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Friday, December 23, 2005


VATICAN CITY, DEC 23, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Msgr. Jose Maria Yanguas Sanz of the clergy of the diocese of Calahorra y la Calzada-Logrono, Spain, bureau chief at the Congregation for Bishops, as bishop of Cuenca (area 17,140, population 202,982, Catholics 199,722, priests 317, permanent deacons 1, religious 446), Spain. The bishop-elect was born in Alberite de Iregua, Spain in 1947 and ordained as a priest in 1972.

 - Fr. Randolph Roque Calvo of the clergy of San Francisco, U.S.A., pastor of the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Redwood City, as bishop of Reno (area 183,506, population 607,459, Catholics 91,973, priests 42, permanent deacons 11, religious 50), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Agana on the island of Guam in 1950 and ordained as a priest in 1977.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 23, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and president of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

 - Workers who participated in the reconstruction and redecoration of the pontifical apartments.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 23, 2005 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of the new ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Holy See, Francis Martin-Xavier Campbell.

  In his address to the diplomat, Benedict XVI highlighted the fact that relations between the Holy See and the United Kingdom "have made possible a significant degree of cooperation in the service of peace and justice, especially in the developing world, where the United Kingdom has played a leading role in international efforts to combat poverty and disease. ... I pray that this effective solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters will be maintained and deepened in years to come."

  Referring to an observation made in the new ambassador's speech, that his "country is no stranger to the strife caused by the sad divisions within Christianity," the Pope affirmed that "the wounds resulting from more than four centuries of separation cannot be healed without determined efforts, perseverance, and above all, prayer."

  Having given thanks to God for the progress made in ecumenical dialogue, the Pope said: "Ecumenism is not simply an internal matter of concern to Christian communities; it is an imperative of charity which expresses God's love for all humanity and His plan to unite all peoples in Christ, ... and as such [it] has an essential part to play in overcoming divisions between communities and nations."

  Benedict XVI also expressed his happiness at "the significant progress that has been made over the last few years towards achieving peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. Local Churches and ecclesial communities have worked hard to overcome historic differences between sections of the population, and among the most visible signs of the growth in mutual trust is the recent decommissioning of weapons by the Irish Republican Army. This would not have been possible without immense diplomatic and political efforts."

  The Holy Father also recalled the July bomb attacks in London, giving assurances "of the continuing support of the Church as you seek solutions to the underlying tensions that give rise to such atrocities. The Catholic population in Great Britain is already marked by a high degree of ethnic diversity and is eager to play its part in furthering reconciliation and harmony between the various racial groups present in your country. ... Tolerance and respect for difference are values that the United Kingdom has done much to promote both within its borders and beyond."

  The Pope went on: "You have spoken of the importance for the United Kingdom of remaining faithful to Europe's rich traditions, and such fidelity naturally involves a profound respect for the truth that God has revealed concerning the human person. It requires us to recognize and protect the sanctity of life from the first moment of conception until natural death. It requires us to acknowledge the indispensable role of stable marriage and family life for the good of society. It obliges us to consider carefully the ethical implications of scientific and technological progress, particularly in the field of medical research and genetic engineering.

  "Above all," he concluded, "it directs us towards a proper understanding of human freedom which can never be realized independently of God but only in cooperation with His loving plan for humanity. Tolerance and respect for difference, if they are truly to benefit society, need to be built upon the rock of an authentic understanding of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God and called to a share in His divine life."
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 23, 2005 (VIS) - As previously advised, there will be no service on Monday, December 26 or Tuesday, December 27, the next service will be transmitted on Wednesday, December 28. The Vatican Information Service wishes its readers a very happy and holy Christmas.
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