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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

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Friday, September 30, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 30, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Dundee, South Africa, presented by Bishop Michael Vincent Paschal Rowland O.F.M., upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 30, 2005 (VIS) - This evening, the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in separate audiences Archbishop William Joseph Levada, emeritus of San Francisco, U.S.A., and prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, accompanied by Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the same congregation.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 30, 2005 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for the month of October is: "That Christians may not be discouraged by the attacks of secularized society, but with complete trust, may bear witness to their faith and hope."

  His mission intention is: "That the faithful may join to their fundamental duty of prayer the support also of economic contributions to the missionary works."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 30, 2005 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father visited the "Bambin Gesu" pediatric hospital, located very near the Vatican. The hospital, which is the property of the Holy See, is an internationally-renowned center for the care of children, both in the field of medical care and of biomedical research.

  After visiting a number of the hospital's departments and greeting many sick children and their families, the Pope moved to the lecture hall where he greeted the hospital president, members of the administrative council, medical staff and the civil authorities.

  Francesco Silvano, president of the hospital, recalled how the "Bambin Gesu" was founded in 1869, thanks to "a charitable gesture by the noble family of Salviati (who) ... 80 years ago donated it to Pope Pius XI. Since then the hospital has been considered an organ of the Holy See, under the governance and control of the Secretariat of State."

  In his address Benedict XVI explained that, for his first visit to a hospital as Pope, he had chosen the "Bambin Gesu" for two reasons: "because this institution belongs to the Holy See," and "so that I too can bear witness to Jesus' love for children. ... In everyone who suffers, even more so if they are small and defenseless, there is Jesus Who welcomes us and awaits our love."

  The Holy Father highlighted how work in the hospital "calls for great willingness and constant efforts to increase available resources, it requires attention, a spirit of sacrifice, patience and disinterested love, so that mothers and fathers may find here a place that breathes hope and serenity, even in moments of acute apprehension."

  "Here you concern yourselves with ensuring excellent treatment, not just from the point of view of healthcare, but also in human terms. This approach, which is valid for all healthcare centers, must especially distinguish those that are inspired by evangelical principles."

  After thanking hospital personnel for their help "in this work of such great human value, which also represents a most effective form of apostolate," the Pope said: "May the Church herself be the heart of the hospital: from Jesus, truly present in the Eucharist and the gentle Doctor of bodies and souls, draw the spiritual strength to comfort and cure the patients here."

  Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by saying that in the hospital it is possible "to offer concrete and effective witness of the Gospel, in contact with suffering humanity. Here, through deeds, the power of Christ is proclaimed, Who with His spirit heals and transforms human existence. Let us pray that, together with the cure, the love of Jesus is imparted to the young guests."

  After his visit, the Pope returned to the Vatican by car.
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Thursday, September 29, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Boris Tadic, president of the Republic of Serbia, accompanied by an entourage.

- Five prelates from the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristobal de las Casas, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Enrique Diaz Diaz.

    - Bishop Jose Antonio Fernandez Hurtado of Tuxtepec.

    - Bishop Jose de Jesus Castillo Renteria M.N.M., emeritus of Tuxtepec.

    - Bishop Leopoldo Gonzalez Gonzalez of Tapachula.

  This afternoon he is scheduled to meet in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, archbishop emeritus of Paris, France.

- Three prelates from the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, on their "ad limina" visit:

    Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, archbishop of Guadalajara, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Rafael Francisco Martinez Sainz and Jose Maria de la Torre Martin.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2005 (VIS) - Today in the Pio-Christian Museum, part of the Vatican Museums, an exhibition is due to open entitled "The Sculpted Word: the Bible in the Origins of Christian Art." The event is dedicated to the masterpieces of palaeo-Christian iconography contained in the museum, accompanied by the biblical texts that inspired them.

  The exhibition - which will be open to the public from tomorrow, September 30, until January 7, 2006 - is part of events commemorating the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of the Vatican Council II Dogmatic Constitution "Dei Verbum," which promoted easier access to the Bible for everyone, and opened the way for inter-confessional collaboration in the biblical field.

  The exhibition is being promoted by the Universal Biblical Alliance - an organization founded in 1946 which brings together some 150 national Bible societies and has the aim of spreading the Bible around the world - through the Bible Society in Italy, as well as by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and by the Vatican Museums.

  "The exhibition itinerary," says a communique released by the Vatican Museums, "presents the visitor with various biblical scenes, especially concerning the Gospel of Mark and the Book of Jonah," sculpted in palaeo-Christian sarcophagi and accompanied by 23 explanatory panels presenting the texts that inspired these biblical scenes.

  The communique also explains how visitors will receive a copy of a book with the same title as the exhibition and containing the complete text of the Gospel of Mark and the Book of Jonah, in the inter-confessional translation in six languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and German.


VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2005 (VIS) - "The Media: A Network for Communication, Communion and Cooperation" is the theme chosen by Pope Benedict XVI for the 40th World Communications Day 2006, according to a communique made public today.

  According to Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, "this first theme chosen by the Holy Father Benedict XVI for a World Communications Day underlines his own appreciation of the ability of the communications media not only to make known needed information but also to promote fruitful cooperation."

  World Communications Day is marked in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday before Pentecost. In 2006 it will fall on May 28.

  The Holy Father's message for World Communications Day is traditionally published on January 24, Feast of St. Francis of Sales, patron of writers and journalists.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following declaration to journalists today, concerning this morning's meeting of the Holy Father with Boris Tadic, president of the Republic of Serbia:

  "In the course of the cordial meeting which lasted 25 minutes, President Tadic illustrated to the Pope the current situation in the Republic of Serbia. Talks concentrated particularly on the need to teach values to young people, especially in the scholastic field.

  "President Tadic also invited the Holy Father to visit the Republic of Serbia. In thanking him for his invitation, Benedict XVI expressed the hope that such a visit may take place in the future."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from Benedict XVI to participants in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. The Letter is addressed to Archbishop Franc Rode, prefect of the congregation.

  The Pope recalls how throughout history the Holy Spirit has enriched the Church, not only with gifts of wisdom, prophecy and sanctity, but by "giving her ever new forms of evangelical life through the work of founders and foundresses who transmitted their charism to a family of spiritual sons and daughters."

  Thanks to this, monasteries and centers of spirituality have become "oases of contemplation and schools of prayer, of education in faith and of spiritual guidance." Above all, the Holy Father writes, consecrated men and women "continue the great work of evangelization and of bearing witness on all continents. ... There is no human or ecclesial field where they are not present, often silently but always active and creative."

  After expressing the thanks of the entire Church for this work, Benedict XVI recognizes how, "at the beginning of the new millennium, consecrated life has formidable challenges before it, challenges it can face only in communion with all the people of God, with its pastors and its faithful."

  The Pope then enters in detail into the themes of the plenary assembly: "The first concerns the exercise of authority, a precious and necessary service to ensure a truly fraternal life. ... Only if the superior lives in obedience to Christ and in sincere observance of the rule can the members of the community clearly see that their own obedience to the superior is not only not contrary to the freedom of the children of God, but brings it to maturity in conformity to Christ Who obeyed the will of the Father."

  On the subject of the second theme being considered by the plenary assembly, that of criteria for the discernment and approval of new forms of consecrated life, the Pope stresses the words of the Dogmatic Constitution "Lumen gentium" which in referring to charisms says: "Judgment as to their genuineness and proper use belongs to those who are appointed leaders in the Church, to whose special competence it belongs, not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to that which is good."

  On the assembly's third theme, monastic life, the Pope writes: "On the basis of situations that are contingent but that nonetheless call for specific, wise and incisive action, you aim to let you gaze range over the vast horizon (of monastic life), which has had and continues to have such significance in the history of the Church. You are seeking appropriate ways to relaunch, in the new millennium, the monastic experience of which the Church still has need today."

  Benedict XVI concludes his message, which he signed in Castelgandolfo on September 27, by recalling how the plenary assembly coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Conciliar Decree "Perfectae caritatis," on the renewal of religious life. And he expresses the hope "that the fundamental indications given then by the council Fathers for the progress of consecrated life, may continue today to be a source of inspiration for those who commit their lives to the service of the Kingdom of God."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received the final group of bishops from the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, on their "ad limina" visit. The group was composed of prelates from the archdioceses and dioceses of the ecclesiastical provinces of Acapulco, Antequera and Yucatan.

   The Pope told the bishops that the episcopal duty to teach consists in the transmission of the Gospel "with its moral and religious values, bearing in mind the various situations and aspirations arising from contemporary society, the situation of which the pastors must know well. 'It is important that special efforts be made to explain properly the reasons for the Church's position, stressing that it is not a case of imposing on non-believers a vision based on faith, but of interpreting and defending the values rooted in the very nature of the human person'."

  He continued: "At the same time, the pastors of the Church in Mexico must pay special attention ... to the most unprotected groups and to the poor. ... From the Gospel, the appropriate response is to promote the solidarity and peace that make justice truly possible. For this reason the Church seeks effective collaboration in order to eradicate all forms of marginalization, orienting Christians to practice justice and peace. In this context, encourage those with greater resources to share them."

  The Pope affirmed the need "not only to alleviate the most serious needs, but to go to the roots thereof, proposing measures to give social, political and economic structures a fairer and more solidary configuration. In this way, charity will be at the service of culture, politics, economy and the family, and will become the cement for authentic human and community development."

  Referring to the joy and festivity that characterize the celebration and expression of popular religiosity in Mexico, the Holy Father explained to the bishops how they must "orient this particular feature, so common among the Mexican faithful, towards a solid and mature faith, one capable of forming a way of life in keeping with what is so joyfully professed. This will also intensify the growing missionary drive of Mexicans."

  After underlining the fact that in Mexico too "the genius of women is frequently apparent," Benedict XVI identified "one challenge of our times" as "changing people's mentality so that women are treated with full dignity in all fields, protecting their unique mission to be mothers and the first educators of their children."

  The Pope affirmed that the pastoral care of young people "is an important task. ... Many of them have the false idea that taking on commitment and making definitive decisions means loss of freedom. On the contrary, they should be reminded that men and women become free when they unconditionally commit themselves to truth and goodness. Only thus is it possible to discover a meaning to life and to build something great and lasting, if they have Jesus Christ as the center of their lives."

  At the end of his address, the Holy Father called on the prelates "to go forward and act harmoniously, in a spirit of communion that has its peak and its never-ending source in the Eucharist." In this context he mentioned the recent International Eucharistic Congress of Guadalajara, which "left a profound impression on the faithful, an impression which must be maintained as a treasure of shared and celebrated faith."
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Wednesday, September 28, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 28, 2005 (VIS) - Following today's general audience, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Antonio Franco, apostolic nuncio to the Philippines.

 - Archbishop Alberto Bottari de Castello, apostolic nuncio to Japan.

 - Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, apostolic nuncio to Senegal, Mali, Capo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and apostolic delegate to Mauritania.

 - Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, apostolic nuncio to Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

 - Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, apostolic nuncio to Burundi.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 28, 2005 (VIS) - Tomorrow, September 29, the plenary assembly of the Presidents of Europe's Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) will open in the  "Salesianum" center in Rome. The gathering will reflect on the theme: "The Second Vatican Council and Europe. Future directions?"

  The meeting is due to last until October 2, and will be attended by the presidents of the 34 CCEE member European Bishops' Conferences at the invitation of Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general of His Holiness and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

  On the first day of the Assembly, discussions will focus on the theme of Vatican Council II and Europe on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the council sessions. In the light of the indications stemming from the council, the bishops will try to discern basic guidelines for the future work of bishops' conferences and the CCEE with regard to evangelization. Among the pastoral spheres under discussion will be vocations, school and university catechesis, the means of social communications and migration.

  The debate on present-day ecumenism and the forthcoming Third European Ecumenical Assembly will be introduced by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster, England. The presidents will be informed about the program for the first stage of the assembly, which is due to take place in Rome on January 24-27, 2006.

  The second part of the Assembly will focus on some events which have been at the heart of work in the bishops' conferences: World Youth Day in Cologne; the Italian referendum on fertility treatment; the debate in Spain on the family, and the question of euthanasia. Also under discussion will be the relationship between the Churches and the European Union, and the future of the process of European unification.

  The plenary assembly will conclude with participation at the opening Mass for the Synod of Bishops in St. Peter's Basilica on Sunday, 2 October.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 28, 2005 (VIS) - In today's general audience, which was held in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke on the first part of Psalm 134, "Praise the Lord, Who works marvels."

  Benedict XVI explained to the 30,000 people present that this psalm "is a liturgical-style hymn, interwoven with allusions, evocations, and references to other biblical texts. ... It begins with a broad-ranging and impassioned call to praise the Lord," in His temple, "the communal and preferred site of prayer. There the presence of 'our God' is effectively felt; a 'good' and 'gracious' God, the God of the choice and the covenant."

  The invitation to praise the Lord, the Holy Father went on, is followed by the "proclamation of the faith," the substance of the entire hymn which reveals itself as being a proclamation of the greatness of the Lord as revealed in His marvelous works."

  The Pope affirmed that "divine omnipotence is then shown to the entire world," however "it is above all another aspect of divine activity that is being celebrated in this profession of faith: the wonderful intervention in history, where the Creator reveals His face as redeemer of His people and sovereign of the world. The great events of Exodus are set out before the eyes of Israel gathered in prayer."

  "Divine love becomes concrete and almost tangible in history with all its sad and its glorious events. It is the task of liturgy to make the divine gifts ever present and effective, especially in the great Paschal celebration which lies at the roots of all other solemnities, and constitutes the supreme emblem of freedom and salvation."

  Benedict XVI concluded by calling on the faithful to make their own the words written by the first-century Pope, St. Clement of Rome, in his Letter to the Corinthians: "O Lord, bring your face to shine upon us for goodness in peace. ... Bring harmony and peace to us and to all inhabitants of the earth."

  Among his greetings at the end of the audience, Benedict XVI addressed participants in an international congress being held in Lucca, Italy, on the theme: "The signs of the Spirit in the twentieth century. A historical re-reading: the witnesses' account." He told them: "Last century, marked by sad pages of history, was at the same time permeated by marvelous testimony of spiritual and charismatic awakening in all fields of human life and activity."

  After congratulating the national coordinator of Renewal in the Spirit - who promoted the congress in collaboration with the superior general of the Oblates of the Holy Spirit, the founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio, and the founder of Focolari movement - the Pope expressed the hope "that the Holy Spirit will always find fruitful welcome in the hearts of believers, and that the 'culture of the Pentecost,' so necessary in our time, will become more widely spread."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 28, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Ruy Rendon Leal, spiritual director of the major seminary of Monterrey, Mexico, as bishop prelate of the territorial prelature of El Salto (area 36,000, population 370,000, Catholics 314,000, priests 22, permanent deacons 1, religious 17), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Ciudad de Cadereyta de Jimenez, Mexico, in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1979. He succeeds Bishop Manuel Mireles Vaquera, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same territorial prelature the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 27, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following declaration to journalists yesterday afternoon:

  "On Saturday, September 24, a discussion took place between His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and Professor Hans Kung of Tubingen, Germany. The meeting was held in a friendly atmosphere. Both sides agreed that it made no sense, in the context of the meeting, to enter into a dispute on the doctrinal questions that still persist between Hans Kung and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

  "The discussion thus concentrated on two subjects that have lately had particular importance in Hans Kung's work: the question of 'Weltethos' (world ethics) and the dialogue between the reason of the natural sciences and the reason of Christian faith. Professor Kung emphasized that his project of 'Weltethos' is by no means an abstract intellectual construct, rather it throws light on the moral values around which the great religions of the world converge, despite all their differences, and which may be considered as valid criteria - given their convincing rationality - by secular reason.

  "The Pope welcomed Professor Kung's efforts to contribute to a renewed recognition of the essential moral values of humanity through the dialogue of religions and in the encounter with secular reason. He stressed that the commitment to a renewed awareness of the values that sustain human life is also an important objective of his own pontificate.

  "At the same time, the Pope reaffirmed his agreement with Professor Kung's attempt to revive the dialogue between faith and the natural sciences, and to assert the reasonableness of and need for 'Gottesfrage' (the question of God) to scientific thought. For his part, Professor Kung expressed his praise for the Pope's efforts in favor of dialogue between religions and towards meeting the different social groups of the modern world."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 27, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI bid farewell to Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano (the diocese in which Castelgandolfo is located), to religious communities, civil authorities, and to the security personnel charged with protecting him during his stay in the town.

  "Before returning to the Vatican," said the Pope, "I feel the need to express my gratitude to those who, over these summer months, have welcomed me and striven to make my stay a peaceful one."

  The Holy Father then addressed a cordial greeting to the Christian community of Castelgandolfo and to the diocese of Albano, as well as to their respective religious communities, expressing the hope that "they always work together to spread the love and joy of Christ everywhere."

  The Pope thanked the mayor, representatives of the local authorities "and the civic community which I have felt so close over this period." He also recalled how "the traditional hospitality of the inhabitants of Castelgandolfo is well known."

  Finally, Benedict XVI addressed medical personnel and staff of the Vatican Governorate, members of the Italian forces of law and order, the Vatican Gendarmerie and the Pontifical Swiss Guard, who "have ensured me and my collaborators a peaceful and tranquil sojourn in this beautiful place."
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Monday, September 26, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 26, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences nine prelates from the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Felipe Aguirre Franco of Acapulco, apostolic administrator of Chilpancingo-Chilapa, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Juan Navarro Castellanos.

    - Bishop Salvador Flores Huerta of Ciudad Lazaro Cardenas.

    - Bishop Alejo Zavala Castro of Tlapa.

    - Archbishop Jose Luis Chavez Botello of Antequera, Oaxaca.

    - Bishop Hermenegildo Ramirez Sanchez M.J., prelate of Huautla.

    - Bishop Luis Felipe Gallardo Martin del Campo S.D.B., prelate of Mixes.

    - Bishop Eduardo Cirilo Carmona Ortega of Puerto Escondido.

    - Bishop Rogelio Cabrera Lopez of Tuxtla Gutierrez.

  On Saturday, September 24, he received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini S.J., archbishop emeritus of Milan, Italy.

 - Three prelates from the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Emilio Carlos Berlie Belaunzaran of Yucatan, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Ramon Castro Castro and Jose Rafael Palma Capetillo.

 - Goyal Praveen Lal, ambassador of India, on his farewell visit.

 - Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
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ARCHBISHOP MICHAEL L. FITZGERALD M. Afr., president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, on the afternoon of Sunday, September 25, inaugurated "Nostra Aetate Today," an international congress being held in the Pontifical Gregorian University to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Vatican Council II declaration on inter-religious relations. Over the three days of the congress, attention will be given to the question of Jewish-Christian relations, of Christian relations with the religious traditions of Asia, and of Muslim-Christian relations. Round table discussions will analyze progress made since the promulgation of "Nostra Aetate," and seek to propose future objectives.

THE CONGREGATION FOR INSTITUTES OF CONSECRATED LIFE AND SOCIETIES OF APOSTOLIC LIFE has organized a symposium to mark the 40th anniversary of the Vatican Council II decree "Perfectae caritatis." The aim of the gathering, being held in the Vatican's Synod Hall from September 26 - 27, is to consider developments in consecrated life over the last four decades, and to analyze the challenges of the current situation.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 25, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, following the Angelus, Benedict XVI greeted pilgrims in various languages then addressed them briefly on a number of subjects.

  The Pope spoke first of the forthcoming celebration of World Tourism Day, describing it as "a social phenomenon of great importance in the world today." He went on: "I again express the hope that tourism always be accompanied by respect for people and cultures, and that it may favor dialogue and understanding." He also recalled that Thursday, September 29, is World Maritime Day, greeting and giving assurances of his prayers to all those who work at sea.

  The Pope then addressed some words to English-speaking pilgrims. "Our thoughts go especially to those who are affected by the natural disasters in the United States and other parts of the world. I invite you to join me in prayer to the Lord for all who suffer, for the victims and their loved ones, and for the rescue workers."

  Benedict then called on Spanish-speaking faithful to help those afflicted by natural disasters "collaborating effectively, with a generous spirit and Christian charity, to mitigate pain and overcome adversity."

  The Pope concluded by greeting participants in an international meeting of Benedictine Oblates. "With the example and the intercession of St. Benedict, may you always be able to experience a profound friendship with Christ, and bear witness of it to everyone."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 25, 2005 (VIS) - In this his last Sunday at Castelgandolfo before returning to the Vatican later this week, the Holy Father continued his reflections on the Eucharistic mystery, highlighting the link between the Eucharist and charity.

  Addressing pilgrims who had gathered to pray the Angelus in the internal courtyard of the pontifical residence of Castelgandolfo, the Pope pointed out that charity "does not primarily mean the beneficial act or sentiment, but the spiritual gift, the love of God that the Holy Spirit pours into the human heart, moving it to give itself in turn to God and to others."

  After affirming that "Jesus' entire earthly existence, from conception to death on the cross, was a single act of love, to the point that we can sum up our faith in these words: 'Jesus Caritas,' Jesus Love," Benedict XVI recalled how during the Last Supper, the Lord entrusted the disciples with "His precious legacy, the Eucharist."

  "In the Eucharist the Lord gives Himself to us with His body, His soul and His divinity, and we become one with Him and among ourselves. Our response to His love must, therefore, be a concrete response; it must be expressed in a true conversion to love, in forgiveness, in mutual acceptance and in attention to everyone's needs. Many and varied are the forms of service we can offer others in everyday life. The Eucharist thus becomes the source of spiritual energy that renews the world in the love of Christ."

  The Pope presented the example of the saints "who from the Eucharist drew the strength for active and not infrequently heroic charity. My thoughts go to St. Vincent de Paul ... who used to affirm: 'What joy to serve the person of Christ in His poor limbs!' I think of Blessed Mother Teresa, founder of the Missionary Sisters of Charity, who in the poorest of the poor loved Christ, received and contemplated each day in the consecrated Host."

  "Before and more than all the saints, divine love filled the heart of the Virgin Mary. ... Let us pray that all Christians, nourishing themselves in the Body and Blood of the Lord, grow ever more in love for God and in generous service to their brothers and sisters."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Juan-Antonio Reig Pla of Segorbe-Castellon de la Plana, Spain, as bishop of Caragena (area 11,319, population 1,226,993, Catholics 1,127,469, priests 488, religious 1,046), Spain.

 - Approved as "audiutores Secretarii specialis" (or experts) for the forthcoming Eleventh General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the following individuals appointed by the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops:

    - Mauro Agosto, professor of Latin at the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome.
    - Fr. Benezet Bujo, professor in the department of moral and ethical theology at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.
    - Fr. Nicola Bux, vice president of the St. Nicholas Institute of Ecumenical Theology, Bari, Italy.
    - Msgr. Mariano Crociata, vicar general of Mazara del Vallo, and professor of fundamental theology at the Faculty of Theology of Sicily, Palermo, Italy.
    - Msgr. Joseph Dinh Duc Dao, professor of missionary studies at the Pontifical Urban University, and vice director of the International Center of Missionary Animation (C.I.A.M.), Rome.
    - Fr. Juan Javier Flores Arcas, O.S.B., president of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, faculty of liturgy of the St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum, Rome.
    - Fr. Ivan Fucek, S.J., theologian of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Rome.
    - Roberto Fusco, official of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Vatican City.
    - Fr. Cesare Giraudo, S.J., professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University and at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome.
    - Fr. Manuel Gonzalez, professor of anthropological theology at the Faculty of Theology of Mexico.
    - Fr. Stephan Haering, O.S.B., monk of the abbey of Metten and professor of canon law at the University of Munich, Germany.
    - Fr. Joannes Leonardus Hermans, professor at the seminary of Roermond and Haarlem, Netherlands.
    - Fr. Juvenal Ilunga Muya, professor of dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Urban University, Rome.
    - Fr. David Maria A. Jaeger, O.F.M., professor of canon law at the at the Antonianum Pontifical Athenaeum, Rome.
    - Fr. Michael Kunzler, professor of liturgy at the "Theologische Fakultat," Paderborn, Germany, and member of the liturgical commission of the German Episcopal Conference.
    - Msgr. Ermenegildo Manicardi, dean of the Faculty of Theology of Emilia Romagna, Bologna, and rector of the "Almo Collegio Capranica," Rome.
    - Fr. Paolo Martinelli, O.F.M. Cap., president of the Franciscan institute of spirituality at the Antonianum Pontifical Athenaeum, and professor of dogmatic and spiritual theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.
    - Fr. Alain Mattheeuws, S.J., professor of theology at the "Institut d'Etudes Theologiques," Belgium.
    - Fr. Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and sacramental theology at the "Regina Apostolorum" Pontifical Athenaeum, Rome.
    - Msgr. Antonio Miralles, professor of dogmatic theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome.
    - Fr. Francis Moloney, S.D.B., of the department of biblical studies at the Catholic University of America, Washington, U.S.A.
    - Fr. Roberto Nardin, O.S.B. Oliv., professor at the faculty of theology of the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome.
    - Fr. Godfrey I. Onah, professor of theology at the Pontifical Urban University, Rome.
    - Msgr. Gabriel Richi y Alberti, professor of theology at the St. Damasus Faculty of Theology, Madrid, Spain, and director of the International Study and Research Center (DASTS), Venice, Italy.
    - Fr. Fidelis Ruppert, O.S.B., abbot of Munsterschwarzach, Germany.
    - Fr. Ivan Sasko, professor of liturgy at the faculty of Catholic theology of the University of Zagreb, Croatia.
    - Thomas Soeding, professor of biblical theology at the "Bergische Universitat," Wuppertal, Germany.
    - Fr. Antonio Stagliano, professor of systematic theology at the St. Pius X Theological Institute, Catanzaro, Italy.
    - Msgr. Waldemar Turek of the Secretariat of State, Vatican City.
    - Fr. Cyril Vasil, S.J., dean of the faculty of eastern canon law, and vice rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome.
    - Msgr. Timothy Verdon, professor of sacred art at the Faculty of Theology of Central Italy, Florence, Italy.
    - Fr. Boutros Yousif, professor of patrology and oriental liturgy at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome.

 - Approved as "auditores" (auditors) for the forthcoming Eleventh General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the following individuals appointed by the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops:

    - Carl Albert Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Order of the Knights of Columbus, U.S.A.
    - Sr. Rita Burley, A.C.I., superior general of the Handmaidens of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, United Kingdom.
    - Leonardo Casco, president of the "Alianza para la Familia," Honduras.
    - Martha Lorena Casco, president of the "Comite por la Vida," Honduras.
    - Sr. Maria Regina Cesarato, superior general of the Sisters, Pious Disciples of the Divine Master, Italy.
    - Yvonne Coly, educator at the "Mater Christi" center, Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.
    - Moyses Lauro De Azevedo Filho, founder and moderator general of the Shalom Catholic community, Brazil.
    - Msgr. Peter John Elliott, director of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family in Melbourne, and member of the International Council for Catechesis, Australia.
    - Luis Fernando Figari, founder of "Sodalitium Vitae Christianae", Peru.
    - Francisco Jose Gomez Arguello Wirtz, co-founder of the Neo-Catechumenal Way, Spain.
    - Fr. Ignacio Gramsch Labra, parish vicar of San Luis Beltran de Pudahuel in Santiago de Chile; archdiocesan assessor for the pastoral care of acolytes, Chile.
    - Br. Marc Hayet, general director of the Little Brothers of Jesus, France.
    - Alexei V. Judin, professor of Church history and of inter-faith dialogue in the Russian Federation, Russian State University for the Humanities, St. Thomas College, Moscow, Russia.
    - Sr. Hermenegild Makoro, C.P.S., Missionary Sister of the Most Precious Blood, animator of the Christian community in Mthatha, South Africa.
    - Marie-Helene Mathieu, international coordinator of the "Foi Et Lumiere" movement, France.
    - Zbigniew Nosowski, director of the Catholic monthly "Wiez" of Warsaw, member of the national council of lay people, Poland.
    - Sr. Elvira Petrozzi, founder of the "Community of the Cenacle," Italy.
    - Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio, Italy.
    - Fr. Paul Rouhana, member of the central commission and of the secretariat general of the Patriarchal Maronite Synod, Lebanon.
    - Fr. Athanasius Schneider. O.R.S., secretary of the liturgical commission of the Episcopal Conference of Kazakhstan.
    - Sr. Renu Rita Silvano, member of the executive committee of the International Catholic Biblical Federation, director of the Catholic Bible Institute of Bombay, India.
    - Henrietta Tambunting ee Villa, former ambassador of the Philippines to the Holy See, Philippines.
    - Sr. Vittoria Tomarelli, A.S.C., of the Sisters Adorers of the Blood of Christ, Rome.
    - Bruna Tomasi, member of the executive board of the Focolari Movement, Italy.
    - Gioacchino Toscano, secretary general of the Confraternities of Italian Dioceses, Italy.
    - Sr. Margaret Wong, F.D.C.C., of the Canossian Sisters of Charity, promoter of centers of Eucharistic adoration, Hong Kong, China.
NER:NA/.../...                                    VIS 20050926 (1120)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2005 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, participated yesterday in the general debate of the 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, being held in New York.

  Speaking in English, Archbishop Migliore indicated that, although the Holy See approves much of what is proposed in the summit's final document, "the lack of consensus on arms control and non-proliferation issues is regrettable."

  He also stressed that "the Holy See understands the references to both the Cairo and Beijing International Conferences and to reproductive health ... in the sense that it set out in its reservations and statements of interpretation at those Conferences, that is, as applying to a holistic concept of health that does not consider abortion or access to abortion as a dimension of those terms."

  We are living, he said, "in an interdependent but fragile society and, in many places, peoples' best interests are not served well. I should like to mention here but three specific areas of ethical challenge in this regard: solidarity with the poor; the promotion of the common good; and a sustainable environment."

  On the subject of human rights and cultural diversity, the permanent observer pointed out that "international law and its institutions are vital for the application and enforcement of human rights. Likewise, we should not lose sight of the importance that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights attaches to the incorporation of its principles into national law, and to education in fostering a rights-respecting culture."

  "The reference to duties in the Universal Declaration reminds us that rights usually entail responsibilities; and that if we expect our own rights to be respected, we must respect the rights of others. ... A greater sense of universal human duties would benefit the cause of peace, because awareness of our mutual responsibility acknowledges duties as essential to a social order which does not depend upon the will or power of any individual or group."

  In closing, Archbishop Migliore turned to the question of religions, cultures and civilizations, affirming that "The Holy See supports the initiatives in the field of inter-faith cooperation and dialogue between civilizations especially where ... they form consciences, foster common moral values, and promote inter-cultural understanding and proactive commitments."
DELSS/60TH SESSION/UN:MIGLIORE                    VIS 20050926 (390)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2005 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff made public today the calendar of celebrations to be presided over by the Holy Father from October to December 2005:


- Sunday, 2: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 9.30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, opening of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

- Saturday, 15: At 6 p.m. in St. Peter's Square, meeting and moment of prayer with children receiving First Communion.

- Sunday, 23: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 10 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, conclusion of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, and conclusion of the Year of the Eucharist. World Mission Day. Canonization of Blesseds Jozef Bilczewski, Gaetano Catanoso, Zygmunt Gorazdowski, Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, and Felice da Nicosia.


- Sunday, 9: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, beatification of Servant of God Cardinal Clemens August von Galen.

- Saturday, 29: At 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, beatification of Servants of God Josep Tapies and six companions martyrs, and Maria de los Angeles Ginard Marti.


- Friday, 11: At 11.30 a.m. at the altar of the Cathedra in the Vatican Basilica, Mass for the repose of the souls of cardinals and bishops who died during the course of year.

- Saturday, 26: At 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, first vespers.


- Sunday, 6: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 4 p.m. in the Cathedral of Vincenza, Italy, beatification of Servant of God Eurosia Fabris.

- Sunday, 13: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, beatification of Servants of God Charles de Foucauld, Maria Pia Mastena, and Maria Crocifissa Curcio.

- Sunday, 20: 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Solemnity of Christ the King. In the Cathedral of Guadalajara, Mexico, beatification of Servants of God Anacleto Gonzalez Flores and seven companions, Jose Trinidad Rangel, Andres Sola Molist, Leonardo Perez, Dario Acosta Zurita, and Jose Sanchez del Rio.


- Thursday, 8: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Mass for the 40th anniversary of the closing of Vatican Council II. At 4 p.m. in Rome's Piazza di Spagna, homage to Mary Immaculate.

- Sunday, 18: 4th Sunday of Advent. Pastoral visit to a Roman parish.

- Saturday, 24: Vigil of the Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord. Midnight Mass in the Vatican Basilica.

- Sunday, 25: Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord. At midday from the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica, "Urbi et Orbi" blessing.

- Saturday, 31: At 6 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, first vespers of thanksgiving for the past year.
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Friday, September 23, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 23, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Mohamed Sbihi, ambassador of Morocco, on his farewell visit.

 - Five prelates from the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Onesimo Cepeda Silva of Ecatepec.

    - Bishop Carlos Garfias Merlos of Netzahualcoyotl.

    - Bishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Texcoco, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Juan Manuel Mancilla Sanchez.

    - Msgr. Ramon Martinez Flores, diocesan administrator of Tehuacan.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience employees of the pontifical villas at Castelgandolfo, accompanied by members of their families.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 23, 2005 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, yesterday participated in a conference on "Facilitating the Entry-into-Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)." The conference is being held in New York from September 21 to 23.

  Speaking in English, the Archbishop began his address by pointing out how, at the last CTBT meeting in 2003, "168 States had signed and 104 States had ratified the treaty. Today ... 176 States have signed and 125 have ratified. It is clear that the treaty is growing in impact. The growth of the CTBT shows that the great majority of States wants to move toward a nuclear weapons-free world."

  He continued: "The goal of the CTBT - to put an end forever to the testing of nuclear weapons - should be the aim of every State. ... Yet the movement to CTBT entry-into-force is impeded by the lack of universality. The Holy See adds its voice in appealing to the States whose ratification is necessary for the entry-into-force of the treaty."

  After mentioning that next year will mark the tenth anniversary of the CTBT, the permanent observer recalled how the 2003 conference had reaffirmed the importance of implementing the treaty in order to favor systematic efforts toward nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. "However, the persisting blockage impedes progress of the world community."

  "Nuclear deterrence, as an ongoing reality after the Cold War, becomes more and more untenable even if it were in the name of collective security. Indeed, it is threatening the existence of peoples in several parts of the world and it may end up being used as a convenient pretext in building up nuclear capacity."

  The response to these "growing dangers," he said, is to increase "our resolve to build a body of international law to sustain a nuclear weapons-free world. The CTBT, once in effect, would be a pillar of international law."

  He concluded: "Courage and vision are required to move forward. Although the century opened with a burst of global terrorism, this threat must not be allowed to dilute the precepts of international humanitarian law, which is founded on the key principles of limitation and proportionality."


VATICAN CITY, SEP 23, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received prelates from the Mexican metropolitan sees of Jalapa, Mexico, Puebla and Tlalnepantla, and from their suffragan dioceses, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  The Pope affirmed that the central region of Mexico "is the area where the ancient indigenous people settled, and where the Church's missionary activity began, later extending to the other areas." After highlighting that "multiple cultures and traditions" coexist in the cities, he also indicated how life there is complicated "for the various social classes to whom diocesan pastoral activity must be directed without discrimination, giving priority to those who find themselves in situations of great poverty, solitude and marginalization."

  "All these social groups," he continued, "present a continuous challenge for pastoral care, which must also be planned to accommodate those brothers and sisters who, in ever greater numbers, emigrate from the country to the city in search of a more dignified life."

  Benedict XVI said that bishops' pastoral ministry "must be directed to everyone, both to the faithful who participate actively in the life of the diocesan community, and to people who have distanced themselves and are searching for the meaning of their own lives." On this matter, he encouraged the prelates to "propose the Word of God" in "a form and a language appropriate to our time."

  "In modern society, which shows such visible signs of secularism, we must not fall prey to discouragement, or to a lack of enthusiasm in our pastoral projects. Remember that the Spirit will give you the strength necessary. Trust in Him Who is 'the Lord and Giver of life'."

  The Pope called on the bishops to dedicate their "greatest attention and energy to priests," encouraging them to remain close to each of their pastors, maintaining relationships of "priestly friendship with them in the manner of the Good Shepherd." He continued: "Help them to be men of assiduous prayer, both in contemplative silence ... and in the devout daily celebration of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours. ... A priest's prayer is a requirement of his pastoral ministry."

  He added: "Concern yourselves with the particular situation of each priest, encouraging them to proceed with joy and hope along the road of priestly sanctity, offering them the help they need and fomenting fraternity among them. May none of them lack the means necessary to live their sublime vocation and ministry. Take also particular care over the formation of seminarians and enthusiastically promote vocational pastoral care."

  The Holy Father affirmed that "faced with a changing and complex panorama such as the present one," they should not lose hope. "The planning and implementation of pastoral programs must reflect ... trust in the loving presence of God in the world. This will help lay Catholics to face growing secularism and to participate responsibly in temporal affairs, illuminated by the Church's Social Doctrine."
AL/.../MEXICO                                    VIS 20050923 (500)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 23, 2005 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received the Letters of Credence of Luis Felipe Bravo Mena, the new ambassador of Mexico to the Holy See. In greeting the diplomat, the Pope recalled that "since 1992, when diplomatic relations were established between Mexico and the Holy See, notable progress has been made, in a climate of mutual respect and collaboration that has benefited both parties. This encourages us to continue working, each with their own autonomy and respective competencies, bearing in mind the main objective: the integral promotion of people, who are children of the nation and, the great majority of them, children of the Catholic Church.

  "In this sense," the Pope went on, "a democratic lay State is what safeguards the religious practices of its citizens, without preference or denial. In fact, the Church believes that in modern democratic societies full religious freedom can and must exist. In a lay State, it is the citizens who, in exercising their freedom, give a particular religious meaning to social life. Furthermore, a modern State must serve and protect the freedom of its citizens and the religious practices they chose, without restriction or coercion."

  "Faced with growing laicism that seeks to reduce the religious life of citizens to the private sphere, with no social or public expression, the Church knows very well that the Christian message reinforces and illuminates the basic principles of all coexistence." In this context, the Pope pointed out how the institution of the family "needs special support, because in Mexico, as in other countries, its vitality and fundamental role are declining, not only because of cultural changes, but also because of the phenomenon of emigration, which brings serious difficulties of various kinds, especially for women, children and young people."

  Going on to mention the problem of drug trafficking, Benedict XVI recognized "the continuous efforts made up to now by the State and by various social organizations" to combat it. "It must not be forgotten that one of the roots of the problem is great economic inequality, which prevents the just development of a large part of the population. ... It is urgent for everyone to unite their efforts to eradicate this evil through the spread of authentic human values and the construction of a real culture of life. The Church offers her full collaboration in this field."

  The Pope also considered the question of the indigenous people of the country, "who for centuries have struggled to uphold their ancestral values and traditions." He recalled John Paul II's words on his trip to Mexico in 2002 to canonize the indigenous St. Juan Diego: "Mexico needs its indigenous peoples and these peoples need Mexico!"

  He added: "In fact, today more than ever it is necessary to favor their integration, while respecting their customs and their ways of organizing their communities; this enables them to develop their own culture and to open themselves, without losing their identity, to the challenges of a globalized world."

  Benedict XVI concluded his address by speaking of the forthcoming elections in 2006, "which represent an opportunity and a challenge to consolidate the significant progress made in democratizing the country. It is to be hoped that the electoral process contributes to a continued strengthening of the democratic order, firmly orienting it towards policies inspired by the common good and by the integral promotion of all citizens, with special care for the weakest and most unprotected. Mexican bishops referred to this in their message before the start of the electoral process. The title of that message, 'Strengthen democracy by rebuilding civic trust,' well indicates the needs of the present time."
CD/LETTERS OF CREDENCE/MEXICO:BRAVO                VIS 20050923 (620)

Thursday, September 22, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 22, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop George Antonysamy, apostolic nuncio to Guinea, Liberia and Gambia, as apostolic nuncio to Sierra Leone.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 22, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Bingu wa Mutharika, president of the Republic of Malawi, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

 - Seven prelates from the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Francisco Javier Chavolla Ramos of Toluca.

    - Archbishop Rosendo Huesca Pacheco of Puebla de los Angeles.

    - Bishop Teodoro Enrique Pino Miranda of Huajuapan de Leon.

    - Bishop Salvador Martinez Perez of Huejutla.

    - Bishop Jacinto Guerrero Torres of Tlaxcala.

    - Archbishop Ricardo Guizar Diaz of Tlalnepantla, apostolic administrator of Cuautitlan, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Francisco Ramirez Navarro.

  This afternoon he is scheduled to receive in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

 - Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

 - Bishop Luis Artemio Flores Calzado of Valle de Chalco, Mexico, on his "ad limina" visit.

 - Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Jose Belisario da Silva O.F.M., of Bacabal, Brazil, as metropolitan archbishop of Sao Luis do Maranhao (area 13,118, population 1,195,000, Catholics 887,000, priests 103, religious 298), Brazil. The archbishop-elect was born in Carmopolis de Minas, Brazil, in 1945, ordained a priest in 1969 and consecrated a bishop in 2000. He succeeds Archbishop Paulo Eduardo Andrade Ponte, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with Canon 401, para. 2, of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Msgr. Jacinto A. Jose of the clergy of the diocese of Laoag, Philippines, diocesan administrator, as bishop of Urdaneta (area 1,616, population 625,855, Catholics 531,970, priests 41, religious 42), Philippines. The bishop-elect was born in Laoag City in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1975.

 - Erected the diocese of Serrinha (area 17,169, population 505,787, Catholics 467,742, priests 16, religious 31), Brazil, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Feira de Santana and from the diocese of Paulo Afonso, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Feira de Santana. He appointed Fr. Ottorino Assolari C.S.F., master of novices at Peabiru in the diocese of Campo Mourao, Brazil, as the first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Scanzorosciate, Italy, in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1973.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2005 (VIS) - Following this morning's general audience, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, apostolic nuncio in the United States of America, permanent observer to the Organization of American States.

 - Archbishop Mounged el-Hachem, apostolic nuncio to Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen and Qatar, and apostolic delegate to the Arabian Peninsula.
AP/.../...                                        VIS 20050921 (60)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, with reference to an article entitled "Vatican accused of shielding 'war criminal'" that appeared in the Daily Telegraph newspaper on September 20, 2005, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls issued the following declaration to journalists. The article concerned accusations that the Vatican is shielding General Ante Gotovina, suspected of having committed war crimes during the conflict in former Yugoslavia:

  "During the meeting between Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for Relations with States, and Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor of the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, in response to her request for information and support, Archbishop Lajolo made it clear that the Secretariat of State is not an organ of the Holy See that can collaborate institutionally with the tribunals.

  "Archbishop Lajolo also requested Ms. Del Ponte to specify with some precision the evidence leading her to believe that General Ante Gotovina had taken refuge in certain religious buildings in Croatia, in order to be able to enter into contact with the competent ecclesiastical authorities; earlier investigations had, in fact,  yielded negative results. Archbishop Lajolo's request has not yet received any response from Ms. Del Ponte."


VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2005 (VIS) - In his greetings to Italian-speaking pilgrims present at today's general audience, the Holy Father addressed some remarks to delegations from the executive committee of UEFA and from the Italian "Gioco Calcio" Federation, accompanied by a large group of young people.

  The Pope indicated that the young people, from 16 countries and accompanied by their respective ambassadors, are participating in the "Calcio-Cares" project, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum."

  "Your presence," said Benedict XVI, "gives me the opportunity to throw light on the importance of sport, a discipline which, if practiced in respect for the rules, becomes an educational instrument and a vehicle for important human and spiritual values. May today's initiative also serve to revitalize in each of you the commitment to ensure that sport contributes to building a society characterized by mutual respect, loyalty of behavior, and solidarity between peoples and cultures."
AG/SPORT/...                                    VIS 20050921 (160)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2005 (VIS) - In today's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke about the second part of Psalm 131, "the choice of David and of Zion."

  The Holy Father explained to the 26,000 people present that this canticle "evokes a crucial event in the history of Israel: the transfer of the Ark of the Lord to the city of Jerusalem."

  In fact, King David "had made a vow not to dwell in the royal palace if he had not first found a resting place for the Ark of the Covenant, the sign of the presence of the Lord alongside His people. That oath of the king's is now answered by God's own promise: 'the Lord swore to David a sure oath from which He will not turn back'."

  Benedict XVI stressed how "the promise and the gift of God ... must find a response in mankind's faithful and active adherence, in a dialogue that integrates two freedoms: the divine and the human."

  The psalm then "becomes a hymn exalting the marvelous effects both of the gift of the Lord and of the faithfulness of Israel. In fact, the Lord's presence among the people will be felt: He will be like one more inhabitant among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, like a citizen who, with other citizens, experiences the events of history, yet offering the power of His blessing."

  The Pope went on to point out how in this second part of the psalm, as in the first part, there appears "the figure of the 'Anointed One,' in Hebrew 'Messiah,' thus linking descent from David to Messianism which, in the Christian re-reading, is fulfilled in the figure of Christ."

  "Psalm 131 becomes, then, a celebration of God-Emmanuel Who remains with His creatures, living with them and benefiting them, so long as they remain united to Him in truth and justice. The spiritual core of this hymn is already a prelude to St. John's proclamation: 'And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us'."
AG/PSALM 131/...                                VIS 20050921 (350)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2005 (VIS) - The following prelates have died in recent weeks:

- Bishop Jose Miguel Angel Giles Vazquez of Ciudad Altamirano, Mexico, on September 7, at the age of 63.
.../DEATHS/...                                    VIS 20050920 (40)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2005 (VIS) - This year too, the Holy See will participate in the "European Heritage Days," an annual initiative promoted by the Council of Europe in which more than 40 countries are involved.

  This year European Heritage Day will be celebrated on September 25 and is dedicated to the theme: "Memory and Identity. The 'traditio ecclesiae' in intercultural dialogue."

  The Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, the Vatican Museums, and the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology have all collaborated in preparing the program for the Day.

  During European Heritage Day, entrance to the Vatican Museums and to the catacombs of Rome will be free. At the same time the Pio Christian Museum, which forms part of the Vatican Museums, will house an exhibition entitled: "The 'dogmatic' Sarcophagus, or the Sarcophagus 'of the two Testaments.' The burgeoning faith of the Church transmitted in images."

  On the same day an exhibition will be inaugurated in Rome's Catacombs of St. Calixtus. It is entitled, "The 'traditio ecclesiae' in intercultural dialogue: reflections on the art of the catacombs," and will remain open until October 31.
.../HERITAGE DAY/...                                VIS 20050920 (200)

Monday, September 19, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 19, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Archbishop Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino of Valencia en Venezuela, as archbishop of Caracas (area 790, population 4,000,000, Catholics 3,400,000, priests 610, permanent deacons 11, religious 1,942), Venezuela.

 - Erected the diocese of Yoro (area 7,939, population 440,231, Catholics 360,989, priests 21, four institutes of female religious), Honduras, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Tegucigalpa, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Tegucigalpa. He appointed Fr. Jean-Louis Giasson P.M.E., regional superior for Honduras of the Society for Foreign Missions of the province of Quebec and pastor of the parish of St. Joseph the Worker in Choluteca, as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Islet-sur-Mer, Canada, in 1939 and ordained a priest in 1965.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 19, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences thirteen prelates from the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Domingo Diaz Martinez of Tuxpan.

    - Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Marcelino Hernandez Rodriguez; Guillermo Rodrigo Teodoro Ortiz Mandragon; Felipe Tejeda Garcia M.Sp.S.; Francisco Clavel Gil; Rogelio Esquivel Medina; Jonas Guerrero Corona; Antonio Ortega Franco C.O.; and Victor Sanchez Espinosa; and by former Auxiliary Bishop Jose Luis Fletes Santana.

    - Bishop Constancio Miranda Weckmann of Atlacomulco.

    - Florencio Olvera Ochoa of Cuernavaca.

  On Saturday, September 17, he received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany.

 - Eight prelates from the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Sergio Obeso Rivera of Jalapa.

    - Bishop Rutilo Munoz Zamora of Coatzacoalcos, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Carlos Talavera Ramirez.

    - Bishop Eduardo Porfirio Patino Leal of Cordoba.

    - Bishop Hipolito Reyes Larios of Orizaba.

    - Bishop Lorenzo Cardenas Aregullin of Papantla.

    - Bishop Jose Trinidad Zapata Ortiz of San Andres Tuxtla, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Guillermo Ranzahuer Gonzalez.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 19, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict XVI received a group of bishops who have been ordained over the course of the last 12 months. In keeping with an annual tradition, they have been spending some days of prayer, reflection and study prior to facing the responsibilities and problems of their ministry.

  In his address to them, the Holy Father recalled how "this meeting is part of initiatives for the permanent formation of bishops. ... If many reasons call for a commitment to aggiornamento on the part of bishops, then it is all the more appropriate that they should have, at the very start of their mission, the opportunity to pass an adequate period of reflection upon the challenges and problems awaiting them."

  "Taking your first steps in your episcopal role, you have already become aware of the necessity for a humble trust in God and for the apostolic courage that is born of faith and of a bishop's sense of responsibility," said the Holy Father. "Among your duties, I would like to underline that of being teachers of the faith. The announcement of the Gospel lies at the origin of the Church and of her development in the world, as well as being at the roots of the expansion of faith among the faithful. ... As successors to the Apostles, you are 'doctores fidei,' true doctors who, with the same authority as Christ, announce to the people a faith in which to believe and which to live."

  The Pope went on: "Responding to God requires an interior journey that brings the believer to the meeting with the Lord. ... This calls for interior life, silence, and vigilance, attitudes that I invite you not only to experience in person, but also to propose to your faithful, organizing appropriate initiatives ... to help them discover the primacy of spiritual life."

  After recalling that during the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, he had presented the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a summary of the complete Catechism, he said: "Today, symbolically, I give each of you these two fundamental documents of the Church's faith, that they may be a point of reference in your teaching and a sign of our communion of faith."

  Benedict XVI went on to invite the prelates to remain close to the priests and catechists of their dioceses. Then, referring to the Year of the Eucharist that is now coming to an end, he exhorted them to ensure that it "leaves in the hearts of the faithful the desire to root their lives ever more in the Eucharist."

  "All bishops should take particular care over the participation of the faithful in Sunday Mass, in which the Word of life rings out, and where Christ Himself is present in the species of bread and wine. Moreover, Mass enables the faithful to nourish the community significance which is also part of the faith."

  "Dear brethren," the Holy Father concluded, "have great trust in grace, and know how to infuse this trust in your collaborators, that the precious pearl of faith may shine forth always, treasured, defended and transmitted in all its purity."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 18, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, before praying the Angelus with faithful gathered in the internal courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father commented on the relationship between sanctity and the Eucharist.

  The Pope indicated that "the secret of the sanctification" of priests lies in the Eucharist. "By virtue of Holy Orders, a priest receives the gift and the duty to repeat sacramentally the gestures and words by which, at the Last Supper, Christ instituted the memorial of His Easter. In his hands he renews this great miracle of love, which he is called to witness and announce ever more faithfully."

  The Holy Father continued: "A priest must above all adore and contemplate the Eucharist, starting from the very moment in which he celebrates it. We well know that the validity of the Sacrament does not depend upon the sanctity of the celebrant, but its effectiveness, both for him and for others, will be all the greater the more he experiences it with profound faith, ardent love and a fervent spirit of prayer."

  Benedict XVI underlined the example of certain "saintly ministers of the altar," such as St. John Chrysostom, known as "'Eucharistic doctor' for the vastness and depth of his doctrine on the Most Holy Sacrament." He also recalled St. Pio of Pietrelcina who, in celebrating Mass, "relived the mystery of Calvary with such fervor as to arouse everyone's faith and devotion. Even the stigmata which God gave him were an expression of his intimate conformation to the crucified Christ."

  "Nor, thinking of priests who love the Eucharist, can we forget St. Jean Maria Vianney, a humble pastor of Ars at the time of the French Revolution. With the sanctity of his life and his pastoral zeal, he managed to make that small village a model Christian community, animated by the Word of God and by the Sacraments."

  The Pope concluded by inviting people to pray for priests throughout the world, "that from this Year of the Eucharist, they may draw the fruit of a renewed Love for the Sacrament they celebrate. Through the intercession of the Virgin Mother of God, may they always live and bear witness to the mystery that is put in their hands for the saving of the world."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 17, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano addressed the High-Level Plenary Meeting of the 60th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which was held in New York from September 14 to 16.

  At the beginning of his address, which was delivered in French, the cardinal affirmed that the UN "is an institution that is ever more necessary for the peace and progress of the whole of humanity." Nonetheless, he added, "time has taken its toll upon this agency, as upon every human undertaking." Therefore, it "needs to be renewed, in response to the great challenges of the present day."

  Cardinal Sodano emphasized how the juridical framework of the United Nations Statute "must be complemented by the necessary international juridical instruments for disarmament and the control of arms, for the fight against terrorism and international crime and for effective cooperation between the United Nations and regional agencies, in order to resolve situations of conflict."

  With reference to peacekeeping operations, the secretary of State asserted that the Holy See "is in favor of the creation of an agency to restore peace to countries that have suffered armed conflicts. The Holy See, in other words, is in favor of the 'Peacebuilding Commission,' intended to design and implement an ambitious strategy to overcome those elements of ethnic rivalry which give rise to conflicts and which could re-ignite them in the future."

  Cardinal Sodano also pointed to the need for profound reflection on "the problem of the use of force to disarm the aggressor." On this subject, he called on States to continue to discuss the application and practical consequences of the principle of "responsibility to protect," in order to solve, in "the most opportune" way, situations "in which national authorities either cannot or will not protect their own populations, in the face of internal or external threats."

  As for commitment to development, the cardinal affirmed that, despite "promising gestures" from governments in recent years, "much work remains to be done in order to achieve greater economic and financial solidarity. This must include a solution to the debt problem of the poorest countries and of average-income countries with serious foreign debt problems."

  "The Holy See," said the cardinal in concluding remarks, "reaffirms its full support for the objectives of this summit and undertakes to do what it can to help the summit produce the desired fruits rapidly so that an era of peace and social justice may quickly follow. The words spoken by the late Pope John Paul II ... in 1987 have lost none of their relevance: 'the poor cannot wait!'."
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Friday, September 16, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 16, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences four prelates from the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Lazaro Perez Jimenez of Celaya.

    - Bishop Jose de Jesus Martinez Zepeda of Irapuato.

    - Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar Martinez of Matehuala.

    - Bishop Mario De Gasperin Gaseperin of Queretaro.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 16, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was the text of the Holy Father's address to Shlomo Moshe Amar and Yona Metzger, chief rabbis of Israel, whom he received in audience yesterday, Thursday, at the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo.

  Benedict XVI recalled how the rabbis' visit "intends to emphasize the positive results that have come from the Second Vatican Council's declaration 'Nostra Aetate,' the fortieth anniversary of which we are commemorating this year," and which was "a milestone on the road towards reconciliation of Christians with the Jewish people."

  The Pope went on: "I see your visit as a further step forward in the process of building deeper religious relations between Catholics and Jews, a course which has received new impulse and energy from 'Nostra Aetate' and from the many forms of contact, dialogue and cooperation that have their origin in the principles and spirit of that document."

  The Holy Father then went on to quote the address he recently delivered in the synagogue of Cologne, Germany, when he spoke of "handing down to young people the torch of hope that God has given to Jews and to Christians, so that ... future generations ... may be able to build a more just and peaceful world, in which all people have equal rights."

  "The eyes of the world constantly turn to the Holy Land, the Land that is considered holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Unfortunately our attention is too often drawn by acts of violence and terror, a cause of immense sorrow to everyone living there. We must continue to insist that religion and peace go together."

  Finally, the Pope spared some words for the Christian communities of the Holy Land who currently "face new and increasing challenges," and expressed his pleasure "that diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel have led to more solid and stable forms of cooperation, we eagerly await the fulfillment of the Fundamental Agreement on issues still outstanding."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 16, 2005 (VIS) - This morning at Castelgandolfo, the Pope received participants in an international congress on the theme: "Holy Scripture in the Life of the Church." The congress, which is being held in Rome from September 14 - 18, has been jointly organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and by the Catholic Biblical Federation (FBC), for the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of Vatican Council II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation "Dei Verbum."

  The Pope expressed particular thanks to the FBC for "its activities, the biblical pastoral activity it promotes, its faithful adherence to the indications of the Magisterium, and its openness to ecumenical collaboration in the biblical field." He also expressed his "profound joy" at the presence in the congress of fraternal delegates from Churches and ecclesial communities of the East and the West, and of representatives from the other great religions of the world.

  After recalling his own participation, as a young theologian, in the preparation of "Dei Verbum," Benedict XVI affirmed that "the Church does not live off herself but off the Gospel, and its from the Gospel that, always and anew, she draws guidance for her journey. This is a fact that all Christians must take up and apply to themselves: only those who first dispose themselves to listen to the Word can then begin to announce it."

  "Church and Word of God," the Pope went on, "are inseparably linked. The Church lives off the Word of God, and the Word of God rings out in the Church, in her teaching and in all her life."

  The Pope gave thanks to God because "in recent times, thanks also to the effect of the Dogmatic Constitution 'Dei Verbum,' the fundamental importance of the Word of God has been more profoundly re-evaluated. This has led to renewal in the life of the Church, especially in preaching, catechesis, theology, spirituality, and in the very ecumenical journey itself. The Church must forever renew and rejuvenate herself, and the Word of God, which never ages or expires, is the privileged means to this end."

  Benedict XVI concluded his address by recalling, in this context, "the ancient tradition of 'Lectio divina.' The assiduous study of Holy Scripture, accompanied by prayer, initiates that intimate exchange in which, reading, we listen to God Who speaks and, praying, we reply to him with faithful openness of heart. If effectively promoted, this practice will, I am convinced, bring a new spiritual springtime. As a fixed point in biblical pastoral activity, 'Lectio divina' should, then, be further encouraged, also by the use of new methods, carefully studied and in keeping with the times."
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Thursday, September 15, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 15, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of San Carlos de Ancud, Chile, presented by Bishop Juan Luis Ysern de Arce, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Juan Florindo Agurto Munoz O.S.M.

 - Appointed Agostino Paravicini Bagliani and Emilia Hrabovec as members of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 15, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

 - Shlomo Moshe Amar and Yona Metzger, chief rabbis of Israel, accompanied by an entourage.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

 - Archbishop William Joseph Levana, emeritus of San Francisco, U.S.A., and prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, accompanied by Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the same congregation.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 15, 2005 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received bishops from the ecclesiastical circumscriptions of Monterrey, Morelia and San Luis Potosi (central and north east Mexico), who are in Rome on their "ad limina" visit. In his address to the prelates, the Pope recalled that Mexico faces "the challenge of transforming its social structures to bring them more into line with the dignity of individuals and their fundamental rights."

  The Pope went on: "Catholics, who still constitute the majority of the population, are called to participate in this task, discovering their commitment to their faith and the unitary meaning of their presence in the world. Otherwise, the 'split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age'."

  The Holy Father then addressed the question of the breakdown, in some areas, of "healthy forms of coexistence and the management of public affairs," and of the increase of "corruption, impunity, infiltration of drug trafficking and organized crime. All this leads to various forms of violence, indifference and contempt for the inviolable value of life. On this matter, the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation 'Ecclesia in America' clearly criticizes the 'social sins' of our times."

  "In Mexico too, people frequently live in situations of poverty. Nonetheless, many faithful display a faith in God, a religious sense accompanied by expressions rich in humanity, hospitality, fraternity and solidarity. These values are being endangered by migration abroad, where many work in precarious conditions, unprotected and struggling to face a cultural context very different from their own social and religious practices."

  The Holy Father emphasized that "human mobility is a pastoral priority in cooperative relations with the Churches of North America," explaining that "beyond economic and social factors, an appreciable unity exists, rooted in a shared faith and favoring a fraternal and solidary communion. This is the result of the various forms the presence and encounter with the living Christ have taken, and continue to take, in the history of America."

  However, belonging to an ecclesial community is difficult for many of the baptized who, "influenced by innumerable proposals for ways of thinking and acting, are indifferent to the values of the Gospel, and are even drawn towards forms of behavior that run counter to the Christian vision of life."

  "All this, united with the activity of sects and new religious groups in America, far from leaving you indifferent, must stimulate your particular Churches to offer the faithful more personalized religious care, strengthening the structures of communion and proposing a purified form of popular religiosity, in order to revive the faith of all Catholics. One pressing task is to form, responsibly, the faith of Catholics, so as to help them live in the world joyfully and courageously."

  The Holy Father concluded by indicating how "all this implies, in practical pastoral care, the need to revise our mentality ... and to broaden our horizons, ... in order to respond to the great questions facing mankind today. As a missionary Church, we are all called to understand the challenges that postmodern culture presents to the new evangelization of the continent. The Church's dialogue with the culture of our time is vital, both for the Church and for the world."
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Wednesday, September 14, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 14, 2005 (VIS) - Following this morning's general audience, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, apostolic nuncio to Korea and Mongolia.

 - Archbishop Mario Zenari, apostolic nuncio to Sri Lanka.

 - Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi, apostolic nuncio to Cuba.

 - Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, apostolic Nuncio to Angola and to Sao Tome and Principe.

 - Archbishop Anselmo Guido Pecorari, apostolic nuncio to Rwanda.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 14, 2005 (VIS) - Following today's general audience, Benedict XVI blessed a statue of St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, which has recently been placed in a niche on the outside of St. Peter's Basilica.

  The marble statue, some five meters high, is located in a niche on the external wall of the left transept of the basilica, also known as the arm of St. Joseph, very near the entrance to the sacristy. The niches in this area of the basilica were allocated by John Paul II for sculptures of saints and of founders of religious orders.

  The statue of St. Josemaria, work of the Italian sculptor Romano Cosci, has been placed alongside other statues of similar dimensions, among them those of St. Gregory the Illuminator, apostle of Armenia, of the Carmelite St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes, and of St. Marcellin Champagnat, founder of the Marist Brothers.

  Prior to the arrival of the Holy Father, Bishop Javier Echevarria, prelate of Opus Dei, Cardinal Francesco Marchisano, archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, and Romano Cosci, the sculptor, each made speeches which were interspersed with hymns sung by the "Cappella Giulia" Choir led by Msgr. Pablo Colino.
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