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Monday, November 14, 2005


VATICAN CITY, NOV 14, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Emilio Aranguren Echeverria of Cienfuegos, Cuba, as bishop of Holguin (area 14,089, population 1,600,000, Catholics 435,000, priests 30, permanent deacons 3, religious 49), Cuba. He succeeds Bishop Hector Luis Lucas Pena Gomez, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop Giuseppe Merisi, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Milan, Italy, as bishop of Lodi (area 894, population 256,855, Catholics 253,166, priests 228, religious 325), Italy. He succeeds Bishop Giacomo Capuzzi, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

  On Saturday, November 12, it was made public that he:

 - Appointed Msgr. Lino Pizzi of the clergy of the archdiocese of Modena-Nonantola, Italy, rector of the diocesan seminary, as bishop of Forli-Bertinoro (area 1,182, population 175,769, Catholics 171,142, priests 150, permanent deacons 8, religious 235), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Rivara, Italy in 1942 and ordained a priest in 1966. He succeeds Bishop Vincenzo Zarri, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, as his special envoy to the First National Eucharistic Congress of Chad, due to be held in Moundou from January 4 - 8, 2006.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 14, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Wolfgang Schussel, federal chancellor of Austria, accompanied by an entourage.

 - Six prelates from the Czech Bishops' Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, archbishop of Prague, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Vaclav Maly, and Karel Herbst S.D.B., and by former Auxiliary Bishop Jaroslav Skarvada.

    - Archbishop Jan Graubner of Olomoue, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Josef Hrdlicka.

 - Masoud al-Barzani, president of the Iraqi region of Kurdistan, accompanied by an entourage.

  On Saturday, November 12, he received in separate audiences:

 - Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg, Germany.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 14, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict XVI received a group of representatives of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in the U.S.A., an institution founded in 1977 in order to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, while promoting tolerance and understanding through awareness-raising and education.

  After recalling that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Vatican Council II Declaration "Nostra Aetate," which "formulated the principles that have guided the Church's efforts to promote better understanding between Jews and Catholics," the Pope said: "After a difficult and painful history, relations between our two communities are presently taking a new, more positive, direction."

  He went on: "We must continue to advance along the path of mutual respect and dialogue, inspired by our shared spiritual heritage and committed to an ever more effective cooperation in the service of the human family.

  "Christians and Jews can do much to enable coming generations to live in harmony and respect for the dignity with which every human being has been endowed by the Creator. I express the hope, shared by men and women of good will everywhere, that this century will see our world emerge from the web of conflict and violence, and sow the seeds for a future of reconciliation, justice and peace."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 13, 2005 (VIS) - Following Mass, celebrated this morning in the Vatican Basilica by Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, during which Servants of God Charles de Foucauld, Maria Pia Mastena, and Maria Crocifissa Curcio were proclaimed as Blesseds, the Pope appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus with pilgrims gathered below.

  Before the Marian prayer, the Pope pointed out that the new Blesseds "join the numerous ranks of Blesseds who were presented for veneration during the pontificate of John Paul II,... in keeping with the principle strongly emphasized during Vatican Council II: that all the baptized are called to the perfection of Christian life, priests, religious and laity, each according to their own charism and their specific vocation."

  Benedict XVI went on to recall the importance given by Vatican Council II to the role of the laity, to whom it dedicated "an entire chapter, the fourth, of the Constitution 'Lumen gentium' ... defining their vocation and their mission, which are rooted in Baptism and Confirmation and oriented towards 'engaging in temporal affairs and ... ordering them according to the plan of God'."

  The Conciliar Fathers, said the Pope, also approved a specific decree on the apostolate of the laity, 'Apostolicam actuositatem,' which highlights how "the 'success of the lay apostolate depends upon the laity's living union with Christ,' in other words it depends on a robust spirituality, nourished by active participation in the liturgy and expressed in the manner of the evangelical Beatitudes."

  He went on: "For the laity, moreover, professional competence, a sense of family, public spirit and social virtues are also of great importance. Yet, if it is true that they are called individually to offer their personal witness - particularly valuable wherever the Church's freedom is impeded - the Council still insists on the importance of an organized apostolate, which is necessary in order to influence common attitudes, social conditions and public institutions. ... It was to the theme of the vocation and mission of the laity that the beloved Pope John Paul II dedicated the Synod of 1987, after which was published the Apostolic Exhortation 'Christifideles laici'."

  The Holy Father concluded by recalling last Sunday's beatification in Vicenza, Italy, of Eurosia Fabris, the wife and mother who welcomed into her home children orphaned by the First World War, defining her as 'a model of Christian life in the lay state'."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 13, 2005 (VIS) - Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at a Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica today, during which, by order of Benedict XVI, he read out the Apostolic Letter by which the Pope proclaims as Blesseds the following Servants of God: Charles de Foucauld, priest (1858-1916); Maria Pia Mastena, virgin and foundress of the Institute of Sisters of the Holy Countenance (1881-1951); and Maria Crocifissa Curcio, virgin and founder of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus (1877-1957).

  At the conclusion of the Mass, the Holy Father arrived in the basilica to venerate the relics of the new Blesseds. He also greeted those present and imparted his apostolic blessing.

  Speaking in French, the Holy Father gave thanks to God for the testimony of Fr. Foucauld. "Through his contemplative and hidden life at Nazareth," said the Pope, "he found the truth of Jesus' humanity, inviting us to contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation. He discovered that Jesus - Who came to unite Himself to us in our humanity - invites us to that universal brotherhood which he later experienced in the Sahara, and to that love of which Christ set us the example. As a priest, he put the Eucharist and the Gospel at the center of his life."

  Benedict XVI emphasized the modern relevance of the charism of Maria Pia Mastena who, "overcome by the Holy Countenance of Christ, assimilated the Son of God's loving kindness towards humanity disfigured by sin, gave concrete form to His gestures of compassion, and devised an institute with the aim of 'propagating, repairing and restoring sweet Jesus' image in people's souls'."

  Speaking of Maria Crocifissa Curcio, the Holy Father highlighted the fact that at the center of her life "was the presence of merciful Jesus, Whom she encountered and adored in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. True passion for souls was what characterized the existence of Mother Maria Crocifissa who enthusiastically cultivated 'spiritual repair' in order to repay Jesus' love for us. Her life was a continuous prayer even when she went out to help others, especially poor and needy girls."

  The beatification Mass was concelebrated by 65 cardinals and bishops, among them Cardinals Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, and Polycarp Pengo, archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania; Archbishops Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris, France, and Vincent Landel S.C.I. of Rabat, Morocco; and Bishop Elias Lahham of Tunis, Tunisia.

  In his homily, Cardinal Saraiva Martins affirmed that Charles Foucauld, the French missionary who passed his life among the Tuareg, the nomadic peoples of the Sahara, "exercised an important influence on the spirituality of the 20th century, and at the beginning of this third millennium he continues to be a fruitful point of reference and an invitation to a radically evangelical form of life." The new Blessed stood out for his "acceptance of the Gospel in its simplicity, evangelizing without imposing, bearing witness to Jesus Christ while respecting other religions, and reaffirming the primacy of charity in fraternity."

  The prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints pointed out how the Italian nun Maria Pia Mastena - whose congregation has spread in Italy, Brazil and Indonesia - took Christ to the poorest and most abandoned. Her motto, he recalled, was "when a brother is sad and suffering, it is our duty to bring a smile back to his face."

  Finally, the cardinal mentioned Maria Crocifissa Curcio who, he said, "was a simple and strong woman, seized by the love of God, stretching towards heaven while stooping attentively over the earth, especially over suffering and needy humanity."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 12, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a letter from the Holy Father, written in Latin and dated October 15, appointing Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, archbishop of Lagos, Nigeria, as his special envoy to the Eucharistic Congress of Ghana, which will be held from November 19 - 20 in Kumasi.

  The mission accompanying the cardinal will be made up of Msgrs. Mark Kadima and Stephen Adu-Kwaning, respectively secretary of the apostolic nunciature to Ghana, and vicar general of the archdiocese of Accra, Ghana, and Fr. Christopher Bazaanah, vicar general of the archdiocese of Tamale, Ghana.


VATICAN CITY, NOV 12, 2005 (VIS) - Today, for the occasion of the special synod being held in Rome by Chaldean bishops, Benedict XVI received His Beatitude Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq, and other prelates participating in the meeting.

  "I thank you for your visit," the Pope said, "which enables me to send, through you, words of great encouragement to your communities and to all the citizens of Iraq. My expression of solidarity is accompanied by assurances of mention in my prayers, that your beloved country, even in its current difficult situation, may not lose heart and may continue on the road towards reconciliation and peace."

  The Holy Father went on to refer on to the project of revising the texts of the divine liturgy which was completed during the synod of Chaldean bishops, opening the way to "a reform which should give rise to a new surge of devotion in your communities. This work has involved years of study and of not-always-easy decisions, but it was a period during which the Chaldean Church was able to reflect more deeply on the great gift of the Eucharist."

  Another important theme of the synod was the examination of the draft of the Particular Law regulating the internal life of the Chaldean community. "An appropriate canonical discipline of your own is necessary," commented the Holy Father, "for the ordered progress of the mission entrusted to you by Christ."

  "Now, as you return to your respective sees, you are refreshed by this experience of communion near the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul. This communion finds a special expression here, today, in raising to the Lord, together with Peter's Successor, a collective prayer of gratitude."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 12, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict XVI received prelates from the Bulgarian Episcopal Conference, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  In his address, the Pope said that following his individual meetings with each of the prelates he was convinced that "the Catholic Church in Bulgaria is vibrant and wishes to offer its witness to Christ in the society in which she lives." Despite being a small minority, "the Lord always knows how to compensate for any of our shortcomings and for the lack of means at our disposal. What is important is not so much organizational efficiency as unshakeable faith in Christ, because it is Christ Who guides, upholds and sanctifies His Church, also through your indispensable ministry."

  Referring to the prelates' ecclesiastical service alongside their brethren of the Orthodox Church, the Holy Father expressed the hope that "the present good relations may develop further, to the advantage of the announcement of the Gospel of the Son of God." And he asked the Bulgarian Catholic bishops to pass on "a cordial greeting" to Patriarch Maxim, head of the Orthodox Church in Bulgaria.

  He continued: "It is necessary to continue the journey we have begun, intensifying prayer so as to bring forward the moment when we can all sit around the one Table and eat the one Bread of salvation."

  The Pope made reference to an "intense dialogue with the civil authorities on themes of common interest," and indicated that "the Catholic community, although a minority in the country, can offer generous witness to Christ's universal charity."

  Benedict XVI then went on: "Following the sad period of communist oppression, Catholics who persevered in their adherence to Christ with eager trust now feel the urgent need to consolidate their faith and to spread the Gospel in all areas of social life, especially where there is the clearest need for Christian announcement. I am thinking, for example, of the severe drop in the birthrate, of the high percentage of abortions, of the fragility of many families and the problem of emigration. I am happy to learn that the Catholic Church in Bulgaria is strongly committed in the social field, so as to meet the needs of so many poor people. I encourage you to continue this journey at the service of the Bulgarian people, who are so dear to me."

  The Pope called on the prelates not to be afraid "also to present young generations with the ideal of a total consecration to Christ," and to continue their efforts "to give your communities appropriate structures for pastoral activity and Christian worship, also with the help of other Catholic Churches and organizations. On this matter, I am particularly pleased to learn of the rebuilding of the Latin Cathedral Church of Sofia, dedicated to St. Joseph."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 12, 2005 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of the new ambassador of the United States to the Holy See, Francis Rooney.

  In his address, the Pope asked the diplomat to assure U.S. President George W. Bush "in a particular way of my prayerful solidarity with all those affected by the recent storms in the southern part of your country, as well as the support of my prayers for those engaged in the massive work of relief and rebuilding."

  Benedict XVI then went on to mention John Paul II's Message for the 2005 World Day of Peace, where the late Pontiff "called attention to the intrinsic ethical dimension of every political decision, and observed that the disturbing spread of social disorder, war, injustice and violence in our world can ultimately be countered only by renewed appreciation and respect for the universal moral law whose principles derive from the Creator Himself.

  "A recognition of the rich patrimony of values and principles embodied in that law is essential to the building of a world which acknowledges and promotes the dignity, life and freedom of each human person, while creating the conditions of justice and peace in which individuals and communities can truly flourish. It is precisely the promotion and defense of these values, which must govern relations between nations and peoples, ... that inspires the presence and activity of the Holy See within the international community."

  The Holy Father went on: "As Vatican Council II stated, the Church's universal religious mission does not allow her to be identified with any particular political, economic or social system, yet at the same time, this mission serves as a source of commitment, direction and strength which can contribute to establishing and consolidating the human community in accordance with God's law."

  The Pope expressed his appreciation for the reference in the ambassador's speech to "the Holy See's efforts to contribute to finding effective solutions to some of the more significant problems facing the international community in recent years, such as the scandal of continued widespread hunger, grave illness and poverty in large areas of our world. An adequate approach to these issues cannot be limited to purely economic or technical considerations, but demands broad vision, practical solidarity and courageous long-term decisions with regard to complex ethical questions; among the latter I think especially of the effects of the crushing debt that feeds the spiral of poverty in many less-developed nations."

  "The American people," the Pope concluded, "have long been distinguished for their generous charitable outreach to the disadvantaged and the needy on every continent. ... I am confident that your nation will continue to demonstrate a leadership based on unwavering commitment to the values of freedom, integrity and self-determination."
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