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Monday, April 3, 2006


VATICAN CITY, APR 3, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Msgr. Raphael Dabire Kusiele, episcopal vicar for social and pastoral projects of the diocese of Diebougou, Burkina Faso, as bishop of the same diocese (area 18,346, population 752,412, Catholics 109,834, priests 124, religious 78). The bishop-elect was born in Dissin, Burkina Faso in 1948 and ordained a priest in 1975. He succeeds Bishop Jean-Baptiste Some, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

  The Synod of Bishops of the Coptic Catholic Church, meeting in Cairo, Egypt from March 27 to 30, 2006 accepted - in accordance with canon 126 para. 2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, and having consulted the Supreme Pontiff - the resignation from office of His Beatitude Stephanos II Ghattas, C.M., patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts. On March 30, the same Synod, elected Bishop Antonios Naguib, emeritus of Minya of the Copts, Egypt as the new patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts. The patriarch-elect was born in Samalout, Egypt in 1935, and ordained a priest in 1960.

  On Saturday, April 1, it was made public that the Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Darwin Rudy Andino Ramirez C.R.S., pastor of the parish of St. John the Baptist in Tegucigalpa and provincial councilor of the Somascan Fathers, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Tegucigalpa (area 15,167, population 1,695,285, Catholics 1,240,648, priests 153, religious 524), Honduras. The bishop-elect was born in Tegucigalpa in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1990.

 - Appointed Archbishop Charles Daniel Balvo, apostolic nuncio to New Zealand, Cook Islands, Fiji Islands, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Tonga, Vanuatu, and apostolic delegate to the Pacific Ocean, as apostolic nuncio to Samoa.

 - Appointed Msgr. Francisco Montecillo Padilla, counsellor at the apostolic nunciature to Australia, as apostolic nuncio to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Cebu City, Philippines, in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1976.

 - Appointed Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, as his special envoy to celebrations due to be held in Singapore from June 21 to 23 marking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between that country and the Holy See.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 3, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Rene van der Linden, president of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly.

 - Jorge Dezcallar de Mazarredo, ambassador of Spain, on his farewell visit.

 - Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.

  On Saturday, April 1, he received in separate audiences:

 - Their Majesties King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians, accompanied by an entourage.

 - Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.

 - Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

 - Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald M. Afr., apostolic nuncio to the Arab Republic of Egypt and delegate to the Organization of the League of Arab States.

 - Bishop Salomon Letzoutie of Odienne, Ivory Coast, on his "ad limina" visit.

 - Archbishop Francesco Monterisi, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 3, 2006 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, the Pope received prelates from the Episcopal Conference of the Ivory Coast, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit. Having studied the reports presented by the bishops concerning the situation in their country, the Holy Father assured them of his prayers that their nation "may find unity and peace in true fraternity among all her citizens."

  "The crisis your country has been through," Benedict XVI went on, "highlighted the divisions that constitute such a deep wound in relations between the various components of society." The resulting violence "dealt a harsh blow to trust between people and the stability of the country, leaving much suffering in its wake. ... In order to recreate true peace, there must be generous forgiveness and true reconciliation among the individuals and groups affected. ... They must begin a courageous dialogue, examining ... the causes that gave rise to the conflict."

  "The road to peace," Benedict XVI went on, "is long and difficult, but it is never impossible, and Catholics must take their place in this shared endeavor, because building a world of reconciliation is never something foreign to them."

  In order to achieve this aim "it is necessary, in the first place, to restore confidence among Christ's followers, despite their differences of opinion. ... Faced with political or ethnic tensions in diocesan churches, bishops, priests and consecrated people must be models of fraternity and charity for everyone, contributing through word and deed to the construction of a unified and reconciled society."

  In this context, the Pope told the bishops that the initial and permanent formation of priests must be their primary concern, encouraging them to ensure that priests had "an intense spiritual life," and to "favor unity and fraternal life among them."

  With reference to "the urgent need for the formation of the laity," which the bishops had mentioned in their reports, the Holy Father said: "A deepening of the faith is truly necessary in order to resist the return of ancient practices or the lure of sects, and above all as a testimony to Christian hope in a complicated world of new and grave problems." In this context "the faithful, especially those involved in the intellectual, political or economic spheres, will find in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church a fundamental tool for formation and evangelization."

  "For the Church to be an ever clearer sign of what she truly is, and more adapted to her mission, attention must be given to the inculturation of the faith," said the Holy Father. "This process, which is so important for announcing the Gospel to all cultures, must not compromise the specificity and integrity of the faith, rather it must help Christians to understand and experience the gospel message in their own cultures, abandoning practices that run counter to their baptismal promises."

  "The weight of traditional mentality," the Pope went on, "is often an obstacle to the acceptance of the Gospel," and among the many questions facing the faithful that of "commitment to the Sacrament of marriage is one of the most important. Polygamy or de facto cohabitation with no kind of religious celebration often constitute great obstacles." Therefore, "it is necessary to continue tirelessly in efforts to ensure that people, especially the young, accept that for Christians marriage is a way to sanctity."

  The Pope concluded his address by recognizing the growth of ecclesial movements in the dioceses of the Ivory Coast. They "contribute to providing a renewed missionary drive in Christian communities," he said, and encouraged them to entrust themselves to the generosity of Christ, "remaining always rooted in His Church."

  "Nonetheless," he added, "these movements must be subject to enlightened and constant discernment by bishops, in order to guarantee the ecclesiality of their activities and to maintain authentic communion with the universal and diocesan Church."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 2, 2006 (VIS) - At 8.30 p.m. in St. Peter's Square, thousands of people, many of them Polish, participated in a moment of prayer and reflection in memory of John Paul II who died one year ago today.

  The event began with readings from various texts by Karol Wojtyla, interspersed with songs by the choir of the diocese of Rome.

  At 9 p.m., Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to preside over the praying of the Rosary.

  Following the Marian prayer, at around 9.37 p.m., the exact moment of John Paul II's demise, the Pope addressed some words to those present.

  Although a year has passed since his death, John Paul II "remains present in our minds and hearts," said Benedict XVI. "He continues to communicate his love for God and his love for man. He continues to infuse everyone, especially the young, with enthusiasm for goodness and courage to follow Jesus and His teachings."

  Addressing the faithful who were gathered in the square below bearing lighted candles, the Pope summed up John Paul II's "life and evangelical witness" in two words: "'faithfulness' and 'dedication.' Complete faithfulness to God and unreserved dedication to his own mission as pastor of the Universal Church.

  "Faithfulness and dedication that appeared even more convincing and moving in his final months, during which he incarnated the words he wrote in his 1984 Apostolic Letter Salvifici doloris: 'Suffering is present in the world in order to release love, in order to give birth to works of love towards neighbor, in order to transform the whole of human civilization into a civilization of love'."

  Benedict XVI then highlighted how his predecessor's illness "made everyone more attentive to human pain, to all physical and spiritual pain; he gave suffering dignity and value by bearing witness to the fact that man is not worthy for his efficiency or his appearance, but for himself, because he is created and loved by God."

  Through his words and gestures, "John Paul II never tired of showing the world that if man allows himself to be embraced by Christ he does not devalue the richness of his humanity; if he adheres to Christ with all his heart, he does not lose anything. On the contrary, the encounter with Christ renders our lives more passionate."

  The Holy Father added: "Precisely because he drew ever closer to God in prayer, contemplation, and love for Truth and Beauty, our beloved Pope was able to accompany each one of us and to speak authoritatively even to people who are distant from Christian faith."

 On this first anniversary of his death, we are invited "to accept once more the spiritual heritage he left us," said the Pope. "We are encouraged, among other things, to live our lives in a tireless search for the Truth, which alone can satisfy our hearts. We are encouraged not to be afraid to follow Christ, to bring everyone the announcement of the Gospel, ferment for a more fraternal and united humanity. From heaven, may John Paul II help us to continue our journey."

  Benedict XVI then addressed Polish faithful who were following the event by satellite linkup. "The memory of John Paul II remains alive within us," he said, "and the sense of his spiritual presence does not diminish. For you, may the memory of the particular love he always nourished for his countrymen be a light on the path towards Christ: 'Remain strong in the faith'."

  From Krakow, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of that Polish city, thanked Benedict XVI for his words, adding that John Paul II "is smiling upon us from heaven."


VATICAN CITY, APR 2, 2006 (VIS) - In words following today's Angelus prayer, the Pope recalled the 18 month-old Italian child Tommaso Onofri who was kidnapped from his parents' home on March 2 and whose body was discovered on Saturday, April 1. His kidnappers have confessed to killing the child a few hours after having seized him.

  On March 7, during the spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia, Benedict XVI had launched an appeal for the child's release. "We have all been touched," he said in today's remarks, "by the case of little Tommaso, so savagely murdered; let us pray for him and for all victims of violence."

  The Holy Father then went on to refer to a request made by His Beatitude Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, and by other Iraqi bishops "for the faithful, believers, and men and women of good will to come together in prayer and fasting on April 3 and 4 to implore from God the gift of peace and harmony in Iraq and throughout the world."

  "I invite everyone," the Pope concluded, "to follow the initiative of our brothers in that martyred land, entrusting this intention to the intercession of Mary Most Holy, Queen of Peace."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 2, 2006 (VIS) - Prior to praying the Angelus today with tens of thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI dedicated his remarks entirely to the figure of John Paul II.

  "On April 2 last year," said the Pope, "the beloved Pope John Paul II was living through the last phase of his earthly pilgrimage, a pilgrimage of faith, love and hope that left a profound mark in the history of the Church and of humanity.

  "His agony and death constituted almost a prolongation of the Easter Triduum. We all recall the images of his last Way of the Cross on Good Friday. Unable to go to the Coliseum, he followed events from his private chapel, holding the cross in his hands. Then, on Easter Sunday, he imparted the 'Urbi et Orbi' blessing, without managing to pronounce a word, just gesturing with his hand. It was the most painful and moving of blessings, which he left us testimony of his will to carry out his ministry right to the end.

  "Thus John Paul II died as he had always lived, animated by the indomitable courage of faith, giving himself up to God and entrusting himself to Mary Most Holy. ... His heritage is immense, but the message of his long pontificate can be summarized in the words with which he chose to open it, here in St. Peter's Square on October 22, 1978: 'Open wide the doors to Christ!'"

  Benedict XVI then highlighted how John Paul II incarnated this appeal "with his entire person and his entire mission as Peter's Successor," especially in his apostolic trips. His meetings with the crowds, with religious communities, and with political and religious leaders were "like a single grand gesture, confirming those opening words. He announced Christ always, presenting Him to everyone - just as Vatican Council II had -as a response to man's hopes for freedom, justice and peace."

  During the last years of his life, "the Lord gradually stripped him of everything, in order to assimilate him fully to Himself. And when he could no longer travel, no longer even walk, and finally not even speak, his gestures and announcement were reduced to essentials: to the giving of himself right to the end. His death was the fulfillment of a coherent witness of faith that touched the hearts of so many men and women of good will."

  "John Paul II," the Pope concluded, "left us on a Saturday, dedicated especially to Mary, towards whom he always felt a filial devotion. We now ask the heavenly Mother of God to help us treasure all this great Pontiff gave and taught us."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 1, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a letter from the Holy Father, written in Latin and dated March 3, in which he appoints Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid, Spain, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Francis Xavier, due to be held in the Spanish town of Javier on April 7.

  Accompanying Cardinal Rouco Varela on his mission will be Fr. Elias Royon S.J., provincial superior of the Society of Jesus in Spain, and Fr. Anastasio Gil Garcia of the clergy of the archdiocese of Madrid, director of the secretariat of the Episcopal Commission for Missions and Cooperation between Churches.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 1, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI received participants in a seminar which has been meeting to consider the theme: "The cultural heritage and academic values of European universities, and the attraction of the European Higher Education Area." The event, organized by the Congregation for Catholic Education in collaboration with UNESCO-CEPES, is being held in the Vatican's New Synod Hall from March 30 to April 1.

  In his address to them, the Pope recalled how many European universities, such as Bologna, Paris, Krakow, Salamanca, Cologne, Oxford and Prague, "played an important role in consolidating the identity of Europe and in forming the continent's cultural heritage. The university institutions always stood out for their love of knowledge and search for truth, with constant reference to the Christian vision that recognizes in man the masterwork of creation."

  Going on to refer to the cultural challenges facing Europe today as the continent is "involved in the rediscovery of its own identity, an identity that is not merely economic or political," the Holy Father touched on the subject of anthropology. It is necessary, he said, "to clarify what is the concept of man that lies at the foundation of the new projects. ... At the service of what man must universities operate? Of the individual dedicated to the defense of his own interests, or of the person open to solidarity with others in a search for the true meaning of existence?"

  Benedict XVI also indicated the need to investigate the nature of the relationship between human beings on the one hand and science and technology on the other, while bearing in mind the most recent technological advances. "It must be made very clear," he said, "that human beings can never be sacrificed to the success of science and technology."

  The Pope concluded by emphasizing "the special role of universities. In the current situation, they are called upon not to content themselves just with teaching, but also to undertake an attentive educational role at the service of the new generations, drawing on that heritage of ideals and values that marked past millennia. Thus universities can help Europe to conserve its 'soul,' revitalizing those Christian roots that gave origin to the continent"
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