On the Light of the Gospel

«The Church, Thanks to the Word of God, Sees Through the Fog»

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus on the feast of the Epiphany. He also announced the names of 22 new cardinals.

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Dear brothers and sisters!

Today, on the solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, I ordained two new bishops in St. Peter’s Basilica. So, please forgive me for being late. This feast of Epiphany is a very ancient feast, which has its origin in the Christian East and underscores the mystery of Jesus Christ’s manifestation to all peoples, who are represented by the Magi who came to worship the King of the Jews newly born in Bethlehem, as we are told by the Gospel of St. Matthew (cf. 2:1-12). That «new light» that shone forth on Christmas night (cf. Preface for Christmas I), today begins to cast its rays upon the world, as the image of the star suggests, a celestial sign that drew the attention of the Magi and guided them on their journey to Judea.

The whole period of Christmas and Epiphany is characterized by the theme of light, linked also to the fact that, in the northern hemisphere, after the winter solstice the days begin to get longer and the nights shorter. But Christ’s word holds true for all peoples, regardless of geographical location: «I am the light of the world; whoever follows me does not walk in darkness but will have the light of life» (John 8:12). Jesus is the sun that has risen upon the horizon of humanity to illuminate everyone’s personal existence to lead us all together to the goal of our pilgrimage, to the land of freedom and peace where we will live in full communion with God and each other forever.

The proclamation of this mystery of salvation was entrusted to Christ and his Church. As St. Paul writes: «It was revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Holy Spirit that the nations are called in Christ Jesus to share in the same inheritance, to form the same body and to be participants in the same promise through the Gospel» (Ephesians 3:5-6). Isaiah’s invitation to the holy city of Jerusalem can be applied to the Church: «Arise, clothe yourself in light for your light is coming, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. Behold, darkness covers the earth, thick clouds envelop the nations; but the Lord shines upon you, his glory will be upon you» (Isaiah 60:1-2). And it is thus, as the prophet says, that the world with all of its resources is unable to give humanity the light to guide it on its journey. We see this in our own day too: Western civilization seems to have lost its orientation, it gropes about blindly. But the Church, thanks to the Word of God, sees through the fog. She does not have technological solutions, but keeps her gaze fixed on the goal and offers the light of the Gospel to all men of good will, of all nations and cultures.

This is the also the mission of the pontifical representatives to international organizations. This morning, in fact, as I said, I had the joy of conferring episcopal ordination on two new apostolic nuncios. Let us entrust their service and work of evangelization to the Virgin Mary.

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Announcement of the Consistory for the Creation of New Cardinals

And now with great joy, I announce that on Feb. 18, I will hold a consistory in which I create 22 new members of the College of Cardinals.

As is well known, the cardinals have the task of helping the Successor of Peter in carrying out his ministry of confirming our brothers in the faith and in being the principle and foundation of the unity of the communion of the Church.

Here are the names of the new cardinals:

1. Monsignor Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples;

2. Monsignor Manuel Monteiro de Castro, major penitentiary;

3. Monsignor Santos Abril y Castelló, archpriest of the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore;

4. Monsignor Antonio Maria Vegliò, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People;

5. Monsignor Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State and President of the its Government;

6. Monsignor Franceso Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts;

7. Monsignor João Bráz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Religious

8. Monsignor Edwin Frederick O’Brien, grand master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre

9. Monsignor Domenico Calcagno, president of the Apostolic Patrimony of the Holy See

10. Monsignor Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See

11. His Beatitude George Alencherry, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church (India)

12. Monsignor Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto (Canada);

13. Monsignor Dominik Duka, Archbishop of Prague (Czech Republic);

14. Wim Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht (Holland);

15. Monsignor Giuseppe Betori, Archbishop of Florence (Italy);

16. Monsignor Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York (United States);

17. Thomas Woelki, Archbishop of Berlin (Federal Republic of Germany);

18. Monsignor John Tong Hon, Bishop of Hong Kong (People’s Republic of China);

Furthermore, I decided to elevate to the dignity of the cardinalate a venerable prelate, who is the shepherd and father of a Church, and three meritorious ecclesiastics, who are distinguished by their service to the Church.

They are:

1. His Beatitude Lucian Mureşan, Major Archbishop of Făgăraş and Alba Iulia (Romania);

2. Monsignor Julien Ries, priest of the Diocese of Namur (Belgium) and emeritus professor of the history of religions at the Catholic University of Louvain;

3. Father Prosper Grech, O.S.A., emeritus professor at various Roman universities and consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;

4. Father Karl Becker, S.J., emeritus professor of the Pontifical Gregorian University, consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The new cardinals come from various parts of the world, as you have heard, and they carry out different ministries in service of the Holy See or in direct contact with the faithful as fathers or shepherds of particular Churches.

I would like to invite everyone to pray for these men who have been newly nominated to the College of Cardinals, imploring the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, that they might know how to bear witness with courage and dedication to their love for Christ and for his Church.

[Following the Angelus the Holy Father greeted the faithful in various languages. In Italian he said:]

Dear brothers and sisters,

I am happy to direct the most cordial greetings to the Eastern Churches who, following the Julian calendar, celebrate the holy feast of Christmas tomorrow. May every family and every community be filled with light and peace of Christ the Savior!

I also note that Epiphany is the Missionary Day of Children too, promoted by the Pontifical Work of Holy Childhood. Children throughout the world, gathered in groups, form themselves in a missionary attitude and support many projects of solidarity for other children their age. Dear children and young people! May your heart be open to the world, like the heart of Jesus, but also be attentive to those who live near you, always ready to lend a hand.

[In English he said:]

I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Angelus. Today we celebrate the Epiphany, in which the Lord is made known to the nations. Let us give thanks for the gift of faith and support the world-wide mission of the Church by bearing generous witness, in word and deed, to Jesus our Saviour. I wish you a pleasant stay in Rome. God bless all of you!

[Concluding in Italian he said:]

I wish everyone a happy feast of the Epiphany! Happy feast day to all of you!

[Translation by Joseph G. Trab
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