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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006


VATICAN CITY, OCT 31, 2006 (VIS) - We would like to remind our readers that there will be no VIS service on Wednesday, November 1 or Thursday, November 2, respectively All Saints Day and All Souls Day, and holidays in the Vatican. Service will resume on Friday, November 3.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 31, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, presented by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Cardinal Claudio Hummes O.F.M., archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil, as prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica, presented by Cardinal Francesco Marchisano. He is succeeded by his coadjutor, Archbishop Angelo Comastri, prelate emeritus of Loreto, Italy, vicar general for Vatican City State, president of the Fabric of St Peter's.

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of New York, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Robert A. Brucato, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Thomas Chung An-zu of the clergy of Tainan, Taiwan, chaplain of the Fu Jen Catholic University, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Taipei (area 4,590, population 6,792,857, Catholics 84,326, priests 272, religious 707), Taiwan. The bishop-elect was born in Yunlin, Taiwan, in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1981.

- Appointed Fr. Fausto Gaibor Garcia, chancellor and pastor of the cathedral of Guaranda, Ecuador, as auxiliary of the diocese of Riobamba (area 7,014, population 475,000, Catholics 330,000, priests 67, permanent deacons 6, religious 218), Ecuador. The bishop-elect was born in Gauranda in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1981.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 31, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father's general prayer intention for November is: "That, everywhere in the world, an end be put to all forms of terrorism."

  His mission intention is: "That through the effort of believers, together with the living forces of society, the new and old chains which prevent the development of the African continent may be broken."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 31, 2006 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a telegram sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., in the Holy Father's name, to Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, for the plane crash in that country on Sunday, October 29, which cost the lives of more than 100 people:

  "Deeply saddened by the news of the tragic air disaster in Nigeria, which included among its victims the Sultan of Sokoto, His Holiness wishes to convey his heartfelt condolence to the families of all who mourn their loved ones. Offering fervent prayers for the deceased, he asks God to grant courage and strength to all who suffer. As a pledge of consolation and peace, the Holy Father invokes upon them Almighty God's abundant blessings."

Monday, October 30, 2006


VATICAN CITY, OCT 30, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

- Three prelates from the Greek Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Franghiskos Papamanolis, O.F.M. Cap., of Syros and Milos, Santorini, Thira, apostolic administrator of Candia, Creta, La Canea.

    - Bishop Anarghyros Printesis, apostolic exarch for Greek Catholics of Byzantine rite resident in Greece.

    - Archbishop Nechan Karakeheyan, apostolic administrator of the Ordinariate for Catholics of Armenian rite resident in Greece.

  On Saturday, October 28, he received in separate audiences:

- Three prelates from the Irish Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Christopher Jones of Elphin.

    - Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway and Kilmacduagh.

    - Bishop John Fleming of Killala.

- Three prelates from the Greek Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Nicolaos Foscolos of Athens, apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Rhodes.

    - Archbishop Yannis Spiteris O.F.M. Cap., of Corfu, Zante and Cefalonia, apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the apostolic vicariate of Thessaloniki.

    - Archbishop Nikolaos Printesis of Naxos, Andros, Tinos and Mykonos; apostolic administrator "sede vacante" of Chios.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 30, 2006 (VIS) - In the Clementine Hall today, The Pope received members of the Belgian associations "Pro Petri Sede" and "Etrennes Pontificales," both of which offer annual financial aid for the needs of the Holy See.

  Speaking French, the Holy Father said that "the sense of apostolic communion" characterizing both associations "is expressed every year with a generous act of solidarity that aims to help our more needy brothers and sisters. ... At the time of the Apostles, the members of the fledgling Christian community put everything in common; and in each community he founded St. Paul organized a collection service in favor of other churches."

  "For the Church, charity is not a kind of welfare activity which could equally well be left to others, but is a part of her nature, an indispensable expression of her very being," said the Pope quoting his Encyclical "Deus caritas est."

  "You all know the huge need for solidarity in order to ensure that the basic dignity of our brothers and sisters is respected, and that they may be nourished, and find shelter and education. And each year you respond generously, offering the Pope the fruits of your collection. I thank you in the name of all the Christian communities you help with your donations."


VATICAN CITY, OCT 30, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope received prelates from the Greek Episcopal Conference, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  The Holy Father began his address by referring to the "abundant influx" of Catholics from neighboring countries, which faces Greek bishops and clergy with "new requirements of ministerial service that are not easy to meet."

  Bearing in mind the diversity of languages and rites of the faithful, said Pope Benedict, "I believe the development of constructive dialogue with other episcopates is more than ever appropriate." From this, he added, will emerge "prudent decisions" on how to find the ministers and resources necessary. "Obviously, respect for specific identities must be borne in mind, but without sacrificing ... the life and plans of the Churches that Christ entrusted to you."

  The Holy Father called upon the prelates "to continue your efforts to encourage vocational pastoral care;" on the one hand "carefully cultivating the seeds of vocation," and on the other, "inviting Christian communities to pray more intensely" for a greater number of priestly and religious vocations, He also emphasized "the spiritual needs of so many immigrants who have found a dignified and cordial welcome in your country. This," he added, "is the style typical of your people."

  On the question of contact with the faithful of the Orthodox Church, who make up the majority of the Greek population, Benedict XVI highlighted the need "to intensify prayer so as to accelerate the coming of that blessed day when it will be granted us to break the Bread together, and drink together from the same Chalice." On this subject, he expressed his hope for the opening of "ever greater prospects of constructive dialogue between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church," and for an increase in "shared spiritual, cultural and practical initiatives. Moreover, it is my pleasure to send my best wishes to His Beatitude Christodoulos, archbishop of Athens and of all Greece," and through him "to the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church and to all the faithful."

  The Pope affirmed that in his individual meetings with the Greek bishops, he had noted their "desire to see the State define their right to have an appropriate and recognized juridical status. Dialogue on this question is underway," he added, "a dialogue in which the Apostolic See is not the main player."

  "Apart from dialogue, this question also requires perseverance. It is unnecessary to add that the Catholic Church seeks no privileges, but only asks for her identity and mission to be recognized, in such a way as to be able effectively to make her contribution to the overall wellbeing of the noble Greek people, of which you are an integral part. With patience and respect for legitimate procedures it will be possible, with everyone's commitment, to achieve the desired agreement."

  The Holy Father concluded his talk by recalling the distress felt by many communities "at the internal displacement of their faithful. Many of them are scattered over the territory and this leads to difficulties in their relationships with their respective pastors. It is also phenomena such as this that reveal the importance of affective and effective unity among you bishops through greater internal coordination."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2006 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope remarked upon the many requests he receives to intervene "in favor of people who, in different parts of the world, are victims of kidnapping."

  He went on: "Reiterating my firm condemnation of this crime, I give assurances of my recollection in prayer for all the victims and their families and friends. In particular, I endorse the urgent appeal recently sent to me by the archbishop and the community of Sassari, Italy, in favor of Giovanni Battista Pinna, kidnapped on September 14, that he may soon be restored to his loved ones."

  Benedict XVI then went on to address young people from various regions of Italy, who are meeting in Rome over these days as part of a project organized by the Italian Church every three years, known as the "Agora of young people."

  "Dear friends," he told them, "I bless your journey and await your participation in large numbers at the great meeting of Italian youth, scheduled to take place on September 1 and 2, 2007 in Loreto, Italy. At that beloved Marian shrine we will experience a moment of grace together, in the joy of the faith and with a view to the mission, also as a preparation for World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, in 2008."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square joined Benedict XVI for the Angelus prayer. Commenting today's Gospel reading on the healing of the blind man Bartimaeus, the Pope remarked how, "in the essentiality of its narrative, this account evokes the catechumen's journey towards the Sacrament of Baptism, which in the early Church was also called 'illumination.'

  "Faith," the Holy Father added, "is a path of illumination. It begins with the recognition of our need for salvation and arrives at the personal meeting with Christ, Who calls us to follow Him on the road of love. This is the model followed by itineraries of Christian initiation in the Church, as a preparation for the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist.

  "In places of long-standing evangelization, where the Baptism of children is widespread, young people and adults are presented with experiences of catechesis and spirituality enabling them to rediscover their faith with maturity and awareness, so that they can then take on a coherent commitment of witness" to that faith.

  Benedict XVI praised the work of catechists and pastors in this field, highlighting how "the rediscovery of the value of their own Baptism lies at the root of all Christians' missionary commitment, because we see from the Gospel that people who let themselves be fascinated by Christ cannot but bear witness to the joy of following His footsteps."

  Recalling how the month of October is traditionally dedicated to missions, the Pope called for the intercession of the Virgin Mary, "that missionaries of the Gospel may proliferate," and that "all the baptized may feel themselves called to announce, with the witness of their own lives, God's love to everyone."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Lusaka, Zambia, presented by Archbishop Medardo Joseph Mazombwe, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Telesphore George Mpundu.

 - Appointed Msgr. Daniel E. Flores of the clergy of the diocese of Corpus Christi, U.S.A., rector of the cathedral and vice-rector of Saint Mary Seminary in Houston, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Detroit (area 10,106, population 4,486,000, Catholics 1,457,780, priests 710, permanent deacons 141, religious 2,166), U.S.A.. The bishop-elect was born in Palacios, U.S.A., in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1988.

 - Appointed Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, as a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2006 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York, participated yesterday in the 61st session of the U.N. General Assembly, which is currently considering the question of the promotion and protection of human rights.

  In his English-language talk, Archbishop Migliore concentrated on three themes which, he said, "merit particular attention, namely, the coexistence of different religions and religious communities, the propagation of religion, including the sensitive issue of proselytism and the relationship between freedom of expression and religion." He also expressed his concern that, "as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, ... freedom of religion or belief does not exist for individuals and communities, especially among religious minorities, in many parts of the world."

  He continued: "The high level of religious intolerance in some countries is leading to an alarming degree of polarization and discrimination. ... While religious tolerance is sometimes characterized as accepting or permitting those religious beliefs and practices which disagree with one's own, the time has come to move beyond this type of religious tolerance, and to apply instead the principles of authentic religious freedom.

  "Religious freedom," he added, "is the right to believe, worship, propose and witness to one's faith. It grants the opportunity and creates the occasions for people to profess freely the tenets of their faith. Furthermore, it includes the right to change one's religion and to associate freely with others in order to express one's religious convictions. ... We know well that, historically, tolerance has been a contentious issue among believers of different faiths. However, we have come to a turning point in history which demands more of us, including a commitment to inter-religious dialogue."

  In this context, the archbishop emphasized "the indispensable importance of reciprocity, which, by its very nature, is apt to ensure the free exercise of religion in all societies. The Holy See continues to be concerned by a number of situations where the existence of enacted or proposed legislative and administrative measures for placing limits on the practice, observance or propagation of religion are a reality. Likewise, the Holy See is concerned with those situations where religion or freedom of religion is used as a pretext or a justification for violating other human rights."

  "There appears to exist a recurring case of intolerance when group interests or power struggles seek to prevent religious communities from enlightening consciences and thus enabling them to act freely and responsibly, according to the true demands of justice. Likewise, it would be intolerant to denigrate religious communities and exclude them from public debate ... just because they do not agree with options nor conform to practices that are contrary to human dignity."

  In our world, the prelate concluded, "religion is more than an internal matter of thought and conscience. It has the potential to bind us together as equal and valuable members of the human family. ... Nor should we underestimate its power, especially in the midst of conflict and division, ... to enable enemies to speak to one another, to foster those who were estranged to join hands in friendship, and have nations seek the way to peace together."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict XVI received prelates from the Irish Episcopal Conference, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  At the start of his English-language address to them, the Pope dwelt upon the Irish people's "constant witness ... to their faith in Christ and their fidelity to the Holy See," as well as their "outstanding contribution ... to the life of the Church," and their extraordinary missionary courage.

  He called on the prelates to help their faithful "to recognize the inability of the secular, materialist culture to bring true satisfaction and joy. Be bold in speaking to them of the joy that comes from following Christ and living according to His commandments."

  "Even though it is necessary to speak out strongly against the evils that threaten us," he proceeded, "we must correct the idea that Catholicism is merely 'a collection of prohibitions.' Sound catechesis and careful 'formation of the heart' are needed here, and in this regard you are blessed in Ireland with solid resources in your network of Catholic schools."

  "Superficial presentations of Catholic teaching must be avoided, because only the fullness of the faith can communicate the liberating power of the Gospel," said Pope Benedict, underlining the importance of "exercising vigilance over the quality of the syllabuses and the course-books used."

  "In the exercise of your pastoral ministry, you have had to respond in recent years to many heart-rending cases of sexual abuse of minors. These are all the more tragic when the abuser is a cleric. The wounds caused by such acts run deep, and it is an urgent task to rebuild confidence and trust where these have been damaged. In your continuing efforts to deal effectively with this problem, it is important to establish the truth of what happened in the past, to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent it from occurring again, to ensure that the principles of justice are fully respected and, above all, to bring healing to the victims and to all those affected by these egregious crimes. In this way, the Church in Ireland will grow stronger and be ever more capable of giving witness to the redemptive power of the Cross of Christ."

  "The fine work and selfless dedication of the great majority of priests and religious in Ireland should not be obscured by the transgressions of some of their brethren. I am certain that the people understand this, and continue to regard their clergy with affection and esteem."

  The Pope recalled how "at one time, Ireland was blessed with ... an abundance of priestly and religious vocations," but in recent years the number has fallen sharply. "Pray, therefore, the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest," he told the bishops.

  "I am pleased to learn that many of your dioceses have adopted the practice of silent prayer for vocations before the Blessed Sacrament. This should be warmly encouraged. Yet above all, it falls to you, the bishops, and to your clergy to offer young people an inspiring and attractive vision of the ordained priesthood."

"Even if Christian commitment is considered unfashionable in some circles, there is a real spiritual hunger and a generous desire to serve others among the young people of Ireland."

  In closing his address, the Holy Father considered the question of Northern Ireland, noting that, "although the path is arduous, much progress has been made in recent times. It is my prayer that the committed efforts of those concerned will lead to the creation of a society marked by a spirit of reconciliation, mutual respect and willing cooperation for the common good of all."
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Friday, October 27, 2006


VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Jose Ramos-Horta, prime minister of East Timor, accompanied by an entourage.

 - Fauzia Mufti Abbas, ambassador of Pakistan, on her farewell visit.

- Four prelates from the Irish Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Laurence Forristal of Ossory.

    - Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam.

    - Bishop Thomas Flynn of Achonry.

    - Bishop John Kirby of Clonfert.

  This evening, he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict XVI received participants in a meeting of the Christian World Communions who, over the last few days, have been dedicating their attention to the question of "Visions of Christian Unity."

  Addressing them in English, the Pope said: "For decades the Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions has provided a forum for fruitful contacts between the various ecclesial communities. This has enabled their representatives to build that reciprocal trust needed to engage seriously in bringing the richness of different Christian traditions to serve the common call to discipleship."

  "It is clear to us all that today's world is in need of a new evangelization, a fresh accounting on the part of Christians for the hope that is in them. Yet those who profess that Jesus Christ is Lord are tragically divided and cannot always give a consistent common witness. Herein lies an enormous responsibility for us all."

  The Holy Father indicated that he was "glad to see that the theme of your meeting ... focuses on a basic ecumenical issue. The theological dialogues in which many Christian World Communions have been engaged are characterized by a commitment to move beyond the things that divide, towards the unity in Christ which we seek. However daunting the journey, we must not lose sight of the final goal: full visible communion in Christ and in the Church.

  "We may feel discouraged when progress is slow," he added, "but there is too much at stake to turn back. On the contrary, there are good reasons to forge ahead, as my predecessor Pope John Paul II pointed out in his Encyclical Letter 'Ut Unum Sint' on the Catholic Church's ecumenical commitment, where he speaks of brotherhood rediscovered and greater solidarity in the service of humanity."

  "The Apostle assures us that 'the Spirit helps us in our weakness'," the Pope concluded. "Though there are many obstacles still to be overcome, we firmly believe that the Holy Spirit is ever present and will guide us along the right path.
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Thursday, October 26, 2006


VATICAN CITY, OCT 26, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Liverpool, England, presented by Bishop Vincent Malone, upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 26, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, France.

 - Six prelates from the Irish Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archchbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, accompanied by Cardinal Desmond Connell, archbishop emeritus, and Auxiliary Bishops Eamonn Oliver Walsh and Raymond W. Field.

    - Bishop Denis Brennan of Ferns.

    - Bishop James Moriarty of Kildare and Leighlin.

  This evening, he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Fr. Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv., respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
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BENEDICT XVI WILL CELEBRATE MASS IN THE VATICAN BASILICA at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 1, for the Solemnity of All Saints.

ARCHBISHOP CELESTINO MIGLIORE, HOLY SEE permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, yesterday addressed the 61st session of the U.N. General Assembly on the theme of sustainable development. "The environmental question is not only an important ethical and scientific problem," he said in his English-language talk, "but a political and economic problem too, as well as a bone of contention in the globalization process in general. ... The world needs an ecological conversion so as to examine critically current models of thought, as well as those of production and consumption."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 26, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received participants in the fifth international congress of Military Ordinariates. The congress marks the twentieth anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution "Spirituali Militum Curae," promulgated by Servant of God John Paul II.

  In his address, Benedict XVI recalled how the Apostolic Constitution "updated canonical regulations regarding spiritual assistance to the military, in the light of Vatican Council II and bearing in mind the transformations affecting armed forces and their mission at a national and international level." With the further changes that have taken place over the last two decades, the Constitution requires "adaptation to the needs of the present moment. This is what you, with great timeliness, have sought to do during this meeting, organized by the Congregation for Bishops."

  After mentioning the "two fundamental values" emphasized in the Apostolic Constitution - "the value of the person and the value of peace" - the Holy Father indicated that "the people to whom the Ordinariate is directed do not cease to be members of the faithful of the particular Church where they live, or of the rite to which they belong. This highlights a need for communion and coordination between the Military Ordinariate and the particular Churches."

  "Putting people first means giving pride of place to the Christian formation of soldiers, accompanying them and their relatives as they progress in Christian initiation, along the path of vocation, of maturity in the faith and of witness. It also means favoring forms of fraternity, communion and liturgical and non-liturgical prayer that are appropriate to the military environment and lifestyle."

  Going on to refer to the "value of peace," the Pope said: "If Vatican Council II calls the military ministers of peace, how much more so are the pastors to whom they are entrusted! I therefore encourage you all to ensure that military chaplains be true experts and masters of what the Church teaches and practices in terms of building peace in the world."

  "The Church is called to be 'salt,' 'light' and leavening,' even in the world of the military, ... so that mentalities and structures become ever more oriented towards building peace" said Pope Benedict. "The Church's Magisterium on the question of peace represents an essential aspect of her social doctrine," he added.

  The Church's "insistent calls for peace have influenced Western culture, promoting the idea that the armed forces are 'at the exclusive service of the defense, security and freedom of peoples.' Sometimes, unfortunately, other interests, economic and political interests fomented by international tensions, put obstacles and setbacks in the way of this constructive tendency, as is evident in the difficulty of disarmament processes."

  The Holy Father concluded his talk by insisting that, "in order to offer people adequate pastoral care and carry out their evangelizing mission, Military Ordinaries need motivated and trained priests and deacons, as well as lay people who collaborate actively and responsibly with pastors."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 26, 2006 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Frank De Coninck, the new ambassador of Belgium to the Holy See.

  Recalling how Belgium was, from the very beginning, an active participant in "the great project of European construction," the Holy Father praised the goals achieved in this field over the last 50 years. "Little by little, the continent of Europe is finding its unity in peace," he said, "the European Union has become a major economic force and, for many people, a sign of hope."

  Today, faced with "the requirements of the globalization of trade and of solidarity between human beings," Europe must "continue to open itself, committing itself to the great projects of the planet." In the first place is "the question of peace and security, ... the international situation riven by conflict, ... especially in the Middle East, and the dramatic conditions in the Holy Land, Lebanon and Iraq, as well as in Africa and Asia."

  The Holy Father went on to consider challenges that "concern the future of human beings and their identity," noting how "enormous technological progress has revolutionized many practices in the field of medical science, while ... norms that once appeared untouchable have been relativized. ... In Western societies, characterized by their superabundance of consumer goods and by their subjectivism, human beings find themselves facing a crisis of meaning," while "laws are passed that put respect for human life into question."

  "The Church, on the foundation of her long experience, and of the treasure of Revelation she received, ... firmly underlines her convictions concerning human beings and their prodigious destiny," said the Pope. "When Belgian bishops speak in favor of the development of palliative care to enable people ... to die with dignity, or when they participate in the debates of society" in order to draw attention to that invisible moral frontier before which technological progress must bow: the dignity of man, "they seek to serve the whole of society by identifying the conditions for a real future of freedom and dignity for mankind. With them, I invite political leaders ... to give attentive consideration to their responsibilities and to the challenges these questions pose."

  "Belgium," said the Holy Father, "came into being as a monarchy, the monarch's role being to guarantee national unity and ensure respect for each linguistic and cultural community within the nation. ... The unity of a country ... requires all sides to show a will to serve the common interest and a desire for better mutual knowledge through dialogue and reciprocal enrichment. Today, the influx of ever-greater numbers of immigrants and the increasing number of communities of different cultural origin or religion, make it absolutely necessary for there to be dialogue between cultures and religions in our societies."

  "We must know one another better," the Pope concluded, "respecting one another's religious convictions and the legitimate requirements of social life, in accordance with current legislation. We must welcome immigrants in such a way as always to respect their dignity" through "immigration policies that reconcile the interests of the country of destination with the necessary development of less-favored nations. ... Thus we will avoid the risks of ... exacerbated nationalism or xenophobia, and may hope for the harmonious development of our societies."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


VATICAN CITY, OCT 25, 2006 (VIS) - In today's general audience Benedict XVI, who last week completed a series of lessons on the twelve Apostles, announced that this and forthcoming audiences will be dedicated "to other important figures of the early Church," beginning with St. Paul, "the thirteenth Apostle." The audience was held in St. Peter's Square and attended by 25,000 people.

  The Holy Father briefly outlined the life of Saul, indicating that he was from Tarsus, a city between Syria and Anatolia. A Jew of the diaspora, he came to Jerusalem to study Mosaic law but also practiced a trade, that of tentmaker, which later served him "to maintain and provide for himself, without weighing upon the Church."

  The decisive moment for the Apostle was his "coming to know the community of those who professed themselves disciples of Jesus," practicing a faith "that concentrated not so much on the Law of God as on the person of Jesus ... to Whom was associated the remission of sins." As a Jew, Saul considered this scandalous, to such an extent that he felt obliged to persecute Christians, even outside Jerusalem. However, on the road to Damascus, "he was seized by Christ, ... the light of the Risen One touched him and fundamentally changed his whole life."

  Paul himself speaks "not only of vision but of illumination and, above all, of revelation and vocation in the meeting with the Risen One." He defines himself as "an Apostle by the will of God," said the Holy Father, "as if to underline that his conversion was the result not of ... reflection, but of divine intervention, of an unforeseeable divine grace. ... And from that moment all his energies were placed at the exclusive service of Jesus Christ and of His Gospel."

  "From this we draw a very important lesson," Pope Benedict said, "what is important is to put Jesus Christ at the center of our lives. ... Another fundamental lesson Paul teaches us," he continued, "is the universal nature of his apostolate. ... Salvation is offered to everyone without exception." The "announcement of grace destined to reconcile man with God, with himself and with others ... did not concern only the Jews or a limited group of people, but had a universal value and concerned everyone, because God is God to all."

  In closing, Benedict XVI recalled Paul's numerous journeys, beginning in Antioch, his desire to spread the Good News in Spain, "the end of the known world," and his martyrdom in Rome under the emperor Nero.
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006


VATICAN CITY, OCT 24, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. delivered a brief talk at the opening of the exhibition: "L'Osservatore Romano. From Rome to the world, 145 years of history through the pages of the Pope's newspaper."

  Participating in the event were Enrico Gasbarra, president of the Province of Rome, accompanied by members of the provincial council, as well as various civil and religious authorities.

  Cardinal Bertone recalled how the newspaper, "created to defend the Catholic religion and the Roman Pontiff, ... later became the unofficial organ of the Apostolic See." This made it an ideal instrument for "spreading the teaching of Peter's Successor and information concerning Church affairs."

  "We cannot fail to highlight," he added, "that it is thanks to certain lay faithful,... that the first steps were made. ... Over these 145 years ... the succession of historical events has shown that, in order to spread the evangelical message, the Church ... needs the work, inventiveness and charism of the laity."

  The cardinal then went on to observe how the exhibition "familiarizes us with the pastoral work of 11 Popes: Blessed Pius IX who gave his consent to the foundation of the Osservatore Romano; ... the profound social changes ... of the pontificate of Leo XIII; ... St. Pius X, the Pope of the great reforms within the Church; Benedict XV ... who on the pages of the newspaper published his heartfelt 'Appeal to the Leaders of the Warring Nations;' ... Pius XI who condemned political totalitarianism of all kinds, as did his successor, Pius XII; ... the springtime of the Church under Blessed John XXIII; ... the wise and providential activities of Paul VI; ... the brief pontificate of John Paul I; and ... the renewed dialogue of the Holy See with the world that characterized the pontificate of John Paul II," up to "our own times in which the Church progresses under the prudent guidance of Benedict XVI."

  The cardinal concluded his talk by expressing the hope that, "through the glorious memory of the past," this initiative "may relaunch, with a prophetic spirit, an effective and convincing means of communication of the Church."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 24, 2006 (VIS) - The eleventh Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops held its fourth meeting on October 10 and 11, under the presidency of Archbishop Nikola Eterovic secretary general of the Synod. The meeting was attended by six cardinals and six archbishops and bishops.

  According to a communique from the General Secretariat made public today, the participants considered various questions associated with the theme of the next ordinary general assembly: "The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church." The assembly is due to be held in the Vatican from October 5 to 26, 2008. Attention was thus given to such matters as the Word of God in the liturgy, in preaching, in catechesis, in theology, in spirituality, in the "lectio divina," in inculturation, and in ecumenism. Particular emphasis was laid on the Vatican Council II Dogmatic Constitution "Dei Verbum," which is "a vital reference, especially in the preparatory phase of the Synod."

  The work groups prepared two outline projects for the " Lineamenta" (the preparatory document of the Synod), the definitive text of which will be examined and approved at the ordinary council's next meeting, to be held on January 24 and 25.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 24, 2006 (VIS) - "Soldiers at the service of peace" is the theme of the fifth international congress of military ordinariates, which is being held from October 23 to 27 in the Vatican's Old Synod Hall.

  The president of the congress is Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. He is being assisted by Fr. Giulio Cerchietti, head of the congregation's central office for the pastoral coordination of military ordinariates.

  The program of the event has been divided under six subject headings to be discussed during the course of the meetings. These are: "the nature of military ordinariates in the light of the Apostolic Constitution 'Spirituali Militum Curae' and subsequent documents of the Magisterium; the mission of military ordinariates and their importance in the light of new international situations; ordained ministry and other ecclesial ministries at the service of the pastoral mission of military ordinariates; the right to religious assistance of soldiers on peace missions and the need for training in international humanitarian law; the experience of a military ordinary in his dealings with the episcopal conference and with the diocesan bishops of his country; soldiers as servants of peace." Attention will be also be given to the question of "the juridical value of the statutes of military ordinariates."

  The congress began with an address delivered by Cardinal Re, and will conclude with Mass in St. Peter's Basilica presided by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.


VATICAN CITY, OCT 24, 2006 (VIS) - Yesterday evening, following a Eucharistic concelebration presided by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, to mark the beginning of the academic year at Roman Pontifical Universities, the Holy Father entered the Vatican Basilica to greet the students and professors gathered there.

  In his talk, the Holy Father emphasized how the community of teachers and students, coming from many different nationalities and cultures, "eloquently expresses the universality and unity of the Catholic Church. A community that is all the more attractive because it prevalently addresses the young, giving them the opportunity to enter into contact with institutions of great theological and cultural value and, at the same time, offering them access to rewarding ecclesial and pastoral experiences."

  Benedict XVI highlighted "the primary importance of spiritual life," and of concern for "cultural development, balanced human maturity and a profound ascetic and religious formation." He also stressed the need for "silence and contemplation," because we must be able "to listen with the heart to God Who speaks."

  He went on: "Thought always needs purification in order to be able to enter the dimension in which God pronounces His creating and redeeming Word. ... Only if they arise from the silence of contemplation can our words have some measure of value and utility, and not subside into ... worldly discourse which seeks the consensus of public opinion.

  "People who study in ecclesiastical institutes must, then, prepare themselves to be obedient to truth," he added, "and cultivate a particular form of ascesis of thought and word."

  "Your apostolate will be rich and fruitful," he concluded, "in the measure to which you prepare yourselves over these years, studying seriously and, above all, nourishing your personal relationship with Him, tending towards sanctity and having as the only goal of your lives the realization of the Kingdom of God."
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Monday, October 23, 2006


VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Marco Antonio Ordenes Fernandez, diocesan administrator of Iquique, Chile, as bishop of the same diocese (area 41,799, population 241,000, Catholics 125,400, priests 32, permanent deacons 11, religious 57). The bishop-elect was born in Iquique in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1996.

  On Saturday, October 21, it was made public that he:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Arequipa, Peru, presented by Archbishop Jose Paulino Rios Reynoso, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Javier del Rio Alba.

 - Erected the Chaldean eparchy of Oceania with the name of "St. Thomas the Apostle of Sydney of the Chaldeans," appointing Archbishop Djibrail Kassab of Bassorah, Iraq as the first bishop of the new eparchy, allowing him to maintain his title of archbishop "ad personam."

 - Appointed Bishop Edward Ozorowski, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Bialystok, Poland, as archbishop of the same archdiocese (area 5,550, population 421,426, Catholics 352,041, priests 435, religious 220). The archbishop-elect was born in Wolka Przedmiescie, Poland, in 1941, ordained a priest in 1964 and consecrated a bishop in 1979.

 - Appointed Fr. Jan Niemiec, rector of the major episcopal seminary of the diocese of Kamyanets-Podilskyi of the Latins, Ukraine, as auxiliary of the same diocese (area 47,100, population 4,020,000, Catholics 255,000, priests 153, religious 266). The bishop-elect was born in Rzeszow, Poland, in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1987.

 - Appointed Giuseppe Facchini, bureau chief of the Department of Technical Services of the Governorate of Vatican City State, as vice-director of the same office.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, archbishop emeritus of Paris, France.

- Four prelates from the Irish Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop William Murphy of Kerry.

    - Bishop William Walsh of Killaloe.

    - Bishop Donal Brendan Murray of Limerick.

    - Bishop William Lee of Waterford and Lismore.

  On Saturday, October 21, he received in audience Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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ON 20 NOVEMBER, THE POPE WILL RECEIVE GIORGIO NAPOLITANO, president of the Italian Republic, on an official visit.

MSGR. FRANCESCO FOLLO, PERMANENT OBSERVER of the Holy See to UNESCO, addressed the 175th session of that organization's executive council. Msgr. Follo's talk, delivered on October 11, came during the course of a debate on "the suitability of drawing up an international declaration on scientific ethics."

THE 11th MEETING OF THE SPECIAL COUNCIL for America of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops was held on October 2 and 3. Particular attention was given to two themes: pastoral care of vocations and the promotion of human life from conception to natural end. "The social and ecclesial situation on the continent shows hopeful signs, but also worrying ones," reads a communique released by the Synod of Bishops. Although, on the one hand, the number of diocesan priests increased by 17.66% between 1978 and 2004, "the crisis of democratic structures favors populist and demagogical - often neo-Marxist - forms of government that, for ideological motives, tend to manipulate social promotion."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from Benedict XVI to Laszlo Solyom, president of the Republic of Hungary, for the 50th anniversary of the revolution against the then communist regime. The uprising began with a popular demonstration in Budapest on October 23, 1956, and was crushed by Soviet tanks on November 4. Hungary remained part of the Soviet Bloc until the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.

  "On 23 October 1956," the Pope writes in his Message which has been published in Hungarian, Italian and English, "the courageous people of Budapest struggled to express their desire for freedom, in the face of a regime that was pursuing ends contrary to the values of the Hungarian nation. Memories are still vivid of the tragic events that, in the space of a few days, left thousands of people dead or wounded, and caused deep distress throughout the world. At that time the grief-stricken appeals of ... Pope Pius XII resounded strongly; with four impassioned public interventions, he pleaded insistently that the international community recognize Hungary's right to self-determination."

  "I gladly support the various initiatives planned to commemorate this significant event, so vital for the history of the Hungarian people and for Europe. It is for this reason that I have asked the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, until recently my secretary of State, to be present at the celebrations in my name."

  "I am pleased to observe," the Pope tells the Hungarian president, "that despite all the oppression they have endured down the centuries, most recently from Soviet communism, your people have always maintained the correct evaluation of the relationship between the State and citizens, beyond all ideology. According to the Christian vision that inspired the various peoples who were to form the Hungarian nation, the human person, with his legitimate moral, ethical and social aspirations, takes precedence over the State. The legal structure and the secular nature of the State have always been conceived with respect for natural law expressed in authentic national values which, for believers, are enriched by Revelation."

  Benedict XVI expresses the hope that Hungary "may build a future free from all forms of oppression and ideological conditioning," and that the commemoration "will provide an occasion for timely reflection on the moral, ethical and spiritual ideals and values that have shaped Europe." May Hungary, he concludes, "continue to promote a civilization based on respect for the human person and his supreme destiny."


VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope received members of the John Paul II Foundation, led by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland. The purpose of the meeting was to mark the establishment of the foundation 25 years ago.

  The Holy Father began by expressing his joy at having the opportunity to meet "representatives of the people who, the world over, work to keep alive John Paul II's memory, his teaching and the apostolic work he undertook during the course of his pontificate. It must be added that their commitment shows real promise, because it involves not only documentation and research, but touches upon the mystery of the sanctity of the Servant of God."

  After highlighting how the foundation has become more important following Pope John Paul's death, Benedict XVI pointed out how "its collections of pontifical writings and ... documents on the Holy See's activities, as well as of literary texts and comments made via the social communication media, make for a very complete and well-organized archive, and lay the foundations for a detailed and profound study of John Paul II's spiritual heritage."

  "This," he added, "is the aspect of the foundation's activities that I would like to underline today: ... [its] study of the pontificate. John Paul II, philosopher, theologian, great pastor of the Church, left us a wealth of writings and gestures expressing his desire to spread the Gospel of Christ in the world using the methods indicated by Vatican Council II and to lay down guidelines for the development of Church life in the new millennium. These precious gifts cannot be forgotten. Today I entrust to you, dear members and friends of the John Paul II Foundation, the task of studying the richness of his message, and transmitting it to future generations."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2006 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope sent "a cordial greeting to Muslims all over the world who, during these days, are celebrating the end of the month of fasting of Ramadan. To all of them, my best wishes for serenity and peace.

  "In dramatic contrast to this climate of joy," he added, "is the news coming from Iraq of the grave situation of insecurity and of the pitiless violence to which so many innocents are exposed, simply for being Shias, Sunnis or Christians.

  "I am aware of the great concern being felt by the Christian community, and wish to give assurances of my closeness to them, as to all the victims, asking that strength and consolation be granted to everyone.

  "I invite you," he concluded, "to join me in my plea to the Almighty that He may give the necessary faith and courage to religious and political leaders, both locally and all over the world, to support [the Iraqi] people on the road of rebuilding their homeland, in their search for a shared equilibrium, with mutual respect, and an awareness that the multiplicity of [the country's] components is an integral part of its wealth."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2006 (VIS) - World Mission Day was the central theme of Benedict XVI's reflections before praying the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  The Pope recalled how World Mission Day was established by Pius XI who, during the Jubilee Year 1925, promoted a great exhibition which later became the nucleus of the Vatican Museums' ethnological-missionary collection. Pope Benedict then went on to refer to the theme of this year's Day - "Charity, Soul of the Mission" - emphasizing how missions, "if not driven by love, are reduced to a philanthropic and social activity," while Christian missions must be inspired by "the words of St. Paul: 'the love of Christ controls us'."

  "All baptized people," he continued, "like shoots attached to the vine, can thus cooperate in Jesus' mission: ... bringing everyone the good news that God is love and, precisely for this reason, wants to save the world. The mission begins in the heart. ... This is what happened 800 years ago to the young Francis of Assisi in the chapel of St. Damian, which was then a ruin. From the height of the Cross, ... Francis heard Jesus tell him: 'Go, repair My house, which as you see is in ruins'."

  Benedict XVI indicated how this house was, in the first place, Francis' own life, which he had "to 'repair' through a true conversion; it was the Church, not built of bricks but of living people, in constant need of purification; it was also humanity entire, in which God loves to dwell."

  He concluded: "The mission is, then, a workshop with room for everyone: for people committed to fulfilling the Kingdom of God in their own family; for people who live their professional lives with a Christian spirit; for people totally consecrated to the Lord; ... for people who go out with the specific intention of announcing Christ to those who do not yet know Him. May Mary Most Holy help us to experience ... the joy and courage of the mission!"
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 21, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father visited the Pontifical Lateran University to mark the opening of the academic year. Prior to the ceremony, he blessed the institution's new "St. Pius X" library, the "John Paul II" reading room, and the recently-restored Great Hall, which has been given the name "Benedict XVI."

  After greeting Cardinal Camillo Ruini and Bishop Rino Fisichella, respectively chancellor and rector of the university, as well as religious and academic representatives, Benedict XVI addressed some remarks to those present.

  "In a context such as that of academia," he said, "we are especially invited to consider the question of the crisis of culture and identity which recent decades have, not without drama, faced us. ... The university is one of the best places to seek appropriate ways to resolve this situation," because it "safeguards the wealth of living tradition down the centuries. Universities can reveal the fruitfulness of truth when accepted in all its authenticity," and "form new generations, who await a serious proposal ... capable of answering the perennial question about the meaning of their life."

  "The contemporary world," he continued, "seems to give pride of place to an artificial intelligence ever more dominated by experimental techniques and thus forgetful that science must always defend man and promote his efforts towards true good. Overestimating 'doing' and obscuring 'being' does not help to recompose that fundamental balance which everyone needs in order to give life a firm foundation and a valid goal."

  "Mankind," the Pope added, "is called to give meaning to its actions, especially when they enter the territory of a scientific discovery that compromises the very essence of personal life. To allow oneself to be carried away by the joy of discovery, without safeguarding the criteria that arise from a more profound view, would be to relive the drama of the ancient myth: the young Icarus, carried away with the desire of flying to absolute freedom ... got ever closer to the sun, forgetting that the wings upon which he rose to the skies were made of wax. His fall and death were the price he paid for his illusion. ... There are other illusions in life that cannot be trusted without the risk of disastrous consequences for one's own existence and that of others."

  Addressing the university professors, Benedict XVI told them that they have "the task not only to investigate truth, ... but also to promote knowledge of every aspect of that truth, defending it from reductive and distorting interpretations. ... This is of vital importance in order to confer a deeply-rooted identity on personal life, and to encourage responsibility in social relationships."

  "Understanding the true essence of things, even things of minimal importance, takes great effort," said the Holy Father quoting the words of Erasmus of Rotterdam. "This is the effort the university must be committed to make, through study and research."

  "God is the ultimate truth to which all reason naturally tends, impelled by the desire to fulfill the journey it has been assigned. God is not an empty word or an abstract hypothesis. ... He is the foundation upon which to build life. ... Believers know that this God has a face and that with Jesus Christ, once and for all, He came close to man. ... To know Him is to know the full truth, thanks to which we find freedom."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 21, 2006 (VIS) - At 5 p.m. yesterday evening at the major altar of St. Peter's Basilica, Benedict XVI celebrated the funeral Mass for Cardinal Mario Francesco Pompedda, who died on October 18 at the age of 77.

  In his homily, the Holy Father recalled how Cardinal Pompedda's entire life "was spent in the service of the Holy See, ever since 1955 when he began working at the Tribunal of the Roman Rota." After holding various offices, in 1993 the late cardinal "became dean of the same tribunal. ... His theological, biblical, and particularly his juridical knowledge, made him a competent collaborator of various dicasteries of the Roman Curia, and he finally reached high office as prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and president of the Court of Appeal of Vatican City State."

  The cardinal "united pastoral work" to his daily activities, said the Pope, "exercising the priestly ministry for some 30 years in the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe at Monte Mario in Rome. To all who met him, he communicated the solidity of his faith, enlightening minds with the principles and teachings of Catholic doctrine."

  Benedict XVI then recalled how the last stages of the late prelate's earthly journey "were marked by an illness that effectively prevented him from performing any kind of activity. Thus assimilated to Christ's passion, our friend and brother was compelled progressively to separate himself from all the things of the world and abandon himself without reserve to the divine will. ... It was faith in Christ that always guided the life of Cardinal Pompedda, especially in his final months. His soul we now entrust to the mercy of the Father."

  "Cardinal Mario Francesco Pompedda died in the certainty that Christ is the vanquisher of death, and in the hope of being raised by Him on the last day. In his exodus from this world we accompany him with our fraternal prayers, entrusting him to the heavenly protection of Mary."
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Friday, October 20, 2006


VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2006 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, a press conference was held to present the annual Message to Muslims for the end of the month of Ramadan, published by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

  Participating in the conference were Cardinal Paul Poupard, Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, and Msgr. Felix Anthony Machado, respectively president, secretary and under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, and Msgr. Khaled Akashed, bureau chief of the council's office for relations with Islam.

  Cardinal Poupard pointed out how his council "sends messages of good will to the followers of the three of the world's major religions: Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims." The council's offices, he said, enjoy regular visits from "Shinoists, Sikhs, ... and exponents of other eastern religions. ... These visits, with reciprocal exchange of expressions of good will, are returned by the pontifical council."

  Among the initiatives being promoted by his dicastery, the cardinal mentioned a meeting in Assisi, Italy, to be held from November 4 to 8, of "100 young people, 50 Christians and 50 from other religious traditions and various countries," for the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Peace. The aim is "to reflect and to exchange ideas, in the hope that the meeting may help young people to be instruments of dialogue, of peace and of hope for the world."

  The next to speak was Archbishop Celata who outlined the history of the Messages to Muslims, first published in 1967 by the then Secretariat for non-Christians. It was felt, he said, that Ramadan "represented an appropriate moment for the Holy See dicastery charged with promoting relations with different religious traditions, to present itself to the various Muslim communities, expressing sentiments of friendly participation in their joy."

  "Over all these years," he continued, "the Message has attracted growing appreciation, attention and interest. Little by little, the number of Muslim personalities who have responded has increased. ... Of particular significance is the appreciation of bishops, some of whom accompany the release of the Message with a personal letter of their own."

  Turning to consider the contents of the message, the archbishop explained that they "are not limited to formal expressions of good will, but seek to establish 'contact,' to create a harmony with the recipients on a 'religious' plane, that is, on the basis of those elements that encouraged the Fathers of Vatican Council II to declare the Church's esteem for Muslims."

  The Messages to Muslims also cover "questions of common interest, not infrequently arising from current affairs, ... with the aim of promoting reflection to encourage better understanding of certain fundamental human values, and the contribution of both religions to solving certain difficult situations."

  For his part, Msgr. Machado presented a book recently published by the council: "Inter-religious Dialogue. The official teaching of the Catholic Church from the Second Vatican Council to John Paul II (1963-2005)." Over a 1,000 pages long, it has been published in Italian, French and English.

  This volume, said the under-secretary of the pontifical council, gives "Catholics easy access to the theological motivations of inter-religious dialogue as explained in the Magisterium," and "offers followers of other faiths the official teaching of the Catholic Church on the various religions of the world."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2006 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon at the Bentegodi Stadium in the Italian city of Verona, the Pope presided at a Eucharistic concelebration attended by more than 40,000 people. This was the second event - following the address he delivered earlier in the day at the Fair of Verona - of his pastoral visit to the city for the 4th Italian Ecclesial Congress, which has been considering the theme: "Witnesses of the Risen Christ, Hope of the World."

  Apart from the faithful present in the stadium, a further 60,000 people were able to follow the Holy Father's homily on giant screens erected throughout the city. He told them that "the certainty that Christ arose assures us that no adverse power will ever be able to destroy the Church. We also draw encouragement from our awareness that only Christ can fully satisfy the profound expectations of the human heart and respond to the most disturbing questions of pain, injustice and evil, of death and the hereafter.

  "Therefore," he added, "our faith is well founded; but it is necessary that this faith become part of our lives. A great effort must therefore be made in order for all Christians to transform themselves into 'witnesses,' ready and able to shoulder the commitment of testifying - always and to everyone - to the hope that animates them."

  The Pope went on to highlight the importance of "going back to a vigorous and joyful announcement of the death and resurrection of Christ, the core of Christianity, the bedrock of our faith, the powerful lever of our certainties, the great wind that blows away all fear and indecision, all doubt and human calculation. Only from God can the decisive change of the world come. Only by going back to the Resurrection can the true nature of the Church and of her witness be understood."

  Benedict XVI expressed the hope that the Church in Italy "may start out anew from this congress, ...impelled by the Word of the Risen Lord Who repeats to all mankind and to each individual: be, in today's world, witnesses of my Passion and my Resurrection. In a changing world, the Gospel does not alter. The Good News is always the same: Christ died, and He rose for our salvation! In His name bring everyone the announcement of conversion and the forgiveness of sins, but be yourselves the first to bear witness to a life of conversion and forgiveness." This is only possible, he added, with "the interior strength of the Spirit of the Risen Christ."

  "Consecrated with the 'anointing' of the Holy Spirit," the Pope exclaimed, "go forth! Carry the good tidings to the poor, bind the wounds of the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom to slaves, open the doors of prisons to those within, promulgate the year of the Lord's mercy. Rebuild the ancient ruins, ... restore the wasted cities. There are so many difficult situations that await a decisive intervention! Bring into the world the hope of God, which is Christ the Lord Who rose from the dead and lives and reigns forever. Amen."

  Following Mass, the Pope travelled to the airport of Verona-Villafranca where he boarded a plane for his return to Rome.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Edwin Colaco of Amravati, India, as bishop of Aurangabad (area 64,525, population 10,176,000, Catholics 14,300, priests 42, religious 179), India.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences seven prelates from the Irish Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore.

    - Bishop Philip Leo O'Reilly of Kilmore.

    - Bishop Michael Smith of Meath.

    - Bishop Philip Boyce O.C.D., of Raphoe.

    - Archbishop Dermot Clifford of Cashel.

    - Bishop John McGee S.P.S., of Cloyne.

    - Bishop John Buckley of Cork and Ross.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was the annual Message to Muslims for the end of the month of Ramadan from the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. It bears the signatures of Cardinal Paul Poupard and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, respectively president and secretary of the council. The theme of the Message this year (1427 AH / 2006 AD) is, "Christians and Muslims: in confident dialogue aimed at solving together the challenges of our world."

  The document as been published in English, French, Italian and Arabic. Extracts are given below:

  "It is good to be able to share this significant moment with you in the context of our ongoing dialogue. The particular circumstances that we have recently experienced together demonstrate clearly that, however arduous the path of authentic dialogue may be at times, it is more necessary than ever.

  "The month of Ramadan which you have just completed has also undoubtedly been a time of prayer and reflection on the difficult situations of today's world. While contemplating and thanking God for all that is good, it is impossible not to take note of the serious problems which affect our times: injustice, poverty, tensions and conflicts between countries as well as within them. Violence and terrorism are a particularly painful scourge. ... So much, which has taken years of sacrifice and toil to build, destroyed in a few minutes!

  "As Christian and Muslim believers, are we not the first to be called to offer our specific contribution to resolve this serious situation and these complex problems? Without doubt, the credibility of religions and also the credibility of our religious leaders and all believers is at stake. If we do not play our part as believers, many will question the usefulness of religion and the integrity of all men and women who bow down before God.

  "Our two religions give great importance to love, compassion and solidarity. ... In recalling this point, the first Encyclical Letter of Pope Benedict XVI, 'Deus Caritas Est' (God is Love), underlines the importance of fraternal charity in the Church's mission: love, to be credible, must be effective. ... True love must be of service to all the needs of daily life; it must also seek just and peaceful solutions to the serious problems which afflict our world."

  "In those places where we can work together, let us not labor separately. The world has need, and so do we, of Christians and Muslims who respect and value each other and bear witness to their mutual love and cooperation to the glory of God and the good of all humanity. ... [This will] offer a significant contribution to the re-establishment and strengthening of peace both within nations and between peoples."
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Thursday, October 19, 2006


BENEDICT XVI HAS WRITTEN A MESSAGE TO JACQUES DIOUF, director general of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), for World Food Day, which is celebrated every year on October 16 and has as its theme this year "Investing in agriculture for food security." In his English-language Message, the Pope explains how "in Christian tradition, agricultural labor takes on a deeper meaning, both because of the effort and hardship that it involves and also because it offers a privileged experience of God's presence and His love for His creatures. Christ Himself uses agricultural images to speak of the Kingdom. ... Today, we think especially of those who have had to abandon their farmlands because of conflicts, natural disasters and because of society's neglect of the agricultural sector."

CARDINAL STANISLAW DZIWISZ, ARCHBIHSOP of Krakow, Poland, will take possession of the title of Santa Maria del Popolo - at Piazza del Popolo 12, Rome - on Tuesday, October 24 at 6 p.m., according to a communique published today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2006 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a telegram sent by the Holy Father to Bishop Sebastiano Sanguinetti, apostolic administrator of Ozieri, Italy, for the death of Cardinal Mario Francesco Pompedda, prefect emeritus of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Cardinal Pompedda died yesterday in Rome at the age of 77.

  "On learning the news of the death, following a long illness, of Cardinal Mario Francesco Pompedda, illustrious son of your land, I wish to express to you and to the entire diocesan community my profound participation in the mourning that has struck those who knew and respected the lamented cardinal. He was an outstanding jurist and for many years a diligent collaborator of the Holy See, particularly on the Tribunal of the Roman Rota and of the Apostolic Signatura, providing a valuable testimony of priestly zeal and faithfulness to the Gospel. As I raise fervent prayers to the Lord that He, through the Virgin Mary, may give the late cardinal the eternal reward promised to His faithful disciples, I send to you and to all those weeping this loss the comfort of a special apostolic blessing."

  At 5 p.m. on Friday, October 20, the Holy Father will preside at the cardinal's funeral at the altar of the Cathedra in the Vatican Basilica.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, the Pope travelled to the Italian city of Verona. On arrival he went directly to the Fair of Verona where he pronounced an address in the presence of more than 2,700 people - bishops and delegates from all Italian dioceses - who are participating in the 4th Italian Ecclesial Congress on the theme: "Witnesses of the Risen Christ, Hope of the World."

  The past three ecclesial congresses were held in Rome in 1976, on "Evangelization and Human Promotion;" in Loreto in 1985, on "Christian Reconciliation and Human Community;" and in Palermo in 1995, on the "Gospel of Love for a New Society in Italy."

  "This 4th national congress," said the Pope, "is a new stage on the journey of implementation of Vatican Council II, upon which the Italian Church is embarked; ... a journey that embraces evangelization ... undertaken in constant union with Peter's Successor."

  Benedict XVI recalled the figures of Paul VI and John Paul II, whose contributions to past congresses "strengthened the Italian Church's confidence in being able to ensure that faith in Jesus Christ may continue to offer meaning and guidance for life, even to the men and women of our own time."

  "The Resurrection of Christ," said the Pope, "is a historical fact of which the Apostles were witnesses, certainly not creators," and "a decisive 'leap' towards a profoundly new dimension of life." This "concerns, in the first place, Jesus of Nazareth, but with Him it also concerns us: all the human family, history, the entire universe." For this reason the Resurrection constitutes "the core of Christian preaching and witness."

  The Resurrection "inaugurated a new dimension of life and reality whence emerges a new world that constantly penetrates our own world, transforming it and drawing it in. All this is brought into practical effect through the life and witness of the Church. ... Indeed, we are called to become new women and men in order to be true witnesses of the Risen Christ, bringing, in this way, Christian joy and hope into the world and ... into the human communities in which we live."

  Italy, said the Holy Father "appears to us as a land in profound need of, and at the same time receptive to, such a witness." Italy "participates in the predominant culture of the West ... according to which only things that can be demonstrated and calculated have rational validity while, at a practical level, individual freedom is held up as a fundamental value to which everyone must submit. Thus God is excluded from culture and public life, and faith in Him becomes more difficult, also because we live in a world that is almost always presented as our being of our own making, in which ... God does not appear directly. He seems to have become a stranger, superfluous."

  "Ethics are brought within the confines of relativism and utilitarianism, and any moral principles that are valid and binding of themselves are excluded. It is not difficult to see how this kind of culture represents a radical break ... with the religious and moral traditions of humanity and is not, then, capable of establishing a true dialogue with other cultures in which the religious element is strongly present."

  In Italy, nonetheless, the Church "is a living reality that maintains a widespread presence among the people," and "Christian traditions are often still firmly rooted." Furthermore, an awareness exists of "the gravity of the risk of breaking with the Christian roots of our civilization, ... even among people ... who do not practice our faith."

  In this context, "our attitude must never be one of refusal and closure. ... We must maintain and, if possible, increase our dynamism; we must open ourselves trustingly to new relationships, and not neglect any of the energies that can contribute to the cultural and moral growth of Italy."

  "Christianity," the Pope stressed, "is open to everything that is just, true and pure in cultures and civilizations. ... The disciples of Christ, then, recognize and welcome the true values of the culture of our times, such as technological knowledge and scientific progress, human rights, religious freedom and democracy." However, with their awareness of "human frailty, ... they cannot overlook the interior tensions and contradictions of our age. Hence evangelization is never a simple adaptation to cultures, but always involves purification, a courageous break that leads to maturity and renewal."

  "At the roots of being a Christian, there is no ethical decision or lofty idea, ... but a meeting with the person of Jesus Christ," said Benedict XVI. "The fruitfulness of this meeting is apparent ... also in today's human and cultural context," he added, using the example of mathematics, a human creation in which the "correlation between its structures and the structures of the universe ... excites our admiration and poses a great question. It implies that the universe itself is structured in an intelligent fashion, in such a way that there exists a profound correspondence between our subjective reason and the objective reason of nature. It is, then, inevitable that we should ask ourselves if there is not a single original intelligence that is the common source of both the one and the other."

  "This overturns the tendency to grant primacy to the irrational, chance and necessity. ... On these premises, it again becomes possible to broaden the horizon of our rationality, open it to the great questions of truth and goodness, and unite theology, philosophy and science, ... respecting their reciprocal autonomy but also aware of the intrinsic unity that holds them together."

  The Holy Father then turned his attention to the question of human beings and love, affirming that people "need to be loved and to love. For this reason they question themselves and often feel disoriented in the face of the harshness of life, and of the world's evil that appears so strong and, at the same time, so radically meaningless. ... Hence the question arises, repeatedly and insistently, as to whether our lives can contain a secure space for authentic love and, in the final analysis, whether the world really is the work of God's wisdom."

  After highlighting how God "is the source of all creatures," and how He "loves man personally and passionately, and wants in His turn to be loved by him," the Pope indicated that in Jesus Christ "God becomes one of us, our brother in humanity, and even sacrifices His life for us."

  "Precisely because He truly loves us, God respects and safeguards our freedom. Against the power of evil and sin, ... He prefers to place the limit of His patience and mercy. This limit is, in concrete terms, the suffering of the Son of God."

  Pope Benedict pointed out how "the cross, quite naturally, frightens us, just as it provoked fear and anguish in Jesus Christ; however, it is not a negation of life from which, in order to be happy, we must free ourselves. Rather, it is God's extreme 'yes' to man, the supreme expression of His love and the source of full and perfect life. It contains, then, the most convincing invitation to follow Christ along the path of self-giving."

  The Pope emphasized the need always "to be ready to respond to whosoever asks us for the reasons of our hope." We must respond "with that gentle strength that comes from union with Christ. We must do so in all fields: at the level of thought and of action, of personal behavior and of public witness. ... May the Lord guide us to live this unity between truth and love in the situations of our own time, for the evangelization of Italy and of the world today."

  Going on to consider the topic of education, the Pope indicated that "true education needs to reawaken the courage of definitive decisions, ... which are indispensable for growth and for achieving anything worthwhile in life, and especially for ensuring that love can mature in all its beauty." In this context, he recalled how Catholic schools still have to face "old prejudices that generate harmful and no longer justifiable delays in the recognition of their function and in the authorization to carry out their activities."

  "The Church in Italy has a great tradition of providing aid and showing solidarity to the needy, the sick and the marginalized," said Pope Benedict, adding: "It is extremely important that all these forms of witness of charity ... remain free from any ideological leanings or party sympathies. ... Practical activity is important, but even more important is our personal involvement with the needy and with the suffering of our fellows."

  On the subject of the civil and political responsibilities of Catholics - a question that had been considered during the congress - the Pope recalled the distinction between the things of Caesar and the things of God. "Religious freedom," he said, "which we perceive as a universal value particularly necessary in today's world, has its historical roots here. The Church, then, is not nor does she intend to be a political player. At the same time, she has a profound interest in the good of the political community, the soul of which is justice."

  The Holy Father underlined the fact that politics "is an undertaking of the greatest importance, to which Italian lay Christians are called to dedicate themselves with generosity and courage, enlightened by faith and the Church's Magisterium, and animated by Christ's charity."

  There are, said the Pope, "great challenges" that require "particular attention and extraordinary commitment." These include "wars, terrorism, hunger, thirst and terrible epidemics. However," he continued, "it is also necessary to use the same determination and clarity of intent to face the risk of political and legislative choices that contradict the fundamental values and the anthropological and ethical principles that are rooted in the nature of human beings. This is especially so as regards the protection of human life at all stages, from conception to natural death, and the promotion of the family based on marriage, opposing the introduction ... of other forms of union that would contribute to destabilizing it, obscuring its special nature and its irreplaceable social function. The open and courageous witness that the Church and Italian Catholics have given, and continue to give, in this matter constitutes a precious service to Italy, which is also a useful stimulus for other nations."

  The "real strength" we need to face our duties and responsibilities, he said, is to be found "by nourishing ourselves on Christ's Word and His Body, ... and by adoring Him in the Eucharist. ... In the union with Christ, we are preceded and guided by the Virgin Mary. ... Through her, we learn to know and to love the mystery of the Church, ... we learn to resist that 'interior secularization' that undermines the Church of our time, a consequence of the processes of secularization that have profoundly marked European civilization."

  Having completed his address, the Holy Father travelled by car to the episcopal palace of Verona, where he had lunch.

  At 4 p.m., the Pope will preside at a Eucharistic concelebration in the city's Bentegodi Stadium, before returning to the Vatican this evening.
PV-ITALY/ECCLESIAL CONGRESS/VERONA                VIS 20061019 (1880)


VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Chilaw, Sri Lanka, presented by Bishop Frank Marcus Fernando, upon having reached the age limit. he is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Warnakulasurya Wadumestrige Devasritha Valence Mendis.

 - Appointed Bishop Pierre d'Ornellas, auxiliary of Paris, France, as coadjutor archbishop of Rennes (area 6,775, population 930,500, Catholics 817,000, priests 476, permanent deacons 26, religious 1,387), France.

  Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, major archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine, with the consent of the Synod of the Greek-Catholic Ukrainian Church and in accordance with canon 85 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, transferred Bishop Vasyl Semeniuk, auxiliary of the eparchy of Ternopil-Zboriv (area 8,346, population 760,400, Catholics 479,052, priests 248, permanent deacons 2, religious 79), Ukraine, to the office of residential eparch of the same eparchy.
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Wednesday, October 18, 2006


VATICAN CITY, OCT 18, 2006 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Cardinal Dino Monduzzi, prefect emeritus of the Pontifical Household, on October 13, at the age of 84.

 - Bishop Francisco Austregesilo de Mesquita, emeritus of Afogados de Ingazeira, Brazil, on October 9 at the age of 82.

 - Bishop German Garcia Isaza C.M., of Apartado, Colombia, on October 11, at the age of 70.

 - Bishop Pavel Hnilica S.J., on October 8, at the age of 85.

 - Bishop Joseph Marie Nguyen Quang Tuyen of Bac Ninh, Vietnam, on September 24, at the age of 61.

 - Archbishop Auguste Nobou, emeritus of Korhogo, Ivory Coast, on October 12, at the age of 78.

 - Archbishop Michel Yatim, emeritus of Lattaquie of the Greek-Melkites, Syria, on September 14, at the age of 85.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 18, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father yesterday received in audience Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum."
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ARCHBISHOP CELESTINO MIGLIORE, PERMANENT OBSERVER of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York, yesterday addressed the second committee of the 61st session of U.N. General Assembly, which is deliberating on questions of macroeconomic policy, international trade and development. In his English-language talk, the nuncio pointed out how "the urgent need for agreement is clear when one considers that the effects of trade relations have serious consequences for some of the most vulnerable people in the world, and ultimately for their dignity."

MSGR. ANTHONY FRONTIERO, official of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, addressed the annual meeting of the 56 participating States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe concerning commitments undertaken in the field of human rights, held in Warsaw, Poland from October 2 to 13. In his English-language talk, given on October 9, Msgr. Frontiero expressed the "conviction that authentic democracy is possible only in a State ruled by law, and on the basis of a correct conception of the human person and the inherent dignity with which each person is endowed."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 18, 2006 (VIS) - During today's general audience, Benedict XVI dedicated his remarks to the figure of Judas Iscariot, and to his successor in the group of the twelve Apostles, Matthias. The audience was held in St. Peter's Square in the presence of more than 30,000 people.

  "The name of Judas Iscariot," said the Pope, "always appears last in the lists of the Twelve ... [which also] recall the fact of his betrayal as having already been accomplished." However, he added, the evangelists do emphasize Judas' status as an Apostle "to all effects."

  "We ask ourselves why Jesus chose this man and put His trust in him. ... Even more uncertain is the mystery concerning his eternal fate." However "it is not for us to judge his gesture, putting ourselves in the place of God, Who is infinitely merciful and just."

  "Why did he betray Jesus?" the Holy Father asked. "Some people highlight the question of his greed for money. Others favor a messianic explanation: Judas was disappointed to see that Jesus' plans did not include the political-military liberation of his country."

  Benedict XVI pointed out how the evangelists explain Judas' betrayal "going beyond the historical reasons," and attributing it to "the personal responsibility of Judas who miserably submitted to a temptation of the Evil One. ... Jesus treated him like a friend but, in His invitations to follow Him, ... did not force people's will or protect them from the temptations of Satan, respecting human freedom. Truly, there are many ways in which the human heart can be perverted. The only way to obviate them is ... to be in full communion with Jesus."

  Judas' repentance "degenerated into desperation and thus became self-destruction. For us, this is an invitation never to despair of divine mercy."

  Even Judas "negative role" is part of God's mysterious plan of salvation, said the Pope, explaining how "God takes Judas' inexcusable gesture as an occasion for the total donation of the Son for the redemption of the world." Judas was replaced by Matthias "of whom we know nothing more, save that he was a witness to the entire earthly teaching of Jesus, remaining faithful to Him unto the end," his election "almost compensating the betrayal. Here," said Pope Benedict, "is a final lesson: if even in the Church there is no lack of unworthy and false Christians, it is up to each of us to counterbalance the evil they commit with our own clear witness of Jesus Christ."

  At the end of the audience, the Pope made reference to yesterday's accident on Rome's underground railway system in which one person was killed and 236 were injured. "At this painful moment," he said, "I am especially close to those affected by this tragic event. To them I express my affection and give assurances of a special recollection in my prayers."
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