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Monday, September 25, 2006


VATICAN CITY, SEP 25, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences three prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Tarcisius Gervazio Ziyaye of Blantyre.

    - Bishop Peter Martin Musikuwa of Chikwawa.

    - Bishop Remi Joseph Gustave Sainte-Marie M. Afr., of Dedza.

  On Saturday, September 23, he received in audience Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka, president emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 25, 2006 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff made public today the calendar of celebrations to be presided over by the Holy Father in the month of October 2006:

- Sunday, 15: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 10 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, canonization of Blesseds Rafael Guizar Valencia, Filippo Smaldone, Rosa Venerini, Theodore Guerin..

- Thursday, 19: At 4 p.m. in the Bentegodi Stadium of Verona, Italy, Eucharistic celebration for the 4th National Ecclesial Meeting of the Italian Church.


- Sunday, 8: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 4 p.m. in the Roman amphitheater of Fiesole, Italy, beatification of Servant of God Maria Teresa di Gesu, nee Maria Scrilli.

- Sunday, 22: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 5 p.m. in the cathedral of Bilbao, Spain, beatification of Servant of God Margarita Maria Lopez de Maturana.

- Sunday, 29: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 2.30 p.m. in the cathedral of Speyer, Germany, beatification of Servant of God Paul Josef Nardini.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 25, 2006 (VIS) - This morning in the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI received Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, and representatives from Muslim-majority countries that maintain diplomatic links with the Holy See.

  Participating in the meeting were heads of mission from Kuwait, Jordan, Pakistan, Qatar, Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lebanon, Yemen, Egypt, Iraq, Senegal, Algeria, Morocco, Albania, the Arab League, Syria, Tunisia, Libya, Iran and Azerbaijan. Also present were 14 members of the Islamic Council of Italy and representatives from the Italian Islamic Cultural Center and the Office of the World Muslim League.

  Following a brief greeting by Cardinal Poupard, Benedict XVI explained how he had called the meeting "in order to strengthen the bonds of friendship and solidarity between the Holy See and Muslim communities throughout the world."

  "I should like to reiterate today all the esteem and the profound respect that I have for Muslim believers," he continued in his French-language address.

  "I have had occasion, since the very beginning of my pontificate, to express my wish to continue establishing bridges of friendship with the adherents of all religions, showing particular appreciation for the growth of dialogue between Muslims and Christians."

  "In a world marked by relativism and too often excluding the transcendence and universality of reason, we are in great need of an authentic dialogue between religions and between cultures, capable of assisting us, in a spirit of fruitful cooperation, to overcome all the tensions together.

  "Continuing, then, the work undertaken by my predecessor Pope John Paul II," he added, "I sincerely pray that the relations of trust which have developed between Christians and Muslims over several years, will not only continue, but will develop further in a spirit of sincere and respectful dialogue, based on ever more authentic reciprocal knowledge which, with joy, recognizes the religious values that we have in common and, with loyalty, respects the differences.

  "Inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue," the Pope continued, "is a necessity for building together this world of peace and fraternity ardently desired by all people of good will. In this area, our contemporaries expect from us an eloquent witness to show all people the value of the religious dimension of life.

  "Likewise, faithful to the teachings of their own religious traditions, Christians and Muslims must learn to work together, as indeed they already do in many common undertakings, in order to guard against all forms of intolerance and to oppose all manifestations of violence. As for us, religious authorities and political leaders, we must guide and encourage them in this direction."

  Benedict XVI then highlighted how "the lessons of the past" must "help us to seek paths of reconciliation, in order to live with respect for the identity and freedom of each individual, with a view to fruitful co-operation in the service of all humanity. As Pope John Paul II said in his memorable speech to young people at Casablanca in Morocco: 'Respect and dialogue require reciprocity in all spheres, especially in that which concerns basic freedoms, more particularly religious freedom. They favor peace and agreement between peoples'."

  The Holy Father concluded his address by expressing his profound conviction "that in the current world situation it is imperative that Christians and Muslims engage with one another in order to address the numerous challenges that present themselves to humanity, especially those concerning the defense and promotion of the dignity of the human person and of the rights ensuing from that dignity. When threats mount up against people and against peace, by recognizing the central character of the human person and by working with perseverance to see that human life is always respected, Christians and Muslims manifest their obedience to the Creator, Who wishes all people to live in the dignity that He has bestowed upon them."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, after praying the Angelus at Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father recalled that next Thursday is World Maritime Day, and he invited everyone to pray for men and women of the sea, and their families.

  "I thank the Lord," he said, "for the work of the Apostleship of the Sea, which for many years has offered human and spiritual support to those who live this difficult and challenging way of life. I particularly welcome the recent initiatives taken by the International Maritime Organization to contribute to the fight against poverty and hunger."

  Going on then to address bishops from various countries, who are participating in an ecumenical congress being organized by the Focolari Movement, Pope Benedict said: "I am delighted at the special efforts you put into the service of full unity among Christians, and I wish every success to the diocesan communities entrusted to your care."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2006 (VIS) - The "logic of Christianity" was the central theme of Benedict XVI's reflections before praying the Angelus today with pilgrims gathered in the internal courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo.

  The Holy Father quoted today's Gospel reading in which Jesus announces to His disciples, for the second time, His passion, death and resurrection. The evangelist Mark, said the Pope, "highlights the strong contrast between Jesus' mentality and that of the twelve Apostles, who not only do not understand the Master's words and refuse the idea that He may die, but discuss among themselves which of them is 'the greatest.'

  "Jesus patiently explains His logic to them," the Holy Father added, "the logic of love that is service even unto the giving of self. ... This is the logic of Christianity, which responds to the truth of man created in God' image, and at the same time contrasts man's egoism, a consequence of original sin. All human beings are attracted by love - which in the final analysis is God Himself - but often mistake the concrete ways to express that love. And thus from a tendency that in its origins is positive, though polluted by sin, evil intentions and actions can arise."

  Pope Benedict went on to recall the words of the Letter of James: "For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy. ... And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."

  He concluded: "these words make us think of the witness of so many Christians who ... dedicate their lives to the service of others for the sake of the Lord Jesus, working as servants of love and ... 'artisans' of peace. Sometimes, some of them are asked for the supreme witness of blood, as happened a few days ago to the Italian religious, Sr. Leonella Sgorbati, who fell a victim to violence. This sister, who for many years had worked serving the poor and defenseless of Somalia, died pronouncing the word 'forgiveness.' This is the most authentic Christian witness, a peaceful sign marking the victory of love over hatred and evil."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 23, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop James Patrick Green, apostolic nuncio to South Africa, Namibia and Lesotho, and apostolic delegate to Botswana, as apostolic nuncio to Swaziland.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 23, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy See Press Office released the following communique:

  "With great sadness the Holy See has learned the news that the execution of Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva and Marinus Riwu has been carried out. The men were held responsible for violence in Poso, Indonesia, in 2000.

  "On this matter, the Secretariat of State has repeatedly intervened with the Indonesian authorities to ask, in the Holy Father's name, for a gesture of clemency in favor of the three condemned men. Apart from the telegram published on August 12, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, then secretary of State, sent the Indonesian head of State Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, two letters, one on December 5, 2005 and another on March 7, 2006. Further steps were taken through the Indonesian embassy to the Holy See on December 13, 2005, and on February 14 and September 20, 2006.

  "At a purely humanitarian level - inspired by the Catholic Church's well-known stance on the death penalty, and bearing in mind the circumstances of this painful case - the Holy See, through its interventions, aimed to contribute to the efforts being made in favor of the process of reconciliation in Indonesia, and to the traditional peaceful coexistence of members of different religions, which it is hoped will continue to distinguish that great country."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 23, 2006 (VIS) - This morning in Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father received 98 bishops from 44 countries on four continents. The prelates have been participating a course of "aggiornamento" organized annually by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the prefect of which is Cardinal Ivan Dias.

  In his address, the Pope dwelt upon the efforts that have to be made to ensure that the announcement of the Gospel reaches everyone, and upon the need to evangelize cultures and "encourage sincere and open dialogue with one and all, so that together we can build a more fraternal and united humanity.

  "Only when driven by the love of Christ," he added, "is it possible to bring to completion this apostolic labor, which demands the intrepid courage of those who, for the Lord's sake, do not fear even persecution and death." On this subject, he recalled the "heroic witnesses to the Gospel" of previous centuries, as well as the recent sacrifice of "Sr. Leonella Sgorbati, missionary sister of the Consolata, barbarously murdered in Mogadishu, Somalia," on September 17.

  Benedict XVI told his audience that in order to be good pastors, they had to set an example in all fields of life. It is likewise vital, he said, "that you give primary importance in your episcopal ministry to prayer and to the incessant striving for sanctity. It is also important that you concern yourselves with the serious formation of seminarians and with the permanent 'aggiornamento' of priests and catechists."

  He went on: "Maintaining the unity of the faith in the diversity of its cultural expressions is another precious service required of you. ... This means that you must remain united to your flock, following the example of Christ the Good Shepherd, and that the flock must always remain united to you. As sentinels of the People of God, avoid divisions with firmness and courage, especially when they are due to ethnic or socio-cultural reasons. They damage the unity of the faith and undermine the announcement and witness of the Gospel of Christ."

  After expressing his joy at "the continual flowering of vocations to the priesthood and the religious life," in many of their churches, the Pope called on the prelates to ensure that seminaries have "a sufficient number of formators, chosen and trained with care, who must first and foremost be examples and models for the seminarians. ... It is upon the training of future priests and of all other pastoral care workers, especially catechists, that the future of your communities and of the Universal Church depends."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 23, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict XVI received prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Chad, who have just completed their five-yearly "ad limina" visit. In his French-language talk to them, the Pope reminded the bishops how, "in the image of Christ the Good Shepherd," they have been sent "to be missionaries of the Good News," and he encouraged them to continue this task "with faithfulness and courage."

  "Through the proclamation of the Gospel," he said, "guide your communities to the meeting with the Lord, helping them to bear witness to their hope and contributing to the foundation of a more just society based on universal reconciliation and unity. The regular participation of the faithful in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, will give them the strength to follow Christ, and thus they will feel the need to share with their brothers and sisters their joy at meeting the Lord."

  The Pope then went on to refer to priests and to their "difficult but gratifying mission of announcing the Gospel and serving the people of God." He highlighted how "friendship with Christ requires a constant and joyful search for communion of thought, will and action with Him, in humble and faithful obedience," and he prompted the bishops to concern themselves "with the spiritual life of priests, encouraging them to remain faithful to the rule of priestly life, which will help them to conform their lives to the call they received from the Lord."

  "Among the pastoral challenges you are facing," he continued, "is that of proclaiming the integral truth of marriage and the family. It is, in fact, of primordial importance to show how the institution of marriage contributes to the real development of people and of society, and ensures the true dignity, equality and freedom of men and women, as well as the human and spiritual development of children."

  In this context, "the solid formation of young people will favor the renewal of the pastoral care of families and will contribute to overcoming the social, cultural and economic difficulties which are, for many faithful, an obstacle to Christian marriage. May the young people of your country, while preserving the essential values of the African family, welcome into their lives the beauty and grandeur of Christian marriage which, in its uniqueness, comprehends the faithful and indissoluble love of the spouses."

  "Charity work, the display of love to others rooted in the love of God, has an important place in the pastoral activities of your dioceses," the Holy Father observed. And he expressed his gratitude to the male and female religious involved in this field, affirming that, "while they promote true solidarity with the needy without distinction, they must not forget the specifically ecclesial nature of their activities, and must reinforce their awareness of being credible witnesses of Christ."

  "Strengthening fraternity between the different communities of which the nation is composed is an objective requiring everyone's commitment," he said, "so as to protect the country from confrontations that lead to new outbreaks of violence. Recognizing the dignity of each individual, the identity of each human and religious group, and their freedom to practice their religion, is part of the shared values of peace and justice which everyone must promote, and is a field in which the leaders of society must play a leading role."

  The Holy Father concluded his talk by expressing his joy for the fact that in Chad "relations between Christians and Muslims are generally good, above all thanks to the search for greater reciprocal understanding. I encourage you, then, to continue this collaboration in a spirit of sincere dialogue and mutual respect."
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