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Rome Reports

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October 2012: Synod and the Start of the Year of the Faith

"We find the accused Paolo Gabriele guilty...� His sentence was reduced a year and a half in prison, because of his otherwise clean work record and because officials decided he acted without malicious intent. The butler was calm when he heard his sentence and walked off with a smile. The most affected person was Benedict XVI, who was visibly distraught throughout the entire ordeal, which lasted months. The remainder of the Pope's month filled up quickly. On November 7, he kicked off the synod for the New Evangelization with a solemn ceremony where named German nun Hildergarda de Bingen and Spaniard Juan de Avila as doctors of the Church. More than 260 bishops from around the globe participated in the synod. For three weeks they learned how to launch the New Evangelization in Christian countries with a weakening religious tradition. October was the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council. To mark the occasion, the Pope introduced the "Year of Faith.� He planned on launching several initiatives to get Catholics to further explore and live out the Catholic doctrine. The Pope cited the early Christians as great examples. BENEDICT XVI "Dear brothers and sisters, you are among the protagonists of the New Evagelization that this Church will henceforth carry, not withtout difficulty, but with the same enthusiasm as early Christians.� To mark the anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, St. Peters Square flooded with faithful, as it did 50 years ago. BENEDICT XVI "Over these fifty years we have learned and experienced how original sin exists and is translated, ever and anew, into individual sins which can also become structures of sin. We have seen how weeds are also always present in the field of the Lord.� In October the Pope canonized seven new saints, four women and three men. Among them, there are two martyrs: Jacques Barthieu, who was killed in Madagascar, and Pietro Calungsod, killed in the Philippines in 1672. Two were dedicated to teaching: Spaniard Carmen Salles, women's education pioneer, and Giovanni Battista Piamarta, who tough professions to many at risk youth. Also on that list is Kateri Tekakwhita, a Native American woman who dedicated her entire life to caring for the sick; Sister Marianne Cope, who worked with lepers in Hawaii; and German Anna Schaffer, who was bed-ridden, but her words provided enlightenment for many people. BENEDICT XVI "May the witness of these new saints, and their lives generously spent for love of Christ, speak today to the whole Church, and may their intercession strengthen and sustain her in her mission to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world.� The month closed off with a birthday. The Sistine Chapel turned 500 years old. Yet despite its age, it retains its original splendor. VIC JMB @JavierMbrocal /RCarr RR GdP - PR