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Thursday, November 17, 2005


VATICAN CITY, NOV 17, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Fabriciano Sigampa of La Rioja, Argentina, as metropolitan archbishop of Resistencia (area 28,250, population 540,000, Catholics 450,000, priests 63, permanent deacons 10, religious 154), Argentina. The archbishop-elect was born in Vichigasta, Argentina in 1936, ordained to the priesthood in 1970 and consecrated a bishop in 1985.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 17, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

    - Bishop Vojtech Cikrle of Brno, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Petr Esterka.

    - Bishop Frantisek V. Lobkowicz O. Praem., of Ostrava-Opava.

    - Bishop Jiri Padour O.F.M. Cap., of Ceske Budejovice.

    - Bishop Dominik Duka O.P., of Hradec Kralove, apostolic administrator "sede plena" of Litomerice, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Josef Kajnek and by Archbishop-Bishop emeritus Karel Otcenasek.

 - Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo, archbishop of Sao Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, and president of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, accompanied by Bishops Antonio Celso Queiroz of Catanduva, and Odilo Pedro Scherer, auxiliary of Sao Paulo, respectively vice president and secretary of the same conference.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 17, 2005 (VIS) - Fr. Ciro Benedettini, C.P., vice director of the Holy See Press Office, made the following declaration to journalists late this morning:

  "This morning, November 17, 2005, Moshe Katsav, president of the State of Israel, accompanied by his wife and a number of collaborators, visited His Holiness Benedict XVI. He then went on to visit Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano.

  "During the meeting, attention was given to the relations that have developed between Israel and the Holy See, since the start of diplomatic ties between the two parties in 1994.

  "Particular consideration was reserved for the implementation of the agreements thus-far signed between Israel and the Holy See: the Fundamental Agreement of 1993, and the Legal Personality Agreement of 1997.

  "On the subject of the current situation in the Holy Land, the Holy See's position in favor of the existence of and collaboration between the two States, Israel and Palestine, was again expounded to the illustrious guest.

  "A large part of the discussions were also given over to the possibility of more intense collaboration in the humanitarian field, especially in Africa, and in cultural matters."


VATICAN CITY, NOV 17, 2005 (VIS) - On Tuesday, November 15, the annual public session of the pontifical academies was held in the Vatican's New Synod Hall. In this session, the tenth since John Paul II established the coordinating council for the pontifical academies in 1995, the central theme - "Christ, Son of God, perfect man, 'the measure of true humanism'," - was prepared by the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas and by the Pontifical Academy of Theology.

  During the meeting, the prize and medals of the pontifical academies were also distributed. Benedict XVI awarded the 2005 prize to the Italian Giovanni Catapano for his work, "The concept of philosophy in the early writings of St. Augustine. An analysis of meta-philosophical passages from 'Contra Academicos,' to 'De vera religione'." The Pope also awarded two pontifical medals, one to the Spaniard Fr. Santiago Sanz Sanchez for his dissertation, "The relationship between creation and covenant in contemporary theology," and another to the Italian Massimiliano Marianelli for his book, "The metaphor rediscovered. Myth and symbol in the philosophy of Simone Weil."

  The Pope also sent a message to participants in the event, expressing his appreciation for the theme of the meeting, because of its "central and essential importance both in theological reflections and in each Christian's experience of faith. Modern culture, so deeply marked by a subjectivism which leads not infrequently to extreme individualism or to relativism, drives people to consider man as the only measure by which to judge themselves, losing sight of other objectives not centered on the self, which has become the only criterion for evaluating reality and their own choices.

  "In this way, the Pope went on, "man tends to fall back ever more onto himself, to close himself in an airless existential microcosm, where there is no longer any space for great ideals open to transcendence, to God. On the other hand, man who overcomes himself and does not allow himself to be closed in the narrow confines of his own egoism is capable of an authentic contemplation of others and of creation."

  "Certain cultural currents and tendencies seek to leave man in his minority, in prolonged infancy or adolescence. The Word of God, on the other hand, spurs us decisively to maturity and invites us to commit ourselves with all our strength to a high measure of humanity."

  "It is Jesus Christ - Son of God, given by the Father to humanity to restore its image which was disfigured by sin, the perfect man - against Whom true humanism is measured. All men must assess themselves against Him. It is to Him that, with the help of grace, man must tend with all his heart and all his mind, in order to fully realize his existence."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 17, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday in Athens, Greece, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church, officially presented a copy of the manuscript of the "Menologue of Basil II," which is held in the Vatican Apostolic Library. The Menologue is a liturgical or hagiographic text of the Church of Greek rite, dating from 985.

  In a Message sent to the cardinal for the occasion, the Holy Father affirms that he "learned with interest of the collaboration between the Vatican Apostolic Library and the Greek Orthodox Church for the publication" of this work of art.

  Benedict XVI asks Cardinal Tauran to express to His Beatitude Christodoulos, archbishop of Athens and of all Greece, "my fraternal and cordial greetings, and my great satisfaction for this important event, fruit of the new relations established following the unforgettable visit to Athens by my venerable predecessor, His Holiness John Paul II, on the occasion of his Jubilee pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Paul the Apostle. With joy I note the growth of ever more active cooperation between the Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church."

  "On this occasion," writes the Pope in his Message to the cardinal, "I charge you to inform His Beatitude Christodoulos that it would be a joy for me to welcome him in Rome, so that together we may show that another stage has been covered on the journey of reconciliation and cooperation. Pass on my heartfelt desire to develop ever more intense relations of trust and fraternity, in order to carry out many works of evangelization together. Among other things, we could give European nations greater help in reaffirming their Christian roots, to find that nourishing and fruitful sap for their own future and for the good of people and of all society. It will be a way to announce together the Good News of Christ to the modern world, which needs it so badly."

  "We will also give an ever stronger response to the ardent desire expressed by the Lord: 'May all be one," until the day comes ... when we can celebrate fully restored communion."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 17, 2005 (VIS) - Benedict XVI sent a Message to the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), which is meeting in Assisi, Italy, from November 14 to 18 to celebrate its 55th general assembly. During the meeting attention will be given, among other themes, to the formation of future priests and to the presence of the Church in the world of health care.

  "The Church today," writes the Pope, "needs priests who are fully aware of the gift of grace they receive with priestly ordination and with the mission entrusted to them in times of swift and profound changes."

  After recalling all the priests working in Italy, "who contribute to making our parishes and communities lively and rich in grace," Benedict XVI highlights the concern he shares with the bishops "for the drop in numbers of clergy and for the progressive increase in the average age of priests. There is, therefore, an urgent need to boost vocational pastoral care and to define the formative option ever more clearly, so as to guarantee a human, intellectual and spiritual preparation capable of meeting the new challenges that priestly ministry is called to face. ... It is equally important that such formative activity should be carried out in a community context, in order to reflect that communion of life which Jesus had with His disciples, and to ensure that the various elements of the educational program are unified around the needs of pastoral charity."

  Referring to the second principal theme of the CEI meeting, pastoral health care ministry, the Holy Father observes in his Message that "illness certainly poses serious and complex problems of social organization, ... yet first and foremost it constitutes a fundamental dimension of the human experience, one that cries out to the mission of the Church and to the conscience of believers. Indeed, it was not by chance that the Lord accompanied His announcement of salvation with much healing of suffering people; and the Christian community in all times has made the care of the sick an emblem of Christian charity.

  "The witness given us by my beloved predecessor John Paul II remains engraved in our hearts. He made the cathedra of suffering the pinnacle of his Magisterium. Illuminated and encouraged by such a great testimony, the Church is called to express solidarity and care towards those facing the trial of sickness."

  In closing his Message, Benedict XVI stresses the need for Catholic institutions that operate in the field of health care to be exemplary, "in uniting scientific innovation and competence with primary care for the person and for his or her dignity. ... Faced with the call ... to eliminate suffering, even through recourse to euthanasia, the inviolable dignity of human life must again be reaffirmed."

  The Pope concludes by uniting himself to the CEI in recalling the 40th anniversary of the end of Vatican Council II, "in anticipation of the celebration, which I myself will preside on December 8, to commemorate the extraordinary gift that the Church and humanity received through the Council."
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