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Monday, May 15, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received participants in the plenary session of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant peoples, the theme of which is: "Migration and mobility from and to countries with a Muslim majority."

  The Pope highlighted the Catholic Church's awareness of the fact that "inter-religious dialogue is part of her commitment to serve humanity in the modern world." In our time, "Christians are called to cultivate a form of open dialogue on religious problems, not renouncing the presentation ... of the Christian message in keeping with their own identity."

  After stressing the importance of reciprocity in dialogue, Benedict XVI praised the efforts being made "to create, with immigrants, relations of mutual knowledge and respect, which are extremely useful in overcoming prejudices and closed minds."

  "In this activity of welcome and dialogue with migrants and itinerant peoples, the Christian community has as its constant point of reference Christ Who left His disciples, as a rule for life, the new commandment to love." For this reason, the Pope added, "believers are called to open their arms and hearts to everyone, whatever their country of origin, leaving the task of formulating appropriate laws for promoting healthy coexistence to those responsible for public life."

  "Christians," the Pope continued, "must particularly open their hearts to the lowliest and the poorest, in whom Christ Himself is especially present. ... Obviously, it is to be hoped that Christians emigrating to countries with Muslim majorities, find there welcome and respect for their religious identity."

  In closing his address, the Holy Father thanked the dicastery for their efforts in favor of "an organic and effective form of pastoral care for migrants and itinerant peoples. ... No one should doubt that this is an important frontier in the new evangelization of the modern globalized world."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 14, 2006 (VIS) - The Eucharist and the intercession of the Virgin Mary provided the theme for Benedict XVI's remarks prior to praying the "Regina Coeli" today.

  "On this fifth Sunday of Easter," said the Holy Father to thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, "the liturgy presents us with the episode from the Gospel of John in which Jesus, talking to His disciples at the Last Supper, exhorts them to remain united to Him as the branch to the vine."

  This, he continued, "is a truly significant parable because it very effectively expresses how Christian life is mystery of communion with Jesus. ... The secret of spiritual fecundity is union with God, a union achieved above all in the Eucharist, which is also rightly called 'Communion'."

  Benedict XVI recalled the fact that, during this period, many children are receiving First Communion, and he greeted them expressing the hope that they may become "branches of the vine, which is Jesus, and grow as His true disciples."

  The Pope then went on to highlight how to rely upon the intercession of Mary is "a sure way to remain united to Christ." He also recalled the apparition of the Virgin to the shepherd children at Fatima on May 13, 1917. "The message she entrusted to them," the Holy Father said, "was a powerful call to prayer and conversion; a truly prophetic message if we consider the twentieth century's burden of unprecedented destruction caused by wars and totalitarian regimes, as well as the widespread persecutions against the Church."

  Benedict XVI also mentioned the attack against John Paul II on May 13, 1981 when the Pope "felt he had been saved from death by the intercession of 'a maternal hand,' ... and his entire pontificate was marked by what the Virgin had announced at Fatima."

  He concluded: "Although there has been no lack of worries and suffering, and if there are still reasons for apprehension over the future of humanity, there is comfort to be had in what the 'White Lady' promised the shepherd children: 'In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph'."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 13, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Pope, written in Latin and dated March 25, appointing Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace and for the Pastoral Care of migrants and Itinerant Peoples, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the 17th centenary of the martyrdom of St. Liberatore, co-patron of the Italian diocese of Ariano Irpino-Lacedonia. The event is due to take place in Ariano Irpino on May 20.

  Accompanying the cardinal on his trip will be Msgrs. Antonio Blundo and Donato Minelli, respectively vicar general and head of the cultural office of the diocese of Ariano Irpino-Lacedonia.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 13, 2006 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls today announced that "on July 8 and 9, 2006 the Holy Father Benedict XVI will make an apostolic trip to Valencia, Spain, for the occasion of the Fifth World Meeting of Families."


VATICAN CITY, MAY 13, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from Benedict XVI to Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, for the occasion of today's 2nd World Day of Pilgrims, promoted by the "Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi" to recall the 89th anniversary of the first appearance of the Virgin of Fatima, and the 25th anniversary of the assassination attempt against John Paul II.

  In the Message, read out by Cardinal Ruini at the end of the Eucharistic celebration marking those events, the Pope writes: "I joyfully unite myself with those gathered today in St. Peter's Square around the statue of the Virgin of Fatima to entrust the great intentions of the Church and of the world to the intercession of Mary."

  The Message continues: "In St. Peter's Square 25 years ago, Servant of God John Paul II was gravely injured. A white marble plaque, placed by the Governorate of Vatican City State at the exact location of the attack, will from now on recall that dramatic event."

  The Pope thanks the promoters of the current initiative, "which shows how much Mary's presence is felt, and how vivid is the memory of the beloved John Paul II in the Church."

  "May the Virgin Mary watch over Christian people and their pastors, guide the steps of nations towards the complete fulfillment of the Lord's will, and obtain peace for everyone. May the message of Fatima always be welcomed, understood and lived out in all communities."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 13, 2006 (VIS) - In the Vatican's Hall of Blessings at midday today, Benedict XVI received 500 participants in the pilgrimage of the "Bayerische Gebirgsschutzen," [Bavarian Alpine Corps] whom he invited to "remain firm in your faithfulness to the Christian values that represent the particular foundations of Bavaria."

  "With the annual celebration of the day in honor of the Patroness of Bavaria, the Virgin Mary, on the first Sunday in May," Pope Benedict said, "you place yourselves under the protection of the great Patroness of our common homeland, but also at her service. You no longer have the duty, as in centuries past, to defend the country from foreign enemies, yet today there are dangers that are even greater, perhaps because thy are not recognized as such."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 13, 2006 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its foundation. It was established by John Paul II on May 9, 1981.

  Pope Benedict recalled how "the family founded on marriage constitutes a 'heritage of humanity,' a fundamental social institution; it is the vital cell and the pillar of society, and concerns both believers and non-believers. This is something to which all States must give great consideration because, as John Paul II liked to say, 'the future of humanity passes by way of the family'."

  After highlighting how separation and divorce are currently on the rise, "breaking family unity and creating no small number of problems for children, the innocent victims of such situations," the Holy Father called for the stability of families to be protected. This, he added, "often means going against the tide," and requires "patience, commitment, sacrifice and the incessant search for mutual understanding." Married couples can overcome their difficulties and remain faithful to their vocation by "relying upon the support of God through prayer and assiduous participation in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. The unity and strength of families helps society to absorb true human values and to open itself to the Gospel."

  Benedict XVI then went on to refer to the "extremely delicate subject" of "the respect due to the human embryo, which should always be born from an act of love and be treated as a person. Scientific and technological progress in the field of bioethics becomes a threat when man loses the sense of his own limitations and, in effect, aims to take the place of God the Creator." In this context, he recalled Pope Paul VI's Encyclical "Humanae vitae," affirming that "human procreation must always be the fruit of a conjugal act with its dual unitive and procreative significance."

  "'Eros, reduced to pure sex," Pope Benedict continued, quoting his own Encyclical "Deus caritas est," becomes "a commodity, a mere thing to be bought and sold, or rather, man himself becomes a commodity. ... Here we are actually dealing with a debasement of the human body.' Yet thanks to God, many people, especially the young, are rediscovering the value of chastity, which appears ever more clearly as a sure guarantee of authentic love."

  The Holy Father added: "The historical moment through which we are living requires Christian families to bear courageous and coherent witness to the fact that procreation is the fruit of love. Such a testimony will not fail to encourage politicians and legislators to safeguard the rights of the family. We know that there are increasing juridical measures authorizing so-called 'de facto' unions which, while refusing the obligations of marriage, still wish to enjoy the same rights. Moreover, at times it is even sought to arrive at a new definition of marriage, legalizing homosexual unions and giving them the right to adopt children."

  The Pope concluded his address with an invitation to all dioceses to send delegations to participate in the Fifth World Meeting of Families, due to be held in July in Valencia, Spain."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 13, 2006 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received the Letters of Credence of Valentin Bozhilov, the new Bulgarian ambassador to the Holy See. The Pope opened his address to the diplomat with a reference to the people affected by recent flooding in the country, and called on the international community to help them.

  Then, quoting words from the ambassador's own speech, the Holy Father highlighted the fact that Sts. Cyril and Methodius, "the first evangelizers of Bulgaria, still represent a model for dialogue between cultures," because thanks to them "the Good News of Christ reached the inhabitants of central and Eastern Europe in their own language. Thus, a new culture arose and - nourished by the Gospel and by Christian tradition - developed through liturgy, legislation and institutions until it became the common heritage of all the Slavs." These two saints, "overcoming the rivalry and dissention of their time, show us the way to dialogue and unity."

  "Your country," the Pope told the new ambassador, "is now preparing to enter the European Union. Because of their history and culture, the Bulgarian people ... are called to play an important role in the task of restoring to our continent that spiritual impulse it so often lacks." On this subject, Benedict XVI highlighted the role of young people, "whose noble aspirations become clear during great occasions, such as World Youth Days, but with difficulty find space in our societies which are too concentrated on consumption and material goods."

  Bulgaria, said Pope Benedict, "will know how to make its own special contribution to the common edifice. In this way, that edifice will not simply become one big market for exchanging material goods, ... but also a place with a soul and an authentic spiritual dimension reflecting the heritage of so many witnesses from the past, and a land in which the life and creativity that mould future Europeans can flower."

  "In an uncertain and turbulent world such as our own, Europe can become a witness and messenger of the vital dialogue between cultures and religions. The history of the old continent, deeply marked by divisions and fratricidal wars but also by efforts to overcome them, invites Europe to undertake this mission in order to respond to the hopes of so many men and women who still aspire, in many countries of the world, to development, democracy and religious freedom."

  "The Holy See ... does not cease to act in order to promote ... true dialogue between nations and between religious leaders. In the first place, this must involve a diminution of violence which in our times is spreading dangerously, and the demolition of the walls of ignorance and mistrust which can engender violence."

  "Because Europe cannot close in on itself, it is also important to foment a more equal distribution of wealth in the world, and to promote true development in Africa, in order to correct the injustices arising from the current imbalance between North and South, which is one cause of tensions and threats to peace. I do not doubt that your government will make every effort to be ... a messenger of tolerance and mutual respect within the family of nations."

  The Pope concluded his address to the Bulgarian ambassador by greeting the Catholic community in Bulgaria, which holds "the precious memory of Blessed Pope John XXIII, who was an esteemed apostolic delegate to that country." And he invited all Bulgarian Catholics "to collaborate whenever possible with their brethren in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2006 (VIS) - Major Archbishop Cyril Mar Baselios Malancharuvil O.I.C. of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars, India, with the consent of the Synod of Bishops and after having consulted the Holy See, erected, in accordance with canon 85, para. 1, of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, the ecclesiastical province of Tiruvalla of the Syro-Malankars, elevating the eparchy of Tiruvalla to the status of metropolitan see and giving it as suffragans the eparchies of Bathery and Muvattupuzha. By this provision, Bishop Isaac Mar Cleemis Thottunkal of Tiruvalla becomes the first metropolitan archbishop of Tiruvalla of the Syro-Malankars. The archbishop-elect was born in Mukkoor, India in 1959, he was ordained a priest in 1986 and consecrated a bishop in 2001.

  On Saturday, May 13, it was made public that the Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Joseph Chau Ngoc Tri, pastor of Tra Kieu and member of the diocesan council, as bishop of Da Nang (area 11,690, population 2,215,000, Catholics 59,170, priests 61, religious 460), Vietnam. The bishop-elect was born in Phuoc Am, Vietnam in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1989. He succeeds Bishop Paul Nguyen Binh Tinh P.S.S., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Erected the new diocese of Moramanga, (area 12,064, population 348,170, Catholics 110,000, priests 17, religious 72) Madagascar, with territory taken from the diocese of Ambatondrazaka, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Antananarivo. He appointed Bishop Gaetano Di Pierro S.C.I., auxiliary of Ambatondrazaka, as first bishop of the new diocese.

 - Appointed Fr. Arturo Aiello of the clergy of the archdiocese of Sorrento-Castellammare di Stabia, pastor, spiritual director of the diocesan seminary and episcopal delegate for institutes of consecrated life, as bishop of Teano-Calvi (area 663, population 80,000, Catholics 80,000, priests 46, permanent deacons 8, religious 85), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Vico Equense, Italy in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1979.

 - Appointed Fr. Victor Rene Rodriguez Gomez, pro-vicar general and episcopal vicar for pastoral care of the diocese of Texcoco, Mexico as auxiliary of the same diocese (area 2,000, population 2,373,446, Catholics 2,088,633, priests 170, permanent deacons 23, religious 284). The bishop-elect was born in San Martin de las Piramides, Mexico in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1976.

 - Appointed Augustine Loorthusamy, president of SIGNIS, Malaysia, as a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and, as consultors of the same pontifical council, Marc Aellen, secretary general of SIGNIS, Switzerland, and Emilio Acerna, Italy.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Enrique Bolanos Geyer, president of the Republic of Nicaragua, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

 - Cardinal Pio Laghi, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

 - His Royal Highness Duke Carl von Wurttemberg, accompanied by an entourage.

 - Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

  On Saturday, May 13, he received in audience Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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