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Friday, December 16, 2005


VATICAN CITY, DEC 16, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father elevated:

 - The "sui iuris" Greek-Catholic Metropolitan Church of Romania to the rank of Major Archiepiscopal Church.

 - Archbishop Lucian Muresan of Fagaras and Alba Julia of the Greek Catholics, Romania, to the rank of major archbishop of the same archdiocese.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 16, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences four prelates from the Conference of the Polish Episcopate on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Jerzy Mazur S.V.D., of Elk, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Romuald Kaminski.

    - Archbishop Ivan Martyniak of Przemysl-Warsaw of the Byzantine-Ukrainian Rite.

    - Bishop Wlodzimierz Roman Juszczak O.S.B.M., of Wroclaw-Gdansk of the Byzantine-Ukrainian rite.

  This evening, he is scheduled to receive in audience Archbishop William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, accompanied by Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the same congregation.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 16, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was Benedict XVI's Message for the 14th World Day of the Sick, which is celebrated every year on February 11, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. In 2006, the Day will be celebrated in Adelaide, Australia, culminating with a Eucharistic celebration in the Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier.

  In the text of his Message, which is dated December 8, the Pope highlights the fact that on the forthcoming Day of the Sick, the Church will have "particular solicitude for the suffering, recalling the attention of public opinion to problems associated with mental distress, which now strikes a fifth part of mankind and constitutes a true social and health care emergency."

  The Holy Father goes on to recall that many countries still lack mental health policies and appropriate legislation. Moreover, "armed conflicts, ... natural catastrophes and the spread of terrorism, as well as causing large numbers of deaths, have given rise to psychological traumas in many survivors."

  Speaking about developed countries, the Pope observes in his Message that, according to experts, "the negative influence of the crisis of moral values" lies at the origin of new forms of mental illness. "This increases the feeling of solitude, undermining and even destroying traditional forms of social cohesion, ... and marginalizing the sick, especially the mentally infirm, who are often considered a burden to families and to the community."

  After thanking people who, "drawing inspiration from human and evangelical principles," care for the mentally ill, the Holy Father writes: "Unfortunately, in may parts of the world, services for these sick people are lacking or insufficient." And he continues: "The social context does not always accept mentally ill people with their limitations, and for this reason too it is difficult to find the necessary human and financial resources.

  "There is a need for greater integration of two factors - appropriate therapy and a new sensitivity to illness - in order to enable those who operate in this sector to meet the needs of these sick people more effectively, as well as the needs of their families who are not able to care for them adequately alone."

  Benedict XVI concludes his Message by addressing "those tried by sickness," inviting them to unite themselves to Christ in order to offer their sufferings "to the Father, in the certainty that all trials accepted with a spirit of resignation are meritorious and attract divine benevolence on all of humanity."

  Finally, the Pope exhorts those who care for the sick, especially doctors, nurses, chaplains, pastoral care leaders and volunteer associations, "to support with effective initiatives families who have to look after the mentally ill." He also expresses hopes for an increase "in acceptance and sharing, thanks also to appropriate laws and health care projects that are provided with sufficient resources for their implementation."
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 16, 2005 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at midday today, at the conclusion of a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, military ordinary of Italy, the Pope met groups from the Italian armed forces.

  In his address, Benedict XVI said: "He Whom we adore in the Sacrament of the altar is the Emmanuel, God with us, Who came into the world for our redemption. ... At Christmas the Messiah will come, ... man's Redeemer will come to free us and will break the chains of error, selfishness and sin that hold us prisoner. Christ will come to free the heart of man with His love. How important it is to ready ourselves to welcome Him with humility and sincerity!"

  "May these closing days of Advent strengthen in each of you the desire to meet Christ, Prince of Peace, source of our true joy."

  The Holy Father affirmed that every day "we experience the precarious and provisional nature of earthly life but, thanks to the incarnation of the only begotten Son of the Father, our gaze is always able to capture the providential love of God which gives meaning and value to all our lives. The liturgy during this period of Advent ... encourages us to trust ourselves to Him, Who can fully realize the expectations of our hearts.

  "Mary, with her 'yes' to the Archangel Gabriel adhered totally to the will of the Lord and gave rise to the great mystery of Redemption. May she accompany us to the meeting with the Emmanuel, God-with-us."

  Benedict XVI concluded by wishing a holy and happy Christmas to all the servicemen present.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 16, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday evening, following the annual pre-Christmas Mass for Roman university students, celebrated in the Vatican by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope arrived in the basilica to greet the students. The tradition of celebrating this Mass dates back to Servant of God John Paul II, who upheld the custom throughout the 26 years of his pontificate.

  Benedict XVI greeted the rectors, professors, chaplains and students from Italian universities, as well as student delegations from various European and African countries, and participants in a world congress for the pastoral care of foreign students, which is being promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

  "Continue your reflections," said the Pope in his address, "on the new humanism, bearing in mind the great challenges of modern times and seeking to bring faith and culture together harmoniously. How important it is at this moment in history to cultivate attentive cultural and spiritual research!"

  The Holy Father expressed his contentment at the fact that the five faculties of medicine in Rome have agreed to collaborate in certain fields concerning life, adding: "From a pastoral perspective, I appreciate the decision to dedicate more profound consideration to the theme of transmitting the faith, with a formative path that involves both students and teachers."

  The Holy Father then called on young people "to follow joyfully the itinerary of your Christian formation," and to associate it with their daily studies. "It is necessary to rediscover the beauty of having Christ as the Master of one's life, and thus freely and consciously renewing one's own profession of faith."

  Turning to consider foreign students, the Pope pointed out how young people leaving their country of origin in order to study "face no small number of problems, especially the risk of a crisis of identity, and of a loss of spiritual and moral values However, he went on, "for many young people the chance to study abroad represents a unique opportunity ... to contribute to the development of their own countries, and to participate actively in the mission of the Church. It is important to continue on the journey we have begun in order to meet the needs of these brothers and sisters of ours."

  With reference to the forthcoming Christmas celebrations, Benedict XVI made a call "to grasp the fullness of the message with which this feast presents us. God became Man, He came to dwell among us. Let us prepare our hearts to welcome Him Who came to save us by giving His life."

  The Holy Father concluded: "May you be guided by Mary Most Holy, 'Sedes Sapientiae.' Her icon, which is being taken around various nations, is now passing from the Polish to the Bulgarian delegation, to continue her 'peregrinatio' in the university cities. May she, the faithful Virgin, Mother of Christ, obtain for each of you and for your academic institutions the light of divine Knowledge, Christ the Lord."
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