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Monday, November 6, 2006


VATICAN CITY, NOV 6, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences nine prelates from the German Bishops' Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Cardinal Georg Maximilian Sterzinsky, archbishop of Berlin, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Wolfgang Weider.

    - Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg im Breisgau, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Paul Friedrich Wehrle, Rainer Klug, and Bernd Joachim Uhl.

    - Bishop Joachim Friedrich Reinelt of Dresden-Meissen, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Georg Weinhold.

    - Msgr. Hubertus Zomack, diocesan administrator of Gorlitz.
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ARCHBISHOP CELESTINO MIGLIORE, HOLY SEE permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, participated, on November 3, in the 61st session of the UN General Assembly, which was meeting to consider the "Culture of Peace." in his English-language talk, the archbishop pointed out that "peace implies a truth which is common to all peoples beyond cultural, philosophical and religious diversities. It is the idea of the dignity of every human person intimately linked to the transcendent. Thus peace will be reached once it is understood and put into practice as the realization of this shared truth, in mutual respect of cultural diversities. ... The lack of the basic truth of peace at the cultural level has undoubtedly produced devastating effects down through the years and there are still cultures and mentalities that even today deny it exists. The most dramatic example is international terrorism. The criminal designs of international terrorism rest on false cultural roots which deny the existence of a link between truth and human life. Such roots are identifiable in nihilism and in fanatical fundamentalism, which are erroneous ways of relating to truth. 'The nihilist denies the very existence of truth, while the fundamentalist claims to be able to impose it by force. Despite their different origins and cultural backgrounds, both show a dangerous contempt for human beings and human life, and ultimately for God Himself'."

ARCHBISHOP JOHN P. FOLEY, PRESIDENT of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, delivered an address at the Springtime of Faith Foundation in Rome, on November 4. Dwelling on the subject of evangelization via the communications media, Archbishop Foley indicated that "it is possible to evangelize ... not only through networks or international transmissions, ...but also through the smallest newspapers or radio stations or, now, Internet sites. ... I think that our own communication of our evident happiness in our faith, in our priesthood or in our Christian life can be one of the most powerful ways to evangelize personally and through the media."

THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE PASTORAL CARE OF Migrants and Itinerant Peoples has called a meeting of national directors for the pastoral care of tourism in Europe, being held in Rome on November 6 and 7. The theme of the meeting is: "Tourism, a transversal reality: pastoral aspects." In a talk during the opening session, Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president of the pontifical council, affirmed that as Europeans "we must affirm our roots and our Christian heritage, renewing them in the light of Vatican Council II. We must also discover how, in the future, ... to stimulate new evangelization, a new civilization of love and respect. ... Tourism is undoubtedly an appropriate instrument with which to encourage these values. Indeed, many of our monuments and works of art speak to us of a Christian Europe which, despite everything, is impregnated with the Gospel, although not, of course, only with the Gospel."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 6, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today announced that "this morning, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Laszlo Solyom, president of the Republic of Hungary, who subsequently went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.

  "The cordial discussions provided an opportunity to consider the situation in the country, with particular reference to the traditional moral and religious values of Hungarian society. Mention was made of the implementation of the 'Agreement between the Republic of Hungary and the Holy See on Financing the Activities of Public Service and other Solely Religious Activities,' in force since 1997, and of other matters concerning relations between Church and State. Finally, opinions were exchanged on the question of European integration and the Christian roots of the continent."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 6, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope received participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, headed by the president of that institution, Nicola Cabibbo. They have been meeting to consider the theme: "Predictability in Science: Accuracy and Limitations."

  Addressing his audience in English, the Holy Father observed how some people "have seen in the progress of modern science and technology one of the main causes of secularization and materialism: why invoke God's control over these phenomena when science has shown itself capable of doing the same thing?"

  "Christianity does not posit an inevitable conflict between supernatural faith and scientific progress," he stressed, recalling how "God created human beings, endowed them with reason, and set them over all the creatures of the earth." In this way, man became "the steward of creation and God's 'helper.' ... Indeed, we could say that the work of predicting, controlling and governing nature, which science today renders more practicable than in the past, is itself a part of the Creator's plan."

  "Man cannot place in science and technology so radical and unconditional a trust as to believe that scientific and technological progress can explain everything and completely fulfil all his existential and spiritual needs. Science cannot replace philosophy and revelation by giving an exhaustive answer to man's most radical questions: questions about the meaning of living and dying, about ultimate values, and about the nature of progress itself."

  Pope Benedict then went on to address the issue of a scientist's ethical responsibilities. "His conclusions must be guided by respect for truth," he said, "and an honest acknowledgment of both the accuracy and the inevitable limitations of the scientific method. Certainly this means avoiding needlessly alarming predictions when these are not supported by sufficient data or exceed science's actual ability to predict. But it also means avoiding the opposite, namely a silence, born of fear, in the face of genuine problems. The influence of scientists in shaping public opinion on the basis of their knowledge is too important to be undermined by undue haste or the pursuit of superficial publicity."

  "Our world continues to look to you and your colleagues" the Pope told his audience, "for a clear understanding of the possible consequences of many important natural phenomena. I think, for example, of the continuing threats to the environment which are affecting whole peoples, and the urgent need to discover safe, alternative energy sources available to all.

  "Scientists," he added, "will find support from the Church in their efforts to confront these issues, since the Church has received from her divine founder the task of guiding people's consciences towards goodness, solidarity and peace. Precisely for this reason she feels in duty bound to insist that science's ability to predict and control must never be employed against human life and its dignity, but always placed at its service, at the service of this and future generations."

  "The scientific method itself," the Pope warned, "has inherent limitations that necessarily restrict scientific predictability to specific contexts and approaches. Science cannot, therefore, presume to provide a complete, deterministic representation of our future and of the development of every phenomenon that it studies.

  "Philosophy and theology might make an important contribution to this fundamentally epistemological question by, for example, helping the empirical sciences to recognize a difference between the mathematical inability to predict certain events and the validity of the principle of causality, or, ... more radically, between evolution as the origin of a succession in space and time, and creation as the ultimate origin of participated being in essential Being."

  The Holy Father concluded: "At the same time, there is a higher level that necessarily transcends all scientific predictions, namely, the human world of freedom and history. Whereas the physical cosmos can have its own spatial-temporal development, only humanity, strictly speaking, has a history, the history of its freedom. Freedom, like reason, is a precious part of God's image within us, and it can never be reduced to a deterministic analysis"
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 5, 2006 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today with thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI told the faithful that he was following, with "great concern, ... news of the grave deterioration of the situation in the Gaza Strip." He also expressed his "closeness to the civilian populations suffering the consequences of acts of violence.

  "I ask you," he added, "to join me in prayer to the Almighty and Merciful God that He may enlighten the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, as well as those of nations with a particular responsibility in the region, ensuring they make every effort to put an end to bloodshed, increase humanitarian aid initiatives and favor the immediate resumption of direct and serious negotiations."

  The Holy Father then went on to address Polish pilgrims, recalling that yesterday, November 4, "we celebrated the feast of St. Charles Borromeo; an anniversary that invites us to associate the great reformer of the Church after the Council of Trent with the great implementer of the dispositions of Vatican Council II, John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla. To the Mother of God, I entrust the entire community of faithful, to whom these two pastors dedicated their lives."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 5, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, in his remarks prior to the Angelus prayer, Benedict XVI told the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square that these days following the recent commemoration of All Souls represent "a good occasion to recall our loved ones in prayer, and to reflect upon the reality of death."

  A reality, the Pope went on, that wealthy societies "often seek to remove from people's consciences, which are entirely occupied with the concerns of daily life." However, "despite all the distractions, the loss of a loved one causes us to rediscover 'the problem,' making us feel death as a real presence, radically hostile and contrary to our natural vocation to life and happiness.

  "Jesus revolutionized the meaning of death," the Holy Father added. "He did so with His teachings, but above all by facing death Himself. ... With the Spirit that cannot die - one of the Church Fathers writes - Christ killed death that kills man. In this way, the Son of God wished to share our human condition, ... and reopen it to hope."

  "Since then, death is not the same, it has been deprived, so to say, of its 'poison.' The love of God, working in Jesus, has, in fact given a new meaning to man's entire existence, also transforming death. ... Those who undertake to live like Him are freed from the fear of death, which no longer laughs scornfully like an enemy but, as St. Francis writes in his Canticle of Creatures, shows the friendly face of a sister."

  "Faith reminds us that there is no cause to be afraid of the death of the body, because it is a sleep from which we will one day be woken. True death, which we should fear, is the death of the soul, which the Apocalypse calls 'second death.' Indeed, those who die in mortal sin, unrepentant and closed in the proud refusal of God's love, exclude themselves from the kingdom of life."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 4, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, in a customary practice for the month of November, the Pope celebrated Mass at the altar of the Cathedra in the Vatican Basilica in remembrance of the cardinals, archbishops and bishops who died during the course of the last year. Members of the College of Cardinals concelebrated with the Holy Father.

  At the start of his homily, Benedict XVI recalled the names of the cardinals who died during the last twelve months: "Leo Scheffczyk, Pio Taofinu'u, Raul Francisco Primatesta, Angel Suquia Goicoechea, Johannes Willebrands, Louis-Albert Vachon, Dino Monduzzi and Mario Francesco Pompedda."

  He went on: "In order to purify the white robe received at Baptism from all blemishes and stains, the community of believers offers the Sacrifice of the Eucharist and other prayers for the souls of those whom death has called to pass from time to eternity." Praying for the deceased, he said, "is a noble practice, one that presupposes faith in the resurrection of the dead, as revealed to us by Sacred Scripture and, finally and completely, by the Gospel."

  The Pope dwelt on the fact that each of the cardinals and bishops "was called ... to put the words of the Apostle Paul - 'for me to live is Christ' - into practice and to make them his own. This vocation, received at Baptism, was strengthened in them with the Sacrament of Confirmation and with the three grades of Holy Orders, and was constantly nourished by participation in the Eucharist.

  "By this sacramental journey," he added, "their 'being in Christ' was rendered more solid and profound, to the point that death was no longer a loss - because they had already evangelically 'lost' everything for the Lord and for the Gospel - but a 'gain:' that of finally meeting Jesus, and with Him the fullness of life."

  The Holy Father concluded by asking the Lord "to enable our dear deceased brother cardinals and bishops to attain the longed-for goal. We ask this trusting in the intercession of Mary Most Holy and in the prayers of the many people who knew them in life and appreciated their Christian virtues."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 6, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Vincent M. Rizzotto, upon having reached the age limit.

  On Saturday, November 4, it was made public that he appointed Bishop Mansueto Bianchi of Volterra, Italy, as bishop of Pistoia (area 821, population 224,312, Catholics 213,400, priests 143, permanent deacons 23, religious 265), Italy. He succeeds Bishop Simone Scatizzi, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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