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Wednesday, September 20, 2006


VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father gave his assent to the canonical election carried out by the Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church, meeting on August 21, of Fr. Jose Pandarassery, vicar for the region of Malabar of the archeparchy of Kottayam, India, as auxiliary of the same archeparchy (area 560,665, population 3,595,650, Catholics 170,200, priests 214, religious 1,346). The bishop-elect was born in Ettumanoor, India, in 1961, and ordained a priest in 1987.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2006 (VIS) - Yesterday evening, Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, participated in a meeting organized by Walter Veltroni, mayor of the city of Rome. The meeting was also attended by Sami Salem, imam of the Rome mosque, and by the city's chief rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni.

  "At this difficult moment," said the cardinal, "our presence here aims to be an invitation to authentic dialogue among those who believe in the one God. The alternative route to terrorism and violence is dialogue, and this involves the recognition of differences."

  After recalling the invitation launched last Sunday by Benedict XVI "to frank and sincere dialogue with great mutual respect," the cardinal highlighted how "the need for dialogue between cultures and religions is becoming ever more deeply felt and, for this reason, the pontifical council joyfully welcomes today's initiative."

  The meeting also served to present a new magazine, "Conoscersi e convivere," the first edition of which will come out in January 2007.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2006 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square, the Pope expressed his concern over the latest news from Hungary.

  Benedict XVI told faithful from the archdioceses of Budapest and Bratislava-Trnava, that he was praying to the Lord "so that all sides may find a just and peaceful solution. Calling for the intercession of Blessed Sara Salkahazi, I impart my heartfelt apostolic blessing."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2006 (VIS) - As he announced in last Sunday's Angelus, Benedict XVI dedicated his general audience today to commenting upon his recent apostolic trip to Bavaria. The audience, held in St. Peter's Square, was attended by more than 40,000 people.

  The Pope affirmed how his journey to the land of his birth had been not just "a simple return to the past, but also a providential opportunity to look with hope to the future. The motto of my visit, 'those who believe are never alone,' was meant as an invitation to reflect upon the involvement of all the baptized in the one Church of Christ, within which we are never alone but in constant communion with God and with all the faithful."

  After recalling his stay in Munich, where he used to be archbishop, and his visit to the Marian shrine of Altotting, the Holy Father went on to refer to his meeting with students and professors of the University of Regensburg.

  "I chose the theme," he said, "of the relationship between faith and reason. In order to introduce my audience to the dramatic nature and current importance of the subject, I quoted some words from a Christian-Muslim dialogue from the 14th century in which the Christian - the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus - presented to his Muslim interlocutor, in a manner we find incomprehensibly brusque, the problem of the relationship between faith and violence.

  "This quotation, unfortunately, has lent itself to misunderstandings. However, to an attentive reader of my text it is clear that in no way did I wish to make my own the negative words pronounced by the medieval emperor, and that their polemical content does not express my personal convictions. My intentions were quite otherwise: on the basis of what Manuel II subsequently said in a positive sense ... concerning the reason that must guide us in transmitting the faith, I wished to explain that not religion and violence, but religion and reason, go together.

  "The theme of my talk was, then, the relationship between faith and reason," he added. "I wished to call for a dialogue of the Christian faith with the modern world and for dialogue between all cultures and religions. I hope that at various moments of my visit - when, for example, in Munich I underlined how it important it is to respect what is sacred for others - what emerged was my deep respect for all the great religions, and in particular for Muslims who 'worship the one God,' and with whom we are committed to promoting 'peace, liberty, social justice and moral values for the benefit of all humanity.'

  "I trust, therefore, that following the initial reactions, my words at the University of Regensburg may constitute an impulse and encouragement towards positive, even self-critical, dialogue both among religions and between modern reason and Christian faith."

  Benedict concluded his reminiscences of his Bavarian trip by recalling his meeting with clergy in the cathedral of Freising, where he was ordained a priest.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2006 (VIS) - Benedict XVI sent a telegram of condolence, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., to Mother Gabriella Bono, superior general of the Consolata Missionary Sisters, following the murder in Mogadishu, Somalia, last Sunday of Sr. Leonella Sgorbati, a member of that order. The text of the telegram is given below.

  "Informed of the tragic death of Sr. Leonella Sgorbati, barbarously murdered in Mogadishu, the Supreme Pontiff wishes to convey an expression of his closeness to your missionary institute, as well as to the relatives of the lamented religious, who joyfully performed her valuable work in the service of the Somali people, especially in favor of nascent life and in the field of healthcare education. In reasserting his firm condemnation for all forms of violence, His Holiness hopes that the blood spilt by such a faithful disciple of the Gospel may become a seed of hope to build true fraternity between peoples in reciprocal respect for the religious convictions of each. And as he raises fervent prayers for this worthy missionary sister, he imparts his comforting apostolic blessing to her consoeurs, her relatives and to everyone weeping her violent demise."

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