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Tuesday, May 31, 2005


VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Bridgetown, Barbados, presented by Bishop Malcolm Patrick Galt C.S.Sp., upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Julio Cesar Corniel Amaro of the clergy of San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic, director of diocesan social pastoral care and professor at the seminary of St. Thomas Aquinas in Santo Domingo, as bishop of Puerto Plata (area 2,700, population 346,520, Catholics 338,560, priests 24, permanent deacons 15, religious 50), Dominican Republic. The bishop-elect was born in Bodita, Dominican Republic, in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1986.

 - In accordance with the new norms for the pontifical basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, appointed Archbishop Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo as archpriest of the basilica.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2005 (VIS) - This evening, the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2005 (VIS) - Today, Feast of the Visitation of Mary, Benedict XVI, with the Motu Proprio "The Ancient and Venerable Basilica," emanated new norms for a renewal of the practice of worship in the pontifical basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls. The norms also affect administrative and extraterritorial aspects of the basilica.

  The Pope recalls that this ancient basilica was built on the site where, according to tradition, the Apostle of the People was martyred. The basilica also serves as church to the abbey of Benedictine monks located in the same complex.

  With the Lateran Pacts of 1929 and successive agreements between the Holy See and Italy, the land and the buildings that make up the complex of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls belong to the Holy See and enjoy a special juridical status according to the norms of international law. In keeping with current norms, the Supreme Pontiff exercises civil authority over the entire extraterritorial complex.

  Underlining the fact that, in the past, the Holy See defined only some aspects of the jurisdiction of the pontifical administration of the basilica and of the Benedictine abbey, the Pope writes that he now feels it "appropriate to emanate some general norms with the aim of clarifying and defining the principle aspects of the pastoral and administrative management of the complex of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls. This will make it possible to compile a statute laying down the duties of the parties involved, and regulating their dealings with one another."

  As in the case of the other major basilicas, Benedict XVI has decided to appoint an archpriest to St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, who will exercise "ordinary and immediate jurisdiction." He will have a vicar for pastoral care in the person of the abbot of the Benedictine abbey, and a delegate for administrative tasks. The archpriest will also have to coordinate the various administrative bodies of the complex, each according to its particular purpose, except in matters that are the exclusive competency of the abbot within the abbey.

  The abbot of the monastery of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, after having been canonically elected, must be confirmed by the Pope. He enjoys all the rights and prerogatives as superior of the Benedictine community. In order to enable the abbot to attend to his duties in the monastic community, John Paul II established "that the extraterritorial area around the abbey should be removed from the jurisdiction of the abbot of St. Paul's, who will nonetheless conserve his ordinary jurisdiction 'intra septa monasterii' and his liturgical function within the basilica, as defined in this document and as will be specified in the forthcoming statute."

  Since March 2005, the abbey has taken the name of "Abbey of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls," and its character and title as a "territorial" circumscription have been suppressed. Thus, excepting the duties of the archpriest of St. Paul's and those of the abbot, "the power of ordinary pastoral jurisdiction over the entire extraterritorial area of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, falls to the cardinal vicar of Rome, who exercises that power through the territorially-competent diocesan parish."

  Thus, the pontifical administration of the basilica "is suppressed and all its functions are transferred to the archpriest, who will exercise them in keeping with the statute to be approved by the competent offices of the Holy See."

  In order to guarantee the ministry of Penance in the basilica, much frequented by pilgrims from all over the world, Benedict XVI confirms the norms laid down in Pope Pius XI's Apostolic Constitution "Quod divina favente," that "the administration of the Sacrament of Penance should continue to be entrusted to the care of the penitentiaries, chosen from the Benedictine monks and constituted according to the terms of the forthcoming statute".

  The Pope goes on to point out how, in recent times, the Holy See has shown particular interest in promoting special ecumenical events, either in the basilica or within the abbey. "It will, therefore, be the task of the monks, under the supervision of the archpriest, to organize, coordinate and develop such programs, also with the help of their Benedictine confreres from other abbeys and in accordance with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity."

  The Pope concludes by calling on the Apostle of the People to illuminate those who work in the basilica and the pilgrims who travel there.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday morning, the Pope received participants in the 54th general assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

  In his address, which was made public yesterday afternoon, Benedict XVI stressed Italy's "deep and living" relationship with the Christian faith, even though, as in the rest of Europe, there exists a "culture based on purely functional rationality, a culture that contradicts and tends to exclude Christianity and, in general, the religious and moral traditions of humanity."

  Nonetheless, he went on, in Italy the supremacy of such culture "is by no means total, nor does it go unquestioned. In fact, even among those who do not share our faith, or at least do not practice it, there are people who realize  how such a form of culture in fact constitutes a deadly mutilation of man and his reason."

  The Holy Father pointed out that Italy today still has "a dense network of parishes" characterized by their vitality "despite great changes in society and culture." On this matter, he stressed the importance of "strengthening communion between parish structures and the various 'charismatic' groups that have emerged over the last few decades and have a strong presence in Italy, in order for the mission to reach all areas of life."

  Speaking about the family, "a crucial question that calls for all our pastoral attention," the Pope indicated that in Italy too the family "is exposed ... to many risks and threats, of which we are all aware. In addition to the fragility and internal instability of many marriages, there is a tendency in culture and society to question the unique character and mission of the family based on marriage."

  Going on to mention the forthcoming Italian referendum on fertility treatment, due to be held on June 12 and 13, Benedict XVI thanked bishops for their "commitment" to "illuminating and motivating the choice of Catholics and of all citizens. ... Precisely in its clarity and firmness, your commitment is a sign of the solicitude of pastors for all human beings, who can never be reduced to a means but are always an end, as our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us in His Gospel, and as human reason itself tells us. ... We are not working for Catholic interests but for the human being, God's creature."

  After recalling that in August he will participate in World Youth Day, due to be held in the German city of Cologne, the Pope recognized that young people run the risk of being "tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine. Therefore, they need to be helped to grow and mature in the faith: this is the first service they must receive from the Church, especially from us as bishops and from our priests."

  "Many of them," he went on, "are not able to understand and accept all the Church's teaching immediately, but precisely for this reason it is important to reawaken within them the intention to believe with the Church, the belief that this Church, animated and guided by the Spirit, is the true subject of the faith." In order to reach this objective, Benedict XVI explained that young people "must feel loved by the Church, in particular by us, bishops and priests."

  In this way, he concluded, "they will experience in the Church the friendship and love the Lord holds for them, they will understand that in Christ truth coincides with love, and in their turn they will learn to love the Lord, and to have faith in His body which is the Church. This is the central point of the great challenge of transmitting the faith to the young generations."
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