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Friday, November 3, 2006


VATICAN CITY, NOV 3, 2006 (VIS) - This evening, the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

 - Cardinal Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
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CARDINAL SECRETARY OF STATE TARCISIO BERTONE S.D.B., has written a Letter conveying the Holy Father's greetings to organizers of Spain's 40th Social Week, which is currently taking place in the Spanish city of Toledo. The Pope, the cardinal writes, encourages the participants "in their efforts to ... spread the Church's Social Doctrine, both in the field of culture and research, and in the conscience of everyone - individuals and groups - called to contribute to the common good according to their condition and responsibilities. This commitment has particular relevance on the 100th anniversary of the start of these meetings, under the auspices of the Holy See and of the Spanish episcopate: a very appropriate moment at which to consider the most grave and pressing social questions in ... Spanish life."

ARCHBISHOP CELESTINO MIGLIORE, HOLY SEE Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York yesterday participated in a meeting of the 61st session of the U.N. General Assembly dedicated to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). "It is a sad fact," said the nuncio in his English-language talk, "that the international community has failed to engage the Israelis and Palestinians in significant and substantive dialogue along with dispute resolution in order to bring stability and peace to both. ... Solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains the key to a series of questions affecting the whole Middle East, without going into the consequences for the wider world."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 3, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict XVI travelled to Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University. On arrival, he visited the chapel for an interval of prayer, then moved on to the university's covered courtyard where he met with professors, students and benefactors.

  After greetings from the university rector, Fr. Gianfranco Ghirlanda S.J., the students' representative, Fr. Bryan Lobo S.J., and the secretary general, Luigi Allena, the Pope delivered his address.

  In opening his remarks, the Pope recalled how in 1972 he was invited to teach a course on the Blessed Eucharist, and he reminded professors and students that "the effort of study and teaching, in order to be meaningful with regard to the Kingdom of God, must be supported by the theological virtues. The immediate objective of theological science, in its various aspects, is God Who revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, God with a human face."

  "Today," he continued, "we cannot fail to take account of the confrontation with secular culture, which in many parts of the world tends ... not only to deny all signs of God's presence in the life of society and of individuals, but, with various means that disorient and confuse man's correct understanding, seeks to undermine his capacity to listen to God.

  "Nor can we ignore," he added, "relations with other religions." Such relations "are constructive only if they avoid all ambiguities that in any way weaken the essential contents of Christian faith in Christ, the only Savior of all mankind, and in the Church, a necessary sacrament for the salvation of all humanity."

  Other human sciences such as psychology, social science and communications, "precisely because they concern human beings, cannot omit a reference to God. Indeed, man, both in his interior and exterior aspects, cannot be fully understood if he is not recognized as being open to transcendence."

  He continued: "Deprived of his reference to God, man cannot respond to the fundamental questions that disturb, and always will disturb, his heart; questions that concern the aim and, hence, the meaning of existence. ... Man's destiny, without reference to God, cannot but be the desolation of anguish that leads to desperation. Only with reference to God-Love, revealed in Jesus Christ, can man discover the meaning of his life, and live in hope, even while experiencing the evils that injure his personal life and the society in which he lives. Hope ensures that man does not close himself in a stagnant and sterile nihilism, but opens himself to generous commitment in the society in which he lives in order to improve it."

  Highlighting the fact that the integral formation of young people "is one of the traditional forms of the apostolate of Company of Jesus," the Holy Father recalled how the university's statutes and general regulations are currently being renewed, in order, he said, "to define the identity of the Gregorian University more clearly, facilitating the preparation of the most appropriate academic programs for carrying out its mission."

  "As an ecclesial pontifical university, this academic institution is committed to 'sentire in Ecclesia et cum Ecclesia.' This is a commitment that arises from love for the Church, our Mother and Bride of Christ."

  Following the ceremony and before returning to the Vatican, the Pope visited the "Matteo Ricci" congress center where he greeted the religious community of Jesuits.


VATICAN CITY, NOV 2, 2006 (VIS) - Following press comments concerning the possible absence of Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during the Holy Father's forthcoming visit to Turkey from November 28 to December 1, the Holy See Press office today released the following declaration:

  "It should be specified that the Holy See had already been informed - during the course of preparations for the trip - about the overlap with the prime minister's important engagement at the NATO summit meeting in Latvia. The Holy See had also been informed that the head of the government would try to be present in Turkey to meet the Holy Father but could not guarantee being able to do so, and that if he were absent, he would be represented by another important government figure: the vice prime minister."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 1, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Armando Martin Gutierrez F.A.M., formator for the Congregation of the Sons of Merciful Love in the archdiocese of Fermo, Italy, as bishop of Bacabal (area 15,867, population 494,564, Catholics 454,958, priests 27, religious 62), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Madrid, Spain in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1979.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 1, 2006 (VIS) - Before praying the Angelus today with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI made some brief remarks dedicated to the Solemnity of All Saints, which falls today, and to tomorrow's commemoration of All Souls. Two celebrations, he said, "that give us a unique opportunity to meditate upon eternal life."

  The Pope went on to ask: "Does modern man still expect this eternal life, or does he feel it to be part of a mythology that has now been left behind? In our times, more than in the past, people are so absorbed by the things of the world that sometimes it is difficult to think of God as a protagonist of history and of our own lives. Yet human existence, by its very nature, tends towards something greater, something that transcends it. The human thirst for justice, for truth, and for complete happiness cannot be suppressed.

  "Faced with the enigma of death," he added, "many people have the desire and hope of seeing their loved ones in the hereafter," and believe in "a final judgement that re-establishes justice, hoping for a definitive encounter in which each is given his due."

  For Christians, Pope Benedict explained, "eternal life" does not just indicate a life that lasts forever, "but a new quality of existence, fully immersed in the love of God, that frees us from evil and death and places us in endless communion with all our brothers and sisters who participate in the same Love. Thus, eternity can already be present at the center of earthly and temporal life when the soul, through grace, is joined to God, its ultimate foundation."

  "Let us meditate upon these truths with our souls turned towards our ultimate and definitive destination, which gives meaning to daily life," he concluded. "Let us revive the saints' joyous sensation of communion, and allow ourselves to be attracted by them towards the goal of our existence: the meeting face to face with God."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 1, 2006 (VIS) - Today, Solemnity of All Saints, Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in the Vatican Basilica.

  In his homily he highlighted the fact that "saints are not an exclusive caste of the chosen few, but a countless multitude towards whom today's liturgy encourages us to direct our gaze. That multitude contains not only officially-recognized saints, but the baptized from every age and nation who have sought to enact divine will with love and faithfulness."

  "Contemplating the shining example of the saints," said the Holy Father, "awakens within us the great desire to be like them: happy to live near God, in His light, in the great family of the friends of God. ... This is the vocation of us all, clearly reiterated by Vatican Council II, and today solemnly brought to our attention once again."

  "In order to be saints," he continued, "it is not necessary to accomplish extraordinary actions and works, nor to possess exceptional charisms. ... What is above all necessary is to listen to Jesus and then to follow Him without losing heart in the face of difficulties."

  "The experience of the Church shows that all forms of sanctity, though following different paths, always pass along the way of the cross, the way of self-renouncement. The biographies of the saints describe men and women who, compliant to the divine plan, at times faced indescribable trials and suffering, persecutions and martyrdom."

  "For us, the example of the saints is an encouragement to follow the same footsteps and experience the joy of those who entrust themselves to God; because the only true cause of sadness and unhappiness for mankind is to remain distant from Him."

  Sanctity, said the Holy Father, "requires a constant effort, but it is a possibility for everyone because, more than being the work of man it is, primarily, a gift of God, thrice Holy."

  "In Christ," he concluded, "God gave us all of Himself, and He calls us to a personal and profound relationship with Him. Thus, the greater our intimacy with Jesus, and the more united to Him we are, the more we enter into the mystery of divine sanctity. We discover that we are loved by Him with an infinite love, and this encourages us in turn to love our brothers and sisters. Loving always involves an act of self-renouncement, the 'loss of self', and it is precisely for this reason that it makes us happy."
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