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Wednesday, December 6, 2006


VATICAN CITY, DEC 6, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Stanislaw Wojciech Wielgus of Plock, as metropolitan archbishop of Warsaw (area 3,350, population 1,533,600, Catholics 1,439,600, priests 1,076, religious 1,020), Poland. The archbishop-elect was born in Wierzchowiska, Poland in 1939, he was ordained a priest on 1962 and consecrated a bishop in 1999. He succeeds Cardinal Jozef Glemp, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Erected the new diocese of Sao Jose dos Pinhais (area 7,172, population 649,556, Catholics 497,454, priests 58, religious 165), Brazil, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Curitiba, making it a suffragan of the same metropolitan church. He appointed Bishop Ladislau Biernaski C.M., auxiliary of Curitiba, as first bishop of the new diocese.

 - Appointed as ordinary members of the Pontifical Academy for Life: Bishop Daniel Nlandu Mayi, auxiliary and vicar general of the archdiocese of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo; John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, U.S.A.; Alejandro Cesar Serani Merlo, professor of neurology and bioethics at the faculty of medicine and surgery of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile; and Monica Lopez Barahona, dean of the faculty of bio-sciences at the "Francisco de Vitoria" University of Madrid, Spain.
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THE PREFECTURE OF THE PONTIFICAL HOUSEHOLD has announced that the sermons for Advent 2006 will take place in the Vatican's "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel on December 15 and 22 on the theme: "Learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart. The Evangelical Beatitudes." According to a note from the prefecture, "the Beatitudes are a spiritual self-portrait of Jesus." This year, the focus will be on the Beatitudes of the persecuted and the meek "particularly appropriate to the liturgical spirit of Advent, and necessary to the Church in her current historical situation." The sermons will be delivered by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap., preacher of the pontifical household.

AT 11 A.M. ON MONDAY, DECEMBER 11, IN THE JOHN PAUL II HALL of the Holy See Press Office, a press conference will be held to present the recent restoration work on the sarcophagus of St. Paul in the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls. Participating in the conference will be Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, archpriest of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, Giorgio Filippi, archeologist, and Pier Carlo Visconti, an official from the administration of the basilica.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 6, 2006 (VIS) - On Monday afternoon, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, participated in the 14th ministerial council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The meeting was held in Brussels, Belgium, on December 4 and 5, and attended by foreign ministers of all States participants in the OSCE.

  In his address, Archbishop Mamberti expressed the hope that the meeting "would strengthen and implement the 'acquis' of the OSCE, refining the instruments at its disposal in order to attain the final goal: peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic zone through prosperous and safe societies that promote the dignity of human beings and recognize their fundamental religious dimension."

  "The Holy See," the archbishop went on, "is most appreciative of the documents that aim to intensify the struggle against human trafficking, with an approach that focuses on victims. The scourge of the sexual exploitation of children, often associated with human trafficking, calls for special action. For her part, the Catholic Church will not fail to arouse the world's conscience concerning the magnitude and seriousness of these scourges."

  After highlighting how the Holy See is dedicating particular attention to the question of tolerance, Archbishop Mamberti asked: "How can religions authoritatively and effectively promote respect and understanding if they themselves are victims of stereotyping and prejudice?" In this context, he recalled how in one area of the OSCE, a Catholic priest has been murdered and various Christians have been victims of violence and aggression.

  Recalling the words of Benedict XVI on his recent apostolic trip to Turkey - "recognition of the positive role of religions within the fabric of society can and must impel us to explore more deeply their knowledge of man and to respect his dignity" - the prelate concluded: "The Holy See hopes that such recognition and such respect may appear openly and honestly in the work of the OSCE and its institutions, as well as in the field of tolerance."
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 6, 2006 (VIS) - Today's general audience was celebrated in two locations, first in the Vatican Basilica in the presence of faithful from various Italian cities, then in the Paul VI Hall with pilgrims from other countries.

  In the basilica, the Holy Father addressed a special greeting to faithful from dioceses in the Italian region of Lazio, come to Rome in the company of their bishops who are currently completing their "ad limina" visit. "I encourage you," he told them, "to intensify your life of faith, bearing in mind the guidelines that emerged recently from the meeting of the Italian Church at Verona."

  "I am certain that courageous evangelizing activity," Benedict XVI continued, "will bring about the longed-for renewal of Catholic commitment in society, also in Lazio. The primary aim of evangelization is to indicate in Jesus Christ the Savior of all men and women. Never tire from entrusting yourselves to Him and announcing Him in your family lives and in all environments. This is what people, even today, expect from the Church."

  The Holy Father then moved from the Vatican Basilica to the Paul VI Hall where the rest of the pilgrims were awaiting his arrival. His catechesis today was dedicated to his recent apostolic trip to Turkey which took place from November 28 to December 1.

  "The Pope's journeys also contribute to the accomplishment his mission," began Benedict XVI, a mission he described as being divided into "concentric circles." In the innermost circle, he explained, "Peter's Successor confirms Catholics in the faith, in the intermediate circle he meets other Christians, and in the outermost circle he addresses non-Christians and humanity entire."

  Part of this latter circle, the Holy Father went on, was the first day of his journey to Turkey, when he met with the civil authorities. These meetings were "a very important part of my visit, above all because Turkey is a country with a very big Muslim majority, but regulated by a constitution affirming the laicism of the State. Consequently, the country is emblematic of the great challenge facing the world today: on the one hand ... rediscovering the reality of God and the public importance of religious faith and, on the other, guaranteeing that the expression of faith remains free, repudiating all forms of violence and not degenerating into fundamentalism."

  The Pope recalled how, during his trip, he had stressed the importance of "joint Christian and Muslim commitment ... in favor of life, peace and justice, reiterating that the distinction between the civil and religious spheres constitutes a value and that the State must guarantee ... effective freedom of worship. ... In the field of inter-religious dialogue, ... an initially unplanned gesture, but one that revealed itself as particularly significant, was my visit to the famous Blue Mosque of Istanbul. Pausing in meditation for a few minutes in that place of prayer, I addressed myself to the One Lord of heaven and earth."

  On the second day, in Ephesus, Benedict XVI recalled how, "in the 'innermost circle' of my journey, in direct contact with the Catholic community, ... in a climate of peace, we prayed for peace in the Holy Land and in the whole world."

  The "intermediate circle," that of ecumenical relations, occupied the central part of the visit. "In the footsteps of Paul VI ... and of John Paul II," Benedict XVI and the Ecumenical Patriarch His Holiness Bartholomew I renewed "the mutual commitment to continue along the path towards the re-establishment of full communion between Catholic and Orthodox. To ratify that firm intention," the Pope said, "I and the ecumenical patriarch signed a Joint Declaration, that constitutes a further stage on this journey." He also recalled how he met the patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic church, the Syro-Orthodox metropolitan and the chief rabbi of Turkey.

  The visit concluded, the Pope recalled, with a return to the "innermost circle," in other words "meeting the Catholic community ... in Istanbul's Latin Cathedral of the Holy Spirit," where he celebrated a Mass also attended by Christians of other rites, Orthodox and Protestants. "Comforted by the Word of Christ," said Pope Benedict, "we lived a renewed experience of Pentecost."

  The Holy Father concluded his memories of his trip by calling upon the Lord to help "the Turkish people, their leaders and the representatives of the various religions to build a future of peace together, so that Turkey may be a 'bridge' of friendship and fraternal collaboration between West and East."
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