The Holy Father´s Week: November 23, 2009

A report on Benedict XVI´s messages and activities.
by Maribel de Torres | Source:

Hunger is the "most cruel and concrete sign of poverty" Benedict XVI said at the U.N. food summit,
"Opulence and waste are no longer acceptable when the tragedy of hunger is assuming ever greater proportions."
The Pontiff was adamant that a solution to world hunger must be found, saying that it is not something to get used to. “The world has enough food for all its inhabitants," he said "Indeed, while low levels of agricultural production persist in some regions, partly owing to climate change, sufficient food is produced on a global scale to satisfy both current demands and those in the foreseeable future.”
The Holy Father said that “There is no cause-and-effect relationship between population growth and hunger," and he contended that this is further demonstrated by the "lamentable destruction of foodstuffs for economic gain." ROME, NOV. 16, 2009
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Beauty is a privileged way to approach the mystery of God, Benedict XVI affirmed during the general audience. Christian faith, he said, inspired “one of the loftiest artistic creations of universal civilization: the cathedrals, true glory of the Christian Middle Ages”.
“When faith encounters art, in particular in the liturgy, a profound synthesis is created,” he explained “making visible the Invisible.”
“The two great architectural styles of the Middle Ages demonstrate how beauty is a powerful means to draw us closer to the Mystery of God.”
"What is beauty, which writers, poets, musicians, and artists contemplate and translate into their language, if not the reflection of the splendor of the Eternal Word made flesh," he asked.
May the Lord help us to rediscover that "way of beauty," surely one of the best ways to know and to love Almighty God. VATICAN CITY, NOV. 18, 2009
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Christ is a King who dominates with love, who does not impose himself but rather respects human freedom, Benedict XVI stated on the Solemnity of Christ the King before praying the Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square, 
On this last Sunday before the beginning of Advent, the Holy Father explained that the power of Christ "is the divine power to give eternal life, to free from evil, to overcome the reign of death."
He continued: "It is the power of love, that knows how to bring good out of evil, soften a hard heart, bring peace to the most  bitter conflict, awaken hope in the most impenetrable darkness”.
"This Kingdom of Grace never imposes itself, and it respects our freedom." VATICAN CITY, NOV. 22, 2009

Benedict XVI held an audience with 250 artists of various countries, cultures and religions, which included singers, musicians, writers, painters, architects, sculptors, actors and film producers.
The world needs authentic beauty, the Pope told the artists gathered at Sistine Chapel. "The experience of beauty does not remove us from reality; on the contrary, it leads to a direct encounter with the daily reality of our lives, liberating it from darkness, transfiguring it, making it radiant and beautiful." he said.
"An essential function of genuine beauty" he explained, is "that it gives man a healthy 'shock,' it draws him out of himself, wrenches him away from resignation and from being content with the humdrum."
It “can become a path towards the transcendent, towards the ultimate Mystery, towards God."
He urged the artists to "Be grateful, then, for the gifts you have received and be fully conscious of your great responsibility to communicate beauty, to communicate in and through beauty!”  
He blessed them and asked them to “Let the beauty that you express by your God-given talents always direct the hearts of others to glorify the Creator, the source of all that is good”.  VATICAN CITY, NOV. 22, 2009
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Other papal messages and activities.

Be on guard against relativism, which infiltrates society and manipulates consciences, the Pope warned evangelizers in a message directed to Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples on the occasion of that dicastery's plenary assembly.
The topic in this meeting "St. Paul and the New Areopagi" is an urgent invitation to know how to value the "Areopagi" of today, where the great challenges of evangelization are addressed, the Holy Father affirmed.
 “The Church knows that the Holy Spirit is always acting” he said. “The pastoral priority is to show the true face of Christ, lord of history and sole redeemer of man." VATICAN CITY, NOV. 16, 2009

Benedict XVI will visit Malta next year on April 17-18, commemorating 1,950 years since St. Paul's shipwreck there. VALLETTA, Malta, NOV. 17, 2009

The Holy Father asked for prayers for all the children of the world, especially those who on the 20th anniversary of the U.N. convention on the rights of the child and he urged the international community to be committed in responding to the problems that affect childhood. VATICAN CITY, NOV. 18, 2009

Love the Church and cooperate with enthusiasm in her construction, Benedict XVI exhorted young people after today’s general audience. He also urged the ill to make their sufferings a tool for the building up of the Church. VATICAN CITY, NOV. 18, 2009

Bangladesh’s prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, and Benedict ZVI met in audience. They spoke of the importance of human rights and the challenges currently facing the South Asian country.  VATICAN CITY, NOV. 18, 2009

The president of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, and the Holy Father met in audience. They spoke of the fundamental importance of human rights for a healthy society. VATICAN CITY, NOV. 18, 2009

Benedict XVI sent his support and prayers to the U.S. bishops who are currently meeting in Baltimore for their annual fall general assembly. BALTIMORE, Maryland, NOV. 18, 2009

The "Freedom Caravan," formed part of the hearing for Benedict XVI's public address Wednesday. They are a group of Colombian motorcyclists appealing for the release of kidnap victims in Colombia and elsewhere. Once the audience was over, the Colombian journalist Jenny Mendieta, whose father has been in captivity for 11 years, had the opportunity to greet the Pope who offered to pray for them.  VATICAN CITY, NOV. 19, 2009

Congregatin for the Doctrine of the Faith has two new consultors. Benedict XVI named Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops, and Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education. He also appointed John C. Cavadini, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, as a member of the International Theological Commission VATICAN CITY, NOV. 19, 2009

President R. R. Venetiaan of Suriname and the Holy Father met in audience. This South American nation has 481,267 inhabitants. Of those, 22.8% are Catholic. This meeting is one of eight that Benedict XVI has had this month with world leaders VATICAN CITY, NOV. 20, 2009

Benedict XVI urged the hearing impaired to actively participate in the Church during an international conference sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry with the theme "Ephphata: the Deaf Person in the Life of the Church".  He explained there is a" deafness of the spirit, which raises ever higher barriers to the voices of God and of neighbor -- especially the cry for help from the least ones and those who suffer -- and which encloses man in a profound and corrosive egoism."
The Pontiff also mentioned "the serious situation that [the deaf] still endure in developing countries, both because of the lack of appropriate policies and legislation, as well as the difficulty in having access to primary health care." VATICAN CITY, NOV. 20, 2009

Anglican Archbishop R. Williams of Canterbury, met with the Pope. He is the leader of the Anglican Communion. They reiterated "the shared will to continue and to consolidate the ecumenical relationship between Catholics and Anglicans" VATICAN CITY, NOV. 22, 2009

In "Pro Orantibus" Day, when the Church prays in a special way for those in a contemplative vocation. The Pope asked to support those who dedicate themselves to a life of contemplation in cloistered monasteries. He thanked the nuns of the cloister that Pope John Paul II founded in the Vatican for their prayers.   VATICAN CITY, NOV. 22, 2009

Sister Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas was beatified in Nazareth. Before praying the midday Angelus, the Pope noted that "Mother Ghattas" has "the merit" of having founded "a congregation formed solely of women of the region, with the purpose of religious instruction, to overcome illiteracy and improve the conditions of the women of that time in the land where Jesus himself exalted their dignity."
Mother Ghattas was born Soultaneh Maria, (1843-1927) as a Palestinian in Jerusalem. VATICAN CITY, NOV. 22, 2009

A prayer for the Holy Father 
Christ Jesus, King and Lord of the Church, in your presence I renew my unconditional loyalty to your Vicar on earth, the Pope. In him you have chosen to show us the safe and sure path that we must follow in the midst of confusion, uneasiness, and unrest. I firmly believe that through him you govern, teach, and sanctify us; with him as our shepherd, we form the true Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Grant me the grace to love, live, and spread faithfully our Holy Father’s teachings. Watch over his life, enlighten his mind, strengthen his spirit, defend him from calumny and evil. Calm the erosive winds of infidelity and disobedience. Hear our prayer and keep your Church united around him, firm in its belief and action, that it may truly be the instrument of your redemption. Amen.

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