Pope Benedict XVI: December 2010 Archives

Pope Benedict XVI issued sweeping financial reforms for the Vatican City State and the Holy See in the aftermath of great confusion over perceived financial irregularities between the Italian State and the Institute of Religious Works (IOR). For the last six months the Pope has been dogged by accusations of another Vatican coverup of bad money deals causing unnecessary distractions. Recent mega-problems with financial and real estate matters at the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, especially under the leadership of Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, now the cardinal-archbishop of Naples, heightened papal awareness.

Clearly and consistently Benedict is interested in reform and renewal of the Church in all sectors and he sees this restructuring as part of the change needed. The Pope is cleaning a very dusty house. The new Laws conform to the Laws and principles in force in the European Union. A monetary agreement between the European Union and Vatican City State was signed on December 17, 2009. What's at issue are the questions on how the various Vatican agencies use money. Particularly, "self-money-laundering, the controls on cash entering or leaving Vatican City State, the obligations regarding the transfer of funds, and the heavy administrative sanctions that are applicable not only to legal persons and entities but also to the physical persons who act on their behalf, by means of the binding recourse action." Several other issues at hand are dealt with here: fraud and counterfeiting, protection of copyrights of money and circulation. None of the offices of the Vatican or the Holy See are going to exempt from financial oversight. Civil penalties will be imposed for violators. The Pope's new laws take effect April 1, 2011.

Benedict created a new governing agency for money matters: the Financial Information Authority (FIA) --which will look to prevent and combat money laundering. Essentially, the Authority is a Vatican watch dog for money and other tangible assets.

The mindset of the Pope and his assistants is: "The Holy See welcomes this new commitment and will make these material resources that are necessary to the mission and duties of Vatican City State." This is a moral and pastoral overhaul for the whole Vatican system.

For His Holiness, as the Communiqué says, "These new Laws are part of the Apostolic See's efforts to build a just and honest social order. At no time may the great principles of social ethics like transparency, honesty and responsibility be neglected or weakened (cf. Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 36)

The Apostolic Letter in the Form of a Motu Proprio for the Prevention and Countering of Illegal Activities in the Financial and Monetary Sectors

You can read the Communiqué of the Secretariat of State regarding the new legislation for the prevention and countering of illegal activities in the financial and monetary sectors

The Director of the Vatican Press Office, Father Lombardi comments

A video clip from Rome Reports on the revision of the laws.
CNS is reporting that the Pope will publish a set of documents against greed and financial improprieties. The Pope is responding to all types of financial/economic/legal questions and problems that the Church and her faithful face today. The Holy See has faced some strange politics regarding the use of money viz. the Italian state. It is a safe bet that what is likely to be said by His Holiness ought to be reflected upon by all peoples in the financial markets, especially in the parishes. Bishops and pastors have had done some naughty things with the Church's money in the past and that needs to be rectified now.

Rome Reports tells us that the Pope created the Vatican Central Bank. See the report here.

B16 having lunch with the poor.jpg

Earlier today the Paul VI Audience Hall was the setting for lunch with 250 of Rome's economically and socially challenged people with Pope Benedict XVI. For him, it was an opportunity to meet Christ in brothers and sisters. The world, of course, is more interested in knowing what the papal guests ate. The newswires report that lasagna, veal and cake were on the menu. The Pope's friends for lunch are people who interface on a daily basis with the Missionaries of Charity, the group of sisters founded by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Blessed Teresa's 100th birthday is this year and the Pope wanted to acknowledge the greatness of the woman who focused our attention to those most loved by God and despised by the world.

Dear friends,

I'm very happy to be here today with you, and I extend warm greetings to the Reverend Mother General of the Missionaries of Charity, to the priests, sisters, contemplative brothers and all of you here to enjoy this brotherly moment together.

Verbum caro factum est - The Word became flesh (Jn 1:14).

Pope waves Dec 25 2010.jpgDear brothers and sisters listening to me here in Rome and throughout the world, I joyfully proclaim the message of Christmas: God became man; he came to dwell among us. God is not distant: he is "Emmanuel", God-with-us. He is no stranger: he has a face, the face of Jesus.

This message is ever new, ever surprising, for it surpasses even our most daring hope. First of all, because it is not merely a proclamation: it is an event, a happening, which credible witnesses saw, heard and touched in the person of Jesus of Nazareth! Being in his presence, observing his works and hearing his words, they recognized in Jesus the Messiah; and seeing him risen, after his crucifixion, they were certain that he was true man and true God, the only-begotten Son come from the Father, full of grace and truth (cf. Jn 1:14).

Note of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

On the trivilization of sexuality regarding

certain interpretations of Light of the World

Following the publication of the interview-book Light of the World by Benedict XVI, a number of erroneous interpretations have emerged which have caused confusion concerning the position of the Catholic Church regarding certain questions of sexual morality. The thought of the Pope has been repeatedly manipulated for ends and interests which are entirely foreign to the meaning of his words - a meaning which is evident to anyone who reads the entire chapters in which human sexuality is treated. The intention of the Holy Father is clear: to rediscover the beauty of the divine gift of human sexuality and, in this way, to avoid the cheapening of sexuality which is common today.

Some interpretations have presented the words of the Pope as a contradiction of the traditional moral teaching of the Church. This hypothesis has been welcomed by some as a positive change and lamented by others as a cause of concern - as if his statements represented a break with the doctrine concerning contraception and with the Church's stance in the fight against AIDS. In reality, the words of the Pope - which specifically concern a gravely disordered type of human behaviour, namely prostitution (cf. Light of the World, pp. 117-119) - do not signify a change in Catholic moral teaching or in the pastoral practice of the Church.

Pope & Ambassadors.jpgIf you are following the daily work of the Pope you'll notice that his schedule is often filled with meeting important people. Ambassadors are but one such group of important people that build relationships between the Pope (and the Holy See) with a respective nation. From my perspective I am interested in the workings of the US Ambassador to the Holy See, Dr. Miguel Humberto Dias, but I have an interest in what others are doing, too, because of the universality of the Church and needs of humanity.

The annual papal address to the laity, sisters, brothers, priests, bishops and cardinals (the Roman Curia) who serve the Church in the various offices at the Holy See and Vatican that make the Pope's ministry possible. It is long, but it is breath-taking. Read, prayer, and change accordingly.

Address by the Holy Father on the occasion of Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia

20 December 2010

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It gives me great pleasure to be here with you, dear Members of the College of Cardinals and Representatives of the Roman Curia and the Governatorato, for this traditional gathering. I extend a cordial greeting to each one of you, beginning with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, whom I thank for his sentiments of devotion and communion and for the warm good wishes that he expressed to me on behalf of all of you. Prope est jam Dominus, venite, adoremus! As one family let us contemplate the mystery of Emmanuel, God-with-us, as the Cardinal Dean has said. I gladly reciprocate his good wishes and I would like to thank all of you most sincerely, including the Papal Representatives all over the world, for the able and generous contribution that each of you makes to the Vicar of Christ and to the Church.

Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni. Repeatedly during the season of Advent the Church's liturgy prays in these or similar words. They are invocations that were probably formulated as the Roman Empire was in decline. The disintegration of the key principles of law and of the fundamental moral attitudes underpinning them burst open the dams which until that time had protected peaceful coexistence among peoples. The sun was setting over an entire world. Frequent natural disasters further increased this sense of insecurity. There was no power in sight that could put a stop to this decline. All the more insistent, then, was the invocation of the power of God: the plea that he might come and protect his people from all these threats.

Thumbnail image for BXVI arms.jpgThe Pope released his message for the World Day of Peace today which celebrates the XLIV World Day of Peace. It's a New Year message all peoples. The themes of the message are:

  • the nature of religious freedom
  • the right to religious freedom
  • religious freedom is a duty of public authority
  • religious freedom and the search for truth
  • religious freedom and identity
  • communal dimension of religious freedom
  • religious freedom and dialogue
  • religious freedom and the state
  • religious freedom is motivated by solidarity and not reciprocity
  • religious freedom and the missionary charge

Evangelization and the carrying out the missionary charge, then, do not contradict and oppose the sense of religious freedom. Rather evangelization stirs up the religious freedom of every person and drives it towards the truth that saves, in the hope that persons in their religious freedom would desire it and embrace it. In the embrace of the truth that saves, all religious freedom enjoys the peace that, on earth, is bestowed "on all on whom his favour rests"!

Rome Reports covers the story

Cardinal Peter Turkson and Bishop Mario Taso's presentation of the message

Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. 200-300 million Christians face persecution yearly. 7 of out 10 can't live in freedom with the faith. And about 150 thousand are killed for being Christian. The countries which are known to not respect Christians are: Myanmar (Burma), China, North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Eritrea.
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Much is being made of Peter Seewald's brilliant interview of Pope Benedict XVI, Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times (2010).

The recent splash of news about this book is rather interesting and pathetic at the same time. Interesting because there are some great things the Pope says theologically about a whole host of things; pathetic because so many people are focussed on what the Pope said about latex. In recent years I've not see THAT much interested in the Pope's ideas on sex, sexuality and salvation through condom use. AND the confusion runs rampant to the point that a Vatican clarification had to be issued on what the Pope said. Catholic News Service ran the Vatican statement and making sure everyone was on the same condom --rather, page.

Card Burke.jpg

On November 22, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke spoke briefly of the Pope's recent work when he answered John Burger's questions. Burke, prefect (head) of the Church's highest court, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, is one of 24 new cardinals created by Benedict XVI on November 21. The cardinal is a native of Wisconsin, trained in Canon Law, and the bishop of La Crosse, WI, and the former archbishop of St Louis, MO.

Popular blogger Jimmy Akin wrote two noteworthy pieces, "The Pope Said WHAT about Condoms???" which can be read here and "New Developments on the Pope and Condoms" can be read here.
Pope on June 2 2010.jpgPope Benedict's invitation to prayer for the month of December, these last days of the calendar year for our unity with him before the Throne of Grace. Ask the Sacred Heart of Jesus to hear and answer our prayers:

The general intention

That our experience of suffering may help us better understand the pain of the many people who are alone, sick, or aged, and stir us to generous help.

The mission intention

That the peoples of the earth may open their doors to Christ and to his gospel of peace, brotherhood, and justice.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Pope Benedict XVI category from December 2010.

Pope Benedict XVI: November 2010 is the previous archive.

Pope Benedict XVI: January 2011 is the next archive.

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