In our world where there is so much talk of democracy, human rights and tolerance, paradoxically a very worrying phenomenon is spreading like wildfire: the violation of the right to religious freedom. In many countries manifestations of fanaticism and fundamentalism of a religious or secular nature are increasing as well as discrimination against religious minorities, which often arrive at veritable persecution. It is significant that increasingly the victims of these acts of intolerance and violence are Christians. Some people even talk of a dangerous spread of a kind of Christianophobia and a new antiChristianity (R. Remond). On the threshold of the third millennium of the Christian era, martyrs for the faith are once again a reality. It is a very serious problem and one that deserves careful consideration.
Among the rights of the human person, religious liberty occupies a special place. The Second Vatican Council teaches that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such a way that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits (Dignitatis Humanae, n. 2). And the servant of God John Paul II sees this law the source and synthesis of all other rights of the human person and the most reliable confirmation of their implementation (cf. Centesimus Annus, n. 47). For this reason, the spread of religious intolerance in todays world concerns us all, and forces us to clearly and unequivocally condemn it.
In the context of respect for the right to religious freedom, the Asian continent deserves particular attention. It is home to two thirds of the world population, of which a small minority of about one hundred and twenty million is Christian. According to the 2008 Report on International Religious Freedom, published by Aid to the Church in Need, out of fiftytwo Asian countries, in at least thirty-two religious freedom is restricted or even denied. During the recent Congress of the Catholic laity in Asia, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in Seoul, Korea, we heard very moving testimonies about the price paid by Christians for their faith in some Asian countries. Even the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, which took place at the Vatican October last, said the situation in which Christians live in the Middle East is particularly delicate. In recent months the world press has informed us of the tragic reality of Christians in Iraq, where the Catholic Church has become a real target of radical Islamic terrorism. Public opinion has been deeply shaken by the terrorist attack on the Syrian Catholic Cathedral of Baghdad where fifty-eight faithful were killed, including three priests. And the flurry of antiChristian attacks continued. A form of confessional cleansing appears to be in act that seeks to eliminate the Christian presence in those lands where the Church has been present now for two millennia. In fact, the bishops of the Churches of the Middle East denounce this fanatical strategy and talk about a disturbing bleeding of Christians in that region, a very grave fact from the cultural point of view.
Faced with these painful episodes, the Pope and the Holy See have been tireless in expressing their communion and solidarity with the Christians who are suffering because of their faith, while seeking to inform and sensitize public opinion and governments about the seriousness of the situation. Benedict XVI recently said: I think of the many difficult situations, such as the continuous attacks that occur in Iraq against Christians and Muslims, the clashes in Egypt where there were deaths and injuries [...] May our prayer to the Lord and our solidarity bring hope to those who are suffering (Angelus, December 5, 2010).And in his latest apostolic exhortation on the Word of God he wrote: I also express the whole Churchs gratitude for those Christians who have not yielded in the face of obstacles and even persecutions for the sake of the Gospel. We likewise embrace with deep fraternal affection the faithful of all those Christian communities, particularly in Asia and in Africa, who presently risk their life or social segregation because of their faith (Verbum Domini, n. 98). But the Pope also urged Christians especially Catholic laity to engage seriously in favour of the promotion of an authentic freedom of religion and conscience, one of the fundamental human rights that each state should always respect (Homily, October 24, 2010).
Faced with these glaring facts, after a long silence, the international community seems to have finally awakened: the United Nations SecurityCouncil explicitly expressed itself against the persecution of Christians in Iraq, the European Parliament in turn approved a resolution condemning the massacres of Christians in Iraq and that commits the governments of EU member states to put pressure on Baghdad for an end to violence against Christians. But Iraq, as we have seen, is not the only country where religious freedom is violated. Suffice it to recall the violence in some Indian states like Orissa or the case of Asia Bibi in Pakistan, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy. During the recent OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) summit in Astana (Kazakhstan), Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, strongly advocated: It is well documented that Christians are the most persecuted and discriminated against religious group. Over two hundred million of them, belonging to different denominations, are in difficult situations because of legal and cultural structures. The international community must combat intolerance and discrimination against Christians with the same determination with which it fights against hatred against members of other religious communities(LOsservatore Romano, December2,2010). Theprinciple of freedom of religion and conscience is for all, and therefore, can not be denied to anyone.
But religious intolerance is spreading in our old Europe, which prides itself on being the cradle of modern democracy. This is clearly evidenced in a detailed report (Shadow Report 20052010) recently published by the Austrian nongovernmental Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe. The forms of violations of religious freedom on our continent are, however, more sophisticated and are even promoted in the name of tolerance. Sometimes, the suspicion arises that hostility towards, offense or defamation of Christians in the mass media is seen by the public as something normal , indeed politically correct . In reality, this is a new form of intolerance, known as negative tolerance , of which Pope Benedict XVI spoke about in his recent booklength interview with Peter Seewald Light of the world. It is worth recalling the clear and enlightening words of the Holy Father: There are well-established standards of thinking that are supposed to be imposed on everyone. These are then announced in terms of socalled negative tolerance . For instance, when people say that for the sake of negative tolerance [i.e. not offending anyone ] there must be no crucifix in public buildings. With that we are basically experiencing the abolition of tolerance, for it means, after all, that religion, that the Christian faith is no longer allowed to express itself visibly. When, for example, in the name of nondiscrimination, people try to force the Catholic Church to change her position on homosexuality or the ordination of women, then that means that she is no longer allowed to live out her own identity and that, instead, an abstract, negative religion is being made into a tyrannical standard that everyone must follow. [...] In the name of tolerance, tolerance is being abolished; this is a real threat we face. The danger is that reason so-called Western reason claims that it has now really recognized what is right and thus makes a claim to totality that is inimical to freedom. I believe that we must very emphatically delineate this danger. No one is forced to be a Christian. But no one should be forced to live according to the new religion as though it alone were definitive and obligatory for all mankind (pp. 8283). Therefore, the words of the Servant of God John Paul II in Centesimus Annus were prophetic, when he wrote: As history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism (n. 46).
What, then, is the conclusion of our reflections? Freedom is a gift from the Creator that gives the person a unique human dignity, but at the same time, it is a challenge, a task that requires a permanent commitment and responsibility so that it is not lost. Freedom requires the courage to become, following the example of our Master, a sign of contradiction in the world (cf. Lk 2, 34). The Russian philosopher Nikolai Bierdiajev was right when he wrote that for a Christian freedom is not only a right... it is a must.
Card. Stanisław Ryłko
From August 31 to September 5, 2010, the Congress of lay Catholics in Asia was held in Seoul, South Korea. It is the tradition of the Pontifical Council for the Laity to convene a Congress of laity involved in the Church accompanied by their pastors, from a geopolitical region or continent, so that they can meet, discuss and help each other in a sign of unity with the See of Peter to strengthen their apostolic work.
The choice of the Asian continent was made in relation to the general economic development and the profound social changes which have taken place in this region of the world in recent years, and this is why South Korea was chosen to host this new appointment, with the theme Proclaiming Jesus Christ in Asia today .
Since its preparatory stages, implemented in close cooperation with the Commission for the Laity of the Episcopal Conference and local Korean National Council of the Laity, the Congress has received the support and concrete contribution of many ecclesial realities in Asia, which have proved their vitality and active participation.
Delegations from nineteen member and associate countries of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences (FABC) actively and enthusiastically took part, almost all of them led by a bishop, some officers of the same FABC, as well as thirtyseven delegations from associations, ecclesial movements and new communities recognized by the Holy See, present and active in Asia.
Many bishops and cardinals have given testimony, with their presence and active participation, sharing of issues concerning the participation of the laity in the life of the Church in Asia and their pastoral care in respect of the apostolate of the Christifideles laici.
Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, opened the Congress presiding a Mass at the Myongdong Cathedral in Seoul on the morning of September 1st .
It was a sign of the climate of full ecclesial communion that permeated the Congress to see priests, religious and lay people of different nationalities, together with Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jinsuk, archbishop of Seoul, Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi (India), Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla, apostolic nuncio to Korea, and Korean and several bishops of other dioceses in Asia take part in the celebration.
In the initial greeting to all participants Cardinal Ryłko pointed out that the challenge of evangelization demands a profound rediscovery of the prophetic mission of all the baptized, and exhorted everyone to be proud of their being Catholic and not be afraid to proclaim the Gospel.
The message sent by His Holiness Benedict XVI, read to all participants by the apostolic nuncio to Korea Bishop Osvaldo Padilla, generated great excitement and gratitude.
In it, the Holy Father recalled that asian Catholics are called to be a sign and promise of that unity and communion communion with God and among men which the whole human family is meant to enjoy and which Christ alone makes possible .
He added that the continents different peoples, cultures and religions, they have been entrusted with a great mission: that of bearing witness to Jesus Christ, the universal Savior of mankind. This is the supreme service and the greatest gift that the Church can offer to the people of Asia, and it is my hope that the present Conference will provide renewed encouragement and direction in taking up this sacred mandate .
The Pope stressed the theme of the necessity of the proclamation of Jesus Christ in Asia today, saying that the Catholic laity in union of mind and heart with their Pastors, and accompanied at every step of their journey of faith by a sound spiritual and catechetical formation, they need to be encouraged to cooperate actively not only in building up their local Christian communities but also in making new pathways for the Gospel in every sector of society .
He then referred to some areas that particularly need this announcement, such as Christian married love and family life, the defense of life as a whole, concern for the poor and the oppressed, readiness to forgive, witnessing justice, truth and solidarity in the workplace and in public life.
He expressed appreciation for the significant role of lay people involved in many parishes as catechists, as well as the efforts of ecclesial movements and associations dedicated to the promotion of human dignity and justice which demonstrate the universality of the Gospel message of our adoption as children of God .
The Holy Father imparted his Apostolic Blessing on the participants expressing the hope the Church in Asia bear ever more fervent witness to the incomparable beauty of being a Christian, and proclaim Jesus Christ as the one Savior of the world .
Greetings were also sent by the President of the Republic of Korea, Lee Myung Bak, in a message read by the Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Inchon Park, in which, recalling the great contribution made by the martyrs of the Catholic Church toward the spiritual maturity and reconciliation of the Korean people, the President showed deep appreciation for the decision to hold this conference in Seoul.
The Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jinsuk, archbishop of Seoul, also welcomed participants urging all to discover their own vocation and mission in the Church to proclaim Jesus Christ with enthusiasm.
In the first conference, Father Felipe Gomez, SI, from the East Asian Institute in Manila (Philippines), skillfully traced the line of continuity that runs through the history of the Churchs mission in Asia, over two millennia of evangelization and the witness of holiness and martyrdom, of which he emphasized the main events.
Then it was the turn of Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, who focused participants attention on the major challenges of evangelization in Asia today, recalling the two fundamental dimensions for Christians to proclaim the Gospel: the missionary dimension and the witness of every day life.
The first day of the Congress saw the presentation of different geopolitical and church realities through the witness, often vibrant and moving, of representatives of various national Episcopal conferences. Each illustrated their experiences of Christian life and the proclamation of the Gospel in often difficult contexts, where Catholics are a tiny, but creative minority , the creator of a real renewal and transformation in the light of the Gospel of many realities and contexts very far from God.
On the second day, it was the turn of the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Archbishop. Josef Clemens, who very clearly outlined the contents of the PostSynodal exhortation Christifideles laici on the vocation and mission of the laity in the Church, reevaluating them from a very wise perspective, which showed the continuity between the contents of this document, the magna charta for Catholic laity, and the thought and teaching of Joseph Ratzinger, who had anticipated and shared these crucial issues.
The second intervention was given by Vietnamese Father Joseph Dinh Duc Dao, professor at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome, and regarded the importance of Christian formation of lay Catholics in Asia as the basis of their missionary ability.
He recalled how formation means mission because it is through it that Catholics become mature in their faith and so can really share it with others. This calls for close attention to programs of education and faith formation to be made available to all faithful.
The proceedings of the September 2 continued with two round tables, where several guests shared their experiences with the Assembly and their specific formation in different fields of life and society of primary importance for genuine evangelization of peoples.
After the Eucharistic celebration, the participants attention focused on the life and testimony of a key figure of evangelization in Asia, that of Jesuit Father Matteo Ricci, brought to light through the projection of a film, which traces the major milestones of his work.
On the morning of Friday, September 3, an intervention was given by Father Bernardo Cervellera, of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, director of AsiaNews, with his speech that offered a broad overview of the current meaning of martyrdom of Catholics in Asia, highlighting, through recent news reports, several situations of hardship and suffering resulting from the restriction of religious freedom in many countries on the continent.
After an interesting round table, in which the voices of many experts reflected the main areas and priorities for evangelization in Asia today, the afternoon continued with a fascinating excursus on the significant and fundamental involvement of associations of faithful, ecclesial movements and new communities in the current challenges of evangelization in Asia today.
This conference, titled The new season of association of the lay faithful , was given by Prof. Guzmán Carriquiry, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, who in particular covered all of the most significant passages of the Churchs teaching on the importance, in view of evangelization, of the organized apostolate of the laity and the birth of new associative groups, regarded by Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI as providential gifts of the Holy Spirit for the Church of our times.
In a later panel discussion, space was given to the living witnesses of this ecclesial wealth: delegates coming from different associations such as the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, Couples for Christ, the Focolare Movement, Legion of Mary, and Neocatechumenal Way and others spoke of their experiences in the context of evangelization in Asia.
The daily Eucharistic celebration was held in one of the symbolic places of Catholicism in Asia, the Shrine of the Korean Martyrs Jeoldoo San.
On September 4, the Congress continued after the Mass, with the final conference of Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko who, summarizing the outcome of the working sessions, focused on what even then seemed to be the most significant result of the meeting: the need to nourish hope. He indicated in the inability to hope, the roots of forgetfulness of God by many people today and, citing Pope Benedict XVIs encyclical Spe salvi recalled that anyone who does not know God, even though he may entertain all kinds of hopes, is ultimately without hope, without the great hope that sustains the whole of life (cf. Eph 2:12). Mans great, true hope which holds firm in spite of all disappointments can only be God God who has loved us and who continues to love us to the end, until all is accomplished (cf. Jn 13:1 and 19:30) (27). Identifying in this very concept the mandate that Christ gives us the end of our Congress: announce hope to this continent , through a renewed commitment of all the baptized faithful and effective action of apostolate and evangelization, as a response to the call and mission of each individual within one Church. He considered the process of a continuous, authentic Christian formation essential to this, which has holiness as the final gaol. On this journey, despite the difficulties and obstacles in many situations of the Asian continent and the necessity, at times, of the cross to the point of martyrdom, Christians will encounter the certainty of Gods support, which, Cardinal Ryłko recalls, quoting Pope Benedict XVI, He does not fail because he finds ever new ways to reach people and to open wider his great house so that it is completely filled (Homily during the Eucharistic celebration with the bishops of Switzerland, November 7, 2006).
Participants produced two final texts, one to be presented to the Holy Father, in response to the message sent to the meeting, in which they thanked the successor of Peter with sincere gratitude for his closeness and promised a renewed missionary commitment in communicating the message of Jesus Christ to the peoples of Asia, and the second text, to all lay Catholics on the continent, stressing the importance of unity in the Church under the guidance of its Pastors and the need for awareness of the effectiveness of creative minorities , which , also in trouble, are signs of vibrant hope for the message of Christ to all people.
That evening participants gathered for a convivial moment with a traditional Korean dinner.
Sunday, September 5, delegates met in Seoul Cathedral, together with the local community, for the solemn Eucharistic celebration presided by Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, during which each participant was gifted, as a memento of those days of reflection and renewal, a wooden crucifix and a rosary blessed by His Holiness.
The success of the Congress must be attributed mainly to the exceptional organizational skills of Dr. Thomas HongSoon Han, from 1984 until this year member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, whose professional skills, commitment and generous cooperation the dicastery has been able to appreciate.
Graduated in Economics, specializing in Social Sciences and an honorary Doctor of Law, he has participated as an auditor at different synods of bishops and was president of the Lay Apostolate Council of Korea.
On 21 October last, Dr. Han was received by Pope Benedict XVI as the new Ambassador of Korea to the Holy See.
egistration for the twentysixth World Youth Day, to be held in Madrid, Spain, August 16 to 21, 2011, opened last July. Already more than two hundred thousand young participants have registered through the website of the Spanish Organising Committee (www.madrid11.com), where among other things, practical guidance and pastoral content for the event can be found in seven languages, constantly updated by the editors . The itin
erary of spiritual preparation has been traced indepth by Pope Benedict XVI, who, in his traditional message, dedicated a genuine catechesis to the theme of the Madrid World Youth Day: Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith (cf. Col 2, 7). The document, available in several languages on the Vatican website (www.vatican.va), is a key reference point for the spiritual preparation of young people.
This preparation is the key to the success of any World Youth Day. And if a myriad of young people, accompanied by their pastors around the world, have already begun their long journey towards WYD, for its part the entire Church in Spain is preparing to welcome them. In fact, the pilgrimage of the WYD Cross and Icon of Mary throughout the Spanish territory continues, and from diocese to diocese is involving the entire ecclesial community in moments of prayer, celebration and testimony, preparing for and promoting the gathering in Madrid.
At the same time, work on the ground in Madrid is in full swing with the Spanish Organising Committee and the Pontifical Council for the Laity in foreground to define the many logistical and pastoral aspects that make up the World Youth Day: the general program , the reception of pilgrims, accommodation, meals, major celebrations, catechesis, social communications, etc..
The second international preparatory meeting, scheduled in San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Madrid) January 12 to 15, focuses on these issues attended by national leaders of youth ministry of the bishops conferences around the world and representatives of the movements, international associations and ecclesial communities who will now have the opportunity to obtain more complete information about the event, provide their suggestions to the organizers and to personally visit the places which will host the World Youth Day. This is a re
ally valuable opportunity to bet
ter plan for the participation of many youth groups who will travel to Madrid under their direction.
The official WYD 2011 song has also been released, presented to the public for the first time on 8 November in Madrid, on the eve of the feast of the Virgin of Almudena, patron saint of the city. The song, inspired by the theme of World Youth Day, is titled Firmes en la fe, and has a clear liturgical and devotional purpose. In fact, both the text and music are an invitation to prayer and meditation, as a sort of soundtrack of the celebrations of the day. The author of the text is Msgr. César Franco, auxiliary bishop of Madrid and the general coordinator of WYD 2011, who explains that the holy verses highlight the humanity of Christ in the style of traditional Spanish mystic and try to draw young people closer . The music was composed by Father Enrique Vázquez Castro, a priest in Victoria and renowned liturgical composer, who emphasizes that, to write the score, the first challenge was to develop a melody that would help us understand the text, to sing it and mean it .
The song is available on the website of the Spanish Organising Committee in three versions: liturgical, choral and instrumental, to the accompaniment of a folk guitar. Besides the official hymn there will also be space for many more songs written and offered directly by young people, as always, inspired by the WYD theme.
In 2010 the Pontifical Council for the Laity wanted to recall Pope John Paul IIs Letter to Women published June 29, 1995. With this important document, the Holy Father had spoken directly to women, thanking them for the very fact of being women and promoting reflection on the feminine genius in the hope that it would find its just evaluation.
The occasion for the Letter was offered by the celebration of the IV World Conference on Women organized by the UN in 1995 in Beijing. The venerable John Paul II did not want the event to take place without the voice of the Church being heard, moreover, that year the Pope intervened repeatedly on the theme of the dignity and vocation of women.
Fifteen years later, we find ourselves in a climate of growing anthropological confusion that requires guidance and light in order to continue on the journey. The Church, an expert in humanity, knows that the world has to offer the diakonìa to indicate the truth of the human being, male and female, announcing and presenting it as a light to overcome the confusion of our times.
Our dicastery approached some experts inviting them to review and comment on John Paul IIs document in the light of todays challenges, at the same time asking them to take stock of the consequences of the Fourth Conference on Women in Beijing. In particular, we asked them which contents of the document need to find a better reception, how to deepen the theological and anthropological foundation of the dignity of man and woman proposed by the Letter, what welcome the feminine genius has received as well as other issues. In addition, we asked for an analysis of the influence of the gender ideology from 1995 to today and called for advice on how to revive Christian anthropology in the present context. The women surveyed were chosen from among the employees of the dicastery, members or expert advisors on the issues of women in our time. We wholeheartedly thank the women who sent us their thoughts, all of which are greatly appreciated for their quality and depth, expressing our wish to work together to build a better future for the women and men of our time.
We will continue to collect contributions from all over the world to study and reach a precise diagnosis on the status quaestionis of the situation of women.
On September 1 this year, during the Wednesday general audience, Pope Benedict XVI began a series of reflections on the female figures of the Middle Ages who stand out for the holiness of their lives and the wealth of their teaching (General Audience, 1 September 2010).
These are the manifestations of the feminine genius, expressions of the charisms that the Holy Spirit distributes to women in the history of the People of God, (John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem, 31). Returning to these figures who have marked the history of the Church, the Pope helps us to know the spiritual treasures hidden in it so that, drawing from them, we can face the challenges of our day.
The cycle began with two catechesis dedicated to Saint Hildegard of Bingen, a twelfthcentury mystic, endowed with extraordinary spiritual gifts, of vast culture, a strong and courageous nature. Hildegard, the socalled Teutonic prophetess clearly denounced the mistakes of the Cathars and asked for a real reform of the Church through the path of penance and conversion. The Holy Father expressed the wish that holy and courageous women, like St Hildegard of Bingen, who, developing the gifts they have received from God, make their own special and valuable contribution to the spiritual development of our communities and of the Church in our time (General Audience, September 8, 2010). Very learned in arts and sciences, she proves that the cultural activity of the convents of the Middle Ages was very intense and rich, contrary to many popular prejudices. St. Hildegard shows us that throughout history, many women have found in monastic life, the ideal context for developing their gifts and putting them in the service of the Church and society. In particular, the Holy Father points to the saint as a model for theologians, as thanks to her work, we already see that theology too can receive a special contribution from women because they are able to talk about God and the mysteries of faith using their own particular intelligence and sensitivity (ibid.).
The cycle continued with the presentation of one of the most popular saints : St Clare of Assisi. Benedict XVI highlighted the effectiveness of her holiness for the reform of the Church, the importance of her work in complementarity with gifts of St. Francis, the Pope asked God that even in our times the Church may benefit from courageous women, full of faith like her, who can give a crucial impetus to the Churchs renewal (General Audience, September 15, 2010).
The Holy Father then spoke of St Matilda of Hackeborn, of the Helfta convent, who lived in the thirteenth century. A fascinating character, full of mystical gifts, a deep lover of the liturgy, she teaches us of a monastic spirituality founded on the Eucharist guided by the Scripture. Benedict XVI proposes her as a model for all, saying that her life is a strong invitation to us to intensify our friendship with the Lord, especially through daily prayer and attentive, faithful and active participation in Holy Mass. The Liturgy is a great school of spirituality (General Audience, September 29, 2010).
The following catechesis covered St Gertrude the Great, a disciple of St. Matilda, also a Helfta nun. Even in this case a woman well versed in the sciences and arts of her time. There she deepened her understanding of the sciences of the trivium and quadrivium, the education of that time, but after an intense spiritual experience, she began to do battle with her vanity and curiosity, later devoting herself entirely to theological studies specifically applying herself to the apostolate by writing to for informational purposes. The simplicity, grace and persuasiveness of her works have helped the progress of many generations. According to the Holy Father, St Gertrudes life lives on as a lesson of Christian life, of an upright path, and shows us that the heart of a happy life, of a true life, is friendship with the Lord Jesus. And this friendship is learned in love for Sacred Scripture, in love for the Liturgy, in profound faith, in love for Mary, so as to be ever more truly acquainted with God himself and hence with true happiness, which is the goal of our life (General Audience, October 6, 2010).
Blessed Angela of Foligno was the protagonist of the catechesis of 13 October. If her life first unfolded far from God, an encounter with the figure of St. Francis and, through him, with Christ himself, led to her conversion, making her discover that only with God, life becomes real life. So she speaks to us all, says the Holy Father, who live in a time when the temptation is strong to live as if God did not exist. The example of the Blessed Angela urges us to pay attention to these signs with which the Lord touches our soul, attentive to Gods presence, so as to learn the way with God and towards God, in communion with Christ Crucified (General Audience, October 13, 2010).
In a continuing exploration of the holy women of the Middle Ages, the Pope spoke of St Elizabeth of Hungary as true example for all who have roles of leadership: the exercise of authority, at every level, must be lived as a service to justice and charity, in the constant search for the common good . Indeed, this woman, Queen of Thuringia, did not eat any food before ascertaining that it came from her husbands property or legitimate possessions. While she abstained from goods procured illegally, she also did her utmost to provide compensation to those who had suffered violence (General Audience, October 20, 2010). Thus she is a true example of that truth in love, so necessary to the building of a more humane society.
St Bridget of Sweden, copatron of Europe, founded the Order of the Holy Saviour, composed of men and women religious under the authority of an abbess. For the Holy Father, this choice is an element we should not find surprising: in the Middle Ages monastic foundations existed with both male and female branches, but with the practice of the same monastic Rule that provided for the Abbess direction. In fact, in the great Christian tradition the woman is accorded special dignity and always based on the example of Mary, Queen of Apostles a place of her own in the Church, which, without coinciding with the ordained priesthood is equally important for the spiritual growth of the Community. Furthermore, the collaboration of consecrated men and women, always with respect for their specific vocation, is of great importance in the contemporary world (General Audience, October 27, 2010).
The last catechesis before the preparation of this article concerned the French Carthusian nun Margaret of Oingt, also born in the thirteenth century. Her writings reveal a deep spirituality, a vast culture, the gifts of governance. She dedicated herself to knowing and loving the Lord and allowing herself to be enlightened by the light of Christ that cleanses us and shows us the way forward. Therefore, the Pope presents her as a model, so that we may follow her footsteps on our spiritual journey.
With this cycle of catechesis, the Holy Father is not proposing a mere exercise in historical memory, however interesting it may be. Instead, we can say that in presenting these women he is urging everyone men and women to know of them and consider them models of active participation and female inclusion in the life of the Church. It is almost a provocation that evaluates the different forms of feminine genius that have enriched the Church during the course of history, with the hope that in our time the genius of feminine holiness will manifest itself, which springs from life in Christ , and find wider acceptance in the Church and society.
General Assembly in the Holy Land
From 6 to 12 October, 2010 the General Assembly of the World Union of Catholic Womens Organizations (WUCWO) was held in Jerusalem. The association, founded in 1910, celebrated its centenary reflecting on the theme: You shall be my witnesses (Acts 1, 8). The WUCWO is a public international lay association that brings together over one hundred Catholic womens organizations representing more than five million women who are active in more than sixty countries. The WUCWO promotes the presence, participation and coresponsibility of Catholic women in the Church and society to support their mission of faith and their commitment to human development and peace in the world. The choice of the Holy Land arose from the need to return to the roots of our faith, in the land where Jesus walked the earth, to meet him in a special way thanks to a liturgical and formation program, especially through listening to the Word of God proclaimed in the holy places. The opening Eucharistic celebration was presided over by His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. The Polish writer Ludmila Grygiel, an expert on family issues and Christian anthropology, delivered the key note address on the topic: You are witnesses of Love . The French theologian Florence Gillet, who has published studies on Mary, Therese of Lisieux and Chiara Lubich, developed the theme Mary, a witness of the Love of God yesterday and today . Ana Cristina Villa Betancourt, head of the Womens Section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, presented a report entitled Jesus and women: meeting him, following him, being his witnesses . The journalist and writer Marguerite Peeters, founder of the Institute for Intercultural Dialogue Dynamics, addressed the theme How to be witnesses of Christ in a globalized world . Christine Vollmer, founder of Alliance for Families, spoke on The importance of formation to be effective witnesses in the world today . The reality of daily life in the Holy Land was presented by a wide variety of Christian women and representatives from an interfaith group of young Focolarini . The Assembly has set out priorities for the next four years, adopted a final communiqué and elected a steering committee and the new general chairman, Maria Giovanna Ruggieri from Italy.
Anna Maria Federici Manni retires
In September 2010 Anna Maria Federici Manni retired from the service she had offered our dicastery for many years. Secretary to His Eminence Cardinal Ryłko, since the latter was appointed secretary of the dicastery, she first joined the newborn Consilium de Laicis, which later became the Pontifical Council for the Laity, in 1969. Mrs. Federici Manni held several positions, including the post of personal secretary of the then vicepresidents, Bishops Lucas Moreira Neves and Paul Josef Cordes. After forty years of dedicated service to the Holy See, carried out with professionalism and expertise, Mrs. Federici Manni takes with her a historical memory of the everyday work of the dicastery, as well as the many events and contacts with members and consultors of various mandates. As a culmination of the many years of service, carried out with heartfelt and conscientious dedication, the dicastery Superiors desired she may obtain from the Holy Father Benedict XVI a special recognition and thus she was awarded the title of Dame of the Order of Pope St. Sylvester. All of the staff wish Anna Maria all the best in this new phase of life, a welldeserved award for many years of dedicated work.
Address to Portuguese bishops
In recent months the Pope has repeatedly spoken about the ecclesial movements and new communities, enriching his extensive teaching on the a new era of group endeavours (Christifideles laici, 29). In particular, he has dedicated a large excerpt of his speech to the bishops of Portugal on May 13, 2010, during a visit to Fatima, to this theme. Here, we repropose that part of the address that concerns the movements and comparing it with similar interventions by the Holy Father to understand it better.
Speaking to mankind today
The Pope introduces his discourse on movements after tracing the situation of the deChristianized society of today and the difficulties encountered in such circumstances to proclaim the Gospel: when, in the view of many people, the Catholic faith is no longer the common patrimony of society and, often, seen as seed threatened and obscured by the gods and masters of this world, only with great difficulty can the faith touch the hearts of people by means simple speeches or moral appeals, and even less by a general appeal to Christian values. The courageous and integral appeal to principles is essential and indispensable; yet simply proclaiming the message does not penetrate to the depths of peoples hearts, it does not touch their freedom, it does not change their lives. What attracts is, above all, the encounter with believing persons who, through their faith, draw others to the grace of Christ by bearing witness to him.
Thus in order to speak effectively to mankind of today, credible witnesses are needed. The issue of the choice of a language that makes the Gospel understandable was deepened by the Holy Father in his meeting with the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Pastors and the faithful notice several difficulties in the communication of the Gospel message and in the transmission of the faith in an ecclesial community [...] problems sometimes seem to increase when the Church turns to the men and women who are far away or indifferent to an experience of faith.
The Gospel message reaches them in a feeble and noninclusive way.[...] To find an appropriate language, the Pope calls for enhanced inculturation of the Gospel, the rich and concentrated symbolism of the Liturgy, the language of art, whose beauty has a special communicative power. Yet the beauty of Christian life is even more effective than art and imagery in the communication of the Gospel Message (Address to the Plenary Meeting of the Pontifical Council for Culture, November 13, 2010).
In short, the believing persons who, through their faith, draw others to the grace of Christ by bearing witness to him, mentioned in Portugal, are those that show first with their lives the beauty of being a Christian: this is the most eloquent language to reach todays globalised and secularised humanity.
The joy of being Christian
Continuing his speech to the Portuguese bishops, the Holy Father indicates where to look for fertile grounds of Christian life: The words of Pope John Paul II come to mind: The Church needs above all great currents, movements and witnesses of holiness among the Christifideles because it is from holiness that is born every authentic renewal of the Church, all intelligent enrichment of the faith and of the Christian life, the vital and fecund reactualization of Christianity with the needs of man, a renewed form of presence in the heart of human existence and of the culture of nations (Address for the 20th Anniversary of the Promulgation of the Conciliar Decree Apostolicam Actuositatem, 18 November 1985). One could say, the Church has need of these great currents, movements and witnesses of holiness , but there are none!. In fact, faced with difficulties and crises that have distinguished the Churchs relationship with the contemporary world, a certain pessimism has spread. But Benedict XVI has personally found that the Holy Spirit has acted in the Church in time, bringing about what was needed, as he indicated in his speech at Fatima: In this regard, I confess to you the pleasant surprise that I had in making contact with the movements and the new ecclesial communities. Watching them, I had the joy and the grace to see how, at a moment of weariness in the Church, at a time when we were hearing about the winter of the Church, the Holy Spirit was creating a new springtime, awakening in young people and adults alike the joy of being Christian, of living in the Church, which is the living Body of Christ . On more than one occasion the Pope has mentioned his surprise before this invasion of movements and new communities in the life of the Church, as was the case in 1998, when as cardinal, during the World Congress of movements organized by our Dicastery: For me personally it was a wonderful experience when, in the early 1970, I first came into closer contact with movements such as the Neocatechumenal Way, Communion and Liberation and the Focolare Movement, and so experienced the energy and enthusiasm with which they lived their faith and the joy of their faith which impelled them to share with others the gift they had received. That was the period in which Karl Rahner and others were speaking of a winter in the Church [...]. But then something suddenly happened which no one had planned. The Holy Spirit had, so to say, once again made his voice heard. The faith was reawakened, especially in young people, who eagerly embraced it without any ifs and buts, without subterfuges and reservations, and experienced it in its totality as a oprecious, lifegiving gift (in: Movements in the Church, Vatican City 1999, 2324).
Key to understanding the Holy Fathers teaching on the movements and new communities is his own personal experience of wonder and joy when faced with these changes fostered by the Holy Spirit in the wake of the Council. So, the Pope reminded the Portuguese bishops that the most effective language to announce the news of the gospel to mankind today is the joy that comes from Christian life, and one of the most important contexts in which that life flourishes today is found in the movements ecclesial and new communities.
The Pope also underlined the importance of the movements for the new evangelization in his address to the bishops of England and Wales, during his recent trip to Britain, 19 September 2010, many of the new ecclesial movements have a particular charism for evangelization, and I know that you will continue to explore appropriate and effective ways of involving them in the mission of the Church. Along the same lines we find a similar thought in no. 94 of postsynodal apostolic exhortation Verbum Domini: the Synod also recognized with gratitude that the ecclesial movements and the new communities are a great force for evangelization in our times and an incentive to the development of new ways of proclaiming the Gospel.
Continuing his speech, Benedict XVI wanted to clarify to the Portuguese bishops how ecclesial movements and new communities are able to revive and relive the Catholic Churches two thousand year heritage of faith by means appropriate to todays world, without degradation or compromise, Thanks to their charisms, the radicality of the Gospel, the objective contents of the faith, the living flow of her tradition, are all being communicated in a persuasive way and welcomed as a personal experience, as adherence in freedom to the present event of Christ. In other words, movements and new communities are shown capable of achieving a renewal in the continuity of the one subjectChurch which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God (Address to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2005).
Ecclesial movements and new communities in the particular Churches
The Holy Father continues his Fatima address without failing to offer his authoritative guidance to help resolve tensions that may arise over the inclusion of new realities into the fabric of the particular Churches. The Pope calls on the faithful obedience of all to the one Spirit, while respecting individual roles, and firstly addressed the bearers of the particular charisms, who have generated the movements: The necessary condition, naturally, is that these new realities desire to live in the one Church, albeit with spaces in some way set aside for their own life, in such a way that this life becomes fruitful for all the others. The bearers of a particular charism must feel themselves fundamentally responsible for communion, for the common faith of the Church, and submit themselves to the leadership of their Bishops. It is they who must ensure the ecclesial nature of the movements. Communion with the bishops is therefore essential to the inclusion and full use of these new ecclesial groups in the Church. The bishops, the Pope underlines hold their institutional position through the gift of the Holy Spirit bestowed by the sacrament of Holy Orders, therefore the pastors can fulfill their function as carriers of the same Spirit that gave rise to the movements: Bishops are not only those who hold an office, but those who themselves are bearers of charisms, and responsible for the openness of the Church to the working of the Holy Spirit. We, Bishops, in the sacrament of Holy Orders, are anointed by the Holy Spirit and thus the sacrament ensures that we too are open to his gifts. Thus, on the one hand, we must feel responsibility for welcoming these impulses which are gifts for the Church and which give her new vitality, but, on the other hand, we must also help the movements to find the right way, making some corrections with understanding with the spiritual and human understanding that is able to combine guidance, gratitude and a certain openness and a willingness to learn. Openness to and support for the new season of associations of lay faithful and the willingness of bishops to learn guarantee their interventions of governance and correction, which will be effective and acceptable because inspired by the one Spirit. Indeed, in this sense the Holy Father urged the bishops gathered at a seminar organized by our Dicastery May 17, 2008, We pastors are asked to closely accompany the movements and new communities, with friendly and knowledgeable fatherly concern, so that they can generously put at the service for common use, in an orderly and productive manner, the many gifts they bring and that we have come to know and appreciate [...]. Those called to the service of discernment and leadership must not claim to rule over the charisms, but rather against the danger of quenching them (see 1 Thessalonians 5:1921), resisting the temptation to render uniform that which the Holy Spirit wants multiform to contribute to the building and expansion of the one Body of Christ that the Spirit himself renders firm in unity.
The unity in ecclesial communion that we are called to realize necessarily involves a close bond between the universal Church and particular Churches, especially when it comes to movements and communities of international importance, as the Holy Father clearly stated to participants at meetings held by the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships, October 31, 2008: Precisely because we are assisting at a promising flowering of Movements and Ecclesial Communities, it is important that Pastors exercise prudent and wise discernment in their regard. I sincerely hope that dialogue between Pastors and Ecclesial Movements intensifies at all levels: parish, diocesan and with the Apostolic See. I know that opportune ways are being studied to give Pontifical recognition to the New Movements and Ecclesial Communities and many have already received it. This fact the recognition or establishment of international associations on the part of the Holy See for the universal Church Pastors, especially Bishops, cannot fail to take it into account in their dutiful discernment that lies within their competence. The Pastors of particular Churches are therefore called upon to exercise their duty to judge and govern in tune with all the bishops and the Apostolic See, whose pronouncements are an essential element for decisions at the local level.
The theological basis of this claim was shown by the then Cardinal Ratzinger during the World Congress of the movements of 1998. After excluding some false conflicts in vogue in modern theology (institution/charism, Christology/Pneumatology, hierarchy/prophecy), the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith offered a historical overview on the different waves of charisms that have characterized the story of Gods people, comparing them to the new era of group endeavors of the lay faithful, to highlight the remarkable similarities and emphasize the benefits that the Church has drawn from them throughout its history. The Pope returned to the theme during the general audience of 13 January 2010: this personal and community style of the Mendicant Orders, together with total adherence to the teaching and authority of the Church, was deeply appreciated by the Pontiffs of the time, such as Innocent III and Honorious III, who gave their full support to the new ecclesial experiences, recognizing in them the voice of the Spirit. And results were not lacking [...].Today too, similar projects are not lacking: the movements, which truly stem from the newness of the Gospel and live it with radicalism in this day and age, placing themselves in Gods hands to serve their neighbour.
The historical excursus of 98 aimed to reveal the ecclesiological nature of the inevitable tensions that arise when new charisms are born, for the very fact that they are found at the very heart of the delicate relationship between universal and particular Church, efforts to rebuild communion should concern all at stake, fully respecting the roles and charisms, particularly with regard to the Apostolic See: everyone must let himself be measured by the unity of the one Church, which remains one in all the local Churches and as such appears again and again in the apostolic movements. Local Churches and apostolic movements must constantly recognize and accept the simultaneous truth of two propositions: ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia ubi episcopus, ibi ecclesia. Primacy and episcopacy, the local ecclesial system and apostolic movements, need each other. Primacy can only live with and through a living episcopacy, episcopacy can only preserve its dynamic and apostolic unity in subservience to primacy. Where one of the two is weakened, the Church as a whole suffers (in: Movements in the Church, cit., 51).
Priests and the movements
The last brief recommendation with regard to the movements and new communities offered the Portuguese bishops regards the involvement of priests: Foster or confirm in your priests. This is a theme dear to the Holy Father, fully aware that the introduction and growth of new ecclesial commitment hinges on the openness of priests. In the Letter proclaiming the Year for Priests (June 18, 2009) Benedict XVI had dwelt at length on the theme: In this context of a spirituality nourished by the practice of the evangelical counsels, I would like to invite all priests, during this Year dedicated to them, to welcome the new springtime which the Spirit is now bringing about in the Church, not least through the ecclesial movements and the new communities. In his gifts the Spirit is multifaceted He breathes where he wills. He does so unexpectedly, in unexpected places, and in ways previously unheard of [...] but he also shows us that he works with a view to the one body and in the unity of the one body (Benedict XVI, Homily for the Vigil of Pentecost, 3 June 2006.). In this regard, the statement of the Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis continues to be timely: While testing the spirits to discover if they be of God, priests must discover with faith, recognize with joy and foster diligently the many and varied charismatic gifts of the laity, whether these be of a humble or more exalted kind (n. 9). These gifts, which awaken in many people the desire for a deeper spiritual life, can benefit not only the lay faithful but the clergy as well. The communion between ordained and charismatic ministries can provide a helpful impulse to a renewed commitment by the Church in proclaiming and bearing witness to the Gospel of hope and charity in every corner of the world (Benedict XVI, Address to BishopFriends of the Focolare Movement and the SantEgidio Community, 8 February 2007). The Pope therefore not only recommended that priests offer pastoral care to their movements and communities, but sees in them a valuable aid to nourish their own spiritual life.
Besides the new associative groups are a great source of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, so much so that almost all the seminaries and places of formation have to learn to deal with this change, accepting it and governing it without distorting it, so it may become an occasion for shared spiritual enrichment, as the Holy Father wished to indicate in his Letter to Seminarians of October 18, 2010 (No. 7): The Movements are a magnificent thing. You know how much I esteem them and love them as a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church. Yet they must be evaluated by their openness to what is truly Catholic, to the life of the whole Church of Christ, which for all her variety still remains one. The seminary is a time when you learn with one another and from one another. In community life, which can at times be difficult, you should learn generosity and tolerance, not only bearing with, but also enriching one another, so that each of you will be able to contribute his own gifts to the whole, even as all serve the same Church, the same Lord.
The Pontifical Council for the Laity:
with the decree of 7 October 2010 granted final approval of the statutes of the
World Apostolate of Fatima.
with the decree of 8 December 2010 recognised Nuovi Orizzonti (New Horizons) as an international association of the faithful, and approved its statutes ad experimentum . Nuovi Orizzonti was founded in Rome around 1993, on the initiative of Chiara Amirante, a young woman who wanted to share the fullness of joy that comes from her faith in the risen Christ with humanitys desperate, abandoned, marginalized and needy who live on the streets. In a short space of time many people, eager to share Chiaras experience of giving to others, joined her, and the increasing number of requests for help addressed to her by people in need, convinced her to open the first shelter on the outskirts of the capital, where young people themselves, the slaves of addiction to alcohol and drugs, can rebuild themselves in the light of the Gospel and through a rehabilitation treatment program drawn up by Chaira herself. Within a few years, many centres opened, first in Italy and then abroad. Numerous people have adhered to the ideal of Nuovi Orizzonti, devoting themselves entirely to social projects, formation and rehabilitation. Currently, Nuovi Orizzonti is a highly organised reality and responds with generosity to the many needs of those who find themselves in serious trouble, intervening in all areas of social disadvantage.
With the decree of 26 December 2010 approved the publication of the Catechetical Directory of the Neocatechumenal Way.
Currently, the dicastery is examining applications for canonical recognition submitted by the following lay groups: Apostolic Movement of Schoenstatt, Movimiento de la Palabra de Dios, Legion of Mary, Communauté du Chemin Neuf, Movimiento Athletae Christi, Movimento Apostolico, Jesus Youth, Movimiento de Retiros Parroquiales Juan XXIII, Movimento Laicale Orionino.
Between June 2010 and the end of year we received the bishops of the five ecclesiastical regions of Brazil: Leste 1 (Rio de Janeiro), Leste 2 (Espírito Santo e Minas Gerais), Nordeste 5 (Maranhão), Sul 2 (Paraná) and Centro Oeste (Districo Federal, Goiás, Tocantins). This concluded the visita ad Limina Apostolorum of the Bishops of Brazil, which involved the Roman Curia for a year and a half. We already reported on the visit of the first tranche of bishops in no. 19 of our News, also in this case regarding five groups, representing eight ecclesiastical regions. Overall, the Pontifical Council for the Laity has been visited by bishops from thirteen out of sixteen ecclesiastical regions of Brazil. The bishops unanimously confirmed the positive assessment of the laity, without which pastoral work would be difficult or impossible to carry out due to the small number of priests. The number of laity involved in ministry are increasing, and demonstrate their the availability and generosity. The dioceses have amply developed official forms of organized laity, such as diocesan and parish pastoral councils, councils of the lay groups and other similar collegial structures. Base communities are widespread and in many dioceses alternative forms of community are also promoted, such as groups of reflection on the Word of God. There are a large number of extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, with analogous figures also involved in baptisms, weddings and funerals. Other ministries entrusted to the laity regard the Word, where Mass can not be celebrated, and especially the catechism. However there are also problems. In the words of a bishop, the value of the laity in Brazil is their commitment and their enthusiastic participation, the weakness is their lack of formation . A traditional religiosity prevails among the faithful, who are certainly devoted, but helpless in facing the challenges of secularization. Therefore, problems arise with regard to sexual morality and marriage, while the spread of sects is alarming. Therefore, the formation of the laity is a major concern for the bishops who are trying to increase the opportunities for growth in faith through schools, workshops, retreats, though obviously formation is mostly offered in parishes and movements. The bishops also seek to govern and direct the many expressions of popular religion by entrusting, when possible, groups and initiatives to the care of a priest. In an attempt to counter the growing anxiety of the younger generation, all diocese are stepping up their youth ministry, with particular attention to a pastoral care in various sectors: students, popular youth ministry, rural youth ministry and for young workers. The support of the new lay groups is also essential in this field. In fact they, the main movements and new international communities are very active in Brazil; the most numerically representative movement is certainly the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, from whose ranks many new communities have been born in Brazil, some of which have already taken on an international importance.
Many Catholics are involved in public life, at the federal and local government level, but their active intervention in politics is generally judged to be weak . Moreover, many of them owe their election to ideologically structured political parties, only interested in the Catholic vote rather than the social doctrine the Church, with the result that often they take up positions that are irreconcilable with those of the Church. Professional associations, such as Catholic lawyers or doctors, however play a positive role. They often speak with authority when questioned on nonnegotiable principles, such as the right to life, religious freedom, protection of family and freedom of education. In this area the Focolares Political movement for unity is active. For their part the bishops have redoubled their efforts to raise awareness of the Churches social doctrine.
During the second half of the year, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, has been visited by leaders and representatives of the following lay groups: Christian Identity Association, Community of SantEgidio, Fondacio. Christians for the world, International Federation Pueri Cantores, Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships, Christian Life Movement, Teresian Institute, Neocatechumenal Way, World Federation of Eucharistic Works of the Church, International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS), Memores Domini Lay Association, Punto Cuore, Emmanuel Community, Villaregia Missionary Community, Risen Jesus Community, Fraternity of Communion and Liberation.
On August 24 and 25, Cardinal Ryłko participated in the XXXI Meeting for Friendship among Peoples in Rimini.
He spoke at the III International Meeting for bishops organized by the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships, which took place in Assisi, October 25 to 28, with a lecture entitled: The ecclesial movements and new communities in the pastoral care of bishops . He also presided at opening Mass at the XIV International Conference of The Catholic Fraternity also held in Assisi from October 28 to 31.
As part of the celebrations for the bicentenary of the foundation of nighttime adoration in Rome organized by The World Federation of Eucharistic Works of the Church, on November 18 Cardinal Ryłko presided at Mass in the Basilica of St. Anastasia al Palatino.
He spoke at the XXXVI Congress of the International Federation Pueri Cantores, which took place in Rome from 28 December to 1 January 2011, introducing the Christmas Concert held by Pueri December 29, in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
The secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Bishop Josef Clemens, received the leaders from the International Catholic Conference of Scouting, the Neocatechumenal Way communities present in the Philippines, Catholics United for the Faith, Movimento Internazionale dApostolato dei Ceti Sociali Indipendenti (MIAMSI) Scouts et Guides de France, International Federation Pueri Cantores, the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships, Community Obra de Maria, the Shalom Catholic Community, the Maple Ridge community, the Missionary Community of Villaregia, Cominidade Canção Nova, the Foyers de Charité, the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation.
The undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Prof. Guzmán Carriquiry received leaders and representatives of the International Catholic Rural Association and Contemplative Missionary Movement P. de Foucauld.
On October 4 and 5, Prof. Carriquiry took part in the International Prayer for Peace: Living together in a time of crisis. Family of peoples, the Family of God , held in Barcelona (Spain) by the Community of SantEgidio, and on October 4 chaired the panel discussion on Charity and justice .
On 30 October, during the XIV International Conference of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships, held in Assisi October 28 to 31, 2010 on the theme Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever , he was moderator of a panel discussion on the vocation and mission of the ecclesial movements and new communities in our time.
Pontifical Council for the Laity bureau chief, Msgr. Miguel Delgado Galindo received leaders and representatives from the International Federation of Catholic Pharmacists, Incontri Matrimoniali Mondiali, Hogar de la Madre, Nuovi Orizzonti, the Silent Workers of the Cross, the World Catholic Association for Communication (Signis), Foyers de Charité.
On 24 November, Msgr. Delgado Galindo attended the V National Congress of the Apostolic Movement, held in Rome.
The Rev. Eric Jacquinet, Head of Youth Section, received leaders and representatives from Jesus Youth, Scouts et Guides de France and the International Catholic Student Youth.
Ms. Ana Cristina Villa Betancourt, head of the Section for Women, received the visit of leaders of the World Union of Catholic Womens Organizations and the International Catholic Conference of Guiding.
From October 16 to 27 the secretary of the Dicastery, Bishop Josef Clemens, travelled to Brazil where he visited various movements and new communities: October 16 and 17, in Recife, he met with the community Obra de María and its founder, Gilberto Barbosa, and had the opportunity to see firsthand some of the works of the Communitys apostolate.
From October 17 to 19 he was in Fortaleza, where he visited the Shalom Catholic Community and met the founder Moysés Louro de Azevedo Filho and the General Diaconia ; he also presided at the Eucharistic celebration, with two thousand participants in the community birthplace.
From October 19 to 24 it was the turn of Guaratingueta (São Paulo State), where Bishop Clemens attended the celebration of the recent papal recognition of the Fazenda da Esperança, founded by Father Hans Stapel, OFM. In addition to sharing in many moments in the life of the ranch Bishop Clemens went to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, where he gave a talk to young people on the Holy Fathers message to the Familia da Esperança, and attended Mass presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio in Brazil Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri.
On October 22, he visited the Comunidade Canção Nova and several of its works at Cachoeira Paulista, where he met the founder Msgr. Jonas Abib. From October 24 to 26 he visited the Missionary Community of Villaregia in Belo Horizonte and its social and educational centres for the 25th anniversary of its evangelizing presence in Brazil and, thanks to the warm hospitality of the Bishop of the diocese Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo, met all those responsible for lay apostolate of the diocese of Belo Horizonte. On October 25 he visited the Pontifical Catholic University and the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Piedade, Patroness of the State of Minas Gerais.
The meeting with these different ecclesial realities provided Bishop Josef Clemens the opportunity to experience the joyful witness of faith in Jesus Christ, love for the Church and filial affection and devotion to the Holy Father offered by these ecclesial realities, as well as to be able to touch the reality of fraternity and the generous dedication of many lay faithful who, animated by love of Christ, announce in various fields of action the truth and beauty of being Christian.
In the second half of 2010, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, received the visit of Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay (India); Most Rev. Mathew Arackal, SyroMalabar bishop of Kanjirapally (India); Most Rev. Geraldo Lyrio Rocha, Most Rev. Luiz Soares Vieira and Most Rev. Dimas Lara Barbosa, respectively president, vice president and general secretary of the Brazilian Bishops Conference, Most Rev. Gervasio Gestori, Bishop of San Benedetto del TrontoRipatransoneMontalto; he received the visit of Father Adolfo Nicolas, superior general of the Society of Jesus, Father Pedro Barrajón, rector of the Regina Apostolorum, Mrs. Marta Rodriguez and Dr. Adele Herculaneum, respectively director and coordinator of the Institute of Higher Studies on Women of said University; Miss Alejandra Keen, general coordinator of the Marian Community of Reconciliation, Dr. An Verlinde, International president of the Coopération Pan Africaine des Acteurs de Santé, Dr. Donato Falmi and Dr. Franco Fortuna, respectively managing editor and marketing manager of Città Nuova publisher.
As part of the celebrations of the Compostela Holy Year, from August 5 to 8, Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko participated in the Santiago de Compostela Peregrinación y Encuentro de Jóvenes, a meeting organized in preparation for World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid. During the initiative, he presided over a prayer vigil and concluding Mass. He also spoke at a meeting of leaders of youth ministry with a lecture on World Youth Day: a gift that involves the whole Church .
On October 5, he attended the press conference launching the World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, which took place in the Holy See Press Office in the Vatican, with a speech entitled: World Youth Day, a phenomenon that continues to amaze the world .
From October 10 to 24, he participated in the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East on the theme: The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness. Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul (Acts 4, 32).
On October 22, he presided at a Eucharistic celebration on the occasion of the solemn inauguration of the academic year 201011 of the Pontifical John Paul II University in Krakow. The next day, he attended a meeting with ecclesial movements and associations promoted by the Archdiocese of Krakow, during which he gave a lecture entitled New communities and other ecclesial groups , and finally presided over the Eucharistic celebration.
On the occasion of the Apostolic visit of His Holiness Benedict XVI to Spain November 6 to 7, Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko participated in the solemn Eucharistic Celebration for the dedication of the basilica La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and the consecration of the altar.
On November 27, presided over the Eucharistic celebration to inaugurate the last day of work of the International Congress The family, the subject of evangelization , organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family November 25 to 27.
The secretary of the Dicastery, Bishop Josef Clemens received the visit of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon (France); Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Monaco and Freising (Germany), Most Rev. Ulrich Neymeyer, Auxiliary Bishop of Mainz (Germany) accompanied by the leaders of youth ministry in the diocese; Most Rev. KarlHeinz Wiesemann, Bishop of Speyer (Germany); Most Rev. Francisco Javier Martinez Fernández, Archbishop of Granada (Spain); Most Rev. FranzPeter TebartzVan Elst, Bishop of Limburg (Germany); Most Rev. Friedhelm Hofmann, Bishop of Würzburg (Germany); Most Rev. Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Bishop of Regensburg (Germany); Most Rev. HansJosef Becker, Archbishop of Paderborn (Germany); Most Rev. Mathew Arackal, Bishop of Kanjirapally (India) and Chairman of the Commission for the Laity of the Catholic SyroMalabar Church; H.E. Msgr. Héctor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, OFM, Archbishop of Trujillo and chairman of the Peruvian Bishops Conference, accompanied by Most Rev. Norberto Strotmann, Bishop of Chosica (Perù); Most Rev. FranzJosef Hermann Bode, Bishop of Osnabrück (Germany); JeanPierre Mazery, Grand Chancellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Mr. Alois Glück, President of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), Rev. Prof. Eamonn Conway, president of the European Society for Catholic Theology accompanied by Prof. Pierre Van Hecke, a member of the presidency.
On 17 July, Bishop Clemens attended the meeting of the presidency of the John Paul II Foundation for Youth.
On 10 September he gave a talk on the theme: The participation of the laity in the life and mission of the Church, at the Seminar for newly appointed bishops in mission territories, held in Rome by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
On October 4, he held a meeting for those responsible for the formation of the laity from the archdiocese of Cologne (Germany) in Rome, on the theme The responsibility of the laity in the life and mission of the Church .
On October 5, he participated in Holy See press conference presenting the Message of Benedict XVI for 26th WYD 2011 in Madrid.
On November 7, he participated in Barcelona (Spain) at Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of the dedication of the basilica La Sagrada Familia and the consecration of the altar.
On November 13, in the church of St. Maria dellAnima in Rome, he participated in the Episcopal consecration of Msgr. Walter Brandmüller, created a cardinal of the diaconate of San Giuliano in the consistory of November 20.
On November 26, he gave the opening speech at the Seminar Sport and the Church in Europe organized, in the Aula Magna of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, by the Centro Sportivo Italiano (CSI) and the CSI Research Center.
On December 13, he participated at the preparatory meeting of the Conference on Women and Human Rights held at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
The undersecretary of the dicastery, Prof. Guzmán Carriquiry met Most Rev. Javier Augusto del Río Alba, Archbishop of Arequipa (Peru).
On July 9, Prof. Carriquiry gave a lecture at Barcelonas University Abat Oliba CEU summer course on Christians and politics in todays world .
On October 15, Prof. Carriquiry returned to Barcelona, where he gave a lecture on A la espera de Benedicto XVI. Sentido y responsabilidad , in preparation for the Holy Fathers visit to Spain on Novembe 6 and 7.
On November 9, he participated in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, of which he is a member, held in Rome.
During the first Congress of the laity in the Spanish diocese of AlicanteOrihuela, held in the auditorium of the University of Alicante November 12 to 14, on Saturday 13, Prof. Carriquiry gave a talk entitled Claves de identidad laical. Fundamentos de la vocación y misión del cristiano laico .
On 17 November 2010, in Rome, Prof. Carriquiry participated in the public commemorative act for the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, now the Pontifical Council for Promotion of Christian Unity.
On November 18, at the San Lorenzo Youth Centre in Rome, he met a group of professors and students of the Department of Youth Ministry and Catechetics at the Pontifical Salesian University. The meeting was also attended by the Rev. Eric Jacquinet, head of the Youth Section of the Dicastery, who gave those present a report on formation for young Catholics.
On November 19, on the occasion of the commemoration of the bicentenary of the foundation of nighttime adoration in Rome, organized by the World Federation of the Eucharistic Works of Church, he gave a lecture entitled The Eucharist and the new era of group endeavours of lay faithful .
On December 7, Msgr. Miguel Delgado Galindo, bureau chief of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, received the visit of Mrs. Katarina Hulmanova, member of the Dicastery.
On October 8 and 9, he participated at the Study Conference on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, held in Rome.
The Rev. Eric Jacquinet, Head of the Youth Section, received the visit of the spiritual director of the Mater Ecclesiae Seminary, Father Florian Rodero, LC.
On November 15 he gave a lecture on World Youth Day at the Mater Ecclesiae Seminary in Rome.
On November 20, he attended a meeting of Salesian Youth Movement leaders in Genzano (Rome) and participated in a roundtable discussion where he spoke about the Holy Fathers message for World Youth Day 2011.
On December 6, he participated in From a EurHope to EurHome: Here is your home. Loreto spiritual capital of the young people of Europe , held in Loreto (Ancona), to mark the tenth anniversary of the founding of the John Paul II Centre .
On December 9, he gave a lecture on youth ministry and WYD according to Benedict XVIs teaching during a seminar in pastoral theology at the Faculty of Theology at the Pontifical University of Santa Croce.
The Rev. Father Kevin Lixey, LC in charge of the Church and Sport section, received the visit of Msgr. John Armitage, Vicar General of the diocese of Brentwood (England) and responsible for the pastoral care of Catholics at the London Olympics in 2012 and met with Mario Pescante, vice president of International Olympic Committee and the Permanent Representative of the IOC at the United Nations; Patrick Clemens, Director sporting activities at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, General Gianni Gola, President Emeritus of the International Military Sports Council; Achini Massimo, president of the Italian Sports Center, Jeff Suppan, professional pitcher in American Major League Baseball; Math Pieters, president of the Fédération Internationale Sportive de lEnseignement Catholique.
From September 15 to 19, Father Lixey attended the 38th Annual Conference of the International Association of Sport Philosophy, held in Rome.
On October 18, he took part in the inaugural ceremony of the Mother Teresa Marathon 2010 held in Tirana (Albania) by Sport for all in collaboration with the Italian Sports Centre in Ancona (Italy). During his stay in Tirana, on October 19, he met with Archbishop Rrok Mirdita, president of the Episcopal Conference of Albania, Mr Ferdinand Xhaferaj, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports of the Albanian Republic.
From November 20 to 22, he participated at a Conference on Sport, Education and Media in Granada (Spain), organized by the University of Granada and the Escuela Universitaria Diocesana de Magisterio La Imaculada . During his stay he met the local Archbishop Most Rev. Francisco Javier Martínez Fernández.
On November 26, Father Lixey attended a study day, hosted at the dicastery, organized by the Centre for the Study of the Centro Sportivo Italiano on the theme Church and Sport in Europe , in preparation for the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Fédération Education Physique et Sportive Internationale Catholique.
On December 2, he met with the pastoral committee of the Fédération Internationale Sportive de lEnseignement Catholique, at the Plenary Assembly of the Federation which was held in Rome.
On December 4, he spoke at the annual Assisi Meeting of the regional delegates of the Centro Sportivo Italiano organized on the theme: Protagonists of the common good. Sport at the service of educational challenges .
Ms. Ana Cristina Villa Betancourt, head of the Section for Women, received the visit of Mrs. Jem Sullivan, of the Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis of the United States Conference of Bishops; Mrs. Vicki Thorn, founder of Project Rachel ; Ms. Adele Herculaneum and Ms. Marta Rodriguez of the Institute for Womens Regina Apostolorum University.
On September 25, Ms.Villa Betancourt spoke at a religious course, organized by the Union of Superiors Major of Italy in the diocese of Rome and the Institute Mulieris Dignitatem , with a lecture on Maternal Heart in the community .
On September 29, she gave a talk at the annual formation course for teachers of religion organized by the Delegación para Educación Católica of the diocese of OrihuelaAlicante (Spain) on the identity of the laity, and especially of women in the Church.
From November 19 to 21, she participated in the Congress Catholics and Public Life , organized by the University San Pablo CEU in Madrid, speaking during a panel discussion on What is the legacy for future generations? .
On 26 November she participated at the headquarters of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, at the meeting of the Forum of Catholic nongovernmental organizations on the new provisions for the action of NGOs in the framework of the FAO.
The appointments of Cardinal Ryłko in the second half of the year also included a visit of the new Ambassador of Korea to the Holy See,
H.E. Mr. Thomas HongSoon Han, former Member of this dicastery, and H.E. Mr. Fernando Zegers Santa Cruz, Chiles new ambassador to the Holy See.
Bishop Clemens received a visit from H.E. Dr. Walter Jürgen Schmid, the new ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Holy See, H.E. Mr. Thomas HongSoon Han, Koreas ambassador to the Holy See at the beginning of his mandate, and also attended the farewell ceremony of H.E. Martin Bolldorf, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to the Holy See, and was visited by Mr. Stephan Bernhard Schlagheck, the new Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of Germany to the Holy See.