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Wednesday, May 31, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Idiofa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, presented by Bishop Louis Mbwol-Mpasi O.M.I., upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Mario Marquez O.F.M. Cap., pastor of the "Rainha da Paz" cathedral of the Military Ordinariate of Brazil, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Vitoria (area 7,234, population 3,018,000, Catholics 1,890,000, priests 85, religious 184), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Lucerna, Brazil in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1980.
RE:NEA/.../MBWOL-MPASI:MARQUEZ                    VIS 20060531 (100)


VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Pope to participants in the 2nd World Meeting of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities which is taking place in Rocca di Papa, south of Rome, from May 31 to June 2 on the theme: "the beauty of being a Christian and the joy of communicating this."

  Referring to the theme of the meeting, Benedict XVI affirms in his Message: "Over the course of the centuries, Christianity was communicated and spread thanks to the novelty of the lives of individuals and communities who were capable of providing an incisive witness of love, unity and happiness. This was the force that 'mobilized' so many people over the generations. ... Today also, Christ continues to make so many people's hearts ring with that decisive 'come and follow Me,' which can decide their destiny."

  The Holy Father calls on the ecclesial movements "always to be schools of communion. ... Carry the light of Christ into all the social and cultural environments in which you live. ... Illuminate the darkness of a world confused by the contradictory messages of ideologies. ... How much evil in the lives of men and nations can be produced by thirst for power, possession and pleasure! Bring to this troubled world the witness of the freedom with which Christ set us free."

  "Where charity is expressed as a passion for the life and destiny of others, radiating into the affections ... and becoming a force for creating a more just social order, there we build a civilization capable of facing up to the advance of barbarism. Be builders of a better world, according to the 'ordo amoris' in which the beauty of human life is expressed."

  The Pope highlights how ecclesial movements and new communities form part of "the living structure of the Church. She thanks you for your missionary commitment, for your increasing formative efforts among Christian families, and for the promotion of vocations to the priestly ministry and to consecrated life."

  The Church also thanks you, the Holy Father's Message concludes: "for the willingness you show in welcoming the operational guidelines, not only of Peter's Successor, but also of bishops in the various local Churches who, together with the Pope, are the custodians of truth and charity in unity. I trust in your ready obedience. ... The movements must face all problems with sentiments of profound communion, in a spirit of adherence to legitimate pastors."


VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2006 (VIS) - Benedict XVI dedicated this morning's general audience to a special catechesis on his recently-concluded journey to Poland, "revisiting," together with the 35,000 faithful in St. Peter's Square, the various stages of his apostolic trip.

  "My pilgrimage began under the sign of the priesthood," he said recalling his meeting with clergy in Warsaw. "It continued with an expression of ecumenical solicitude in the Lutheran church of the Most Holy Trinity. On that occasion I reiterated my firm intention to consider the restoration of full visible unity among Christian as a priority of my ministry."

  The Holy Father then went on to refer to "the solemn Eucharistic celebration" in Pilsudski Square, a place, he said, "that has now acquired a symbolic value, having hosted many historic events," including Masses celebrated by John Paul II, the funeral of Cardinal Wyszynski, and "mourning ceremonies in the days following the death of my predecessor."

  The Pope also mentioned his visits to the shrines "that marked the life of the priest and bishop, Karol Wojtyla:" Czestochowa, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, and Divine Mercy.

  "I will never forget the visit to the famous Marian Shrine of Jasna Gora at Czestochowa, ... heart of the Polish nation," he said, "where I again presented the faith as a fundamental attitude of the spirit that involves the entire person. ... From the Virgin of Sorrows at the Shrine of Kalwaria ... I asked support for the faith of the ecclesial community in moments of trial and difficulty. The visit to the Shrine of Divine Mercy ... gave me the opportunity to highlight how Divine Mercy illuminates the mystery of man. In the nearby convent, ... St. Faustina Kowalska received a message of faith for humanity, echoed and interpreted by John Paul II."

  The Pope also mentioned "other symbolic shrines" of his journey: Wadowice, birthplace of John Paul II, where lie "the roots of his robust faith, his sensitive and open humanity, his love for beauty and truth, his devotion to the Virgin, his love for the Church, and above all his vocation to sanctity;" and Wawel cathedral "where he celebrated his first Mass."

  Referring to his meeting with young people in Krakow's Blonie Park, the Holy Father quoted a phrase his predecessor used to like to repeat: "Stand firm in your faith." This, he added, "is the duty I left to the beloved children of Poland, encouraging them to persevere in their faithfulness to Christ and to the Church, that Europe and the world may not lack their evangelical witness. All Christians must feel the commitment to bear such witness, so as to ensure that humanity in the third millennium may never again know horrors similar to those ... of the concentration camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau."

  In places such as those, the Holy Father went on, "the only response is the Cross of Christ: the Love that descended to the abyss of evil in order to save man at his very roots, where his freedom can rebel against God."

  "He concluded: "May modern man never forget Auschwitz or the other 'factories of death' in which the Nazi regime sought to eliminate God and take His place. May he not be tempted to racial hatred, which is the origin of the worst forms of anti-Semitism. May he go back to recognizing that God is Father of all, and calls us all in Christ to build together a world of justice, truth and peace.

  At the conclusion of his general audience the Holy Father said: "My thoughts go out to the beloved nation of East Timor, wracked by tension and violence which has caused victims and destruction. As I encourage the local Church and Catholic organizations to continue, together with other international organizations, their efforts to help those displaced, I invite you all to pray to the Most Holy Virgin that with her maternal protection she may sustain the efforts of the people working for the pacification of souls and the return of normality."
AG/POLAND/...                                VIS 20060531 (680)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Toledo, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Robert W. Donnelly, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Archbishop Wojciech Ziemba of Bialystok, Poland, as archbishop of the metropolitan archdiocese of Warmia (area 12,000, population 710,000, Catholics 693,000, priests 510, religious 452), Poland. He succeeds Archbishop Edmund Piszcz, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
RE:NER/.../DONNELLY:ZIEMBA:PISZCZ                    VIS 20060530 (100)


VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present the 2nd World Meeting of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities which is due to take place in Rocca di Papa, south of Rome, from May 31 to June 2, on the theme: "the beauty of being a Christian and the joy of communicating this." The ecclesial movements and new communities are due to meet with Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square on Saturday June 3, the eve of Pentecost.

  Participating in the press conference were Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, Bishop Josef Clemens, and Guzman Carriquiry, respectively president, secretary and under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

  Archbishop Rylko affirmed that the meeting with the Pope on June 23 - the second such encounter following that of May 30, 1998 - "is an important sign of continuity with the Magisterium of John Paul II, who saw in these new groups precious gifts of the Spirit to today's Church, and a great sign of hope for humanity in our time."

  After recalling how Benedict XVI's dealings with ecclesial movements "date back to the mid 1960s when he was still a teacher at Tubingen," the president of the pontifical council highlighted the fact that the Pope "sees in these movements 'powerful ways of living the faith'," and that "his theological contribution to defining the ecclesial identity of the movements is fundamental." Furthermore, the prelate added, "since his election as Pope, Benedict XVI has not ceased to show his concern for ecclesial movements."

  Referring to the forthcoming meeting, organized by his Pontifical Council for the Laity, Archbishop Rylko specified that delegates from around 100 movements and new communities would be participating, along with representatives from dicasteries of the Roman Curia and an ecumenical delegation.

  "At the heart of the conference's reflections," he went on, "is the question, an inevitable question for Christ's disciples: how to transmit the splendor of Christ's beauty to the modern world?"

  The president of the pontifical council then emphasized that "in our own time, the experience of the beauty of being Christian has found, and continues to find, a particularly fertile soil in the ecclesial movements and new communities."

  "Christians," he concluded, "must announce to the world that the Gospel is not a utopia, but a way towards the fullness of life; that faith is not a burden, a yoke to weigh down mankind, but a marvelous adventure restoring man to his full humanity and to all the dignity and freedom of the children of God; that Christ is the only answer to the desire for happiness we carry in our hearts. In a word, they must communicate the beauty that so many have found thanks to ecclesial movements and new communities."

  For his part, Bishop Josef Clemens, explained some of the criteria governing the activity of the conference and the choice of relators.

  "The three principal contributions," he said, "will be presented by Cardinals Christoph Schonborn O.P., Marc Ouellet P.S.S., and Angelo Scola. They will consider Christological questions (Christ, the most beautiful of Adam's sons), ecclesiological questions (the beauty of being Christian), and pastoral matters (ecclesial movements and new communities in the mission of the Church: priorities and prospects). Round table discussions will provide an opportunity to consider two fundamental aspects of the activity of movements and new communities: educational work, and bearing witness to the beauty of Christ in today's world."

  "We have received numerous requests to join, but for logistical reasons the number of participants will be limited to little more than 300, representing more than 100 movements and new communities; in any case, more than double the number of ecclesial groups represented at the conference of 1998."

  Bishop Clemens continued: "The organization of prayer vigils in Rome has been left to the initiative of the individual movements and communities. ... The Vicariate of Rome has made many of the city's basilicas and churches available, both in the center and on the outskirts." A list of the various initiatives may be consulted at: www.laici.org

  The secretary of the pontifical council, then outlined details of the June 3 meeting with the Holy Father. "The liturgy will be preceded by a period ... of prayer and reflection," he said, "also evoking the earlier meeting with John Paul II ... in 1998, and the intervention on that occasion by the then Cardinal Ratzinger. ... A large choir composed of representatives from the various ecclesial groups will enliven this part of the meeting with songs. ... The choir will also welcome the arrival of the Holy Father and accompany him as he moves across St. Peter's Square."

  At 6 p.m., the Pope will preside over the liturgy of Vespers. Three Psalms will be sung, and "at the end of each there will be a reflection or comment from a founder or leader of the movements and new communities. This will be followed by the Holy Father's homily."

  It is expected that 300,000 people will participate in the event, most of them from Italy, although "30,000 faithful are on the move in Europe, of whom 4,000 from Germany. Five thousand participants are expected from Latin America, 450 from Africa, 300 from Asia and 100 from the Church in Oceania," the bishop said.

  At 10 a.m. on June 4, Pentecost Sunday, the Pope will celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Square. A note from the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff invites all the faithful of the diocese of Rome and pilgrims present in the city to attend.
OP/MOVEMENTS:NEW COMMUNITIES/...                    VIS 20060530 (940)

Monday, May 29, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 2006 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano sent a telegram of condolence, in the name of the Holy Father, for Saturday morning's earthquake on the island of Java in Indonesia, which killed thousands of people:

  "Deeply saddened to learn of the devastating earthquake near Yogyakarta, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI prays for the victims and their grieving families, invoking eternal peace upon the deceased and divine comfort and consolation on all who are suffering.

  "His Holiness likewise encourages the rescue workers and all involved in providing medical assistance to the victims of this disaster, to persevere in their efforts to bring relief and support."
TGR/EARTHQUAKE INDONESIA/SODANO                    VIS 20060529 (120)


VATICAN CITY, MAY 28, 2006 (VIS) - At the conclusion of the commemorative ceremony for the victims of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps, the Pope travelled by car to Krakow-Balice airport, where a brief final ceremony was held before his departure for Rome.

  Replying to an address from Lech Kaczynski, president of Poland, the Holy Father recalled that, four years ago, when John Paul II left his homeland for the last time, he called on the Polish nation "always to be guided by sentiments of mercy, fraternal solidarity, and dedication to the common good, and he expressed the firm conviction that in this way [Poland] would not only find her proper place within a united Europe, but would also enrich this continent and the whole world with her tradition.

  "Today," he went on, "as your presence in the family of European States is being constantly consolidated, I wish with my whole heart to repeat those words of hope. I ask you to remain faithful custodians of the Christian deposit, and to transmit it to future generations."

  Benedict XVI thanked the Poles for their prayers for him since the moment of his election as Peter's Successor, adding: "I would like you to continue to remember me in your prayers, asking the Lord to increase my strength in the service of the Universal Church."

  After thanking the president of the Republic of Poland, the civil and religious authorities, and everyone involved in the smooth running of his visit, the Pope concluded his remarks with the words of St. Paul: "Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love."

  The papal plane took off from Krakow at 9.50 p.m., arriving at Rome's Ciampino airport at 11.30 p.m. From there, the Pope travelled back to the Vatican by helicopter.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 28, 2006 (VIS) - This afternoon, Benedict XVI travelled by car from the archbishop's palace in Krakow to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps, on the last stage of his apostolic trip to Poland.

  The Pope walked into the Auschwitz concentration camp, passing under the words "Arbeit Macht Frei" (work makes you free) written over the gate. Once inside he was welcomed by the director of the Auschwitz Museum and by other civil and religious authorities. He visited the courtyard surrounding the Wall of Death, where prisoners used to be summarily executed, and met with former inmates. He also visited the cell where St. Maximilian Kolbe died, in the cellar of block 11.

  The Holy Father then travelled by car to the center for dialogue and prayer, a Catholic institution established near the camp, upon which he bestowed his apostolic blessing. Returning to his car, he journeyed three kilometers to the camp of Birkenau. Upon arriving there, the Pope first paused before the 22 bronze slabs that symbolically commemorate the victims of the Holocaust in the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau. He also met with representatives of other religions and with a group of concentration camp survivors of various nationalities.

  The Pope prayed for the victims and listened to the Kaddish, the Hebrew prayer of mourning, before delivering his address:

  "To speak in this place of horror, in this place where unprecedented mass crimes were committed against God and man, is almost impossible - and it is particularly difficult and troubling for a Christian, for a Pope from Germany," said Benedict XVI.

  "In a place like this, words fail; in the end, there can only be a dread silence - a silence which is itself a heartfelt cry to God: Why, Lord, did You remain silent? How could You tolerate all this? In silence, then, we bow our heads before the endless line of those who suffered and were put to death here; yet our silence becomes in turn a plea for forgiveness and reconciliation, a plea to the living God never to let this happen again."

  The Pope recalled the visit of John Paul II, who "came here as a son of that people which, along with the Jewish people, suffered most in this place and, in general, throughout the war. 'Six million Poles lost their lives during the Second World War: a fifth of the nation,' he reminded us. Here too he solemnly called for respect for human rights and the rights of nations."

  "John Paul II came here as a son of the Polish people. I come here today as a son of the German people. For this very reason, I can and must echo his words: I could not fail to come here. I had to come. It is a duty before the truth, and the just due of all who suffered here, a duty before God, for me to come here as the successor of John Paul II and as a son of the German people - a son of that people over which a ring of criminals rose to power by false promises of future greatness and the recovery of the nation's honor, prominence and prosperity, but also through terror and intimidation, with the result that our people was used and abused as an instrument of their thirst for destruction and power."

  "How many questions arise in this place!" the Holy Father cried. "Constantly the question comes up: Where was God in those days? ... How could He permit this endless slaughter, this triumph of evil? The words of Psalm 44 come to mind, ... This cry of anguish, which Israel raised to God in its suffering, at moments of deep distress, is also the cry for help raised by all those who in every age ... suffer for the love of God, for the love of truth and goodness."

  "We cannot peer into God's mysterious plan - we see only piecemeal, and we would be wrong to set ourselves up as judges of God and history. Then we would not be defending man, but only contributing to his downfall. No - when all is said and done, we must continue to cry out humbly yet insistently to God: ... Do not forget mankind, Your creature!"

  "Let us cry out to God, with all our hearts, at the present hour, when new misfortunes befall us, when all the forces of darkness seem to issue anew from human hearts: whether it is the abuse of God's name as a means of justifying senseless violence against innocent persons, or the cynicism which refuses to acknowledge God and ridicules faith in Him."

  "The place where we are standing is a place of memory, it is the place of the Shoah. The past is never simply the past. It always has something to say to us; it tells us the paths to take and the paths not to take. ... Some [of the] inscriptions [here] are pointed reminders. There is one in Hebrew. The rulers of the Third Reich wanted to crush the entire Jewish people, to cancel it from the register of the peoples of the earth. ... If this people, by its very existence, was a witness to the God Who spoke to humanity and took us to Himself, then that God finally had to die and power had to belong to man alone - to those men, who thought that by force they had made themselves masters of the world."

  "Then there is the inscription in Polish. First and foremost they wanted to eliminate the cultural elite, thus erasing the Polish people as an autonomous historical subject and reducing it, to the extent that it continued to exist, to slavery. Another inscription offering a pointed reminder is the one written in the language of the Sinti and Roma people. Here too, the plan was to wipe out a whole people. ... There is also the inscription in Russian, which commemorates the tremendous loss of life endured by the Russian soldiers who combated the Nazi reign of terror; but this inscription also reminds us that their mission had a tragic twofold aim: by setting people free from one dictatorship, they were to submit them to another, that of Stalin and the communist system." The inscription in German serves as a reminder that "the Germans who had been brought to Auschwitz-Birkenau and met their death here were considered as ... the refuse of the nation."

  "Yes, behind these inscriptions is hidden the fate of countless human beings. They jar our memory, they touch our hearts. They have no desire to instill hatred in us: instead, they show us the terrifying effect of hatred. Their desire is to help our reason to see evil as evil and to reject it; their desire is to enkindle in us the courage to do good and to resist evil. They want to make us feel the sentiments expressed in the words that Sophocles placed on the lips of Antigone, as she contemplated the horror all around her: 'my nature is not to join in hate but to join in love'."
PV-POLAND/.../AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU                    VIS 20060529 (1200)


VATICAN CITY, MAY 28, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, two million people attended a Mass presided by Benedict XVI in Krakow's Blonie Park; the same place where, yesterday afternoon, he had met with young people. Polish cardinals and bishops, as well as members of the papal entourage, concelebrated with the Pope.

  A representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, Fr. Igor Vyzhanov, also participated in the Eucharistic celebration, conveying to the Pope the greeting of Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and all the Russias.

  In his homily, the Holy Father referred to the recent Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord: "Here on earth," he said, "we are called to look up to heaven, to turn our minds and hearts to the inexpressible mystery of God. We are called to look towards this divine reality, to which we have been directed from our creation. For there we find life's ultimate meaning."

  After recalling how John Paul II used to celebrate Mass in the same park during his apostolic trips to his homeland, Benedict XVI said: "From here he could see Krakow and all Poland. ... Krakow, the city of Karol Wojtyla and of John Paul II, is also my Krakow! Krakow has a special place in the hearts of countless Christians throughout the world who know that John Paul II came to the Vatican Hill from this city, from Wawel Hill, 'from a far country,' which thus became a country dear to all."

  The Pope then indicated that he had wished to come to Poland and to Krakow "to breathe the air of [John Paul II's] homeland. I wanted to see the land where he was born, where he grew up and undertook his tireless service to Christ and the Universal Church. ... Here I wish to ask God to preserve that legacy of faith, hope and charity which John Paul II gave to the world, and to you in particular."

  Going on to refer to theme of his Polish pilgrimage, "Stand firm in your faith," the Holy Father pointed out that "faith is a deeply personal and human act, an act which has two aspects. To believe means first to accept as true what our mind cannot fully comprehend." Secondly, it means to "trust in a person, no ordinary person, but Jesus Christ Himself. What we believe is important, but even more important is the One in Whom we believe."

  "When Karol Wojtyla was elected to the See of Peter in order to serve the Universal Church, your land became a place of special witness to faith in Jesus Christ. You were called to give this witness before the whole world. This vocation of yours is always needed, and it is perhaps even more urgent than ever, now that the Servant of God has passed from this life. Do not deprive the world of this witness!"

  "Strengthened by faith in God, devote yourselves fervently to consolidating His Kingdom on earth, a Kingdom of goodness, justice, solidarity and mercy. I ask you to bear courageous witness to the Gospel before today's world, bringing hope to the poor, the suffering, the lost and abandoned, the desperate and those yearning for freedom, truth and peace. By doing good to your neighbor and showing your concern for the common good, you bear witness that God is love."

  Pope Benedict concluded his address by calling on the faithful "to share with the other peoples of Europe and the world the treasure of your faith, not least as a way of honoring the memory of your countryman, who, as the Successor of St. Peter, did this with extraordinary power and effectiveness."

  Following the Mass and before praying the "Regina Coeli," the Pope addressed some remarks to young people who, during his meeting with them yesterday, "expressed their adherence to Christ and to the Church.

  "Yesterday," he said, "you presented me with the gift of your book of testimonies: 'I do not take them, I am free of drugs.' I ask you now as your father: remain faithful to this promise. It is a question of your lives and your freedom. Do not let yourselves fall victim to this world's illusions."

  At the end of the ceremony, Benedict travelled by car to the archbishop's palace in Krakow where he had lunch. In the early afternoon, he bid farewell to the staff and collaborators of the archbishop, and to some of the members of the organizational committee of his visit.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 2006 (VIS) - This afternoon, having first visited Wawel cathedral in Krakow, the Holy Father travelled by popemobile to the city's Blonie Park - the site of many of John Paul II's celebrations in Krakow - where he met with young people.

  Following a greeting pronounced by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, and testimonies from a number of young people, the Pope delivered an address to the 1,000,000 strong crowd that had gathered in the park to hear him.

  "In the heart of every man," he began, "there is the desire for a house. Even more so in the young person's heart there is a great longing for a proper house, a stable house. ... There is a longing for a house you can be proud of. ... These longings are simply the desire for a full, happy and successful life. Do not be afraid of this desire! Do not run away from this desire! Do not be discouraged at the sight of crumbling houses, frustrated desires and faded longings. God the Creator, who inspires in young hearts an immense yearning for happiness, will not abandon you in the difficult construction of the house called life."

  "How do I build that house called life? Jesus ... encourages us to build on the rock. In fact, it is only in this way that the house will not crumble. But what does it mean to build a house on the rock? Building on the rock means, first of all, to build on Christ and with Christ." It means "to build on a foundation that is called 'crucified love'."

  Christ, Benedict XVI added, "knowing us better than we know ourselves, says to us: 'You are precious in my eyes and honored, and I love you'." Building on the rock "means to build with Someone Who is always faithful, even when we are lacking in faith, because He cannot deny Himself; ... with Someone Who constantly looks down on the wounded heart of man and says: 'I do not condemn you, go and do not sin again.' ... Do not be afraid to lean on Christ! Long for Christ, as the foundation of your life!"

  To build on the rock, the Pope went on, also means "building on Someone Who was rejected," and he recalled St. Peter's description of Jesus "as a 'living stone rejected by men.' ... The undeniable fact of the election of Jesus by God does not conceal the mystery of evil, whereby man is able to reject Him Who has loved to the very end.  This rejection of Jesus ... extends throughout human history, even to our own time. ... Often, Jesus is ignored, ... He is declared a king of the past Who is not for today and certainly not for tomorrow. He is relegated to a storeroom of questions and persons one dare not mention publicly in a loud voice. If in the process of building the house of your life you encounter those who scorn the foundation on which you are building, do not be discouraged!  A strong faith must endure tests. ... Our faith in Jesus Christ ... must frequently face others' lack of faith."

  Yet to build on the rock, the Holy Father highlighted, also means "being aware that there will be misfortunes. ... Christ not only understands man's desire for a lasting house, but he is also fully aware of all that can wreck man's happiness. Do not be surprised therefore by misfortunes. ... An edifice built on the rock is not the same as a building removed from the forces of nature, which are inscribed in the mystery of man. To have built on rock means being able to count on the knowledge that at difficult times there is a reliable force upon which you can trust."

  "What does it mean to build on the rock?" the Pope asked again. "Building on the rock also means to build on Peter and with Peter. ... 'You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church.' ... If Christ, the Rock, ... calls His Apostle 'rock,' it means that He wants Peter, and together with him the entire Church, to be a visible sign of the one Savior and Lord. ... Do not be fooled by those who want to play Christ against the Church. ... Young people, you know well the Rock of our times. Accordingly, do not forget that neither that Peter who is watching our gathering from the window of God the Father, nor this Peter who is now standing in front of you, nor any successive Peter will ever be opposed to you or the building of a lasting house on the rock."

  "The last word is a hopeful one," Pope Benedict concluded. "The fear of failure can at times frustrate even the most beautiful dreams. ... It can convince one that the yearning for such a house is only a childish aspiration and not a plan for life. ... You are all witnesses to hope, to that hope which is not afraid to build the house of one's own life because it is certain that it can count on the foundation that will never crumble: Jesus Christ our Lord."

  Having completed his address, the Pope gave the young people the "Flame of Mercy," as a symbol of their mission to carry the light of faith throughout the world, and blessed the first stone of the John Paul II Center.
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Saturday, May 27, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Msgr. Lajos Varga of the clergy of the diocese of Vac, Hungary, pastor of Paszto, as auxiliary of the diocese of Vac (area 8,800, population 1,116,000, Catholics 640,000, priests 222, permanent deacons 5, religious 191). The bishop-elect was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1974.

- Fr. Pablo Virgilio Siongco David of the clergy of the archdiocese of San Fernando, Philippines, professor of Holy Scripture in the archdiocesan seminary, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 2,180, population 3,060,000, Catholics 2,855,000, priests 165, religious 212). The bishop-elect was born in Betis, Philippines in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1983.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 2006 (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. today, having celebrated a private Mass in the chapel of the archbishop's palace in Krakow, the Holy Father travelled by car to Wadowice, the home town of John Paul II.

  The Pope visited the basilica of the Immaculate Conception, where Karol Wojtyla was baptized, before going on to see the house in which he was born. On May 18, 1984, in honor of the late pontiff's 64th birthday, the house was converted into a museum. Benedict XVI visited the apartment in which the Wojtyla family lived, which is now used as an exhibition space for photographs recording Karol Wojtyla's life as priest, bishop and Pope.

  At 11 a.m., the Pope met with local inhabitants in Wadowice's Rynek Square, in front of the basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

  Following a greeting from Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, the Pope delivered his address. "I wished to stop precisely here, in the place where his faith began and matured," he said referring to his predecessor, "to pray together with all of you that he may soon be elevated to the glory of the altars."

  The Holy Father then recalled how John Paul II would often refer to the baptismal font of the church of Wadowice where, on June 20, 1920 he received the Sacrament of Christian initiation, and for which he had "special veneration." This, said Pope Benedict, is "the key to understanding the consistency of his faith, the radicalism of his Christian life and the desire for sanctity that he continuously manifested."

  "His love for the Church was born in the parish of Wadowice. In it he experienced the sacramental life, evangelization and the formation of a mature faith. For this reason, as a priest, as a bishop and as Pope, he treated parish communities with such great care. In the spirit of that same solicitude, during the visit 'ad limina,' I asked the Polish bishops to do everything possible to ensure that the Polish parish would truly be an 'ecclesial community' and a 'family of the Church'."

  The Holy Father then recalled another "characteristic of the faith and spirituality of John Paul II, which is united to this place. ... The deep attachment of the inhabitants of Wadowice to the local image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. ... This memory helps us arrive at the source of the conviction that nourished John Paul II: the conviction regarding the exceptional place that the Mother of God had in his life, a conviction that he himself, filled with devotion, expressed in the motto 'Totus tuus.' Until the last moments of his earthly pilgrimage he remained faithful to this dedication."

  "In the spirit of this devotion," the Pope concluded, "before this image I wish to give thanks to God for the pontificate of John Paul II and, like him, I ask that Our Lady watch over the Church which by the will of God has been entrusted to me to guide. I also ask all of you to pray for me just as you prayed for your great fellow countryman."

  At the end of the meeting, the Holy Father travelled by car to the Shrine of the Virgin of Kalwaria. The shrine, dedicated to the Passion of Jesus and the Virgin of Sorrows, takes its name from the Calvary of Jerusalem. Its 15 kilometer-long Via Crucis is the only Way of the Cross to be included among UNESCO's world heritage sites. As a youth Karol Wojtyla used to make frequent pilgrimages there.

  After visiting the shrine, Benedict XVI delivered a brief greeting to the community of Friars Minor living in the convent of the shrine, and to the faithful gathered there. The Pope recalled how, during his first journey to Poland, Pope John Paul II had visited this shrine and had dedicated his address to the topic of prayer. "At the conclusion he said: 'I ask you to pray for me here during my life and after my death.' Today, I wanted to pause for a moment in the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary and, with gratitude, to pray for him as he requested. Following the example of John Paul II, I also turn to you, kindly asking that you pray for me and for all the Church."

  During his return journey to Krakow, the Pope visited the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Langiewniki. He paused in prayer before the tomb of St. Faustina Kowalska where Karol Wojtyla frequently came to pray when he was a worker and later as a clandestine seminarian in the 1940s. Benedict XVI also visited the basilica where he met with 800 sick people.
PV-POLAND/.../WADOWICE:KALWARIA                    VIS 20060527 (790)


VATICAN CITY, MAY 26, 2006 (VIS) - At 5.15 p.m. today, Benedict XVI arrived by helicopter at the Polish city of Czestochowa to visit the Shrine of the Virgin of Jasna Gora, Poland's most famous Marian shrine, where John Paul II confided his pontificate to the Mother of God.

  The image of the Virgin of Jasna Gora is decked with new vestments, in fulfillment of a vow to mark the 350th anniversary of the defense of her shrine against Swedish troops by Fr. Augustin Kordecki, and as an expression of gratitude for the life of John Paul II on the 25th anniversary of the birth of the "Solidarnosc" trade union. The image's golden crowns were blessed and offered by John Paul II on April 1 2005, the eve of his death.

  At 6 p.m., having visited the convent of the shrine, which is under the care of the Pauline Fathers, the Holy Father met with religious, seminarians and representatives from Catholic movements and institutes of consecrated life.

  In his address to the them, Pope Benedict began by affirming that "Mary, the Mother of the Lord, is among us. Today it is she who leads our meditation; she teaches us how to pray. Mary shows us how to open our minds and our hearts to the power of the Holy Spirit, Who comes to us so as to be brought to the whole world."

  "Mary sustained the faith of Peter and the Apostles in the Upper Room, and today she sustains my faith and yours," said the Pope. "Faith is contact with the mystery of God. ... It is the gift, given to us in Baptism, which makes our encounter with God possible. God is hidden in mystery; to claim to understand Him would mean to want to confine Him within our thinking and knowing, and consequently to lose Him irremediably. With faith, however, we can open up a way through concepts, even theological concepts, and can 'touch' the living God."

  "In the Upper Room the Apostles did not know what awaited them. They were afraid and worried about their own future. ... Mary, 'she who believed in the fulfillment of the Lord's words,' ... taught perseverance in the faith. By her own attitude she convinced them that the Holy Spirit, in His wisdom, knew well the path on which He was leading them, and that consequently they could place their confidence in God."

  "Many of you here present have experienced this secret call of the Holy Spirit and have responded. ... It was Jesus who called you, inviting you to a more profound union with Him."

  "Do you remember," the Holy Father asked the religious, "your enthusiasm when you began the pilgrimage of the consecrated life, trusting in the grace of God? Try not to lose this first fervor, and let Mary lead you to an ever fuller adherence."

  He cried: "Dear men and women religious, dear consecrated persons! Whatever the mission entrusted to you, ... maintain in your hearts the primacy of your consecrated life" which, "lived in faith, unites you closely to God, calls forth charisms and confers an extraordinary fruitfulness to your service."

  Turning to address seminarians, the Pope recommended they reflect "on the way Mary learned from Jesus! From her very first 'fiat,' through the long, ordinary years of the hidden life, as she brought up Jesus, ... she 'learned' Him moment by moment. ... On your journey of preparation, and in your future priestly ministry, let Mary guide you as you 'learn' Jesus. Keep your eyes fixed on Him. Let Him form you, so that in your ministry you will be able to show Him to all who approach you."

  "The vitality of your communities," Benedict XVI told representatives of the new movements in the Church, "is a sign of the Holy Spirit's active presence! It is from the faith of the Church and from the richness of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that your mission has been born. ... Believe in the grace of God which accompanies you and bring it into the living fabric of the Church, especially in places the priest or religious cannot reach."

  "You are nourished," he continued, "by different schools of spirituality recognized by the Church. Draw upon the wisdom of the saints, have recourse to the heritage they have left us. Form your minds and your hearts on the works of the great masters and witnesses of the faith, knowing that the schools of spirituality must not be a treasure locked up in convents or libraries.

  "The Gospel wisdom, contained in the writings of the great saints and attested to in their lives, must be brought in a mature way, not childishly or aggressively, to the world of culture and work, to the world of the media and politics. ... The authenticity of your faith and mission, which does not draw attention to itself but truly radiates faith and love, can be tested by measuring it against Mary's faith. ... Remain in her school!"

  "God is love," the Holy Father concluded, "These were the words that I placed at the beginning of the first Encyclical of my pontificate. ... This is the most important, most central truth about God. To all for whom it is difficult to believe in God, I say again today: 'God is love.' Dear friends, be witnesses to this truth."

  At the end of the meeting, Benedict XVI returned by helicopter to Krakow where, after dinner, he appeared at the balcony of the archbishop's palace to greet people gathered in the street below, following a custom of John Paul II when he visited Krakow.

  "I know," he told them, "that on the second of each month, at the time my beloved predecessor died, you meet here to commemorate him and pray for his elevation to the honors of the altar. May this prayer be of support to those who concern themselves with his cause [of beatification] and enrich your hearts with grace."

  "Despite his death, he - young in God - is among us, he invites us to reinvigorate the grace of faith and renew ourselves in the Spirit."

Friday, May 26, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAY 26, 2006 (VIS) - Tomorrow, Saturday May 27, VIS will transmit a special service on the Holy Father's meeting in Czestochowa with religious, seminarians and representatives from Catholic movements and institutes of consecrated life, and on his visit to John Paul II's home town of Wadowice where he is due to meet local inhabitants in the town's Rynek Square.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 26, 2006 (VIS) - At 9.15 this morning, the Pope travelled from the apostolic nunciature, where he had spent the night, to Warsaw's Pilsudski Square, also known as Victory Square, where he presided at a Eucharistic concelebration. It was in Pilsudski Square, on June 2 1979, that John Paul II began his first pastoral visit to his homeland.

  Concelebrating with the Holy Father were Polish cardinals and bishops, as well as bishops from other countries and a large number of priests. The service was attended by 270,000 people, including Lech Kaczynski, president of Poland, and other civil authorities.

  Addressing the faithful gathered under the driving rain, Benedict XVI recalled in his homily how in the same square, "on the eve of Pentecost, Pope John Paul II uttered the significant words of the prayer 'Let your Spirit descend, and renew the face of the earth.' And he added: 'The face of this land'."

  "How can we not thank God today for all that was accomplished in your native land and in the whole world during the pontificate of John Paul II? Before our eyes, changes occurred in entire political, economic and social systems. People in various countries regained their freedom and their sense of dignity."

  Faced with people or groups who obscure Church tradition, "seeking to falsify the Word of Christ and to remove from the Gospel those truths which, in their view, are too uncomfortable for modern man," said the Pope, "every Christian is bound to confront his own convictions continually with the teachings of the Gospel and of the Church's Tradition in the effort to remain faithful to the word of Christ, even when it is demanding and, humanly speaking, hard to understand.

  "We must not yield to the temptation of relativism or of a subjectivist and selective interpretation of Sacred Scripture. Only the whole truth can open us to adherence to Christ, Who died and rose for our salvation."

  After highlighting how "faith consists in an intimate relationship with Christ," Benedict XVI made it clear that to love Christ means "trusting Him even in times of trial. ... Entrusting ourselves to Christ, we lose nothing, we gain everything. In His hands our life acquires its true meaning. ... To love Him is to remain in dialogue with Him, in order to know His will and to put it into effect promptly."

  He added: "Yet living one's personal faith as a love-relationship with Christ also means being ready to renounce everything that constitutes a denial of His love. ... Faith as adherence to Christ is revealed as love that prompts us to promote the good inscribed by the Creator into the nature of every man and woman among us, into the personality of every human being and into everything that exists in the world."

  The Pope concluded his homily by recalling that 27 years ago, "in this place, Pope John Paul II said: 'Poland has become nowadays the land of particularly responsible witness.' I ask you now," he added, "to cultivate this rich heritage of faith transmitted to you by earlier generations, the heritage of the thought and the service of that great Pole who was Pope John Paul II. Stand firm in your faith, hand it down to your children, bear witness to the grace which you have experienced so abundantly through the Holy Spirit in the course of your history."

  At the conclusion of the Mass, the Holy Father returned to the apostolic nunciature, where he had lunch with members of his entourage.

  Early this afternoon, he will travel by helicopter to Czestochowa where he will visit the most famous Marian shrine in Poland and meet with religious, seminarians and representatives from Catholic movements and institutes of consecrated life. He will then move on to Krakow where he is due spend the night in the archbishop's place.
PV-POLAND/MASS/WARSAW                        VIS 20060526 (650)


VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2006 (VIS) - At 5.30 p.m. today, the Holy Father traveled to the presidential palace in Warsaw, where he paid a courtesy visit to Lech Kaczynski, president of the Republic of Poland. During the visit he also greeted the prime minister, and the two presidents of the country's parliament.

  Following his meeting with the Polish president, Benedict XVI moved on to the Lutheran church of the Most Holy Trinity where he met delegates from the seven Churches that form the Polish Council for Ecumenism (PRE): Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession, Methodists, Baptists, Old Catholic Mariavite Church, Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Poland, Evangelical Reformed, and Polish Catholic. Since 1970, the PRE has supported theological dialogue with the Catholic Church, and met with John Paul II in Poland during his pastoral visits to the country.

  In the church of the Most Holy Trinity, site of numerous ecumenical encounters, John Paul II presided over an ecumenical service for unity on June 9, 1991.

  Addressing those present, Benedict XVI said: "Together with you I give thanks for the gift of this encounter of common prayer. I see it as a stage in the implementation of the firm purpose I expressed at the beginning of my pontificate, to consider a priority in my ministry the restoration of full visible unity among Christians."

  The Pope went on to refer to the "responsibility" inherent in announcing the message of Christ. A message which "must reach everyone on earth, thanks to the commitment of those who believe in Him and who are called to bear witness that He is truly sent by the Father. ... The task of Christ's disciples, the task of each of us, is therefore to tend towards ... unity, in such a way that we become, as Christians, the visible sign of His saving message, addressed to every human being."

  The Pope recalled the words pronounced in the same church by John Paul II: "The seriousness of the task prohibits all haste or impatience, but the duty to respond to Christ's will demands that we remain firm on the path towards peace and unity among all Christians."

  "Since that encounter, much has changed," Pope Benedict continued. "God has granted us to take many steps towards mutual understanding and rapprochement." In this context, he mentioned "the publication of the Encyclical Letter 'Ut Unum Sint;' the Christological agreements with the pre-Chalcedonian Churches; the signing at Augsburg of the 'Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification;' ... the ecumenical memorial of twentieth-century witnesses of faith," and the great ecumenical initiatives in Poland.

  "We note much progress in the field of ecumenism and yet we always await something more," said the Pope, going on to focus on two specific issues: "The charitable service of the Churches," and "married life and family life."

  "We cannot forget," he said, "the essential idea that from the outset constituted the very firm foundation for the disciples' unity: 'within the community of believers there can never be room for a poverty that denies anyone what is needed for a dignified life.' This idea is always current. ... Accepting contemporary charitable challenges depends in large measure on our mutual cooperation. ... I note with appreciation that in the community of the Catholic Church and in other Churches and ecclesial communities, various new forms of charitable activity have spread and old ones have reappeared with renewed vigor. They are forms which often combine evangelization and works of charity. It seems that, despite all the differences that need to be overcome in the sphere of interdenominational dialogue, it is legitimate to attribute charitable commitment to the ecumenical community of Christ's disciples in search of full unity. We can all collaborate in helping the needy, by exploiting this network of reciprocal relations which is the fruit of dialogue among ourselves and of joint action."

  On the second issue, the Pope noted how, "in today's world, in which international and intercultural relations are multiplying, it happens increasingly often that young people from different traditions, different religions, or different Christian denominations, decide to start a family." This is often "a difficult decision that brings with it various dangers concerning perseverance in the faith, the future structuring of the family, and the creation of an atmosphere of unity within the family. ... Nevertheless, thanks to the spread of ecumenical dialogue on a larger scale, the decision can lead to the formation of a practical workshop of unity."

  The Holy Father concluded by expressing his appreciation to the Bilateral Commission of the Council for Ecumenical Issues of the Polish Episcopal Conference and to the Polish Council for Ecumenism, "which have begun to draft a document presenting common Christian teaching on marriage and family life and establishing principles acceptable to all for contracting interdenominational marriages, indicating a common program of pastoral care for such marriages."


VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2006 (VIS) - At 12.30 p.m. today, the Pope participated in a meeting with clergy in the cathedral of Warsaw, which is dedicated to St. John.

  Opening his address, the Holy Father recalled the figure of Servant of God Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, known in Poland as "Primate of the Millennium" who, "abandoning himself to Christ and to His Mother, knew how to serve the Church faithfully, despite the tragic and prolonged trials that surrounded him."

  After calling on the assembled priests to "believe in the power of your priesthood," Benedict XVI said: "Let us not be consumed with haste, as if time dedicated to Christ in silent prayer were time wasted. ... There is no need to be discouraged on account of the fact that prayer requires effort, or because of the impression that Jesus remains silent. He is indeed silent, but He is at work."

  "In a world where there is so much noise, so much bewilderment, there is a need for silent adoration of Jesus concealed in the Host. Be assiduous in the prayer of adoration and teach it to the faithful. It is a source of comfort and light particularly to those who are suffering."

  The Holy Father emphasized how "the faithful expect only one thing from priests: that they be specialists in promoting the encounter between man and God. The priest is not asked to be an expert in economics, construction or politics. He is expected to be an expert in the spiritual life."

  "In the face of the temptations of relativism or the permissive society, there is absolutely no need for the priest to know all the latest changing currents of thought; what the faithful expect from him is that he be a witness to the eternal wisdom contained in the revealed Word. Solicitude for the quality of personal prayer and for good theological formation bear fruit in life."

  "Christ," said Benedict XVI, "needs priests who are mature, virile, capable of cultivating an authentic spiritual paternity."

  After recalling how John Paul II, "on the occasion of the Great Jubilee, ... frequently exhorted Christians to do penance for infidelities of the past," he said: "We must therefore learn to live Christian penance with sincerity. By practicing it, we confess individual sins in union with others, before them and before God.

  "Yet we must guard against the arrogant claim of setting ourselves up to judge earlier generations, who lived in different times and different circumstances. Humble sincerity is needed in order not to deny the sins of the past, and at the same time not to indulge in facile accusations in the absence of real evidence or without regard for the different preconceptions of the time. ... As we ask pardon for the wrong that was done in the past, we must also remember the good accomplished with the help of divine grace."

  The Church in Poland today, the Holy Father said, "faces an enormous pastoral challenge: ... The scourge of unemployment [which] obliges many people to go abroad. It is a widespread and large-scale phenomenon. When families are divided in this way, when social links are broken, the Church cannot remain indifferent."

  He concluded by exhorting the priests to "serve everyone; be accessible in the parishes and in the confessionals, accompany the new movements and associations, support families, do not forget the link with young people, remember the poor and the abandoned."

  At the end of the meeting, before leaving the cathedral, the Pope paused in prayer before the tombs of two late primates of Poland: Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski (1901-1981) and August Hlond (1881-1948).
PV-POLAND/MEETING CLERGY/WARSAW                VIS 20060526 (620)


VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2006 (VIS) - The Pope departed from Rome's Fiumicino airport at 8.50 a.m. today bound for Poland where he landed, following a flight of just over two hours, at the international airport of Warsaw-Okecie. Waiting to welcome the Holy Father were Lech Kaczynski, president of Poland, accompanied by his wife, Cardinal Jozef Glemp, primate of the Polish Catholic Church, and Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow.

  After listening to the president's welcome speech, Benedict XVI affirmed in his own address that he had come to Poland "to follow in the footsteps" of Servant of God John Paul II, "from his boyhood until his departure for the memorable conclave of 1978." He also mentioned the theme of his trip, taken from the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians: "Stand firm in your faith."

  "This is no mere sentimental journey," the Pope added, "but rather a journey of faith, a part of the mission entrusted to me by the Lord in the person of the Apostle Peter."

  Recalling the various stages of his forthcoming journey - Warsaw, Czestochowa, Krakow, Wadowice, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Krakow - he concluded: "Finally, I shall go to Auschwitz. There I hope especially to meet survivors of the Nazi terror who come from different countries, all of whom suffered under that tragic tyranny."

  Earlier, during the flight from Warsaw to Rome, speaking to journalists accompanying him on his trip, the Pope described what happened in the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau as "something monstrous."

  While visiting the camps, he added, he will "think of the many dead," but will also seek "to understand how it was possible for man to fall so low and down tread others."

  "Let us hope that, from Auschwitz, there arises a new sense of humanism and a vision of man as the image of God. Let us hope this will serve to prevent such things ever happening again."

  At the end of the welcome ceremony, Benedict XVI travelled by popemobile to the cathedral of Warsaw, dedicated to St. John, where he participated in a meeting with clergy.
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Wednesday, May 24, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2006 (VIS) - As previously advised, there will be no VIS service tomorrow, Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord and a holiday in the Vatican. VIS will resume on Friday, May 26.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Hugo Manuel Salaberry S.J., president of the Higher Council of Catholic Education, as bishop of Azul (area 64,210, population 469,000, Catholics 418,000, priests 71, permanent deacons 21, religious 120), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in San Andres de Giles, Argentina in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1985. He succeeds Bishop Emilio Bianchi di Carcano, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Diomedes Espinal de Leon, auxiliary of Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, as bishop of Mao-Monte Cristi (area 4,841, population 400,000, Catholics 385,000, priests 35, permanent deacons 6, religious 78), Dominican Republic. He succeeds Bishop Jeronimo Tomas Abreu Herrera, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Roberto Rodriguez of Villa Maria, Argentina, as bishop of La Rioja (area 92,100, population 313,365, Catholics 278,895, priests 37, religious 67), Argentina.

 - Appointed Msgr. Oscar Vicente Ojea, pastor of the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Buenos Aires, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Buenos Aires (area 203, population 2,763,000, Catholics 2,530,000, priests 868, permanent deacons 4, religious 2,340), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1972.

 - Appointed Fr. Broderick Sonsuaco Pabillo S.D.B., of the clergy of the apostolic vicariate of Puerto Princesa, Philippines, pastor of the parish of St. Ezekiel Moreno in Puerto Princesa City, as auxiliary of Manila (area 117, population 2,993,000, Catholics 2,719,781, priests 482, permanent deacons 2, religious 1,138), Philippines. The bishop-elect was born in Victoria City, Philippines in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1982.

 - Appointed Fr. Peter Stumpf S.D.B., pastor and dean of Rakovnik, as auxiliary of the metropolitan archdiocese of Maribor (area 7,418, population 824,855, Catholics 702,916, priests 397, permanent deacons 4, religious 229), Slovenia. The bishop-elect was born in Beltinci, Slovenia in 1962, and ordained a priest in 1990
NER:RE:NEA/.../...                                VIS 20060524 (350)


VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2006 (VIS) - Tomorrow, Thursday, Benedict XVI will leave the Vatican on an apostolic trip to Poland, the second of his pontificate following last August's visit to Germany. In Poland, from May 25 to 28, he will visit Warsaw, Czestochowa, Krakow, Wadowice, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, and Auschwitz.

  The Holy Father will depart from Rome's Fiumicino airport at 8.40 a.m., arriving in Warsaw at 11 a.m. Following the welcome ceremony at Warsaw's Okecie airport, he will travel by popemobile to the city's cathedral of St. John - which John Paul II visited five times - where he will hold a meeting with clergy.

  Following lunch at the archbishop's palace of Miodowa, Benedict XVI will go to the apostolic nunciature. At 5.45 p.m. he is due to pay a courtesy visit to the president of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, in the presidential palace.

  Leaving the presidential palace at 6.45 p.m., he will travel to the Lutheran church of the Most Holy Trinity where he is due to meet with delegates of the seven Churches form the Polish Ecumenical Council - established in 1946 by the Lutheran pastor, Zygmunt Mitchelis - and with representatives of other religions.

  The Lutheran church of the Most Holy Trinity was built in 1781 in a poor area on the outskirts of Warsaw. In 1939, during the Second World War, its wooden dome was destroyed, to be replaced some years later with a steel one. However, the communist authorities prohibited the use of the church as a place of worship and banned the placement of a cross atop the dome. The building was used as a concert hall. At the end on the Stalinist era, in 1956, the evangelical community was able to recoup its church.

  Following the ecumenical meeting, the Pope will return to the apostolic nunciature, where he will spend the night.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2006 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square, the Pope mentioned his forthcoming apostolic trip to Poland, "homeland of the beloved John Paul II." There, he said, "I will visit the places of his life and of his priestly and episcopal ministry."

  After giving thanks to God for "the opportunity of fulfilling a desire I have long held in my heart," the Holy Father invited those present "to accompany me with your prayers on this apostolic trip which I undertake with great hope, and which I entrust to the Virgin Mary, so venerated in Poland. May she guide my steps that I may confirm the beloved Catholic community of Poland in the faith, encouraging it to face the challenges of the present time with incisive evangelical action."

  "May Mary," he concluded, "ensure that the entire nation is granted a renewed springtime of faith and civil progress, while conserving the memory of my great predecessor."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2006 (VIS) - In his general audience today, Benedict XVI continued his catechesis dedicated to the personality of the Apostles, focussing again on the figure of Peter. The audience was held in St. Peter's Square and attended by 35,000 people.

  The Pope began by recalling the miracles of the loaves and the fishes, which Christ later interpreted "not in the sense of regality over Israeli, in the way the crowd had hoped, but in the sense of the giving of self. ... Jesus announced the cross, and with the cross the Eucharistic bread: His absolutely new way of being king."

  "We can understand that these words of the Master, as all His behavior, were difficult for people to accept, even for the disciples," said the Holy Father. Peter's faith, he added, "was still a nascent faith, a developing faith. It would acquire true fullness only through his experience of the events of Easter. Yet it was already faith, open to a greater reality, above all because it was not faith in something, but faith in Someone: in Him, in Christ."

  The Holy Father went on: "Nonetheless, Peter's impetuous generosity did not safeguard him from the risks of human weakness. ... The moment came in which even he gave in to fear and crumbled. He betrayed the Master. The school of faith is not a triumphal march but a road beset with suffering and with love, with trials and with faithfulness, to be renewed day after day.

  "Peter, who had promised absolute faithfulness, knew the bitterness and humiliation of denial; the proud man learns the cost of humility at his own expense. ... When the mask finally fell and he understood the truth in his weak believing-sinner's heart, he burst into liberating tears of penance, after which he was ready for his mission."

  One day, on the shores of Lake Tiberias, "that mission was entrusted to him by the Risen Jesus," as St. John recounts. The dialogue between Peter and Jesus, the Pope observed, "contains a very significant play of verbs. In Greek, the verb 'fileo' expresses the love of friendship, tender but not total, while the verb 'agapao' means unreserved, complete and unconditional love. The first time, Jesus asks Peter: 'Simon, do you love Me? (agapas-me?).'

  "Prior to his experience of betrayal, the Apostle would certainly have replied: 'I love You (agapo-se).' Now that he has known the bitter sadness of infidelity, the drama of his own weakness, he simply says: 'Lord, I love you (filo-se),' in other words, 'I love you with my poor love.' ... Simon had understood that his poor love, the only one of which he was capable, was enough for Jesus. ... We could almost say that Jesus had adapted Himself to Peter, rather than Peter to Jesus."

  Pope Benedict continued: "It was precisely this divine adaptation that gave hope to the disciple. ... From that day, Peter followed the Master with a specific awareness of his own frailty. But this knowledge did not discourage him; he knew he could count on the presence of the Risen One at his side."

  He concluded: "From the ingenuous enthusiasm of the outset, passing through the painful experience of denial and the tears of conversion, Peter came to trust himself to the Jesus Who had adapted Himself to his own poor capacity to love. It was a long journey that made him a reliable witness, because constantly open to the action of the Spirit in Jesus. Peter would describe himself as 'a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed'."
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Tuesday, May 23, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Oscar Campos Contreras, pastoral vicar of the diocese of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico and pastor of the parish of "San Jose," as auxiliary of Antequera Oaxaca (area 33,648, population 1,400,000, Catholics 1,120,000, priests 166, permanent deacons 26, religious 268), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1978.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Sergei Stanishev, prime minister of Bulgaria, accompanied by an entourage.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from Benedict XVI to Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach S.J., superior general of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), for the 50th anniversary of Pope Pius XII's Encyclical "Haurietis aquas" on devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

  Highlighting the fact that the Jesuits "have always been very active in promoting this fundamental form of devotion," the Pope writes: "Fifty years on, Christians still have the ever present task of continuing to deepen their relationship with the Heart of Jesus so as to revive, within themselves, faith in God's salvific love."

  "The pierced side of the Redeemer, " the Letter says, "is the source from which ... we must draw in order to achieve a true knowledge of Jesus, ... understand what it means to know the love of God in Jesus Christ, experience it fixing our gaze on Him, live completely on that experience of His love, and bear witness of it to others."

  "This mystery of God's love for us," Pope Benedict continues, "not only constitutes the content of veneration and devotion for the Heart of Jesus, it is, in the same way, the content of all true Christian spirituality and devotion. ... In fact, being Christian is only possible with our gaze fixed on the cross of our Redeemer."

  "The deepest significance of this veneration for the love of God appears only when we give closer consideration to its contribution, not only to knowledge, but also and above all to the personal experience of that love in faithful dedication and service."

  "Faith, understood as the fruit of the experience of God's love, is a grace, a gift of God. ... Whoever accepts God's love within himself, is formed by it. The experience of God's love is lived by man as a 'call' to which he must respond. ... The gifts received from [Jesus'] open side, from which 'blood and water' flowed, ensure that our lives become for others a source from which 'shall flow rivers of living water.' The experience of love we gain through veneration for the pierced side of the Redeemer, safeguards us from the risk of closing in on ourselves, and makes us open to a life lived for others."

  "The response to the commandment of love is made possible only by the experience that this love was first given us by God. The veneration of the love made manifest in the mystery of the Cross, re-presented in each Eucharistic celebration, is, then, the foundation that enables us to become individuals capable of love and of giving ourselves. ... This openness to the will of God, however, must be constantly renewed. 'Love is never finished and complete'."

  The Holy Father concludes his letter: "Gazing at the side pierced by the lance, where shines God's boundless will for salvation, cannot then be considered as a passing form of veneration or devotion. The adoration of God's love, which found historical-devotional expression in the symbol of the pierced heart, remains irreplaceable for a living relationship with God."
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Monday, May 22, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAY 22, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Branko Crvenkovski, president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, accompanied by an entourage.

- Two prelates from the Canadian (Atlantic) Conference of Catholic Bishops on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Francois Thibodeau C.I.M., of Edmundston.

    - Bishop Joseph Faber MacDonald of Saint John, New Brunswick.

  On Saturday, May 20, he received in separate audiences:

- Five prelates from the Canadian (Atlantic) Conference of Catholic Bishops on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Terrence Thomas Prendergast S.J., of Halifax, apostolic administrator of Yarmouth, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Claude Champagne O.M.I.

    - Bishop Raymond John Lahey of Antigonish.

    - Bishop Joseph Vernon Fougere of Charlottetown.

    - Bishop Valery Vienneau of Bathurst in Canada.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 22, 2006 (VIS) - A note published today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announced that:

  At 11.00 a.m. on Sunday May 28, Cardinal Albert Vanhoye S.J., will take possession of the diaconate of St. Mary of Mercy and St. Adrian at Villa Albani, Via Basento 100, Rome.

  At 11.30 a.m. on Sunday May 28, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, will take possession of the diaconate of St. Peter Damian ai Monti di San Paolo, Via Guido Biagi 16, Rome.

  At 7.00 p.m. on Wednesday May 31, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun S.D.B., bishop of Hong Kong, China, will take possession of the title of St. Mary Mother of the Redeemer at Tor Bella Monaca, Via Duilio Cambellotti 18, Rome.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 22, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI received male and female superiors general from institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life.

  In his address to the assembled religious, the Pope affirmed that "the service of authority calls for a constant presence, one capable of offering encouragement and proposals, of recalling the raison d'etre of consecrated life, and of helping the people entrusted to your care to respond with ever-renewed faithfulness to the call of the Spirit."

  "You are called," he said, "to support and guide your brothers and sisters during uneasy times characterized by multiple snares. Consecrated people today have the task of being witnesses to the transfiguring presence of God in an ever more disoriented and confused world."

  After emphasizing the fact that "secularized culture has penetrated the hearts and minds of no small number of consecrated people, who see it as a form of access to modernity and a way to approach the modern world," the Holy Father pointed out how "alongside an undoubted impulse of generosity - one capable of witness and of complete donation - consecrated life today also knows the trap of mediocrity ... and of consumer mentality."

  "There is a need for courageous decisions at both an individual and community level, impressing a new discipline on the lives of consecrated people and bringing them to discover the all-inclusive dimension of 'sequela Christi' (following Christ)."

  Being of Christ, Pope Benedict affirmed, "means keeping a living flame of love burning in your hearts, continually nourished by the richness of the faith, not only when it brings with it inner joy, but also when united to difficulties, aridity and suffering." In this context, he recalled how inner life is nourished by prayer, and above all by daily participation in the Eucharist.

  "In order to belong entirely to the Lord," he went on, "consecrated people embrace a celibate lifestyle." This also means "renouncing the need to display, assuming a sober and humble way of life. Male and female religious are called to show this also in the way they dress, with simple clothes that are a sign of poverty lived in union with Him, Who was rich and became poor to make us rich with His poverty."

  The Pope also referred to the "yoke" of those called to carry out "the delicate task of superior." This yoke "will be all the lighter the more consecrated people know how to rediscover the value of the obedience they profess."

  "Male and female consecrated people," the Holy Father concluded, "are called to be, in the world, a credible and luminous sign of the Gospel and its paradoxes, without conforming themselves to the mentality of this century, but transforming themselves and continually renewing their commitment, in order to better discern the will of God."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2006 (VIS) - Following today's "Regina Coeli," the Pope gave assurances of his prayers for "the important appointment of Saturday, June 3, the eve of Pentecost, when I will have the joy of meeting, in St. Peter's Square, many followers of more than 100 ecclesial movements and new communities from all over the world."

  He continued: "I well know the significance for the Church of their educational and missionary [activity] which was so appreciated, supported and encouraged by the beloved John Paul II. Together we will celebrate the first Vespers of the Solemnity of Pentecost, trustingly invoking the Holy Spirit to fill the hearts of the faithful and announce to everyone the message of love of Christ, Savior of the world."

  The Holy Father's meeting with ecclesial movements and new communities will have as its theme, "the beauty of being a Christian and the joy of communicating this," which is inspired by Pope Benedict's homily during the inaugural Mass of his Petrine ministry on April 24, 2005: "There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his private study in order to pray the "Regina Coeli" with thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square below.

  Before the prayer, the Pope dedicated some remarks to the Ascension of the Lord, which falls on Thursday May 25, though in some countries it will be celebrated on Sunday May 28. "This, Jesus' final gesture, has a dual significance," he said. "In the first place, by rising 'up' He unequivocally revealed His divinity. He returned from whence He came, in God, after having completed His mission on earth. Moreover, Christ ascended to heaven with the humanity He had assumed and caused to arise from the dead: that humanity is ours, transfigured, made divine, rendered eternal. Thus the Ascension reveals the 'ultimate vocation' of all human beings, each called to the eternal life of the Kingdom of God."

  This year, the day of the Ascension of the Lord coincides with the World Day of Social Communications, dedicated to the theme: "The media: network of communication, communion and cooperation": Referring to this event, Benedict XVI recalled how "the Church looks attentively to the media as representing an important vehicle for spreading the Gospel, and for favoring solidarity among peoples by drawing their attention to the great issues."

  On this subject, the Pope mentioned the "Walk the World" event, an initiative promoted by the United Nations World Food Program to combat hunger in the world. "Its aim," he said, "is to sensitize governments and public opinion to the need for concrete and immediate action in order to guarantee everyone, especially children, 'freedom from hunger.'

  "I remain close to this initiative in prayer," the Holy Father added. "And it is my heartfelt hope that, with a contribution from everyone, we may overcome the blight of hunger that still afflicts humanity and places the life hopes of millions of people at serious risk. I am thinking, primarily, of the dramatic situation in Darfur, Sudan, where serious difficulties persist even in satisfying the primary food needs of the population."

  "Today," he concluded, "we particularly entrust to the Virgin Mary our brethren oppressed by the scourge of hunger, those who go out to help them and those who, through the social communications media, contribute to strengthening links of solidarity and peace between peoples. We also ask the Virgin to render fruitful the apostolic trip to Poland which, God willing, I will be making from Thursday to Sunday in recollection of the beloved John Paul II."


VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, as archbishop of Naples (area 274, population 1,712,205, Catholics 1,703,686, priests 1,022, permanent deacons 209, religious 2,730), Italy. He succeeds Cardinal Michele Giordano, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Cardinal Ivan Dias, archbishop of Bombay, India, as prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

 - Appointed Fr. Carlos Briseno Arch O.A.R., superior of the St. Pius X House of Formation in Queretaro, as auxiliary bishop of Mexico (area 1,479, population 8,734,000, Catholics 7,103,000, priests 1,699, permanent deacons 111, religious 6,735), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Mexico City in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1986.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a communique from the Special Council for Europe of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops. The council has just completed is sixth meeting, under the presidency of Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.

  The communique recalls the celebration in autumn 1999 of the Second Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops, the last of the so-called "continental synods," and the promulgation by John Paul II of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Europa" on June 28, 2003.

  "Since then," the communique reads, "the particular Churches in Europe have considered the pontifical document as a precious point of reference in their profound analysis of the current complex situation and in their search for valid solutions, with a view to appropriate pastoral activity. ... The document has been circulated through a large number of conferences, seminars and work groups."

  Benedict XVI is well aware, the text continues, of "the difficulties that the Catholic Church, as well as other Churches and Christian communities, must face in a Europe marked by a climate of widespread religious indifference, by a consumer spirit that also extends to the countries of central and eastern Europe, by a positivist mentality, ... by moral and ethical relativism, ... and by a secularized view of society that seeks to order human affairs with no reference to God or transcendent values."

  "Furthermore, the conditions of Christian witness in Europe are becoming ever more urgent and cannot but call the attention of pastors and communities to certain areas such as: demographics, migration, the deviation of civil law, the institution of the family, bioethics, unemployment, and cooperation with States and with the European Union. ... From an ecclesial standpoint, attention to the pastoral care of vocations remains very high in a number of countries."

  "Debate in the council focussed on these topics," the communique concludes, "and the members of the Special Council for Europe of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops agreed the date of their next meeting, which will take place on April 23, 2007."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received prelates from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Atlantic Assembly, who have just completed their five-yearly "ad limina" visit.

  At the beginning of his address, the Pope noted how "Canada is today suffering from the pervasive effects of secularism. ... One of the more dramatic symptoms of this mentality, clearly evident in your own region, is the plummeting birth rate."

  "Particularly in districts which also suffer from the painful consequences of economic decline, such as unemployment and unwanted emigration," said Pope Benedict, "ecclesial leadership bears much fruit when, in its concern for the common good, it generously seeks to support civil authorities in their task of promoting regeneration in the community."

  Turning to the question of pastoral care, the Pope noted how "with aging clergy and many isolated communities the challenges are great."

  He also highlighted the importance of Catholic education, calling on the bishops "to ensure that the intrinsic relationship between the Church's Magisterium, individuals' faith, and testimony in public life is preserved and promoted. Only in this way can we hope to overcome the debilitating split between the Gospel and culture."

  "Of notable importance are your catechists," he added, "Teaching the faith cannot be reduced to a mere transmission of 'things' or words or even a body of abstract truths. The Church's Tradition is alive!" On this subject to Holy Father particularly appealed to "the young adults of your dioceses to take up the rewarding challenge of catechetical service and share in the satisfaction of handing on the faith. Their example of Christian witness to those younger than themselves will strengthen their own faith, while bringing to others the happiness that flows from the sense of purpose and meaning in life which the Lord reveals."

  Benedict XVI also noted how, in their program of pastoral renewal, the prelates are "facing the delicate task of reorganizing parishes within dioceses," which "is essentially an exercise of spiritual renewal, and calls for the pastoral promotion of sanctity." This, he added, may be achieved by "an authentic education in prayer, a knowledge of the lives of the saints and of the multiple forms of spirituality that beautify and stimulate Church life, assiduous participation in the Sacrament of Penance, and a convincing catechesis of Sunday as 'day of the faith'."

  The Pope encouraged the bishops to "remain vigilant in your duty to promote a culture of vocation. Your reports attest to the admiration you have of your priests who labor with great generosity for the Church's mission and the good of those whom they serve. I pray that their daily journey of conversion and self-giving love will awaken in young men the desire to respond to God's call to humble priestly ministry in His Church."

  Finally, addressing the contribution of male and female religious to the Church's mission and the bishops' concern over the fall in religious vocations in Canada, the Holy Father highlighted "the vital witness [religious] provide by placing themselves without reserve in the hands of Christ and of the Church, as a strong and clear proclamation of God's presence in a way understandable to our contemporaries."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2006 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received the Letters of Credence of Francisco Vazquez Vazquez, the new Spanish ambassador to the Holy See.

  The Pope began his address to the diplomat by referring to his "fond memories" of Spain, "both for the friendliness of the people I met, and for the abundance and great importance of the many works of art and expressions of culture throughout her territory.

  "This is an enviable heritage," he added, "denoting a brilliant history profoundly imbued with Christian values." That heritage "includes works in which the artists have given concrete form to their ideals and their faith. If this were to be ignored or passed over in silence, it would lose a large part of its attraction and meaning, though it would continue, so to say, to be made up of 'stones that speak'."

  Benedict XVI then went on to recall how the "centuries-old diplomatic relations between Spain and the Holy See ... reflect the Spanish people's constant attachment to the Catholic faith. The great vitality that the Church has had, and continues to have, in your country represents a special invitation to strengthen those relations and to encourage close collaboration between the Church and public institutions - respectfully and faithfully, each with their respective competencies and autonomy - with the aim of achieving the integral good of people who, as citizens of their country, are also ... the much beloved children of the Church."

  "Indeed," he added, "the Church encourages believers to love justice and to participate honestly in public and professional life with a sense of respect and solidarity, in order 'to promote organically and institutionally the common good.' [The Church] is also involved in the promotion and defense of human rights, because of her great consideration for the dignity of human beings in their entirety, whatever their place or situation."

  "For this reason the Church unreservedly proclaims the primordial right to life, from conception to natural end, the right to be born, and to form and live in a family without this being supplanted or obscured by ... different institutions. On this subject, the World Meeting of Families, shortly to be held in ... Valencia, Spain ... will give me the opportunity to celebrate the beauty and fecundity of the family founded on marriage, its exalted vocation and its irreplaceable social value.

  "The Church also insists on people's inalienable right to profess their religious faith without hindrance, both publicly and privately; and on the right of parents to ensure their children receive an education in keeping with their own values and beliefs, without discrimination or exclusion, be it hidden or explicit. On this matter, I find cause for satisfaction in the great demand for the teaching of Catholic religion in Spanish State schools, This means that people recognize the importance of that subject for the growth and the personal and cultural formation of the young."

  Finally, the Pope referred to the "evangelizing mission" of the Church, part of which is "charitable activity." He recalled how "in Spain today, and in her long history, this aspect has shown itself to be particularly fruitful in the Church's many support activities, undertaken in all fields and with great breadth of vision. And because this activity is not inspired by political or ideological strategies," but "in a 'duty to humanity,' collaboration in the field of humanitarian aid and support has achieved many goals, and it is to be hoped that it continues to increase."
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