WHY EVEN PRISON CAN BE A PLACE OF REDEMPTION ARCHBISHOP VINCENT NICHOLS OFFERS A CHRISTIAN VISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE PAGE 8
Pope asks council to combat loss of faith
BY JOHN THAVIS IN ROME
POPE BENEDICT XVI has unveiled a new Vatican agency to promote “new evangelisation” and assigned it the task of combating the “deChristianisation” of countries that were first evangelised centuries ago.
In anApostolic Letter released on Tuesday, the Pope spoke of a progressive detachment from religious faith, especially in countries marked by scientific and economic progress.
The new council, he said, will encourage a clearer understanding of the faith and help to “re-make the Christian fabric of human society”.
One of the specific tasks of the agency, called the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, will be to encourage the use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Speaking at a press conference on the same day Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the president of the council, said missionary activity in modern societies required a systematic effort against “the lack of awareness of the basic contents of the faith” among many Catholics.
“We need to avoid, above all, that ‘new evangelisation’ comes across like an abstract formula. We need to fill this idea with theological and pastoral content, and we’ll do it on the strength of the Magisterium of these last decades,” he said.
The archbishop said the Council would work closely with modern communications media – an explicit request of the Pope – and that the council’s staff would operate in several languages.
In his Apostolic Letter, which was released only in Italian and Latin, the Pope identified a variety of factors in the weakening of religious faith in the West.
These included advances in science and technology, the widening of individual freedom and lifestyle choices, profound economic changes, the mixing of cultures and ethnic groups brought about by mass migration and the growing interdependence among peoples. While such changes have brought about benefits for many people, they have often been accompanied by “a worrisome loss of the sense of the sacred”, he said.
This erosion of religious values has led to a questioning of fundamental truths that once formed the basis of human society, such as “faith in God the creator, the revelation of Jesus Christ as the unique saviour, and the shared understanding of such fundamental experiences of man as living, dying and living in a family”.
Although some have hailed these changes as a liberation, the Pope explained, others have seen that an “interior desert” is formed when people try to live without such essential values.
He said the new Pontifical Council would address these expressions of religious indifference, which he said today were perhaps more worrisome than “declared atheism”.
The Pope added that the situations was different in each country, so a “single formula” of new evangelisation was impractical.
In some traditionally Christian countries, he said, the faith still shows vitality. But in others it shows signs of weakness, and some areas, unfortunately, have become “almost completely de-Christianised”.
He asked the pontifical council to work closely with local bishops’ conferences to promote evangelisation strategies.
Pope Benedict invited the English and Welsh bishops to avail themselves of the services of the new council when he addressed them at St Mary’s College, Oscott, last month.
Editorial Comment: Page 13
October 15 2010 £1.20 (Republic of Ireland €1.70)
A Chilean journalist presents the Holy Father with a flag signed by the 33 men who were trapped in the San Jose mine. The Pope was greeting participants in the Catholic Press Congress. Anna Arco, our chief feature writer, is pictured in black behind the Chilean journalist and another delegate. See her Notebook: Page 12
Pope given flag signed by Chilean miners
BY STAFF REPORTER
A FLAG signed by the group of 33 Chilean miners who had been trapped 2,300 feet below ground since August was presented to Pope Benedict XVI a week before they were expected to be released.
The miners were in the minds of representatives of the Catholic press who met the Pontiff to conclude a four-day meeting sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
The 230 journalists came from 85 nations, including Chile.
Jaime Coiro, director of communications for the episcopal conference of Chile, was part of the Chilean delegation.
At the end of the audience Mr Coiro presented the Pope with the flag.
His Twitter feed recounted some of the details. “I gave the flag to the Pope. He was very interested,” he said.
“He became very happy at seeing the miners’ signatures. The Holy Father asked me if they would be rescued on Saturday. I told him that the rescue is expected in the next few days.
“He took the flag and together with me, unfolded it, looking over the signatures. He told me that he continues to pray.”
The flag was signed by the miners at the initiative of the wife of one of them, Claudio Yáñez.
She asked her husband to get the miners to sign a flag so that she could take it to a school.
Mr Yáñez obliged, asking his companions in the mine to sign the flag and adding his own message. “The 33 of us are alive in this refuge,” he said, adding a dedication to the school.
But, to ensure that the flag would make it to its destination, a second flag was similarly signed. This second flag was given to the director of communications of the Diocese of Copiapo, to be used as an offering in a national meeting of
Chilean journalists last week in Santiago.
At that gathering the journalists decided to send the flag to Rome as a token of gratitude to the local churches of the world that have shown solidarity with the plight of the miners, and prayed for them.
“But the opportunity to give [the flag] to the Pope was a true surprise because God speaks through these mysteries,” Mr Coiro said.
He was part of the group that was able to greet the Pope personally because he had replaced a member of the Latin American bishops’ council who was unable to attend.
The men were underground for more than two months after they were trapped in the San Jose mine by a tunnel collapse on August 5.
The rescue was began as The Catholic Herald went to press, with eight of the miners safely rescued.
Sixteen highly-trained rescuers – members of the Chilean special forces and veterans of previous underground rescues – began the process of bringing out the miners on Tuesday evening. Wives and girlfriends, who were camped out at the site entrance, had been planning the outfits they want to wear to greet their menfolk.
Notebook: Page 12
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Saturday, 9th October Solemn Mass at 11am Celebrant & Preacher: Bishop David McGough
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WEEKDAY VISITS BY APPOINTMENT
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0121 454 0808 email@example.com
Pontiff appoints canon lawyer as head of Congregation for Clergy
BY CAROL GLATZ IN ROME
POPE BENEDICT XVI has appointed new heads for two Vatican offices, naming Italian canon lawyer Archbishop Mauro Piacenza as prefect of the Congregation for Clergy and Guinean Archbishop Robert Sarah as president of the Vatican’s charity, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.
Archbishop Piacenza, 66, who served as secretary of the clergy congregation since 2007, replaces Cardinal Cláudio Hummes. The Pope accepted the resignation of the 76-year-old Brazilian, who led the congregation since 2006.
Archbishop Sarah, 65, replaces German Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, 76, who served as head of Cor Unum since 1995.
Archbishop Piacenza spent years in a variety of teaching posts, from teaching religion in Italian public high schools to teaching theology, canon law, contemporary culture and the history of atheism at both public and Church-run institutes. He also served as a judge for Church courts on the diocesan and regional levels, and worked in communications for the Archdiocese of Genoa, where he was born.
He began working at the Congregation for Clergy in 1990 and was promoted to the position of undersecretary in 2000. While maintaining his role as undersecretary, Archbishop Piacenza also was named president of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church in 2003 and president of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology in 2004, positions he held until 2007, the year he was appointed secretary of the clergy congregation.
Archbishop Sarah was named Archbishop of Conakry at 34, which made him the youngest bishop in the world at the time.
In 2001, he was named secretary of the missionary Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
German Catholics give Santa the sack
Cardinal delighted by author’s Nobel Prize
BY RUPERT DE LISLE
A GERMAN Catholic aid organisation wants to replace the materialistic Santa Claus with St Nicholas to boost the Christian message of Christmas.
The Boniface Association has begun calling for “Santa Claus-free zones”. The organisation says that the present Father Christmas is “an invention of the advertising industry designed to boost sales” and “a representative of consumer society”.
St Nicholas, the patron saint of children, is described on the organisation’s website as “a helper in need who reminds us to be kind, to think of our neighbours, and to give the gift of happiness”.
The movement has attracted the support of some German celebrities. “Unlike Santa Claus, Nicholas wants to give children inner riches and not just encourage them to strive for material wealth,” said television presenter Nina Ruege.
BY STAFF REPORTER
CARDINAL JUAN Luis Cipriani of Lima has expressed his “joy” upon receiving news that the Nobel Prize in literature had been awarded to Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa.
The cardinal expressed admiration for the writer and explained that Mr Vargas Llosa was “a man who preaches liberty, democracy, and he preaches it with a valiant and open spirit”. The cardinal added that he thought the prize was “deserved” and that “Christ-
ian spirit” inspired the thought of Mr Vargas Llosa.
The author has written more than 30 novels, plays and works of nonfiction. A statement from the Nobel Prize committee said he was awarded the prize “for his cartography of structures of power”.
DON’T MISS: AUSTRALIA PREPARES FOR ITS FIRST SAINT PAGE 9