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Wednesday, December 13, 2006


VATICAN CITY, DEC 13, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Zamora, Mexico, presented by Bishop Carlos Suarez Cazares, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Fr. Wilfredo Pino Estevez of the clergy of the archdiocese of Camaguey, Cuba, episcopal vicar and pastor, as bishop of Guantanamo-Baracoa (area 6,565, population 512,555, Catholics 183,086, priests 10, permanent deacons 5, religious 16), Cuba. The bishop-elect was born in Camaguey in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1975. He succeeds Bishop Carlos Jesus Patricio Baladron Valdes, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Msgr. Jorge Enrique Serpa Perez, rector of the major seminary of San Cristobal de La Habana, Cuba, as bishop of Pinar del Rio (area 13,500, population 1,888,000, Catholics 811,844, priests 24, religious 38), Cuba. The bishop-elect was born in Santa Clara, Cuba in 1942 and ordained a priest in 1968. He succeeds Bishop Jose Siro Gonzalez Bacallao, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the eparchy of Sao Joao Batista em Curitiba of the Ukrainians, Brazil, presented by Bishop Efraim Basilio Krevey O.S.B.M., in accordance with canon 210 para. 1 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Valdomiro Koubetch O.S.B.M.

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of New Orleans, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Dominic Carmon S.V.D., upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Shelton Joseph Fabre of the clergy of the archdiocese of Baton Rouge, U.S.A., pastor of the parish of the Sacred Heart, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of New Orleans (area 10,898, population 1,361,488, Catholics 490,898, priests 413, permanent deacons 189, religious 1,020), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in New Road, U.S.A. in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1989.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 13, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today released the following communique:

  "Today Wednesday, December 13, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received Ehud Olmert, prime minister of Israel. Subsequently, the prime minister went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti and Msgr. Pietro Parolin, respectively secretary and under-secretary for Relations with States.

  "In the course of the discussions, attention turned to the matter of peace in the Middle East, and to questions regarding the position of the Catholic community in Israel, also in view of the forthcoming Christmas celebrations."
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 13, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father's Message for the 15th World Day of the Sick was made public at midday today. The event is due to be celebrated in Seoul, South Korea on February 11, 2007, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

  In his Message, published in English and dated December 8, the Holy Father writes that "despite the advances of science, a cure cannot be found for every illness. ... Many millions of people in our world still experience insanitary living conditions and lack access to much-needed medical resources, often of the most basic kind, with the result that the number of human beings considered 'incurable' is greatly increased."

  After highlighting the "need to promote policies which create conditions where human beings can bear even incurable illnesses and death in a dignified manner," Benedict XVI dwells upon the necessity "to stress once again the need for more palliative care centers which provide integral care, offering the sick the human assistance and spiritual accompaniment they need. This is a right belonging to every human being, one which we must all be committed to defend."

  "The Church, following the example of the Good Samaritan, has always shown particular concern for the infirm. ... Many individuals - health care professionals, pastoral agents and volunteers - and institutions throughout the world are tirelessly serving the sick, in hospitals and in palliative care units, on city streets, in housing projects and parishes."

  The Pope encouraged people suffering from incurable and terminal diseases "to contemplate the sufferings of Christ crucified. ... Trust that your sufferings, united to those of Christ, will prove fruitful for the needs of the Church and the world."

  "Through her priests and pastoral workers, the Church wishes to assist you and stand at your side, helping you in your hour of need, and thus making present Christ's own loving mercy towards those who suffer."
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 13, 2006 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica this morning, the Holy Father met with faithful from dioceses in the Italian region of Calabria, accompanied by their bishops who are in the process of completing their "ad limina" visit. Also present was a group of Italian students. Afterwards, the Holy Father went to the Paul VI Hall for his weekly general audience.

  In a brief greeting to the faithful gathered in the basilica, the Holy Father said that the Church in Calabria must continue "her evangelizing mission, more urgent than ever even in our own times, in order to face the current cultural, social and religious challenges. From the Gospel, courageously draw the light and strength to promote the authentic moral, social and economic renewal of your region. Be joyful witnesses of Christ and tireless builders of His Kingdom of justice and peace.

  In conclusion, the Pope thanked the region of Calabria which this year has donated the Christmas tree to adorn St. Peter's Square. The tree is due to be erected today.

  In the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father's catechesis focused on Sts. Timothy and Titus, two of St. Paul's closest associates. Benedict XVI recalled how Timothy, a "pastor of great importance," was the first bishop of Ephesus, while Titus, whom Paul defined as "my true child in a common faith," was bishop of Crete.

  These two men, said the Holy Father, tell us that Paul, the archetypal Apostle, "did not do everything alone, but relied upon trusted individuals to share his labors and responsibilities."

  The Pope highlighted the "willingness" of Timothy and Titus "to take on various tasks, which often involved representing Paul in difficult circumstances. Thus they teach us," he added, "to serve the Gospel generously, knowing that this involves a service to the Church herself."

  Pope Benedict XVI quoted St. Paul's words in his Letter to Titus, where the Apostle exhorts his helper to remain faithful to the true doctrine: "'I desire you to insist on these things so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men.'

  "Through a solid commitment on our part," the Pope concluded, "we can and must discover the truth of these words and, precisely in this period of Advent, be rich in good works, thus opening the door of the world to Christ, our Savior."
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 13, 2006 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, the Holy See Press Office released the following declaration.

  "With reference to the conference taking place in Tehran, the Holy See re-states its own position, already expressed in the document of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews: 'We remember, a reflection on the Shoah.'

  "Last century witnessed the attempt to exterminate the Jewish people, with the consequent killing of millions of Jews of all ages and social categories, simply for the fact of belonging to that people. The Shoah was an immense tragedy to which no one can remain indifferent.

  "The Church approaches with deep respect and great compassion the experience suffered by the Jewish people during the Second World War. The memory of those terrible events must remain as a warning to consciences, in order to eliminate conflicts, respect the legitimate rights of all peoples, and press for peace in truth and in justice.

  "This position was affirmed by Pope John Paul II at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem on March 23, 2000, and repeated by His Holiness Benedict XVI on his visit to the concentration camp of Auschwitz on May 28, 2006."
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