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Monday, November 28, 2005


VATICAN CITY, NOV 28, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Tula'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, prime minister of the Independent State of Samoa, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

- Seven prelates from the Conference of the Polish Episcopate on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Stanislaw Nowak of Czestochowa, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Jan Watroba.

    - Bishop Zygmunt Zimowski of Radom, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Stefan Siczek and Adam Odzimek.

    - Bishop Adam Smigielski S.D.B., of Sosnowiec, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Piotr Skucha.

  On Saturday, November 26, he received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Vsevolod of Skopelos of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America, accompanied by an entourage.

- Thirteen prelates from the Conference of the Polish Episcopate on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Jan Tyrawa of Bydgoszcz.

    - Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki of Poznan, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Grzegorz Balcerek, and by Archbishop emeritus Juliusz Paetz.

    - Bishop Stanislaw Napierala of Kalisz.

    - Archbishop Zygmunt Kaminski of Szczecin-Kamien, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Jan Galecki and Marian Blazej Kruszylowicz O.F.M. Conv.

    - Bishop Kazimierz Nycz of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Pawel Cieslik and by Bishop emeritus Ignacy Jez.

    - Bishop Adam Dyczkowski of Zielona Gora-Gorzow accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Pawel Socha C.M.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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THIS MORNING, BENEDICT XVI RECEIVED PARTICIPANTS in the meeting of the Latinitas Foundation, which was founded by Paul VI in 1976. The foundation has the dual aim of promoting, on the one hand, the study of the Latin language, classical and Christian literature and medieval Latin, and on the other, the use and spread of Latin through the publication of books in that language. The foundation publishes a quarterly magazine "Latinatis" and every year celebrates the "Certamen Vaticanum," an international competition of Latin poetry and prose. The foundation has also published a dictionary, the "Lexicon recentis Latinitatis," containing more than 15,000 neologisms translated into Latin.

THE INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION is celebrating its annual plenary session from November 28 to December 2, at the Vatican's Domus Sanctae Marthae, under the presidency of Archbishop William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. One of the subjects being considered is that of children who die without receiving Baptism, in the context of God's universal plan of salvation, the uniqueness of Christ's mediation and the sacramental nature of the Church. Attention will also be given to the identity of the nature and methods of theology as "scientia fidei" and to the foundations of natural moral law in keeping with the teaching of John Paul II's Encyclicals "Veritatis splendor" and "Fides et ratio."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 28, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Holy Father to the young Dutch participants in the first National Day of Catholic Youth, celebrated in Nieuwegein, Netherlands, on November 27.

  After pointing out that many of the young people present at this event also participated in World Youth Day, held in August in Cologne, Germany, Benedict XVI writes: "Dear friends, Jesus is your true friend and Lord, enter into a relationship of true friendship with Him. He awaits you, and only in Him will you find happiness. How easy it is to content oneself with superficial pleasures, ... to live only for oneself in the apparent enjoyment of life. But sooner or later one becomes aware that this is not true happiness, because true happiness is much deeper and is only to be found in Jesus."

  "For this reason, I invite you to seek the Lord every day, He wants nothing other than your true happiness." On this subject, the Pope invites young people to dedicate moments of the day "to being exclusively in the company of the Lord. ... Recitation of the Rosary may help you to learn the art of praying with the simplicity and depth of Mary. It is important that participation in the Eucharist should be the center of your life. ... Adore God in church and remain kneeling before the tabernacle."

  In his Message to the young people the Holy Father writes that it is in the Sacrament of Penance that Jesus "awaits you to forgive your sins and reconcile yourselves with His love. ... What a great opportunity the Lord has given us with this Sacrament for interior renewal and for progress in our Christian lives. I recommend that you make good and constant use of it."

  "If you follow Jesus, you never feel alone because you are part of the Church, which is a great family in which you can grow in true friendship with so many brothers and sisters in the faith, scattered in every corner of the world. Jesus needs you to 'renew' modern society. Concern yourselves with increasing your knowledge of the faith, so as to be authentic witnesses thereof. Dedicate yourselves to an ever better understanding of Catholic doctrine," in which "the satisfying response to your deepest questions" is to be found.

  The Pope concludes his Message with assurances of his prayers for the young people meeting in Nieuwegein, in the hope that they "generously welcome the call of the Lord. ... Only by responding positively to His call, however demanding it may seem, is it possible to find happiness and peace of heart."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 28, 2005 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako, archbishop of Khartoum, Sudan, accompanied by a group of Sudanese pilgrims. The Pope addressed some brief words to the group, expressing his concern for the situation in the country, which has recently emerged from a prolonged period of armed conflict.

  "It gives me great satisfaction to welcome you to the Vatican and through you to send heartfelt greetings to the people of your country. I very much appreciate the sentiments which have prompted your visit, and I wish to reassure you of my prayers and deep concern for the peaceful development of civil and ecclesial life in your nation.
  "The cessation of the civil war and the enactment of a new constitution have brought hope to the long-suffering people of Sudan. While there have been setbacks along the path of reconciliation, not least the tragic death of John Garang, there now exists an unprecedented opportunity and indeed duty for the Church to contribute significantly to the process of forgiveness and national reconstruction. Though a minority, Catholics have much to offer through inter-religious dialogue as well as the provision of greatly needed social services. I encourage you therefore to take the necessary initiatives to realize Christ's healing presence in these ways.

  "The horror of events unfolding in Darfur, to which my beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II referred on many occasions, points to the need for a stronger international resolve to ensure security and basic human rights. Today, I add my voice to the cry of the suffering and assure you that the Holy See, together with the apostolic nuncio in Khartoum, will continue to do everything possible to end the cycle of violence and misery."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 27, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, before praying the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI explained how this liturgical period "of great religious significance," is "permeated with hope and spiritual anticipation."

  The Pope explained how, during Advent, Christians experience a dual movement of the spirit: "On the one hand, they raise their eyes towards the final goal of their pilgrimage in history, which is the glorious return of the Lord Jesus; on the other, recalling with emotion His birth in Bethlehem, they bow before the manager. The hope of Christians is directed to the future, but it always remains firmly rooted in an event from the past."

  After emphasizing that this is a time in which "Christians must reawaken in their hearts the hope of being able, with God's help, to renew the world," the Holy Father quoted the Vatican Council II Apostolic Constitution "Gaudium et spes" on the Church in the modern world, "a text profoundly imbed with Christian hope ... which reads: 'We are taught that God is preparing a new dwelling place and a new earth where justice will abide, and whose blessedness will answer and surpass all the longings for peace which spring up in the human heart'."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Msgr. Mario Grech of the clergy of Gozo, Malta, judicial vicar and pastor, as bishop of the same diocese (area 67, population 32,335, Catholics 31,709, priests 189, religious 135). The bishop-elect was born in Qala, Malta in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1984. He succeeds Bishop Nikol Joseph Cauchi, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Francisco Cases Andreu of Albacete, Spain, as bishop of the Canary Islands (area 4,106, population 979,606, Catholics 832,665, priests 256, permanent deacons 1, religious 593) Spain. He succeeds Bishop Ramon Echarren Ysturiz, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop Rafael Palmero Ramos of Palencia, Spain, as bishop of Orihuela-Alicante (area 4,415, population 1,260,000, Catholics 1,155,000, priests 401, religious 861) Spain. He succeeds Bishop Victorio Oliver Domingo, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Benjamin Marc Ramaroson C.M., provincial superior of the Lazarist Fathers in Madagascar, as bishop of Farafangana (area 20,392, population 900,000, Catholics 70,000, priests 36, religious 103), Madagascar. The bishop-elect was born in Manakara, Madagascar in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1984.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2005 (VIS) - This evening in the Vatican Basilica, Benedict XVI presided at the celebration of the first Vespers of the first Sunday of Advent, which mark the opening of the new liturgical year.

  In his homily, the Holy Father commented on a passage from the First Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians (5, 23-24).

  The Apostle, said the Pope, hopes that "each individual will be sanctified by God and remain 'sound and blameless' in 'spirit and soul and body' until the final coming of the Lord Jesus."

  The Holy Father pointed out that the hope expressed by the Apostle "contains a fundamental truth, one he seeks to inculcate into the faithful of the community he founded, and that we can sum up like this: God calls us to communion with Him, communion which will be fully realized with the return of Christ, and He Himself undertakes to ensure that we are ready when we reach this final and decisive encounter."

  Pope Benedict went on: "The future is, so to say, contained in the present or, better still, in the presence of God Himself, in His indefectible love which does not leave us alone, does not abandon us even for an instant, just as fathers and mothers never cease to follow their children's development.

  "Faced with Christ who approaches, man feels called in all his being. ... Sanctification is a gift of God, it is His initiative, but human beings are called to correspond with all their being, leaving nothing of themselves excluded."

  "Just as at the center of human history is the first advent of Christ, and at the end His glorious return, so each individual existence is called to measure itself against Him in a mysterious and multifaceted way during the earthly journey, so as to be found 'in Him' at the moment of His return."

  "May Mary Most Holy, the faithful Virgin, guide us to make this period of Advent, and the whole of the new liturgical year, a journey of true sanctification, to the praise and glory of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Pope, written in Latin and dated November 8, in which he appoints Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, as his special envoy to the solemn jubilee celebrations due to take place at the Hungarian shrine of Mariapocs on December 3.

  The names of the two monsignors who will accompany the cardinal on his mission were also made public, they are: Msgrs. Istvan Pregun, protosincellus (vicar general) of the eparchy of Hajdudorog, and Miklos Beres, protosincellus of the apostolic exarchate of Miskolc.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was the address delivered by Msgr. Renato Volante to the 33rd General Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Msgr. Volante is the head of the Holy See delegation to the conference, which is being held at the organization's Rome headquarters from November 19 to 26.

  In his speech, which was delivered on November 22, the head of the Holy See delegation expressed his conviction that "food security remains the fruit of action inspired by a strong solidarity," not of action that is "limited to forms of assistance or to interventions that, despite being well organized, often fail to achieve their intended goals."

  Guaranteeing adequate food supplies, he went on, "is an essential component of that right to development intrinsic to each individual, people and nation, proclaimed by the international community but often overlooked, ... as the information presented to this conference shows."

  Msgr. Violante stressed that "guaranteeing access to agricultural and food resources, is an important way to eliminate poverty and, hence, to put planned strategies into effect."

  "It is the heartfelt wish of the Holy See delegation ... that support be given to the activities and practices of rural populations (in which the importance of the family cannot be overstressed). They constitute the basic economic foundation for most developing countries where monocultures and forest and marine resources represent an essential - and, unfortunately, at times unique - means of survival." In this context, Msgr. Volante called for the forthcoming conference on agrarian reform and rural development, due to be held in Brazil in March 2006, to "give 'voice' and support to those people who daily practice small-scale agriculture."

  The Holy See representative concluded his speech by referring to the "notable importance for the development of food and agriculture" of "questions concerning the trade in agricultural, forest and fisheries products."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2005 (VIS) - Today, Benedict XVI received in audience the first group of prelates from the Conference of the Polish Episcopate who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  "I recall with emotion," said the Pope at the beginning of his address to the bishops, "the great prayer with which the Poles accompanied John Paul II throughout his pontificate, and in particular over the days of his passage to the glory of the Lord. I am grateful to be able to count upon the same prayerful support. It is something I greatly appreciate and constantly request."

  Among the themes he discussed with the Polish episcopate, Benedict XVI laid particular emphasis on the question of Christian education in the light of the Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesai in Europa," where John Paul II called on the continent "to give greater attention to the training of young people in the faith."

  "The faithful and fruitful realization of the mission of education which the Church is facing today, calls for adequate evaluation of the situation of the young people towards whom it is directed," he said. "I am aware that economic difficulties, consistently high levels of unemployment, and concern over guaranteeing material existence all have an effect on the way of life of many Polish families. It is not possible to create truly authentic attitudes without bearing in mind these problems, which also affect young people."

  The Holy Father also noted the presence of "many positive phenomena that support and assist education in the faith," such as "a profound sensitivity towards the needs of others, especially those of the poor," and "a real interest for questions of faith and religion."

  "Education in faith," the Pope explained, "must consist in the first place of developing that which is good in man. ... In the Church's educational initiatives, it would also be appropriate ... to accustom children and young people to prayer. ... Among the various forms of prayer, a special place is reserved for the liturgy. In Poland, young people participate actively and in large numbers in Sunday Mass."

  Going on to refer to the enthusiastic participation of young Poles in Catholic groups, Benedict XVI made particular mention of the "Light and Life" movement. "The spirituality of this movement is focussed on the encounter with God in Holy Scripture and in the Eucharist," he said, calling on the prelates to support it "as being particularly effective in educating in the faith, though without, of course, overlooking other movements."

  The Holy Father then addressed the question of cooperation with families and lay associations, in the field of education. "The formation of young generations is the task of parents, of the Church and of the State," he said. "Therefore, ... the Church must collaborate very closely with schools, universities and other lay institutions."

  The teaching of religion in schools must "maintain its true evangelical dimension of transmitting and bearing witness to the faith," Pope Benedict observed. As for the catechesis of adults, he called on the bishops to "support those institutions that already undertake" this activity.

  The final points of the Holy Father's address to the Polish episcopate concerned pastoral care in universities and in the world of culture and of the communications media.

  "After years of scant freedom, the Church in Poland has been able to establish her own universities and theological faculties, most of which have become part of the infrastructure of State-run universities," the Pope said.

  He then went on to observe how Poland, with its "rich cultural heritage rooted in Christian values," had entered the European Union, adding that the country "must not lose this heritage." The Pope also highlighted the fact that, in the world of culture, a special role is played by the communications media, "which thus constitute a valuable instrument of evangelization." And he invited the prelates to establish contact "with the world of journalists and other media operators. It may be appropriate to organize special pastoral initiatives specifically for them."

  Benedict XVI concluded by quoting the Vatican Council II Declaration "Gravissimum educationis," wherein the Conciliar Fathers remind pastors of "their most serious obligation to see to it that all the faithful, but especially the youth who are the hope of the Church, enjoy a Christian education."

  "This exhortation is still relevant," said the Holy Father, "and it may be even more urgent today, in the face of the new challenges presented by current social phenomena."
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