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La Curia Romana Pontifici Consigli


NEWS  21/2010







The President to the readers

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 today’s 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 Church’s 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”(L’Osservatore 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



Proclaiming Jesus Christ in Asia today

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 continent’s 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 Church’s 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 Church’s 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 XVI’s 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). Man’s 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 God’s 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.


Towards Madrid 2011

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 (, 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 (, 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.


Letter to women: fifteen years later

In 2010 the Pontifical Council for the Laity wanted to recall Pope John Paul II’s 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 II’s document in the light of today’s 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.


Benedict XVI’s catechesis on women saints of the Middle Ages

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 Church’s 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 Gertrude’s 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 God’s 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 husband’s 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.


WUCWO marks one hundred years

General Assembly in the Holy Land

From 6 to 12 October, 2010 the General As­sembly of the World Union of Catholic Women’s 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 women’s 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 Women’s 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.


Benedict XVI and the movements

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 people’s 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 today’s 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 Church’s 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 Father’s 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 today’s 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 God’s 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 God’s 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 Sant’Egidio 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”.


Juridical recognition and approval of statutes

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 humanity’s desperate, abandoned, marginalized and needy who live on the streets. In a short space of time many people, eager to share Chiara’s 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.


Ad limina visits

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 Focolare’s Political movement for unity is active. For their part the bishops have redoubled their efforts to raise awareness of the Churches social doctrine.


Contacts with associations and movements

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 Sant’Egidio, 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 d’Aposto­lato 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 San­t’Egidio, 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 Women’s Organizations and the In­ternational Catholic Conference of Guiding.


Bishop Clemens’ intense visit to Brazil

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 Community’s 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 Father’s 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.


Other engagements

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 dell’Anima 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 Barcelona’s University Abat Oliba CEU summer course on “ Christians and politics in today’s 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 Father’s 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 Fa­ther’s 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 XVI’s 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 l’Enseignement 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 l’Enseignement 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 Women’s “ 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, Chile’s 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, Ko­rea’s 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.