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Monday, March 20, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAR 20, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Gerardo Rocconi, vicar general of the diocese of Senigallia, Italy, as bishop of Jesi (area 315, population 76,200, Catholics 74,400, priests 56, permanent deacons 8, religious 76), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Corinaldo, Italy in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1973. He succeeds Bishop Oscar Serfilippi O.F.M. Cap., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

  On Saturday, March 18, it was made public that he:

 - Appointed Bishop Jose Serofia Palma of Calbayog, Philippines, as archbishop of Palo (area 4,620, population 1,603,000, Catholics 1,283,000, priests 144, religious 144), Philippines. The archbishop-elect was born in Dingle, Philippines in 1950, he was ordained a priest in 1976 and consecrated a bishop in 1998. He succeeds Archbishop Pedro R. Dean, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Rodolfo Fontiveros Beltran, vicar general of the archdiocese of Tuguegarao, Philippines, as apostolic vicar of Bontoc-Lagawe (area 4,615, population 307,348, Catholics 202,754, priests 30, religious 23), Philippines. The bishop-elect was born in Gattaran-Cagayan, Philippines in 1948 and ordained a priest in 1976.

 - Elevated the "Missio sui iuris" of Kyrgyzstan to the rank of apostolic administration. At the same time, he appointed Fr. Nikolaus Messmer S.J., rector of the pre-seminary of the diocese of the Transfiguration at Novosibirsk, Russian Federation, as the first apostolic administrator of the new circumscription, elevating him to the dignity of bishop. The bishop-elect was born in Karaganda, Kazakhstan in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1989.
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 20, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

- Three prelates from the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Adalbert Ndzana of Mbalmayo.

    - Bishop Jerome Owono-Mimboe of Obala.

    - Bishop Raphael Marie Ze of Sangmelima.

  On Saturday, March 18, he received in separate audiences:

- Five prelates from the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Simon-Victor Tonye Bakot of Yaounde.

    - Bishop Emmanuel Bushu of Yagoua.

    - Bishop Jean-Marie Benoit Bala of Bafia, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Athanase Bala C.S.Sp.

    - Bishop Jean Mbarga of Ebolowa-Kribi.

 - Archbishop Antonio Franco, apostolic nuncio to Israel and Cyprus and apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine.

- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 20, 2006 (VIS) - On Friday, March 24, at 10.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI will hold an Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of 15 new cardinals, according to a note from the Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.

  That same afternoon, from 4.30 to 6.30 p.m. in various rooms of the Apostolic Palace, the new cardinals will receive all those who wish to pay them a courtesy visit. A list of these locations follows:

SALA REGIA: Cardinals William Joseph Levada and Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap.

HALL OF BLESSINGS: Cardinals Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, Gaudencio B. Rosales, Nicholas Cheong Jinsuk, Joseph Zen Ze-kiun S.D.B., Peter Poreku Dery, and Albert Vanhoye S.J.

SALA DUCALE: Cardinals Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo and Agostino Vallini.

SALA PARAMENTI 1: Cardinal Carlo Caffarra.

SALA PARAMENTI 2: Cardinal Franc Rode.

SALA PONTEFICI: Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz.

GALLERIA LAPIDARIA: Cardinals Jean-Pierre Ricard and Antonio Canizares Llovera.

  On Saturday, March 25, Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, at 10.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father will preside at a concelebrated Mass with the new cardinals, during which he will give them the cardinal's ring.
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 20, 2006 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, Lebanon, accompanied by members of the patriarchal synod and by a group of pilgrims.

  In his address, the Pope recalled the history of the Armenian people over the centuries, in particular the suffering "they underwent in the name of the Christian faith during the years of terrible persecution, which remain enshrined in history with the sadly meaningful name of 'Metz Yeghern,' the great evil."

  Nonetheless, the Pope went on, "the Armenians, who have always sought to integrate themselves with hard work and dignity in the societies in which they found themselves, continue even today to bear witness to their faithfulness to the Gospel."

  After affirming that the Armenian-Catholic community is spread over many countries, the Pope said: "Providence placed the patriarchate of the Armenian Catholics in the Middle East, in Cilicia and, later, in Lebanon. All the Armenian-Catholic faithful look to that patriarchate as a solid point of spiritual reference for their centuries-old cultural and liturgical tradition."

  The Holy Father then indicated how "various Churches that recognize St. Gregory the Illuminator as their common founding father are divided from one another, although over the last few years they have resumed a cordial and fruitful dialogue with the aim of discovering their shared roots. I encourage this renewed fraternity and collaboration hoping that it may give rise to new initiatives for a joint journey towards full unity, ... with its own hierarchy, in fraternal interior harmony and full communion with the Bishop of Rome."

  "One comforting sign of this hoped-for unity was the celebration of the 1700th anniversary of the foundation of the Armenian Church, with the participation of my beloved predecessor John Paul II."

  Benedict XVI concluded by saying: "We all wish to be instruments at the disposal of Christ. May He - Who is Way, Truth and Life - enable us to continue with all our strength, that, as soon as possible, there may be one flock with one pastor."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 19, 2006 (VIS) - During remarks prior to praying the Angelus at midday today with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI dedicated his attention to the figure of St. Joseph, whose feast day is celebrated tomorrow.

  The Pope began by recalling John Paul II's devotion to St. Joseph "to whom he dedicated his Apostolic Exhortation 'Redemptoris Custos', Guardian of the Redeemer, and whose assistance he surely felt at the hour of his death." Benedict XVI then went on to explain the importance of the figure of Jesus' putative father in the history of salvation, beginning with his belonging to the tribe of Juda. This "united Jesus to the line of David" and ensured that the messianic promises were fulfilled in Him, as Matthew recounts in his Gospel when he describes the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, the flight to Egypt and the name of "Nazarene."

  "Like his wife Mary," the Holy Father continued, St. Joseph "showed himself to be the true heir of the faith of Abraham: faith in God Who guides the events of history according to His mysterious salvific plan." St. Joseph's greatness "is even more evident because his mission took place in the humility and obscurity of his house in Nazareth. Indeed, God Himself, in the Person of His Son incarnate, chose this way of life and this path in His earthly existence."

  St. Joseph's example presents us all with "a powerful invitation to perform the role that Providence has assigned us with faithfulness, simplicity and modesty. I am thinking above all of fathers and mothers in families, and I pray that they may always know how to appreciate the beauty of a simple and hard-working life, carefully cultivating their conjugal relationship and enthusiastically accomplishing the great, and by no means easy, mission of education."

  The Pope concluded his remarks by entrusting to St. Joseph "priests who exercise their paternity over ecclesial communities, ... consecrated people in their joyful and faithful observance of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience," and "workers of the entire world, that they may contribute with their various professions to the progress of humanity entire."

  After praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI recalled that this year marks the fifth centenary of the Vatican Museums, which John Paul II defined as "one of the most important doors of the Holy See, open to the world." The museums offer, he said, "an important contribution to the mission of the Church, communicating Christian truths to millions of people through the language of art."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 19, 2006 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at 9.30 a.m. today, Benedict XVI presided at a Mass for workers in remembrance of St. Joseph, whose feast day, March 19, will be celebrated tomorrow, Monday March 20, because this year it coincides with the third Sunday of Lent.

  Concelebrating with the Pope were Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome; Bishop Giuseppe Betori, secretary general of the Italian Episcopal Conference; and Bishop Arrigo Miglio, president of the Italian episcopal commission for social and labor problems, for justice and peace. At the beginning of the ceremony, Bishop Miglio congratulated the Holy Father for his name day.

  In his homily, the Holy Father recalled how, according to the Bible, "work is part of the original condition of man," and forms part of "the divine plan." He went on: "The Son of God Himself, becoming like us in all respects, dedicated many years to manual labor, so much so that he became known as the 'carpenter's son'.

  "The Church has always shown, and especially over the last century, particular attention and solicitude to this aspect of society, as evinced by the many social initiatives of the Magisterium and the activity of many Christian-inspired associations, some of which are here today to represent the entire world of work."

  The Pope then highlighted the fact that "work is of primary importance for the fulfillment of mankind and the development of society, and for this reason it must always be organized and carried out in full respect of human dignity and at the service of the common good. At the same time it is indispensable that men and women do not let themselves be enslaved by work, that they do not idolize it, expecting to find therein the final and definitive meaning of life." In this context he affirmed that "biblical teaching on work finds its coronation in the commandment to rest."

  "Work must serve the true good of humanity," said the Holy Father. "To this end, technical and professional qualifications, necessary though they may be, are not enough. Nor is it enough to create a just social order attentive to the good of all. It is necessary to live a form of spirituality that helps believers to sanctify themselves through their own work, imitating St. Joseph who every day had to provide for the needs of the Holy Family with his own hands, and who for this reason is identified by the Church as the patron saint of workers. His witness shows how mankind is both the subject and protagonist of work."

  Benedict XVI concluded by entrusting to St. Joseph "those young people who find it difficult to enter the world of work, the unemployed, and all those who suffer due to the widespread labor crisis.

  "Together with his wife Mary, may St. Joseph watch over all workers and ensure serenity and peace for families and for all humanity. Looking to this great saint, may Christians in all working environments learn to bear witness to the love of Christ, source of true solidarity and of lasting peace."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 18, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy See is participating in the fourth World Water Forum, being held in Mexico City, Mexico from March 16 to 22. The forum, which meets every three years, is an initiative of the World Water Council, an organization that aims to raise public awareness to questions concerning water resources and to favor participation and dialogue among the many sectors concerned in order to influence political decisions and achieve sustainable development.

  In Mexico City, the Holy See will present a document updating an earlier text entitled "Water, an essential element for life," which was prepared by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and presented at the third World Water Forum, held in the Japanese city of Kyoto in 2003. The original document started from the point that water plays a central and critical role in all aspects of life, and human development. It identified a human right to water, recognized the importance of water in religious traditions, and highlighted how both national governments and the international community must tackle the question of water in all its social, economic, political and environmental aspects.

  The updated document concentrates on the vital role of water in peace and security, recalling how many conflicts break out over the control of water resources and citing the examples of the extreme drought in the Horn of Africa, "which is intensifying ethnic tensions," and of the Middle East, "where the main problems with water are related to tensions among countries generated by water scarce environments." A later section of the document, entitled "a culture of water," warns that the action of wasting water in developed countries is morally unsustainable. "Citizens in some countries are used to taking advantage of a privileged situation without thinking to the consequences of their wasting water on the lives of their brothers and sisters in the rest of the world."

  The last two sections of the document are dedicated to the management of water resources and response to natural disasters. "Management decisions that impact the distribution of water," the text reads, "must also respond according to the criteria of justice. The human right to access to safe water and sanitation must be promoted in such a way that existing inequalities are reduced to the greater well-being of the least advantaged."

  As for natural disasters, the document recalls how they "are not solely caused by nature, but also by an inconsiderate use and consumption of the earth's resources," and suggests that poor countries, with the help of richer ones, "invest in mitigation measures to reduce the consequences of floods and droughts. ... But all such initiatives should be implemented with an active involvement of the local communities. They should be accurately informed of the impacts on the environment and on their lives of any infrastructure built with the aim of reducing vulnerability to natural disasters."

  "The human being is the center of the concern expressed in this updated document," the text concludes. "The primary objective of all efforts must be the well-being of those people - men, women, children, families, communities - who live in the poorest parts of the world and suffer most from any scarcity or misuse of water resources."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 18, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, accompanied by a group of Holy See representatives to international organizations.

  In his address to them, the Pope pointed out how the presence of the Holy See in international institutions makes "a fundamental contribution to the respect of human rights and the common good and, as a result, to true freedom and justice."

  "Relations between States and within States are just in so far as they respect the truth. When, however, the truth is offended, peace is threatened and rule of law is compromised, then, as a logical consequence, injustices arise."

  "These injustices can adopt many faces," said Benedict XVI. "For example, the face of disinterest or disorder, which can even go so far as to damage the structure of that founding cell of society that is the family; or perhaps the face of arrogance that can lead to abuse, silencing those without a voice or without the strength to make themselves heard, as happens in the case of today's gravest injustice, that which suppresses nascent human life."

  The Pope concluded by telling the Holy See representatives that through "difficulties and misunderstandings" they "participate authoritatively in the prophetic responsibility of the Church, which intends to continue to raise her voice in defense of mankind, even when policies of States and the majority of public opinion moves in the opposite direction. Truth, indeed, draws strength from itself and not from the amount of consent it arouses."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 18, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father received prelates from the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit:

  Speaking to the bishops in French, the Pope encouraged them "to ensure that the Gospel penetrates deeply into your cultures and traditions - so marked by a wealth of human, spiritual and moral values - purifying those cultures, through the necessary conversion, from everything that opposes the fullness of truth."

  After highlighting how the unfavorable economic and social situation "weakens social ties and entails the loss of a series of traditional values such as the family, care for children and young people, and respect for the elderly," the Holy Father referred to other current challenges such as "the assault of sects and the havoc wrought by AIDS." In the face of such problems, he said, "precise theological and pastoral responses must be offered, in order to profoundly evangelize the hearts of human beings and awaken their consciences."

  Benedict XVI expressed the hope that "inspired preaching" associated with "rigorous initial and permanent formation by catechists," may give rise to "a new drive to sanctity in your communities."

  "I am pleased at the increase in numbers of seminarians and priests," the Pope continued, "and I give thanks for the patient work of missionaries that preceded it. ... The search for unity in the service of the mission invites you to safeguard ties of fraternal communion with priests." The Holy Father then invited all priests to meditate "upon the requirements of pastoral charity, and especially upon the need for a chaste life lived in celibacy in accordance with the law of the Church, the just exercise of authority and a healthy relationship with material goods."

  The Pope went on to recall how in their reports the bishops had referred to the challenges facing the family. In this context, he called on them to promote "a form of pastoral care of the family that offers young people a rigorous ... moral education, and prepares them to experience conjugal love in a responsible way, which is a necessary condition for the stability of the family and of all society."

  In closing, Benedict XVI spoke to the bishops of the need to consolidate "fraternal relations with other Christian confessions and with believers from other religions, in order to show the love of Christ the Savior, Who aroused in mankind the desire to live in peace and to form a people of brothers and sisters."

  "Church of Cameroon," he exclaimed, "in your region of Central African so torn by wars, be an ever more tangible sign of peace, ... the peace that overcomes the temptation to take refuge in national or ethnic identity, that excludes the temptation to vengeance or resentment, and that establishes new relations between human beings, relations founded on justice and on peace!"
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