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Monday, February 6, 2006


VATICAN CITY, FEB 6, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: 

- Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church with Father Sergio Pagano, B., Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives.

- Archbishop Paolo Romeo, apostolic nuncio in Italy and in the Republic of San Marino.

  On Saturday, February 4, he received in separate audiences:

 - Seven prelates from the Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Jean-Anatole Kalala Kaseba of Kamina.

    - Bishop Fulgence Muteba Mugalu of Kilwa-Kasenga.

    - Bishop Nestor Ngoy Katahwa of Kolwezi.

    - Bishop Jerome Nday Kanyangu Lukundwe of Kongolo.

    - Bishop Vincent de Paul Kwanga Njubu of Manono.

    - Bishop Gaston Kashala Ruwezi S.D.B., of Sakania-Kipushi.

    - Bishop Francois Xavier Maroy Rusengo, diocesan administrator of Bukavu

 - Archbishop William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
AL:AC/.../...                                    VIS 20060206 (130)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 6, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a communique regarding the second meeting of the XI Ordinary Council of the secretary general of the Bishop's Synod regarding the Eucharist, which took place on the 30th and 31st of last January.

  In this second meeting, presided over by the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, 15 members of the ordinary council participated, elected during the last phase of the XI General Assembly, which was celebrated from the 2nd to the 23 of October, 2005. The theme was "The Eucharist, Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church."

  In the communique, it is revealed that the members of the council reflected over the 50 propositions presented by the Holy Father at the conclusion of the synod, so as to elaborate further on the post-synodal exhortation.  Furthermore, suggestions were made to improve the innovations inserted in the last general assembly, such as individual interventions within the synod hall, open debate and the work of the lesser circles or groups.
  The next meeting will be celebrated on the first and second of June, 2006.
SE/EUCHARISTIC SYNOD/ETEROVIC                VIS 20060206 (200)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 6, 2006 (VIS) - Pope Benedict XVI has sent a telegram of condolences to Cardinal Ruini, Vicar General for the diocese of Rome, regarding the assassination of an Italian priest, Andrea Santoro, yesterday in Trabzon (Turkey). The assassination took place while Fr. Santoro was praying in the Church where he had just celebrated mass.

  The Pope brought together the sorrow of the Church of Rome, of which Fr. Andrea was a missionary fidei donum. "While I hope that his blood shed may be a seed of hope for the building of authentic fraternity among people, I raise fervent prayers for the brave witness to the Gospel of love, and I impart with all my heart the consoling apostolic blessing on his family, in particular, the elderly mother so saddened, and others who mourn his violent death."

  In another telegram addressed to Bishop Luigi Padovese, apostolic vicar of Anatolia (Turkey), the Pope highlighted the generosity and apostolic dedication with which the priest carried out his ministry "in favor of the Gospel and in service of those marginalized and in need." The Holy Father expressed, "in this sad moment" his particular closeness to this Christian community, "reaffirming my firm condemnation of all forms of violence."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 6, 2006 (VIS) - Pope Benedict XVI today received the second group of bishops from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who have just finished their "ad limina" visit.  The Pope asked the prelates to transmit to their diocese his "spiritual closeness," reminding them that they were invited "with all the inhabitants of the country to mobilize for peace and reconciliation after years of war that resulted, especially in your region, in millions of victims."

  "The work for peace," continued the Holy Father, "is a net thrown over the evangelical mission of the bishop. Your reports describe the difficult conditions in which you undertake your ministry...this year, in which your local Church was consecrated to the Blessed Anuarite Nengapeta, I desire that the imperative to love mobilize us and, for the holiness of your lives and for the dynamic ministry that animates you, that you be prophets of justice and peace."

  "It is important that you dedicate yourselves to the demanding work of radiating the Gospel in your culture, respecting the authentic and rich values of the Africans, but at the same time purifying that which is incompatible with the Gospel...Build up the family of the Church in your countries, as it is in other places, it is a difficult task, but I know that a dynamic apostolic fervor animates you. It is satisfying that the Congolese Episcopal Conference...has not spared efforts to open up within their hearts and consciences paths of reconciliation and fraternal communion."

  Focusing on the theme of national reconciliation, the Pope expressed the desire that good fruits may come from "the campaign undertaken by those responsible from other religious confessions to propose for all citizens a civic education." "The Church is called to participate in this work, taking the place that corresponds to you according to your vocation" and "to propose specific formation and training for the politicians of the country. It serves to reflect on the rich patrimony of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church, one can reflect on his obligation in the service of the common good and keep in mind its moral challenges to work for the construction of just institutions for the renewal of society. "

  Pope Benedict XVI later invited the prelates to utilize, for the diffusion of the Gospel in their country "the means of social communication, in particular the radio and television...especially to limit the activities of those sects who utilize the profusion of new technologies for the purpose of attracting and confusing the faithful."

  Another pastoral priority  is "the evangelization of the family. The movement of the displaced and the refugees, the pandemic of AIDS, and also a notable mutations of contemporary society, have transformed many families, and weakened the institution of the family." The Pope highlighted the importance of encouraging Catholics  to preserve and promote family values and to give a balanced human and spiritual formation to those preparing for marriage. 

  The Holy Father had words of thanks for those consecrated who "in extreme conditions decide to remain on the side of those among the population who endure severe tests and hardships, giving them help, counsel and spiritual support." He also mentioned the condition of the youth and referred to the need for "pastoral initiatives that allow for the human and spiritual reconstruction of the children on the street and those children who are soldiers" and he asked the bishops and the Catholic schools to nourish the faith and hope of the young generation.

  "I reach out to the international community" concluded Pope Benedict XVI, "that they may not forget about Africa and that they may take brave action and decisions to consolidate the political and economic stability of Africa."
AL/.../DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO             VIS 20060206 (630)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 5, 2006 (VIS) - Pope Benedict XVI prayed the Angelus today with thousands of pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square. Among those present were representatives from Movement for Life, an Italian organization, accompanied by Cardinal Camillo Ruini.

  In his reflections before the Marian prayer, the pope recalled that the Day for Life celebrated in Italy "constitutes a precious occasion of prayer and reflection on the themes of the defense and promotion of human life, especially when it is found in conditions of difficulty. Present in St. Peter's Square are numerous lay faithful who work in this field, some committed in the Pro-Life Movement."

  The Holy Father later invited all those present to reflect over the Italian bishops' message, which has as its theme "Respect of Life," "I remember our beloved Pope John Paul II, who paid constant attention to these problems. In particular, I would like to recall the encyclical "Evangelium Vitae," which he published in 1995, which represents an authentic cornerstone in the Church's teaching on such a current, decisive question. In framing the moral aspects in a broad spiritual and cultural context, my venerated predecessor confirmed on several occasions that human life is of a primary value that must be acknowledged, and that the Gospel calls for it to always be respected."

  Later, Pope Benedict XVI referred to his recent Encyclical, "Deus Charitas Est," on Christian love, to emphasize the importance of the "service of charity" in supporting the promotion of human life. "The culture of life is based, in fact, on attention to others, without exclusions or discriminations. All human life, as such, is worthy of and calls for always being defended and promoted. We know well that this truth runs the risk of being contradicted often by the widespread hedonism in the so-called welfare societies: Life is exalted while it is enjoyable, but there is a tendency to stop respecting it when it is sick or experiences some kind of disability."

  "On the contrary, from profound love for every person, it is possible to apply effective forms of service to life: both nascent as well as that marked by marginalization or suffering, especially in its terminal phase.

 "The Virgin Mary received with perfect love the Word of life, Jesus Christ, who came into the world so that men "may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10). We commend to her women who are expecting a child, families, health agents and volunteers committed in different ways in the service of life.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 5, 2006 (VIS) - Pope Benedict XVI celebrated mass this morning in the parish of Saint Anne inside the Vatican, a church under the care of the Augustinians. 

  In the homily, the Pope commented on the Gospel of the day, in which the Lord goes to the house of Simon Peter and encounters Peter's mother-in-law with a fever. "Jesus, coming from the Father, goes toward the house of humanity, our earth and finds humanity ill, sick with the fever, the fever of ideologies, idolatry, and the forgetting about God.  The Lord gives us His hand, lifts us up and heals us. And as he has throughout the ages; He takes our hand with His Word, and dispels the fog of ideology and idolatry. ... He cures us of the fever of our passions and our sins with the absolution found in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 

  Referring to the image found above the altar of the Church, in which appears Saint Anne explaining to the Virgin Mary, her daughter, the Sacred Scriptures, the Holy Father affirmed: "Women are also the first doors to the Word of God in the Gospel, they are authentic evangelists." In this light, he gave thanks to all the women "who always help us to know the Word of God, not only through their intelligence, but also through their hearts."

  Continuing with the narration of the Gospel, when Jesus, who slept in Peter's house, woke up very early to go and pray in the desert, Pope Benedict XVI said that, "this Gospel teaches us that the center of our faith and the center of our lives is found in God. When God is not present, man is not respected. Only when the splendor of God is reflected on the face of the human being, the image of God, is man protected by a dignity that nobody should violate."

  Having recalled that the Church celebrates today in Italy the Day of the Family, the Holy Father highlighted  that "the human being is not the manager of life, rather he is the custodian and caretaker." There exists "two mentalities," he continued "that are opposed in an irreconcilable way...one maintains that the human life is in the hands of man and the other recognizes that it is in the hands of God."

  Pope Benedict XVI affirmed that "the full respect of life is united to a religious sentiment, to the interior attitude with which man considers the reality surrounding him, either as a master or custodian thereof. The word "respect" comes from the Latin verb respicere, and indicates a way of looking at things and people that brings us to recognize the fact of their coexistence, not possessing them but caring for them. "In summary," he concluded, "if creatures are denied reference to God, as a transcendent foundation, they run the risk of being placed at the arbitrary mercy of human beings, who, as we can see, can treat them irresponsibly."
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 4 2006 (VIS) - In response to several requests for the Holy See's position vis-a-vis recent representations offensive to the religious sentiments of individuals and entire communities, the Vatican press office states:

 "1. The right to freedom of thought and expression, sanctioned by the Declaration of the Rights of Man, cannot imply the right to offend the religious sentiments of believers. This principle obviously applies for any religion.

  2. In addition, coexistence calls for a climate of mutual respect favoring peace among men and nations. Moreover, these kinds of exasperated criticisms or derision of others manifest a lack of human sensitivity and may constitute in some cases an inadmissible provocation. A reading of history shows that wounds existing in the life of a people are not healed in this way.

  3. However, it must be said immediately that the offenses caused by an individual or a member of the press cannot be imputed to the public institutions of the corresponding country, whose authorities might and should intervene eventually, according to the principles of national legislation. Therefore, violent actions of protest are equally deplorable. Reaction in the face of offense cannot fail the true spirit of all religion. Real or verbal intolerance, no matter where it comes from, whether as action or reaction, is always a serious threat to peace."
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 4, 2006 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano has sent a telegram in the Pope's name to Bishop Francisco C. San Diego of Pasig, Philippines, for the many people who died in a stampede following a bomb alert at a sports stadium in Pasig, a suburb of the Filipino capital, Manila.

  "Deeply saddened by the news of the tragic loss of life in Pasig, the Holy Father offers his prayers for all those affected by this terrible accident. In a special way His Holiness asks Almighty God to grant solace to the injured and to those who are mourning the loss of their loved ones. Entrusting you  and your people to the protection of Mary queen of peace, the Holy Father imparts his apostolic blessing as a pledge of strength and comfort in the Lord."
TGR/STADIUM DISASTER/SAN DIEGO                    VIS 20060206 (180)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 4, 2006 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a telegram sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, in the Pope's name, to Cardinal Stephanos II Ghattas, C.M., patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt, following the sinking in the Red Sea on Friday February 3, of the passenger ferry Al Salam 98, which cost the lives of more than a thousand people.

  "His Holiness Benedict XVI, having learned the painful news of the tragic wreck of the Egyptian vessel 'Al Salam 98,' has asked me to give assurances of his spiritual closeness to the families and friends of the dead. The Pope calls on the Almighty to give eternal happiness to the victims, who came from different countries, and to support families in their mourning and affliction, inviting everyone to show fraternal and spiritual solidarity towards them. He pays homage to the rescuers and to all who came in aid of the passengers of the stricken vessel, calling down upon everyone the blessings of the Almighty Lord."
TGR/SHIPWRECK RED SEA/GHATTAS                    VIS 20060206 (180)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 4, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Pope to Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, appointing him as special papal envoy to celebrations marking the fourteenth World Day of the Sick, due to be held in the city of Adelaide, Australia, on February 11. In his letter, which is written in Latin, Benedict XVI underscores the central theme of the forthcoming Day - care of the sick, especially those afflicted by mental problems - calling for their dignity to be respected and for prayers on their behalf.
   The delegation accompanying Cardinal Lozano Barragan is made up of two representatives from the archdiocese of Adelaide: Msgrs. James O'Loughlin, pastor at Salisbury, and Vincent Tiggeman, judicial vicar emeritus.
BXVI-LETTER/WORLD DAY SICK/LOZANO                VIS 20060206 (150)

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