four days; two gatherings with the Holy Father; a message from the Pope to the delegates; 250 participants between the ages of 20 and 30, young people engaged in the Church from around 90 countries and 30 international movements, associations and communities. A challenging event organised by the Pontifical Council for the Laity: a reflection on human love that touched on the dimensions of vocation, marriage, sexuality, family, consecrated life and priesthood.

"‘Learning to LoveÂ’: this theme is central to the faith and to Christian life and I am delighted that you have the opportunity to examine it together. As you know, the starting point of any reflection on love is the very mystery of God, for the heart of the Christian revelation is this: Deus caritas est. Christ in his Passion, in the total gift of himself, has revealed to us the Face of the God who is Love. [Â…] I urge the young people present at this Forum to put their whole heart into seeking their vocation to love, as people and as baptized people. This is the key to their entire existence " (Benedict XVI, Message to the 10th International Youth Forum). With this message, the Holy Father introduced the subject matter of the International Youth Forum and stated its objectives. The theme chosen for the event is in fact the key to existence, for " love " is an essential word in GodÂ’s language, and Benedict XVI has placed it at the centre of his reflections. The Forum began on Wednesday 24 March at the Mondo Migliore Conference Centre in Rocca di Papa in Rome, and the first session was on the " vocation to love ". It was introduced by Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. He spoke of learning to love by " rediscovering chastity " and of how "marriage and family that are founded on love " are not things of the past that have no future. Marriage and family suffered from the devastating effects of the sexual revolution of the nineteen sixties and seventies that reduced love to sex and sex to an object of pleasure and consumption. It led to the massive spread of contraceptives that has cut the link between sexuality, sentiments and procreation; and to the gender ideology that attacks human sexuality and considers it to be more a product of social and cultural conditioning than the result of a personÂ’s biological make up. It is love that reveals our deepest identity – who we are today and who we shall be tomorrow. That is why John Paul II was very concerned that young people should know how to follow a "mature inner programme of love ". To decide to learn how to love in our times requires the courage to go against the tide and the strength to accept a challenge. The cardinal concluded by saying that "This Forum, then, has some difficult goals ahead, but there is the great desire to communicate hope and joy to all young people like you. The love that Christ teaches us is beautiful and it is possible. It is worth staking our lives on it ". Bishop Josef Clemens, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, read the Holy FatherÂ’s message to the young delegates, and then Rev. Eric Jacquinet, explained how the forum would unfold. Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, gave the first lecture entitled: "Made to love: the truth and beauty of love ". His talk centred on GodÂ’s plan that includes the vocation of human beings to love and on the principles of the vocation to love: GodÂ’s nuptial and trinitarian love as a source and model of this vocation, the sacrifice of Christ as salvation and the measure of human love, and self- giving as an anthropological key to understanding true freedom. He pointed out the difficulties encountered in the world today: " I was asked: what is it that hampers the ability of young people today to listen to the Christian message of love? I replied: it is because the self has been submitted to a process of being discarded and scrapped. This process of elimination has deformed relations with others and reduced them to being spontaneous rather than free relationships. It is a case of ‘I feel like relating with so-and-soÂ’ rather than ‘I want to relate with so-and-soÂ’. Love can only be free. Only people who are free are capable of loving ". " The Christian message is addressed to human beings so that they will return to the truth of their primary origins. It is a gift of grace that gives new life so that human beings in Christ may no longer ‘live for themselvesÂ’ (cf. Rm 14: 8), but become able to love. In the end, the message of love is the message inviting us to be converted to Christ and to live in Him. It is only in this way that we can find ourselves because we have regained our capacity for love ". Cardinal CaffarraÂ’s talk was followed by several testimonies by delegates. The lecture in the afternoon gave rise to much interest and many questions from the delegates. It was given by the French psychoanalyst Mgr Tony Anatrella, consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Family. The theme was: "To live and grow in true love: challenges and difficulties for young people in our times - An overview of the situation of youth today ". He spoke of the causes of the fragmentation of the self in todayÂ’s society, the risks involved in a life lived superficially, like a shop window: "Exposing your life on the internet in the hope of starting friendship relationships, is not a concrete effort to try to get to know people and to find God [Â…] To desire love in isolation from your body is an illusion. GodÂ’s word was made incarnate in the person of Christ, who came to save us from this illusion. By means of his resurrection we discover the significance of the body and our dignity is revealed ". The day concluded with working groups according to language who discussed the theme of the day, and Mass presided by Cardinal Ryłko. On Thursday 25 March the morning was devoted to the theme: " Love as a life choice ". After Mass of the solemnity of the Annunciation, presided by Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, the sessions began with Moysés Louro de Azevedo Filho from Brazil, founder of the Shalom Catholic Community, who spoke on how "Life is a vocation ". He gave testimony of how " through a personal encounter with Jesus Christ I could experience and accept the infinite love of God who loves me to the point of giving his life so that I may have life, and life to the full. For the first time I understood that happiness is not only a word or idea, but it is a person. Jesus Christ who died on the cross and rose again. He is the living God who has come to meet me, and through the sorrows and joys of my life he can personally reach me and call me to follow him. It is in following him that I found peace. I found the sure way of true happiness that will never end. I finally understood the fullness and meaning of life and the absolute meaning of the word ‘eternityÂ’". How can love become our choice in life? Marriage, consecrated life and priesthood are the states of life through which human beings are called by God to respond to his love by loving as He does. Martin Bergeron and Ginette LÂ’Heureux, leaders of the Équipes Notre Dame in Canada, spoke of the beauty and splendour of marriage, the sacrament of the Covenant of love, a way to holiness and prophetic mission. Between the two talks, the young delegates had an opportunity to present a summary of the ideas and issues that arose in the previous dayÂ’s working groups and to have open discussion. The Western world might view marriage as a limitation, and in Africa there is a common mentality that a wife is a possession. Nonetheless, young people long for the ideal of a life as a couple that is constructive, faithful and remains strong. The task given by this Forum should be to give witness to the Christian idea of marriage, and to tell young people all over the world that it is the principle of personal happiness and stable society. We can be certain that, whatever problems are encountered, Love will always have the last word. In the afternoon, the participants had the opportunity to see the Holy Father together with the youth of the dioceses of Rome and Lazio. They were in Saint PeterÂ’s Square to celebrate the 25th anniversary of World Youth Day. In a festive setting, Pope Benedict XVI spoke with the young people, responding to their questions and concerns and encouraging them to make courageous choices in tune with the Gospel. Friday 26 March was a particularly full day, both because of the topics discussed and the number of talks. Proceeding on from the points that had emerged during the previous days on love and Christian marriage, the Christian view of sexuality was presented. Attilio Danese and Giulia Paola Di Nicola from the University of Chieti, authors of numerous publications and members of the International Academy of Matrimonial Spirituality in Brussels, spoke alternately on the topic of: " Sexuality, GodÂ’s gift, a personal treasure, language of communion ". They began by saying that " the deciding factor in what brings about satisfactory sexuality is the quality of the interpersonal relationship. We learn to love someone, not by seeking pleasure, but by desiring the good of that person, and the consequence of that is spontaneous joy. On the contrary, when pleasure is sought for its own sake, it stands in the way of true intimate union. Nobody wants to be simply an instrument in satisfying anotherÂ’s passion ". They concluded with the topic of chastity: "Can you love your spouse intimately and preserve your chastity? The path of love may wind along tortuous ways, but it always aims for the heights that are connected to God. There is a link between love and chastity that makes beauty sacred, that does not allow it to be violated but that protects it, like a precious object that we do not want to see damaged by dust, consumed by intrusive prying or desecrated by possessive hands ". "Cultural shifts in sexuality today " was the topic of a panel discussion with Bishop Jean Laffitte, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family who spoke on "Consequences of the sexual revolution ", and Lola Velarde, of the Instituto Europeo de Política Familiar who spoke on " Gender ideology ". They analysed the main difficulties in living fully the gift of sexuality as men and women: the dissociation of sexuality from the transmission of life, the liberalisation of sexual relations, precociousness and promiscuity in sexual relations, ideological feminism, the rejection of motherhood, the trivialisation and commercialisation of sexuality as well as subjectivism as the root of the gender outlook, the ideological change in relations between the sexes and the serious consequences of the gender ideology, the rejection of sexual difference, and the promotion of the gay culture. We must therefore " live our sexuality according to GodÂ’s plan ", the subject of the testimonies that followed. Sister Mariana Martin o.p., from Argentina, a religious sister of the Community of the Lamb, spoke of her journey from a degree in chemical engineering to her mission in various countries of the world; Chiara Amirante founder of Comunità Nuovi Orizzonti, involved in evangelisation, hospitality of the homeless, training and guidance, with many service centres in Italy and abroad, spoke of commitment as a community; Rev. José Luis Correa Lira, a priest from Chile, author of a number of books, spoke about the meaning of priestly celibacy. Then there was a panel discussion on: "Newness of Christian life experienced in marriage: fruitful love! ". The participants were François-Xavier and Solange Ngarambe from the Emmanuel Community in Rwanda, Giovanni Paolo Ramonda from the Pope John XXIII Community, and several young married couples who were delegates at the Forum. They pointed out the joys and difficulties of daily life in the light of the newness of Christian life found in the marriage experience. Through their personal experiences, they told of the fruitfulness of love, transmission of life, the gift of children, the discovery of fatherhood and motherhood, the witness given by Christian families, the mission to educate GodÂ’s children, and families open to welcoming the poor. Saturday 27 March was the final day, and it dealt with the theme " Preparing for Christian marriage ". The Pope had said in his message to the delegates that " the relationship between the man and the woman reflects divine love in a quite special way; therefore the conjugal bond acquires an immense dignity ". Taking up this idea and speaking on the subject of preparation for Christian marriage were Kari and Stephen Colella who work in pastoral ministry in the archdiocese of Boston in the United States, followed by Rev. Leopoldo Vives Soto from Spain and then Alex and Maud Lauriot- Prévost, co-founders with Fr. Daniel-Ange of Jeunesse Lumière. These talks were very clear and showed how important it is to follow a good preparation course for marriage. They help young people to look at all the aspects of their future life together and grow as a family and in faith, enriching each other and helping each other to overcome the inevitable difficulties and misunderstandings. Bishop Josef Clemens celebrated that dayÂ’s Mass. As one of the readings was taken from the prophet Ezekiel (Ez 37: 21-28), Bishop Clemens centred his homily on the painting of the prophet by Michelangelo that is in the Sistine Chapel. He said that it is a real " school of love " in which the elements are " symbolized by the colours of EzekielÂ’s garments. Michelangelo used red profusely to symbolise true deep love. Blue represents contemplation, that is, the need to establish a personal relationship with God through prayer. Lastly, purple stands for penitence: the need for reciprocal forgiveness! ". In the afternoon representatives of the working groups gave a synthesis of their discussions to the assembly. The delegates liked the image of the Church as alive, young, universal, concerned about the problems of humankind and which finds answers in the word of God, prayer and the Eucharist. They were impressed with the testimonies given. It was important that all the vocations were represented. It showed how GodÂ’s plan encompasses different ways of living out the vocation to love. Cardinal Ryłko had the task of summing up the Forum. He told the young people that God had planted the seed of his Word in their hearts, and that they should not allow that seed to die. He spoke of the great discoveries the delegates made during the Forum. That God loves each one personally was the most important. Then there is the discovery that true love is difficult and challenging because it is based on gift. Then comes the beauty of marriage, the love between a man and a woman that Christ consecrates in a sacrament. There is also the love of those who decide to serve the Church through the priesthood or consecrated life for the Kingdom of God. Finally, there is the beauty of being Christians. Cardinal Ryłko drew some useful pieces of advice from the Forum to help keep the experience alive. He told the young delegates: to trust in Christ and entrust our lives to Him; to educate our own freedom to have the capacity for full commitment for the whole of our lives; to be prepared to be converted each day; to be engaged in our communities and support each other. " The real work of the Forum is about to begin, at the moment when you prepare to return to your countries. I am sure that none of you will return unchanged. JesusÂ’ words have stirred something within you. Jesus has planted a seed in your lives. You need to cultivate this seed if it is not to die. Take it to others and share it with others ". On Sunday 28 March, the delegates went to Saint PeterÂ’s Square to celebrate the 25th World Youth Day with Benedict XVI. The theme this year is " Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? " (Mk 10:17). Just before the meeting with the Pope, there was time for an international " kermesse " of music and celebration with which the young people thanked the Pontifical Council for the Laity for providing this wonderful experience. They were all challenged with the mission with which the Holy Father had entrusted them in his message to the Forum: "These days of formation through encounter, listening to conferences and common prayer, must also be an encouragement to all the young delegates to make themselves witnesses among their peers of what they have seen and heard. It is a real responsibility. The Church is counting on them because they have an important role to carry out in the evangelization of their countryÂ’s young people to ensure that they respond with joy and faithfulness to ChristÂ’s commandment: ‘that you love one another as I have loved youÂ’ (Jn 15: 12) ". The text of the talks and testimonies can be found in various languages on the website


Witnessing to Christ in politics
The 24th Plenary Assembly

The 24th Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity on the theme: "Witnessing to Christ in politics ", took place at the Villa Aurelia in Rome from 20 to 22 May 2010. Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, introduced the assembly with an overview of the challenges and current issues that concern Christians involved in the political arena. He emphasised the topicality of this question and the urgent need to deal with it. He underlined the need to restate the limits of politics in order to control the risk of it being absolutised. He also stressed that it is essential to safeguard and defend ethical principles that are there to protect each and every individual. The cardinal also insisted that charity in politics must be rediscovered in order to establish a true " civilisation of love ". Professor Lorenzo Ornaghi, political sociologist and rector of the Sacred Heart Catholic University, gave a talk on " Politics and democracy today: status quaestionis". He concentrated on the relations that exist between democracy, the state and politics, and on the great patrimony we have in the social doctrine of the Church that opposes ideological politics. Professor Ornaghi concluded his talk with a call for all of us to have that creative drive of which Pope Benedict XVI speaks, one that emerges from the meeting of culture and politics and brings something new if it is filled with an authentically Christian spirit. He encouraged young people to enter the political arena with realism and passion, inspired by the Christian values they believe in and practise for the sake of the common good. On Thursday afternoon we had the authoritative contributions of Cardinal Camillo Ruini and Archbishop Rino Fisichella. In his talk on " The Church and the political community: some reference points ", Cardinal Ruini listed the fundamental principles of the magisterium on the topic, in particular those dealt with in Gaudium et Spes and Dignitatis Humanae. He pointed out their topicality and basic contents, especially those concerning the relationship between the political community and the Church and religious freedom. He spoke of the principles in the encyclical Centesimus Annus by John Paul II which express appreciation for authentic democracy and those in Deus Caritas Est by Benedict XVI which explain how the Church and state are separate realities, but that are in reciprocal relationship in the common service they must render so that there may be justice and charity for humankind. Archbishop Fisichella, who has been a guest of the dicastery several times in the past, gave a talk on " The mission of the lay faithful in politics ". He dealt with the most important topics for Catholics in politics today: the challenge presented by the lack of interest in seeking the truth that alone can combine personal welfare and that of the community; the responsibility to train young leaders, to which Benedict XVI refers constantly when speaking of the emergency in education; the central importance of national and international legislative questions on bioethical matters. He outlined the characteristics of Catholics in politics. They must be humble in recognising that their commitment is an authentic vocation, and they must be people of spirituality and prayer who are credible and live coherent lives, and who give witness to their faith. He emphasised the importance of Catholics dedicated to politics being involved in the Christian community, for it is here that they understand their identity and find support for their mission. Friday began with an interesting panel discussion in which we heard the testimonies of Josep Miró i Ardèvol, president of " Ecristians " and actively involved in politics, Savino Pezzotta, a deputy in the Italian parliament, and Roberto Formigoni, governor of the region of Lombardy. Josep Miró i Ardèvol focussed attention on the need for action by Catholics in politics that is a manifestation of Christian charity and that is inspired by the social doctrine of the Church, that is coherent with the faith, and that puts professional competence, moral rigour and cultural skills at the service of the common good. He also emphasised the need for an international cultural and educational reference plan that could help new leaders. According to Savino PezzottaÂ’s experience, Catholics should place emphasis on their witness as belonging, not to a party, but to the Church, the ecclesial community. They should adhere to the principles of social doctrine as an ongoing application of the Gospel in history, and live out their faith as a public matter, with sincerity; work specifically for the common good according to evangelical charity, especially in the social field, inspired by the magisterium, prepared to pay in person, to step aside, to leave space for young people and to be engaged in their training. Roberto Formigoni pointed out that Christianity has an intrinsic political dimension, and this is seen in its two thousand years of social engagement and building up the common good. He emphasised that the Christian community should encourage vocations to politics and educate their children for public involvement so that they may, through innovative and creative faith, defend that which has been built up through long tradition, and continue to offer service to every person. Nowadays this is done mostly by putting into practice the principle of subsidiarity which replaces the centrality of the state apparatus with that of the person, the family and intermediate levels of society. The morning concluded with the papal audience granted to the participants of the Plenary Assembly (see separate article).

The afternoon session began with a talk by Professor Andrea Riccardi on "What lessons can we learn today from the great Christian figures in the history of politics? ". He gave an enthralling reconstruction of the history of the Church in the last century, a century of martyrdom, in which there were great Catholic men and women engaged in society and public life, including Fr. Luigi Sturzo, Eduardo Frei, Alcide De Gasperi, Robert Schuman, Leopold Sèdar Senghor, Julius Nyerere, Dag Hammarskjöld and Lech Walesa. He brought us on a journey back through memory and to many parts of the world. He stressed that, at the basis of this great flourishing of witnesses to Christ in social and political life, there was a "movement " at the popular level that was creative and that was founded on the strength of people and nations that represented the community of provenance and of belonging.

On Saturday 22 May we looked towards the future of Catholics in politics. The day began with Professor Guzmán Carriquiry, undersecretary of the dicastery, who spoke on "Criteria and ways to prepare the lay faithful to take up political commitment ". He called on all of us, in the light of the PopeÂ’s words, to consider how the urgent need to train a new generation of Catholics to be engaged in politics means to give life, through the waters of baptism, so that Christians may rediscover the dignity, beauty, gratitude, joy and responsibility of their vocation, and become key players in public life and society. He said that they are called to respond to their vocation in communion with the Church, to have real experiences of a living faith and to give witness through the building up of the human community and the common good so that there may be a " revolution of love " with a spirit of true Christian charity. He recalled the fundamental importance of social doctrine, and indicated that one very good formative path was that of belonging to lively Catholic communities, like ecclesial associations and movements, that offer Christian identity, spiritual nourishment and support in times of difficulty.

After Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko summed up what had been said in this first part of the Assembly, Bishop Josef Clemens, secretary of the dicastery, spoke of the future plans of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and gave a short account of what has been done during the past few months (see next article). The topicality of the theme of this Assembly drew interest from the members and consultors. They were very actively involved and contributed extensively to the discussions, during breaks and times of sharing, and enriched the debate and exchange of ideas with their witness as Christians engaged in the life of the Church in countries and cultures all over the world.


The words of the Holy Father

The central point of the Plenary Assembly was the audience granted by the Holy Father to the participants on Friday morning, 21 May, in the Consistory Hall in the Apostolic Palace. Cardinal Ryłko spoke on everyoneÂ’s behalf in expressing filial affection and devotion and assuring the Successor of Peter of their prayers. He recalled that the source of inspiration for the Plenary was in the words His Holiness had addressed to the members and consultors of the dicastery in 2008 when he told them: " I confirm the necessity and urgency of the evangelical formation and pastoral accompaniment of a new generation of Catholics working in politics, that they be coherent with the professed faith, that they have moral firmness, the capacity of educated judgment, professional competence and passion for service to the common good ".

The Holy Father recalled the importance, in the Year for Priests, of the Pontifical Council for the Laity as a community of the baptised faithful " in which primarily lay people, coming from across the world and from very diverse contexts and backgrounds, work alongside Pastors " and which " offers a meaningful cross-section of the organic community of the Church. In her the common priesthood of the baptized faithful and the ordained priesthood put down their roots in the unique priesthood of Christ each in essentially different ways, but ordered one to the other ". He expressed gratitude for the mission of all priests: " Day after day, they accompany the christifideles laici on their journey of faith, proclaiming the word of God, communicating his forgiveness and reconciliation with Him, calling them to prayer and offering as sustenance the Lord’s Body and Blood. It is from this mystery of communion that the lay faithful draw the profound strength to be witnesses of Christ in the concrete reality and substance of their lives, in all of their activities and surroundings ". Then he centred his address on the main theme of the Plenary Assembly. He noted that, although it is not the task of the Church to provide training in politics, it is, according to number 76 of Gaudium et Spes, the specific mission of the Church to " pass moral judgments even in matters relating to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of human beings or the salvation of souls requires it. The only means it may use are those which are in accord with the Gospel and the welfare of all people according to the diversity of times and circumstances ". That is why " it is up to the lay faithful to demonstrate concretely in their personal and family life, in social, cultural and political life that the faith enables them to see reality in a new and profound way, and to transform it; that Christian hope broadens the limited horizon of mankind, expanding it towards the true loftiness of their being, towards God; that charity in truth is the most effective force that is capable of changing the world; that the Gospel gives a guarantee of freedom and a message of liberation; that the fundamental principles of the social doctrine of the Church such as the dignity of the human person, subsidiarity and solidarity are extremely relevant and valuable in order to support new paths of development in service to the whole person and to all humanity. It is also the duty of the laity to participate actively in political life, in a manner consistently in accordance with the Church’s teaching, bringing their well-founded reasons and high ideals into the democratic debate, and into the search for a broad consensus among all those who care about the defence of life and freedom, the safeguarding of truth and the good of the family, solidarity with the needy and the crucial search for the common good ". The Holy Father reminded us that politics is a very important area in which charity must be practised, and therefore " there is a need for authentically Christian politicians but, even more so, for lay faithful who witness to Christ and the Gospel in the civil and political community. This demand must be reflected in the educational programmes of ecclesial communities and requires new forms of presence and support from Pastors. Christian membership in associations of the faithful, ecclesial movements and new communities can provide a good school for these disciples and witnesses, sustained by the charismatic, communitarian, educational and missionary resources of these groups ". He concluded by saying that " the contribution of Christians can be effective only if knowledge of faith becomes knowledge of reality, the key to judgement and transformation. What is needed is a real ‘revolution of love’". He insisted that it is necessary to prepare the younger generations for social and political commitment, and that, in that sense, World Youth Days has produced many apostolic fruits.


The future plans of the Pontifical Council for the Laity

The 24th Plenary Assembly was an opportunity, as we have said in the report on the previous page, to inform the members and consultors of the main programmes and initiatives to be undertaken by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in the coming months. These include, of course, the Congress of Asian Catholic Laity, one of a continuing series of initiatives at regional or continental level that are organised by our dicastery in order to support the apostolic activity of the laity of the world. They provide opportunities for the most active forces in the Church to meet together and coordinate with each other as a sign of unity with the See of Peter. The Asian congress will take place in Seoul in South Korea, from 31 August to 5 September 2010, on the theme, " Proclaiming Jesus Christ in Asia today ". The event has been prepared in close collaboration with the Episcopal Commission for Laity of the Korean BishopsÂ’ Conference and the National Council of Laity in that country. At this point, two hundred delegates from around twenty countries have registered, representing bishopsÂ’ conferences and associations, ecclesial movements and new communities working in Asia. The programme has been drawn up with the numerous suggestions that we have received from experts and diverse sectors of the Church in Asia. We shall touch on the main areas of the current state of evangelisation on a continent in which Christians are almost always in the minority in a social contest in which, for various reasons, religious freedom is limited or even nonexistent.

Naturally, preparations for the upcoming WYD in Madrid are going on apace. The Madrid Committee opened an official website towards the end of 2009, and it is available in several languages. The venues for the main events, including the PopeÂ’s arrival and the way of the Cross, have been decided. Most of the dioceses in Spain will be involved in welcoming pilgrims during the days preceding WYD. In January 2011 in Madrid there will be a second preparatory meeting for youth ministry leaders from bishopsÂ’ conferences and international movements.

The WomenÂ’s Section recently took steps for some womenÂ’s organisations in contact with our dicastery to give their support to the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations for the 54th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, Beijing + 15, which was held in New York in March this year. Also, on the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing, it was opportunely suggested to the dicastery to restudy the Letter to Women that John Paul II wrote in 1995 in view of that Conference. We have drawn up a consultation questionnaire and sent it to women members and consultors and to other women involved in womenÂ’s issues. We invited them to reread John Paul IIÂ’s Letter to Women and to send us their reflections.

Connecting with the theme discussed in our Assembly, the Pontifical Council for the Laity is proposing to have a study session to reflect on women and men working together in politics.

The Church and Sport Section, after the last seminar held in November 2009, has closed the first phase of research which we hope will lead to a synthesis document of the magisterium on topics relating to sport. The document should be a set of guidelines to the work of evangelisation and Christian instruction in sport, something that is being requested by pastoral workers in the field.

Although the Pontifical Council for the Laity by definition deals with the laity, it has not been indifferent to the beautiful and prophetic initiative taken by the Holy Father to call for a Year for Priests which concluded at the end of this first semester of 2010. Not only are priests very important in the life of associations and movements, but it is also increasingly obvious that the laity play a role in the vocation, training and lives of their priests. This is true particularly in the ecclesial movements and new communities, as the Pope himself said in his letter at the start of the Year for Priests. The Pontifical Council for the Laity has opened a wide consultation with bishops, leaders of associations and movements, assistants and priests involved in this field, in order to draw up a preliminary document that could help us to understand and appreciate all the positive contributions brought to this field by the new era of group endeavours of the lay faithful.

As regards the choice of subject for the next Plenary Assembly, due to take place in two years time, the discussions during the 14th Assembly clearly showed that the topic of Christians involved in public life deserves further reflection. For this reason, the theme will remain in this general area, and will probably direct attention to some specific aspects.


Giovanni Runco retires

After forty two years of service to the Holy See, all spent at the Pontifical Council for the Laity where he was one of the first members of staff, Giovanni Runco retired from our dicastery at the end of April. His conscientiousness, reliability, and efficient and generous availability in doing the most varied tasks meant that he was a very useful person to have around. His colleagues will not forget his humanity and pleasantness and the times when he was their travelling companion. Thank you, Giovanni. May God reward you for all that you have given of yourself to our dicastery, and may God grant you many blessings as you embark on a new stage in life.


The WYD Cross visits prisoners

Two groups of volunteers from the San Lorenzo International Youth Centre took the WYD Cross to visit Rebibbia prison in Rome. The visit was facilitated by Sister Rita, a Canossian sister, who is a member of the prison chaplaincy.

The first two visits took place during Lent. They were in sector 4 of the prison where those detained for mafia crimes are held. The director of the institution had given three young people from the San Lorenzo Centre special permission to organise two meetings with around twenty prisoners within one week. At the first meeting the youth from the Centre got to know the people. They showed the video on "The power of the Cross " and they gave personal testimony about the role of the Cross of Jesus in their lives. On the second visit they held a service around the Cross. Ann, an American girl studying in Rome, later recounted her experience: " I did not think that going to a prison with two others and carrying a life size cross would make me feel so safe, and at the same time, so humble when I saw the faith of the men we met. I became aware that I was only a bearer of grace and of the message that God wanted to give those people. The Cross is not only a source of consolation and hope, but also a call from God to his children asking them to return Home ".

The prison director was moved by the visit of the WYD Cross. He carried it himself on his shoulders, and then asked them to have another service for all the other prisoners and to bring ten young people and two priests from the San Lorenzo Centre. The service was held on 29 May 2010. The youth remembered that John Paul II had personally visited Rebibbia to forgive his attacker, so they decided to centre the new service on reconciliation. In that way the prisoners could touch the mercy of God through the Cross and receive new hope. The service began with a projection of the video on the Cross which again made a big impact on the prisoners who were there. They were struck by the force of the witness given by the young people of their encounter with Christ and the truth of ChristÂ’s words on the Cross. It seemed natural to invite them to come and venerate the symbol of ChristÂ’s passion. They were invited to write their prayer intentions, their concerns and their sufferings, and to place them at the foot of the Cross. The two priests present gave a good introduction to the sacrament of confession, the greatest opportunity to personally receive mercy from the Father. From that moment, there was a constant flow of prisoners coming to confession. For some it was the first time since their first confession as children. Bernard Marusic, assistant director of the San Lorenzo Centre, said: " This was for me the greatest sign that GodÂ’s mercy is really without limits. Whatever those people have done, whatever we have done, does not go beyond the patience of our loving Father who only wants us to return to Him. To see those men coming to that realisation and taking a step towards GodÂ’s love, was really very moving ".

The director of another Roman prison has requested a visit by the WYD Cross next autumn. The graces it is bringing are still coming!


Juridical recognition and approval of statutes

The Pontifical Council for the Laity:

• by decree of 25 March 2010 approved the modifications made in the statutes of the Teresian Apostolic Movement.

• By decree of 4 April 2010 it recognised the Comunità Gesù Risorto of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal as an international association of the faithful with approval of the statutes ad experimentum. The Community emphasises the formation and constitution of communities of praise and evangelisation that are animated by the Holy Spirit and that live out and proclaim the presence of the risen Christ in the world. For this purpose, they are always prepared to welcome Pentecost and to relive its different aspects: the waiting for the Holy Spirit in the cenacle with Mary, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the proclamation of salvation, and the way of life of the early Christian communities (cf Statutes, art. 2.2).

• By decree of 12 May 2010 it recognised the Família da Esperança as an international association of the faithful with approval of the statutes ad experimentum. The association was started in Brazil in the archdiocese of Aparecida by Br. Hans Stapel OFM who wished to dedicate his life to the service of those most in need. The principle aim of the Família da Esperança is the sanctification of its members through the practice of reciprocal love, living out the Word, the Eucharist and the other sacraments, joyfully adhering to Jesus who was rejected, following the example of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Hope, while striving to actively put into practice the responses of the Gospel to the problems and sufferings of humankind (cf Statutes, art. 5). The members work towards these objectives by starting and managing shelters, refuges for single mothers and for the homeless, houses for street children and, in particular, centres and houses for the recovery of young drug and alcohol addicts. These are called Fazendas da Esperança. Through these facendas, the Família da Esperança tries to go beyond merely providing a public utility and to welcome people in a way that they can be cured of their dependence on alcohol and drugs, and have an encounter with the Lord.

• By decree of 3 June 2010 it recognised the Hogar de la Madre as an international association of the faithful with approval of the statutes ad experimentum. The Hogar de la Madre aims at the sanctification of its members through the specific missions of the defence of the Eucharist, the defence of the honour of Most Holy Mary, in particular the privilege of her virginity, and through striving to bring young people to Jesus Christ. In order to carry out these missions, the members of the association promote the worship and adoration of the Eucharist and of Marian life in the Church, and their apostolate with young people includes organising camps, pilgrimages, retreats and spiritual exercises.

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 Nuovi Orizzonti, Movimiento Athletae Christi, Movimento Apostolico, Jesus Youth, Movimiento de Retiros Parroquiales Juan XXIII, Movimento Laicale Orionino.


Ad limina visits

During the first semester of 2010 the Pontifical Council for the Laity received visits from bishops from Europe and Africa. These meetings brought out the contrast that exists between the situation on the Old Continent and that in developing countries.

In Great Britain the lay faithful are willing to follow the indications of the bishops, but attendance at Mass is generally low. Religious instruction mostly takes place in the parishes, and diocesan schools offer courses for those who are more committed. The model of reference for catechesis is the rite of Christian initiation of adults. The faithful are not often aware of the need to improve their knowledge of the faith. Christian families find it difficult to transmit the faith to the younger generations. Traditional associations are in decline, and new movements and communities encounter many difficulties. Much attention is given to youth ministry, and retreats and pilgrimages are organised. World Youth Day has a good following. It was at the time of WYD in Rome that the local movement Youth 2000 emerged. The presence of Catholics in politics is conditioned by the difficulty of reconciling Church affiliation with positions taken by the political parties.

The Church in Belgium, one of the most secularised countries in Europe, is going through a difficult time. There is a long tradition of associations in the country and these still play a significant role in society, but many associations that began Catholic have distanced themselves from the Church. The boy scouts have given up their links with the Church. Some branches of Catholic Action like the Young Christian Workers and Young Catholic Students, and also the Catholic Youth Council which was founded by the bishops, have lost their initial inspiration and are critical of the Magisterium, both from the moral and the doctrinal points of view. The shortage and advanced age of the clergy has obliged the dioceses to involve the laity in pastoral ministry. The pastoral animators are the ones who deal with specific sectors (liturgy, social activities, catechesis, etc.) not at the parish level but for wider zones. They take on a function of unification which tends to diminish the autonomy of parish priests. Unfortunately, in many cases action by the laity is prompted by a very generic Christianity, a not very representative tradition of humanitarian and social values. Acceptance of the contents of faith is weak and so also is the sense of belonging to the Catholic Church. Participation of the faithful in public life is not without its ambiguities. Many parties and trade unions in Belgium are linked to certain kinds of Catholic associations that have rejected all real ties with the Church. Catholic politicians have supported the legalisation of drugs, euthanasia and same sex marriage, and they have raised their voices against the teachings of the Church and the Holy Father.

Romania is a good example of the ChurchÂ’s development in Eastern Europe. The attitude of the laity, a sizeable minority (8.5%) in an Orthodox country, has been influenced by a long period of communist dictatorship. There is much passivity and a lack of adequate religious instruction, especially to help them cope with the rapid changes taking place in society. However, Catholics are attached to tradition and are faithful to the hierarchy. They are present and active in a large number of associations, movements and new communities. The situation of the Church in Africa, although quite delicate, is generally more hopeful.

In Uganda the laity are involved at all levels as catechists, as base community leaders, and as ministers of the Eucharist and of the Word. Religious instruction generally takes place in the parishes, and the dioceses try to offer opportunities for further study. However, there are many shortcomings. Efforts are being made to translate the Bible into the local languages. Youth ministry is well developed, and there are retreats, pilgrimages and cycles of meetings. They try to ensure the presence of the Church in schools and rural areas. The situation of young people is one of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. AIDS prevention is very important, but in spite of some success, the disease is still very widespread. Sects have an attraction, especially among youth. Catholic Action is well represented in Uganda, and so too is the Legion of Mary and Charismatic Renewal. Other movements and new communities are also present and active.

The long civil war that devastated Sierra Leone between 1991 and 2001 has left deep wounds in one of the poorest countries in the world which depends on subsistence farming and has little in the way of industries and infrastructure. A large proportion of the population is illiterate, and most of them speak only the local languages and dialects of their ethnic groups. Statistical data is uncertain. Islam is the religion of between 45 and 60% of the population, Christianity (all confessions) between 10 and 30%, and the remainder belong to traditional animist religions. Until a few years ago, Muslims could request baptism without being ostracised by their families or by society, but the situation is rapidly getting worse because of fundamentalist "missionaries " coming from Saudi Arabia. Schools are the most effective means of evangelisation and the places where basic Christian instruction is given. The government is creating problems for Catholic schools and is favouring Islamic schools. On the other hand, it is the government that guarantees the teachersÂ’ salaries in all schools, including the Catholic. In parishes and dioceses much effort is made in youth and marriage ministry. Polygamy and divorce are recognised by the state. Christians often have a traditional marriage ceremony and after living together for some time, celebrate the sacrament. Polygamy prevents many from receiving Baptism.

Liberia was afflicted by two civil wars (1986-1996 and 1999-2003) that left the country in a bad way. Most of the population is Christian, especially Protestant. 15% are Muslims and the rest are animist. The situation is similar to that in Sierra Leone, except that Islam is less prevalent.

The Gambia is a small country situated along the river of the same name, an enclave surrounded by Senegal. 90% of the population is Muslim, and 7% are Christian, of whom 2.4% are Catholic. The Church is highly respected for its work in the health and education sectors. As in Sierra Leone and in Liberia, they use the Lumko pastoral method from the South African Lumko Institute. This is a seven-stage evangelisation course intended for study in small communities.

In Burkina Faso the main challenge is religious instruction because the number of Christians is constantly increasing and there is a high number of catechumens. This competes with the social needs which are many: illiteracy, abject poverty, communication problems, and the intolerable circumstances children live in as they are considered to be a low cost work force. The lack of instruction means that the faithful are easily influenced by the Western mentality, hedonism and individualism, a return to superstition, polygamy and irregular marriage situations, and apostasy to the sects or Islam which are more lax with regard to morals. The pastoral plan "Church-Family of God " was launched by the bishops in order to respond to the need for religious instruction. It is being carried out by means of the creation of Christian base communities in each parish. Community leaders are laypeople who work together with the priests.

In Niger, a Muslim country considered to be the poorest in the world, Catholics form 0.2% of the population, and these are immigrants. Illiteracy reaches 90%. There is an increase in divorce and repudiation, a continuing movement towards intolerant fundamentalism in Islam, and the ongoing Tuareg rebellion. Catholics there want to create a climate of friendship with Muslims and to increase their help to those in need.


Contacts with associations and movements

During the first 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: Comunità Shalom association from Riva del Garda; Neocatechumenal Way from Cameroon; International Coordination of Young Christian Workers (ICYCW); Rinnovamento nello Spirito Santo; International Union of European Guides and Scouts - European scouting Federation (UIGSE-FSE); The Teresian Association; Comunità Nuovi Orizzonti; Christian Life Community (CVX); the Franciscanos de María association; Fédération Nationale de lÂ’Action Catholique des Enfants (Ace); Missionary Community of Villaregia (CMV); Institute for World Evangelisation - ICPE Mission; The International Organization of the Parish Cells of Evangelization System (CPE); Christian Life Movement (CLM); World Union of Catholic Teachers (WUCT); Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships (CFCCCF).

• On 26 January Cardinal Ryłko took part in the 5th Roman Colloquium organised by the Emmanuel Community on the theme " Priests and laity on mission ". He spoke on " the new style of collaboration between priests and laity in ecclesial movements and new communities: how can this benefit the Church? ".

• On 30 March he presided at a prayer vigil to commemorate the new martyrs organised by the Sant’Egidio Community in the basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome.

• On 14 April he spoke at a meeting organised by the Italian Embassy to the Holy See to commemorate Chiara Lubich, founder of the Work of Mary (Focolare Movement), on the second anniversary of her death.

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), International Young Catholic Students (IYCS), and the International Council of Catholic Men (FIHC-Unum Omnes).

• On 4 February Bishop Clemens took part in the Eucharistic concelebration in the basilica of Saint John Lateran on the occasion of the 42nd anniversary of the foundation of the Sant’Egidio Community.

• On 16 April he was present at the opening of the new office of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships (CFCCCF) in the Palazzo San Calisto.

The undersecretary of the dicastery, Professor Guzmán Carriquiry, met with the leaders and representatives of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships (CFCCCF), Canção Nova Community, Apostolic Movement of Schönstatt, Palabra Viva Community, International Coordination of Young Christian Workers (ICYCW); SantÂ’Egidio Community, Movimento Apostolico, Saint Vincent de Paul Society, Fondacio Christians for the World, and International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE).

• On 4 February Professor Carriquiry attended Mass celebrated in the basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome on the occasion of the 42nd anniversary of the foundation of the Sant’Egidio Community.

• On 22 February he attended Mass celebrated in the basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome on the anniversary of the death of Mgr. Luigi Giussani.

• On 19 May he took part in a panel discussion in Rome at the international headquarters of Communion and Liberation on the bicentenary of the independence of the countries of Latin America.

• On 30 May he gave a lecture in Rome to the moderators of some of the European charismatic communities within the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships (CFCCCF), on the theme " Communion among the states of life within communities ".

• On 5 June he took part in a seminar in Rome for the ecclesiastical assistants of the International Young Catholic Students (IYCS) and gave a lecture on the changes taking place in student environments and in their evangelisation.

• On 9 June, on the occasion of the conclusion of the Year for Priests, he took part in the " Priests Today " meeting organised by the Work of Mary (Focolare Movement), the Apostolic Movement of Schönstatt and the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) which took place in the Paul VI Hall in Vatican City.

Mgr Miguel Delgado Galindo, bureau chief of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, received visits by the leaders and representatives of Youth Arise International, International Catholic Union of the Press (UCIP), the San Andrés International School of Evangelisation, and Holy Trinity Apostolate Association.

Rev. Eric Jacquinet, head of Youth Section, was visited by the leaders and representatives of Shalom Catholic Community, the schools of evangelisation of the Emmanuel Community in Paray-le-Monial in France and Altötting in Germany, the schools of evangelisation of Jeunesse Lumière, and International Confederation CVS.

• On 23 April, Rev. Jacquinet was at Sassone di Ciampino in Rome to attend a conference on "Youth Together " organised by the International Confederation CVS. He spoke on the theme "Learning to Love ".

Ana Cristina Villa Betancourt of the WomenÂ’s Section received the visit of the president of the World Union of Catholic WomenÂ’s Organisations (WUCWO). Stefano De Pasquale Ceratti received the visit of the secretary general of International Young Catholic Students (IYCS).


Other engagements

During the first semester of 2010, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, received the visit of Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Most Rev. Braulio Rodríguez Plaza, archbishop of Toledo (Spain); Most Rev. Wiktor Skworc, bishop of Tarnów (Poland); Most Rev. Philip Wilson, president of the Australian BishopsÂ’ Conference; Most Rev. Anthony Fisher, bishop of Parramatta (Australia); Most Rev. Pierre dÂ’Ornellas, archbishop of Rennes (France); Most Rev. Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo, archbishop of Belo Horizonte (Brazil); Most Rev. Robert Le Gall, archbishop of Toulouse (France); delegations from the United States Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) and the Leadership Council of Women Religious (LCWR); Rev. Fernando Domingues, rector of the Pontifical Urban College De Propaganda Fide; the leaders of the Confédération Nationale des Associations Familiales Catholiques (France); Alfredo Dagnino Guerra, president of the Asociación Católica de Propagandistas (Spain); Marguerite A. Peeters, director of the Institute for Intercultural Dialogue Dynamics in Brussels (Belgium); Veronica Williams, founder of the movement Mothers Prayers of the Solace Community.

• On 26 January Cardinal Ryłko took part in a meeting called by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America (CAL) for a reflection on Latin America today with the aim of choosing a theme for the Plenary Meeting of the Commission scheduled for 2011.

• On 16 February, as part of the celebrations for the 4th centenary of Fr. Matteo Ricci’s death, he spoke at the presentation of the documentary film Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit in the Dragon Kingdom. It took place at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. His talk was on the dialogue between faith and culture.

• From 18 to 24 February he was in Seoul, Korea, for a series of contacts in order to finalise the programme for the Congress of Asian Catholic Laity which will take place there from 31 August to 5 September.

• He presided and introduced the final session of the international conference on " Science, reason and faith: the genius of Father Matteo Ricci " which took place in Macerata from 4 to 6 March.

• On 13 March he presided at the Eucharistic celebration at the annual Open Day of the Pontifical Urban College De Propaganda Fide which is a day for encounter and conversation between the College seminarians and youth groups from the ecclesial movements present in Rome.

• On 20 March he spoke during the second cycle of conferences on the laity in the Church, organised by the International Forum of Catholic Action (IFCA) in collaboration with the Pontifical Gregorian University Laikos, with a lecture on collaboration between priests and laity in movements of the faithful.

• He spoke at a world congress on " John Paul II, the Great ", organised in Murcia (Spain) from 14 to 18 April by the San Antonio Catholic University, with a lecture on " John Paul II, the Pope called to bring the Church into the third millennium".

• In view of WYD 2010 due to take place in Madrid, he spoke during the Plenary Assembly of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference which was held from 19 to 23 April. His talk was on "World Youth Day, a gift that involves the whole Church ".

• On 18 June he presided at Mass celebrated to close the 2009-2010 activity year of the San Lorenzo International Youth Centre.

Bishop Josef Clemens, secretary of the dicastery, received the visit of Most Rev. Czeslaw Kozon, bishop of Copenhagen (Denmark), Most Rev. Franz-Josef Hermann Bode, bishop of Osnabrück (Germany), Most Rev. Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising (Germany) and member of the dicastery, Most Rev. Michel Dubost, bishop of Evry- Corbeil-Essones (France) and consultor of the dicastery, Most Rev. Héctor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, archbishop of Trujillo (Peru) and president of the Peruvian BishopsÂ’ Conference, Most Rev. Karl-Heinz Wiesemann, bishop of Speyer (Germany), Most Rev. Leo Cornelio, archbishop of Bhopal (India). He also met with Rev. Heinrich Walter, superior general of the Schoenstatt Fathers, Rev. Álvaro Corcuera Martínez del Río, superior general of the Legionaries of Christ congregation, Maram Stern, deputy secretary general of the World Jewish Congress, Frère Alois Löser, prior of the Taizé Community. He received the visits of Dr. Manfred Lütz, member of the dicastery; the presidential committee of the Union of Catholic Trade Unions in Bavaria (Bayerischer Gewerkschaftsbund); Mgr Klaus Wyrwoll and the participants in an ecumenical seminar from the diocese of Hildesheim (Germany); a group of lecturers and students from the Canon Law Faculty of the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster (Germany); the leaders of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft katholischer Studentenverbände e.V. (AGV) (Catholic students associations); Professor Felix Unger, president of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts based in Salzburg (Austria); a group of spiritual assistants to the Catholic Sports Centres (DJK) of Germany; Dr. Marie-Luise Dött MdB, president of the Union of Catholic Businesspeople (Bund Katholischer Unternehmer e.V.), together with some members of the association; Tony Do, coordinator of the Movement of the Vietnamese Laity in Diaspora; Benjamin Harnwell, president of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute; Guillermo Cartasso, honorary president of the Fundación Latina de Cultura; François Vayne, director of the periodical Pôle Éditions of the Lourdes Shrine (France); Fearghas Ó Béara, press officer for the president of the European Parliament; a group of students from Siegen University in Germany led by Rev. Karl-Hans Köhle, director of campus ministry.

• On 8 February, Bishop Clemens took part in the opening session of the 19th Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family held in the Vatican.

• On 12 February he took part in the opening session of the 2nd Forum of the NGOs of Catholic inspiration which took place in Rome.

• On 15 February he met with delegates of Christian associations and movements in Slovakia on the occasion of their pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Cyril in Rome. They were accompanied by Katarina Hulmanova, president of the Forum of Christian Institutes (FKI) and member of the dicastery.

• On 18 February he spoke at a press conference in the Vatican to present the "Clericus Cup 2010 ", the fourth in the series.

• On 14 March he was with those accompanying the Holy Father on his visit to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rome.

• On 18 and 19 March he visited the La Dieci association in Bassano del Grappa.

• On 9 April in Rome he gave a lecture on the subject of the apostolate of the laity to a group of members of the Lions Club from Bremen and Dillingen in Germany.

• From 17 to 19 April, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the pontificate of Benedict XVI, Bishop Clemens gave a talk at the festivities organised in Marktl am Inn in Germany, the Holy Father’s home town. He spoke on the topic "Leading, confirming and uniting - the five years of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate ". He also presided at the solemn Eucharistic celebration in the parish of Saint Oswald, and attended a concert given by the Regensburger Domspatzen (Regensburg Cathedral Choir) together with Mgr Georg Ratzinger.

• On 22 April he presided at the Eucharistic celebration in the San Lorenzo International Youth Centre on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of the Pope’s entrusting the WYD Cross to young people.

• On 30 April he was present when the Holy Father blessed the renovated premises of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

• On 9 May he presided at Mass in the church of the Teutonic Cemetery in the Vatican for the participants on pilgrimage to Rome with the Europäische Akademie der Wissenschaften und Künste Salzburg (Salzburg Academy of the Sciences and Fine Arts).

• From 13 to 16 May he took part in a panel discussion with several businesspeople which was held during the 2nd German Ecumenical Meeting (Ökumenischer Kirchentag) in Munich, and he gave a biblical meditation to young people in the Olympiakirche.

• On 25 May he took part in a Eucharistic celebration in the church of San Stefano Rotondo in Rome on the occasion of twenty five years in the cardinalate of Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, archbishop emeritus of Munich and Freising in Germany.

• On 26 May he took part in the opening session of the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

• On 29 May he gave a talk on the subject "Mulieris Dignitatem in the post-modern era " at a seminar in Rome at the Mulieris Dignitatem Institute of the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Saint Bonaventure - Seraphicum.

• On 6 June in Shanghai in China he conferred the sacrament of Confirmation on thirty two young people of the German expatriate community.

• On 9 June on the occasion of the closure of the year for priests, he spoke of the lay apostolate to a group of Austrian and German priests meeting in Rome. On 10 June he had a discussion on topics related to the spiritual accompaniment of lay associations with a group of priests from the Foyers de Charité.

The under-secretary of the dicastery, Professor Guzmán Carriquiry, received the visit of Most Rev. Ramón Del Hoyo López, bishop of Jaén (Spain), Most Rev. Mariano José Parra Sandoval, bishop of Ciudad Guayana (Venezuela) and head of the Youth Section of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), Dr. Marguerite A. Peeters, representatives of the Don Luigi Sturzo International Centre, a group from the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL), Anna Halpine, founder of World Youth Alliance, Benjamin Harnwell, director of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, and a group of executives from the Fondation de service politique.

• On 23 January Prof. Carriquiry took part in the national assembly of the Movimento laicale guanelliano, in Rome. He gave a lecture on the vocation and mission of the lay faithful in the light of the charism of Fr. Guanella.

• On 6 February he was in Barcelona to give a talk at the Catalonia Faculty of Theology on political involvement in the light of the social doctrine of the Church.

• On Thursday 11 March he attended the International Theological Conference on "Christ’s faithfulness, a priest’s faithfulness " organised in Rome for the year of Priests. He gave a talk on " Priests and laity: the right relationship ".

• On 17 March in Seville, he gave a lecture at the San Telmo International Institute on the topic "Caritas in Veritate, businesses and businesspeople today ". On 18 March took part in a one-day seminar in Seville organised by the Fundación Antares Foro and spoke on the topic " The social doctrine of the Church and the economic crisis ".

• On 13 April, on the occasion of the bicentenary of independence in several Latin American countries, he was invited by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America to give a talk on this subject to the diplomatic corps of Latin American countries accredited to the Holy See.

• At the World Congress on " John Paul II, the Great ", organised by the San Antonio Catholic University in Murcia (Spain) from 14 to 18 April, he spoke on Saturday 17 on the topic " John Paul II and young people ".

• On 27 April he took part in a meeting in Rome of the members and consultors of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.

• On 27 June he took part in the 2nd Meeting of Latin American Centres for Christian Social Doctrine held in Rome. He gave a lecture on "The importance of continental integration and the vocation of the Catholic Church in this regard ".

On 23 April Mgr Miguel Delgado Galindo, bureau chief of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, received the visit of a group of students of the Canon Law Faculty of the Institut Catholique in Paris. He spoke to them about the exercise of vigilance by ecclesiasti- cal authorities with regard to associations of the faithful.

Rev. Eric Jacquinet, head of Youth Section, met with Rev. Pablo Lima, director of the national youth ministry department of the Portuguese bishopsÂ’ conference; Rev. Eric Poinsot, director of the national service for the evangelisation of youth of the French bishopsÂ’ conference; Rev. Jean-François Duhar, parish priest in Lourdes (France); Antonia Pillosio, a journalist from RAI Educational; Frère Alois Löser, prior of the Taizé Community and Prof. Jorge Milan, lecturer at the communications faculty of the Pontifical Holy Cross University; leaders and representatives of several movements: Missionari Identes, Gioventù Idente, Gioventù Nuova and Youth2000. Rev. Jacquinet also received the visit of the seminarians from the Strasbourg major seminary accompanied by their rector, pilgrims, altar servers, young people and parish priests from various French parishes.

Rev. Kevin Lixey, LC, of the Church and Sport Section, received the visit of Jack Del Rio, trainer of the Jacksonville Jaguars professional American football team.

• On 20 March he took part in the first day of the " Sport and Peace " Forum organised by the Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM) held in Aosta on the occasion of the first military winter games. He was on a discussion panel on the theme " Specific proposals for the integration of new sporting programmes in areas of conflict ".

• From 23 to 26 April he was in the Holy Land for the 6th Peace Marathon - John Paul II Games 2010. He took part in a stage of the marathon that includes the twelve kilometres between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

• On 29 May he took part in the award ceremony for the victors of the Clericus Cup 2010 which was held in the Pontifical Oratory of Saint Peter in Rome.

• On 2 June he took part in the International Sports Forum organised by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Brussels on the theme: " Europe’s response to the doping threat: social responsibility in sport and politics ". He gave a talk on "Ethics in sport as a social model ".

On 22 April Mgr Antonio Grappone represented the dicastery at a ceremony organised in Rome by the Libera Università Maria Santissima Assunta (LUMSA), on the occasion of the awarding of diplomas to the students of the course entitled "Experts in politics ".

Ana Cristina Villa Betancourt of the WomenÂ’s Section received the visit of young people from the Vite Nuove group. The group was set up by the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family Studies at the Pontifical Lateran University to do further studies on the subject of women.

• On 16 January she took part in a panel discussion held in Villafranca-Lunigiana (in the diocese of Massa Carrara in Italy) and organised by the association Scienza e Vita Pontremoli- Lunigiana on the theme "The development of each person and of all humanity in the light of the encyclical Caritas in veritate".

Stefano De Pasquale Ceratti received the visit of Most Rev. Edward Hiiboro Kussala, bishop of Tombura-Yambio (Sudan); he met with a group of representatives of the Movement of the Vietnamese Laity in Diaspora.

• On 25 March he represented the dicastery at an inter-dicastery meeting called by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace to prepare for the 44th World Day of Peace. Bishop Clemens’ engagements during the first semester of this year also included visits by H.E. Antonio Zanardi Landi, ambassador of Italy to the Holy See on 4 February; H.E. Hans-Henning Horstmann, ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Holy See, whom he also met at his farewell ceremony on 23 June. On 23 February he celebrated Mass at Saint Peter’s basilica for a group of politicians from the Tyrol who were led by H.E. Christian Berlakovits, Austrian ambassador to Italy.