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Monday, July 25, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 25, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of San Carlos, Philippines, presented by Bishop Salvador T. Modesto, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Jose Rojas Rojas jr., of the clergy of Caceres (area 3,207, population 1,214,576, Catholics 1,156,277, priests 161, religious 434), Philippines, vicar general, as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese. The bishop-elect was born in Cebu City, Philippines, in 1956 and ordained to the priesthood in 1981.

On Saturday, July 23, it was made public that he appointed Msgr. Almeida Kanda, vicar general of the diocese of Uije, Angola, as bishop of Ndalatando (area 20,159, population 359,000, Catholics 189,100, priests 23, religious 58), Angola. The bishop-elect was born in Cangola, Angola, in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1986. He succeeds Bishop Pedro Luis Guido Scarpa O.F.M. Cap., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, JUL 25, 2005 (VIS) - Shortly before entering the church of Introd for a meeting with priests and deacons of Valle d'Aosta, the region of northwest Italy where he is spending a brief holiday, Benedict XVI spent a few moments with journalists who were waiting outside the building.

  Asked whether, three months having passed since his election, he found it difficult being Pope, the Holy Father replied: "Yes, in a certain sense it has been difficult, I had never thought of this ministry, but people are very good to me and support me."

  Another reporter asked him if he felt the closeness of his predecessor John Paul II, to which Benedict XVI replied: "I always feel him very close, through his writings and through his spiritual presence."

  For his part, Osvaldo Naudin, mayor of Introd, renewed his invitation to the Pope to return to the Valle d'Aosta next year; he also jokingly commented that the Holy Father is learning the local dialect thanks to the "crash course" he is following over these days.

  Bishop Giuseppe Anfossi of Aosta highlighted the importance of the Pope's meeting with the local clergy which, he said, reflects the "collegiality and communion on which the Church is founded."

  After the meeting, in which 140 priests, religious and deacons participated, the Pope again paused to speak to journalists. Referring to the terrorist attacks which have marked the last weeks he affirmed that it was incorrect to define them as anti-Christian: "I feel the intention is far more general, and not specifically against Christianity."

  Asked whether Islam could be considered a religion of peace, he said: "I would not like to use big words to apply generic labels. It certainly contains elements that can favor peace, it also has other elements: we must always seek the best elements."

  The Holy Father also made some brief comments on the prospects for dialogue between the Holy See and China, expressing the desire that they "continue to move forwards." Finally, replying to a reporter who asked him about the situation of divorced people who have remarried, he said: "we cannot solve large problems in just a few words."
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VATICAN CITY, JUL 24, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, prior to praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI addressed some remarks to the 8,000 people who had gathered to hear him in an open area near his holiday chalet of Les Combes in Italy's Valle d'Aosta.

  The Holy Father recalled that tomorrow is the feast of the Apostle James, "whose relics are venerated in the famous shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the destination of countless pilgrims from all over Europe. Yesterday we marked the day of St. Bridget of Sweden, patroness of Europe, and on July 11 we celebrated the feast of St. Benedict, another great patron of the 'old continent.' Contemplating these saints, it is natural to pause and reflect on the contribution that Christianity has made, and continues to make, to the building of Europe.

  The Pope continued by recalling the pilgrimage made by "Servant of God John Paul II in 1982 to Santiago de Compostela, where he performed a solemn 'European act' during which he pronounced these memorable words: 'I, bishop of Rome and pastor of the Universal Church, from Santiago, address to you, old Europe, a cry full of love: Return to yourself! Be yourself! Discover your origins. Revive your roots. Experience again those authentic values that made your history glorious and your presence in other continents beneficial."

  Benedict XVI pointed out how, on that occasion, John Paul II launched "the project of a Europe aware of its own spiritual unity, based on the foundation of Christian values. He returned to this theme on the occasion of World Youth Day 1989, held at Santiago de Compostela, expressing his hope for a Europe without frontiers, a Europe that does not deny the Christian roots from which it grew and that does not renounce the true humanism of Christ's Gospel. How appropriate this call remains today in the light of recent events on the European continent."

  The Pope then affirmed that in less than a month's time he will make a pilgrimage "to a historic European cathedral, that of Cologne, where young people have an appointment for their 20th World Day. We pray that the new generations, drawing their vital lymph from Christ, many know how to be leavening in European society for a renewed humanism, one in which faith and reason cooperate in a fruitful dialogue for the promotion of man and the construction of true peace."

  In comments following the Marian prayer, the Pope made reference to recent bomb attacks: "Even these days of serenity and repose have been disrupted by the tragic news of the execrable terrorist attacks which have brought death, destruction and suffering to various countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Iraq and Great Britain. As we entrust to divine goodness the dead and injured and their loved ones, victims of gestures that offend both God and man, we call on the Almighty to block the murderous hand of those who, driven by fanaticism and hatred, committed these acts, and we ask that He convert their hearts to thoughts of reconciliation and peace."
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VATICAN CITY, JUL 23, 2005 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano sent the following telegram, in the Pope's name, to the civil and ecclesiastical authorities of Egypt for the victims of yesterday night's terrorist attack at the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh:

  "His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was deeply saddened to learn of the terrorist attacks at Sharm al-Sheikh in Egypt and he expresses heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. In condemning such senseless acts, His Holiness appeals to all to renounce the way of violence which causes so much suffering to  civilian populations, and instead to embrace the way of peace. Praying for the eternal repose of the dead he invokes upon all the afflicted the Almighty's blessings of comfort and strength."
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