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Made public today was a Message from the Pope to participants in the 12th plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, which is being held in the Vatican from April 28 to May 2, on the theme: “Vanishing Youth? Solidarity with Children and Young People in an Age of Turbulence.”

Benedict XVI opens his Message by affirming the existence of “two significant and interconnected trends: on the one hand, an increase in life expectancy, and, on the other, a decrease in birth rates.”

“This situation is the result of multiple and complex causes – often of an economic, social and cultural character – which you have proposed to study,” he adds. “But its ultimate roots can be seen as moral and spiritual; they are linked to a disturbing deficit of faith, hope and, indeed, love. … Perhaps the lack of such creative and forward-looking love is the reason why many couples today choose not to marry, why so many marriages fail, and why birth rates have significantly diminished.”

Often children and young people, “instead of feeling loved and cherished, appear to be merely tolerated. In ‘an age of turbulence’ they frequently lack adequate moral guidance from the adult world,” and many of them “now grow up in a society which is forgetful of God. … In a world shaped by the accelerating processes of globalization, they are often exposed solely to materialistic visions of the universe, of life and human fulfillment.”

“Parents, educators and community leaders … can never renounce their duty to set before children and young people the task of choosing a life project directed towards authentic happiness, one capable of distinguishing between truth and falsehood, good and evil, justice and injustice, the real world and the world of ‘virtual reality’.”

Pope Benedict encourages the participants in the plenary to give “due consideration to the question of human freedom, which is “the condition for authentic human growth. Where such freedom is lacking or endangered, young people experience frustration and become incapable of striving generously for the ideals which can give shape to their lives as individuals and as members of society.”

Christians, the Holy Father concludes, cannot fail “to be convinced that faith, lived out in the fullness of charity and communicated to new generations, is an essential element in the building of a better future and safeguarding intergenerational solidarity.”

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The Holy Father’s general prayer intention for May is:

“That the abundance of the gifts the Holy Spirit bestows on the Church may contribute to the growth of peace and justice in the world.”

His mission intention is: “That in the mission countries those responsible for the public institutions may, with suitable laws, promote and defend human life from its conception to its natural termination.”

Today, the Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff published the calendar for the celebrations that the Holy Father will preside from May to June.

MAY

– Monday, 1: At 5:30pm, the Holy Father will visit the Sanctuary of the Virgin Mary of Divine Love (close to Rome) and will pray the rosary.

– Saturday 6: At 9:30pm, the Holy Father will celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, commemorating the five hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Pontifical Swiss Guard.

– Sunday 7: The fourth Sunday of Easter, at 9:00am in the Vatican Basilica, the Pope will ordain to the priesthood deacons from the diocese of Rome.

– Thursday 25-Sunday 28: Apostolic trip to Poland.

JUNE:
– Saturday 3: At 8:30pm in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father will preside at the Pentecost Vigil with the participation of various ecclesial movements and the new communities.

– Sunday 4: The Solemnity of Pentecost, Holy Mass will be celebrated at 9:30am in St. Peter’s Square.

– Thursday 15: The Solemnity of Corpus Christi. At 7:00pm, Holy Mass in the basilica of Saint John Lateran, procession to the basilica of St. Mary Major and Eucharistic benediction.

– Thursday 29: The Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. Holy Mass will be celebrated at the basilica of St. Peter and will include the imposition of the pallium on metropolitan archbishops.

Today, during a private audience with Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Pope authorized the congregation to promulgate the following decrees:

MIRACLES

– Blessed Filippo Smaldone, Italian, diocesan priest, founder of the Congregation of the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Heart (1848 – 1923).

– Blessed Rafaele Guizar Valencia, Mexican, bishop of Veracruz, Mexico (1878 – 1938).

– Blessed Rosa Venerini, Italian, foundress of the Congregation delle Maestre Pie Venerini (1656 – 1728).

– Blessed Teodora Guerin, ne Anna Teresa, French, foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary of the Woods in the United States. (1798 – 1856).

– Venerable Servant of God Basile Antonio Maria Moreau, French, priest and founder of the Congregation of the Holy Cross (1799 – 1873).

– Venerable Servant of God Mariano de la Mata Aparicio, Spanish, priest of the Order of Saint Augustine. (1905 – 1983).

– Venerable Servant of God Margarita Maria Lopez de Maturana, Spanish, foundress of the Institute of the Missionary Sisters of Mercy (1884 – 1934).

MARTYRS

– Servants of God Cruz Laplana y Laguna, Spanish, bishop of Cuenca, Spain (1875 – 1936) and Fernando Espanol Berdie, Spanish, diocesan priest (1875 – 1936).

– Servant of God Narciso Estenaga Echevarria, Spanish, bishop of Ciudad Real, Spain (1882 – 1936).

– Servant of God Libero Gonzalez Nombela, Spanish, diocesan priest (1896 – 1936).

– Servant of God Eusebio del Bambino Gesu, Spanish, professed priest of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites (1888 – 1936).

– Servant of God Felice Echevarria Gorostiaga, Spanish, professed priest of the Order of the Minor Friars (1893 – 1936).

– Servant of God Teodosio Rafael ne Diodoro Lopez Hernandez, Spanish, professed religious in the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian School (1898 – 1936) and three brothers from the same institute.

– Servant of God Sara Salkahazi, Hungarian, of the Institute of the Sisters of the Assistance (1899 – 1944).

HEROIC VIRTUES

– Servant of God Ciriaco Maria Sancha y Hervas, Cardinal of S.R.C., Spanish, archbishop of Toledo, Spain, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Cardinal Sancha (1833 – 1909).

– Servant of God Vincenza Maria Poloni ne Luigia, Italian, foundress of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Verona (1802 – 1855).

– Servant of God Maria Bucchi ne Maria Matilde, Italian, foundress of the Congregation of the Most Precious Blood of Monza (1812 – 1882).

– Servant of God Esperanza Gonzalez Puig, Spanish, foundress of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (1823 – 1885).

– Servant of God Cataline Coromina Agusti, Spanish, foundress of the Institute Josephine Sisters of Charity (1824 – 1893).

– Servant of God Maria Dolores Marquez Romero de Onoro, Spanish, foundress of the Congregation of the Philippian Daughters of Sorrowful Mary (1817 – 1904).

– Servant of God Maria Rosa Flesch, German, ne Margherita, foundress of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Mary of the Angels (1826 – 1906).

– Giuseppina Nicoli, Italian, of the Society of the daughters of Charity (1863 – 1924).

Tooday, Pope Benedict met with members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. In his speech he addressed morality and Divine Law. He spoke about the belief that laws eliminate freedom and the belief that morality can be personally determined by reason. The Holy Father countered that belief, saying that moral law finds it’s greatness and fullness in Christ. He also said that Jesus Christ is the way to perfection.

Below I have posted the official Vatican Press Release:

Today in the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI received members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, who have just celebrated their annual plenary session dedicated to the relationship between the Bible and morality. The session was presided over by Cardinal William Joseph Levada, president of the commission.

The Pope greeted the participants, recalling the fact that he knows them personally, having been president of the same commission. He also highlighted the important theme discussed during the plenary session.

”The primordial impulse of human beings”, he said turning to consider the subject of the plenary, ”is their desire for happiness and a fulfilling life. Nevertheless, there are many today who think that such fulfillment must be attained autonomously, with no reference to God or to His law. Some have even suggested the absolute sovereignty of reason and freedom in the field of moral norms. … The proponents of this ‘moral laicism’ affirm that human beings, as rational creatures, not only can but must freely decide the value of their own behavior”.

”This false conviction”, he continued, ”is rooted in a supposed conflict between human freedom and any kind of law.” However, “the law of God does not mitigate or eliminate human freedom, on the contrary, it guarantees and promotes it. … Moral law, established by God at the creation and confirmed in the Revelation of the Old Testament, finds its fullness and greatness in Christ. Jesus Christ is the way of perfection, the living and personal synthesis of perfect freedom in His total obedience to the will of God”.

”In revealing the Father and in His own actions, Jesus also reveals the norms for just human behavior. He explicitly underlines this connection when, at the conclusion of His lessons regarding love for one’s enemies, He says ‘be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect’.”

”The path indicated by Jesus through His teachings is not a rule imposed from the outside. He Himself walks this path and asks no more than that we follow Him. … In the search for a Christologically inspired ethic, it is always necessary to remember that Christ is the Word Incarnate Who renders us participants in His divine life, and with His grace He sustains us on the path towards true fulfillment.”

”The essence of human beings”, concluded the Pope, ”appears definitively in the Word made man,” and “this relationship with Christ defines the highest fulfillment of man’s moral actions. … It is not an act dictated solely by external norms, it proceeds from the vital relationship that unites believers to Christ and to God.”

The following prelates died in recent weeks:

– Archbishop Longinus da Cunha of Ende, Indonesia, on April 6, at the age of 60.

– Bishop Charles Joseph Henderson, former auxiliary of Southwark, England, on April 10, at the age of 81.

– Archbishop Pasquale Macchi, prelate emeritus of Loreto, Italy, on April 5, at the age of 82.

– Archbishop Jose Mendez Asensio, emeritus of Granada, Spain, on April 15, at the age of 85.

– Bishop Andre Nguyen Van Nam, emeritus of My Tho, Vietnam, on March 16, at the age of 84.

– Bishop Sebastian Valloppilly, emeritus of Tellicherry of the Syro-Malabars, India, on April 4, at the age of 94.

Pope Benedict VXI will be visiting Poland from May 25-28. The Vatican has released the offical schedule of events and I have posted it below.

Between May 25 and 28 he is due to visit Warsaw, Czestochowa, Krakow, Wadowice, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, and Auschwitz.
The Holy Father will depart from Rome’s Fiumicino airport at 8.40 a.m. on Thursday, May 25, arriving in Warsaw at 11 a.m. Following the welcome ceremony, he will hold a meeting with clergy in the cathedral of St. John. At 5.45 p.m. the Pope will pay a courtesy visit to the president of Poland in the presidential palace, before going on to participate in an ecumenical gathering at the Lutheran church of the Most Holy Trinity.
On Friday, May 26, Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass in Warsaw’s Pilsudski Square. In the afternoon, he will travel by helicopter to Czestochowa where he will visit the Shrine of the Virgin of Jasna Gora and meet with religious, seminarians and representatives from Catholic movements and institutes of consecrated life. He will then travel to Krakow where he will spend the night in the archbishop’s place.
The following day, the Pope will celebrate a private Mass in the archbishop’s palace in Krakow before travelling by car to Wadowice. There he will visit the basilica of the Immaculate Conception and the house in which John Paul II was born, later meeting local inhabitants in the town’s Rynek Square. At midday, he is due to visit the shrine of the Virgin of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. On his return to Krakow, he will visit the shrine of Divine Mercy and Wawel Cathedral and, at 7 p.m., meet with young people in the city’s Blonie Park.
At 9.45 a.m. on Sunday, May 28, Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass in Blonie Park, and pray the Regina Coeli. After lunch, he will travel by car from the archbishop’s palace in Krakow to Auschwitz. After visiting the former concentration camp and the center for dialogue and prayer, he will participate in a prayer meeting in memory of victims in the former concentration camp of Birkenau.
At 6.30 p.m., the Pope will travel directly from Birkenau to the Krakow’s Balice airport. Following the departure ceremony, his plane will take off at 8 p.m. and is due to arrive in Rome at 9.15 p.m.

Ecclesial communion and the concept of tradition provided the theme for Benedict XVI’s catechesis during today’s general audience, which was held in St. Peter’s Square in the presence of 50,000 people.
“Ecclesial communion – aroused and sustained by the Holy Spirit, safeguarded and promoted by the apostolic ministry – does not only extend to the believers of a particular historical period, but embraces all times and generations,” said the Pope.
“Thanks to the Paraclete,” he continued, ” the early apostolic community was able to experience the Risen Lord. Successive generations do the same, as the faith is transmitted and lived through faith, worship and the communion of the People of God. … This transmission of the ‘things’ of salvation is what constitutes the apostolic tradition of the Church.” The Holy Spirit “actualizes the salvific presence of the Lord Jesus, through the ministry of the apostles … and through the entire life of the people of the new covenant.”
This ongoing actuality of the active presence of the Lord Jesus in His people – worked by the Holy Spirit and expressed in the Church through the apostolic ministry and fraternal communion – is the theological meaning of the term Tradition. It is not just a material transmission of what was originally given to the Apostles, but the effective presence of the Lord Jesus … Who, in the Spirit, accompanies and guides the community He gathered.”
“Tradition,” Pope Benedict concluded, “is the communion of the faithful around legitimate pastors over the course of history, a community nourished by the Holy Spirit. … It is the organic continuity of the Church, … the permanent presence of the Savior Who comes out to meet, redeem and sanctify us in the Spirit.”


It was announced today that Msgr. Frank J. Dewane, a priest of the diocese of Green Bay, Wisconson will become coadjutor bishop of the diocese of Venice, Florida.

Bishop-elect Dewane recieved a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, a Master’s Degree in International Administration from American University, Washington, D.C., a degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy and a Licentiate in Canon Law from Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas University, Rome, Italy.

He served in Green Bay as an associate pastor and in the diocesan Tribunal from 1989-1991. In June of 1991, he was released for service to the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York. In 1995, he was released for service and appointed as an Official of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” in Rome. Since 2001, he has served as Under-Secretary of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace in Rome.

The bishop-elect was born in Green Bay on March 9, 1950 and ordained a priest on July 16, 1988.
Photo from the Diocese of Green Bay

On April 22nd, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano celebrated Mass in the Vatican Basilica for members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) who this year are celebrating the fifth centenary of the births of St. Francis Xavier and Blessed Pierre Favre.

Benedict XVI arrived in the basilica at midday to greet and address some words to participants in the Eucharistic celebration.

The Holy Father invited those present to give thanks to God for having conceded the Society “the gift of men of extraordinary sanctity and exceptional apostolic zeal such as St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis Xavier and Blessed Pierre Favre.” May they, he continued, be “enlightened and dependable guides for your spiritual journey and your apostolic activity.”

St. Ignatius Loyola was, said the Pope, “a man of deep prayer, the center and summit of whose life was the daily celebration of the Eucharist. In this way, he left followers a precious spiritual heritage which must not be lost or forgotten.”

After pointing out how St. Ignatius served the Church faithfully, Benedict XVI mentioned some of “the Church’s must urgent current requirements.” These include “cultural commitment in the fields of theology and philosophy, … and the dialogue with modern culture … so deeply marked by positivist and materialist scientism.” In this context, the Pope affirmed that promoting “a culture inspired by Gospel values requires intense spiritual and cultural preparation.”

Another concern of St. Ignatius, he added, was “the Christian education and cultural formation of the young. … Continue this important apostolate, while upholding intact the spirit of your Founder.”

Going on to speak of St. Francis Xavier, the Pope recalled how Pope Pius XI proclaimed him as “patron saint of Catholic missions.” And although “his mission in the East lasted just ten years, it has proved remarkably fruitful over the four and a half centuries of life of the Society of Jesus, because his example encouraged many missionary vocations among young Jesuits.” And it still continues to be a model for “missionary activity in the great countries of the continent of Asia.”

Blessed Pierre Favre, said Benedict XVI, “spent his brief life in various European countries, especially Germany where, by order of Pope Paul III, he took part … in discussions with the leaders of the Reformation. Thus he had an exceptional opportunity to practice the vow of special obedience to the Pope ‘concerning missions,’ becoming a model for all future Jesuits to follow.”

At the end of his address, the Holy Father recalled that “on April 22, 1541 St. Ignatius and his first followers made their solemn vows before the image of Mary in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the Walls,” and he concluded by calling on the Virgin to continue to watch over the Society of Jesus.

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