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Friday, June 24, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUN 24, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Erected the new diocese of Gulbarga (area 38,752, population 7,012,492, Catholics 6,425, priests 29, religious 111), India, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Hyderabad and from the dioceses of Bellary and Belgaum, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Bangalore. He appointed Fr. Robert Miranda of the clergy of Mangalore, episcopal vicar of Bidar, as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Kirem, India, in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1978.

 - Appointed Fr. Fidelis Rakotonarivo S.J., spiritual director and bursar of the seminary of Fianarantosa, as bishop of Ambositra (area 24,000, population 695,651, Catholics 334,786, priests 71, religious 146), Madagascar. The bishop-elect was born in Ambohimahazo, Madagascar, in 1956 and ordained to the priesthood in 1992.

 - Appointed Msgr. Alfonso Cortes Contreras, rector of the Pontifical Mexican College in Rome, as auxiliary bishop of Monterrey (area 17,886, population 6,809,345, Catholics 5,146,211, priests 509, permanent deacons 25, religious 1,048), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Michoacan, Mexico, in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1972.


VATICAN CITY, JUN 24, 2005 (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

 - Cardinal Angelo Scola, patriarch of Venice, Italy.
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 24, 2005 (VIS) - Pope Benedict XVI, returning the visit to the Vatican by Italian President Carlo Azeglio Campi on May 3, today went to the Quirinale Palace, home to Italy's presidents, where he met privately with Ciampi, following which there were official speeches in the "Salone delle Feste."

  The Pope left the Vatican at 10:30 a.m. in an open car. Just outside Vatican City, in Pius XII Square, he was greeted by a delegation of the Italian government led by Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini. The Holy Father's motor cavalcade stopped a second time in Piazza Venezia, near Rome's City Hall, where he was greeted by Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni. Upon his 11 a.m. arrival at the Quirinale, President Ciampi welcomed Benedict XVI and, once inside the palace, they were joined by former Italian presidents Francesco Cossiga and Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, the presidents of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Among those present for the Vatican was Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

  Today's visit was the eighth time a Pope has been to the Quirinale. The first was Pius XII in 1939. John Paul II went to the Quirinale in 1984, 1986 and again in 1998.

  Following greetings from President Ciampi, the Pope delivered his address, assuring citizens of Rome and Italy of his "commitment to work with all my strength for the religious and civil wellbeing of those the Lord has entrusted to my pastoral care."

  The Holy Father recalled how relations between the Church and the Italian State "are founded on the principle expressed during Vatican Council II, according to which 'the Church and the political community in their own fields are autonomous and independent from each other. Yet both, under different titles, are devoted to the personal and social vocation of the same people'."

  For this reason, the Pope went on, "a healthy laicism of the State" is legitimate, "by virtue of which temporal situations are governed according to their own norms, yet without excluding those ethical references whose ultimate foundations are to be found in religion. The autonomy of the temporal sphere does not exclude an intimate harmony with higher and more complex necessities deriving from an integral vision of man and of his eternal destiny."

  Benedict XVI expressed the hope that the Italian people, "not only do not deny the Christian heritage that makes up part of their history, but guard it jealously and bring it once again to produce fruits worthy of the past. I have faith that Italy, under the wise and exemplary guidance of those called to govern her, will continue to undertake the civilizing mission in the world, in which she has so distinguished herself over the centuries. By virtue of her history and culture, Italy can make a valid contribution, especially to Europe, helping it to rediscover those Christian roots that enabled it to be great in the past, and that still today can favor the profound unity of the continent."

  The Pope indicated that the numerous concerns of the start of his pontificate - concerns "that cannot but be of interest to leaders of public life" - include "the problem of safeguarding the family based on matrimony, as recognized by the Italian Constitution, the problem of the defense of human life, ... and the problem of education."

  The Church, he stressed, "sees in the family a very important value that must be defended from all attacks that aim to undermine its solidity and put its very existence in doubt. In human life, moreover, the Church recognizes a primary good, the basis for all other goods." On the subject of schooling, the Holy Father emphasized its role as a "natural expansion" of the formative role of the family. "While fully respecting the competency of the State to dictate general norms for education, I cannot but express the hope that the right of parents to a free educational choice be respected, without their having to support the additional weight of further burdens. I trust that Italian legislators, in their wisdom, know how to find 'human solutions' to these problems, in other words, solutions that respect the inviolable values implicated therein."

  Following his address, the Holy Father bid farewell to the Italian president before returning to the Vatican by open-top car.
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