Online Edition: November 2011
Vol. XVII, No. 8
News and Views
New Nuncio to the US named | "Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace" Meet in Assisi | USCCB to Consider Adding Blessed John Paul II Feast in US | Pope Addresses Australian Bishops on Faith, New Missal | Leaders for Synod on Evangelization Chosen
Pope Benedict XVI named Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who has served since 2009 as secretary-general of the Governatorate of Vatican City State, to be the nuncio to the United States. The announce- ment was made October 19.
Archbishop Viganò, 70, succeeds Archbishop Pietro Sambi, who died in July.
Following the announcement of his appointment, the archbishop told Catholic News Service that he hoped to get to the United States in time for the US bishops’ general assembly in Baltimore, November 14-16.
He said that being nuncio to the United States is an “important, vast and delicate” task, and he was grateful to Pope Benedict for entrusting him with the mission. Being a nuncio is “a call to know this people, this country and come to love them”, he said “For me to take the place of someone [Archbishop Sambi] who was so loved, so committed, makes it an even greater challenge”, he said.
Archbishop Viganò was born in Varese, in northern Italy, was ordained a priest in 1968, and entered the Vatican’s diplomatic service in 1973, where he has served in various capacities, including nuncio to Nigeria (1992-98). In addition to other diplomatic assignments, most recently he has been responsible for overseeing the care of Vatican City, including the buildings, post office, police force, and the Vatican museums.
As nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Viganò is both responsible for diplomatic relations with the government and is the pope’s representative to the Church in the US — a task that includes search for and recommendation of candidates to become bishops.
The meeting in Assisi of delegates from Christian churches, other religions, and non-believers, “Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace”, will focus on world peace. The event this year commemorates the 25th anniversary of the first World Day for Peace held in Assisi, convened by Pope John Paul II in 1986.
Vatican officials reported on October 18 that about 300 delegates from more than 50 countries are expected. The delegates, Catholics and Christians from other confessions, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Shintoists, and representatives of other religious traditions, including non-believers, were invited by Pope Benedict XVI.
During his trip to Germany in September, Pope Benedict spoke of the objectives for the Assisi meeting in an address to a group of Muslims in Berlin.
“Through this gathering” the Holy Father said, “we wish to express, with simplicity, that we believers have a special contribution to make towards building a better world, while acknowledging that if our actions are to be effective, we need to grow in dialogue and mutual esteem”.
Unlike the previous Assisi event, however, this gathering will not be a prayer service with the delegates praying together. “The emphasis is on pilgrimage rather than on praying together”, Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, explained at the news conference.
Cardinal Turkson explained that “the real prayer will be here at St. Peter’s on the vigil (October 26) when the Holy Father is with the Catholic faithful”. On the day before the Assisi event, Pope Benedict will lead a special prayer service in preparation for the Assisi pilgrimage in place of his weekly general audience that day. Delegates will then travel by train from the Vatican to Assisi for the meeting on October 27. There will be a silent pilgrimage to the Basilica of St. Francis in the afternoon.
Cardinal Turkson said that the pilgrimage is an attempt to “symbolize the journey of every human being in the assiduous search for truth and the effective building of justice and peace”.
A proposal to add the feast of Blessed John Paul II to the liturgical calendar of the United States is among the agenda items for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to consider at their Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, November 14-16.
The late pope was beatified May 1, and his feast day, October 22, commemorates his elevation to the papacy in 1978. His feast day is on the liturgical calendar of Rome and Poland, but may be added elsewhere, if the bishops’ conference requests it. If approved, the feast would be included on the proper calendar of the US as an Optional Memorial.
At the November meeting, the bishops will hear the first address of Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York as president of the USCCB, and may also be introduced to the newly appointed apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.
Other liturgy items on the agenda for the November meeting are consideration of placing the feast of Blessed Marianne Cope as an Optional Memorial on the liturgical calendar and approval of new texts for Blessings of the Oils for Catechumens, the Sick, and for Consecrating the Chrism.
The bishops will also hear a report by Cardinal Donald Wuerl on Anglicanorum coetibus, the Vatican’s response to groups of Anglicans seeking full communion with the Catholic Church.
Other items on the USCCB meeting agenda include:
— Elections of USCCB secretary-elect, chairmen-elect of five committees, the chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, and board members of Catholic Relief Services (CRS);
— Discussion and approval of the “Resolution on Diocesan Financial Reporting”;
— Discussion and vote on changing the current Task Force on Health Care into a permanent Subcommittee on Health Care Issues under the Committee on Doctrine;
— Discussion on religious liberty;
— A report by the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth and the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage;
— A report by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo on the work of Project Rachel, the post-abortion healing ministry.
Helen Hull Hitchcock and Susan Benofy will attend the Fall General Assembly as press representatives of Adoremus and Women for Faith & Family.
Pope Benedict XVI addressed the bishops of Australia during their first “ad limina” visit since 2004. In his October 20 address, the pope recalled his visit to Australia for World Youth Day in 2008, and mentioned the country’s first saint, Saint Mary McKillop. He took note of recent “sins and mistakes of others, most regrettably including some clergy and religious”, and encouraged the prelates to work to overcome these errors “with honesty and openness”, and “continue to be pastors of souls” and “to teach them humbly and to lead them irreproachably in the ways of the Catholic faith”.
“You are conscious of your special duty to care for the celebration of the liturgy”, Pope Benedict told the bishops.
“The new translation of the Roman Missal, which is the fruit of a remarkable cooperation of the Holy See, the bishops and experts from all over the world, is intended to enrich and deepen the sacrifice of praise offered to God by His people”, Pope Benedict said.
“Help your clergy to welcome and to appreciate what has been achieved, so that they in turn may assist the faithful as everyone adjusts to the new translation. As we know, the sacred liturgy and its forms are written deeply in the heart of every Catholic. Make every effort to help catechists and musicians in their respective preparations to render the celebration of the Roman Rite in your dioceses a moment of greater grace and beauty, worthy of the Lord and spiritually enriching for everyone. In this way, as in all your pastoral efforts, you will lead the Church in Australia towards her heavenly home under the sign of the Southern Cross”.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, DC, hass been appointed relator general to the Synod of Bishops on the theme “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”, to take place October 7-28, 2012. Archbishop Pierre-Marie Carre, archbishop of Montpellier, France, will be special secretary. The announcement was made by the Vatican October 22, 2011.