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Monday, April 30, 2007


VATICAN CITY, APR 30, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Timothy Costelloe S.D.B., rector of the Salesian Theological College in Melbourne, Australia, and Msgr. Peter John Elliott, of the clergy of Melbourne, episcopal vicar, as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Melbourne (area 27,194, population 3,554,000, Catholics 1,039,000, priests 584, religious 1,888). Bishop-elect Costelloe was born in East Melbourne in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1986. Bishop-elect Elliott was born in Melbourne in 1943 and ordained a priest in 1973.
NEA/.../COSTELLOE:ELLIOTT                    VIS 20070430 (90)


VATICAN CITY, APR 30, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences six prelates from the International Episcopal Conference of Sts. Cyril and Methodius:

    - Archbishop Zef Gashi S.D.B., of Bar, Montenegro.

    - Archbishop Stanislav Hocevar S.D.B., of Beograd, Serbia.

    - Bishop Janos Penzes of Subotica, Serbia.

    - Bishop Laszlo Huzsvar of Zrenjanin, Serbia.

    - Bishop Ilija Janjic of Kotor, Montenegro.

    - Bishop Djura Dzudzar, apostolic exarch for faithful of Byzantine rite in Serbia and Montenegro.

  On Saturday, April 28, he received in separate audiences:

 - Three prelates from the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Cardinal Angelo Scola, patriarch of Venice.

    - Archbishop-Bishop Cesare Nosiglia of Vicenza.

    - Bishop Giuseppe Zenti of Vittorio Veneto.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 30, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning, April 30, Albert Pintat Santolaria, president of the executive council of the Principality of Andorra, was received in audience by His Holiness Benedict XVI. The president subsequently went on the meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.

  "The principal topic of the cordial discussions was the current relations between the Catholic Church and the Principality of Andorra, and the possibility of consolidating them further. Opinions were also exchanged on the problems of young people and of education, and on questions concerning the situation in Europe."
OP/AUDIENCE PRESIDENT/ANDORRA                VIS 20070430 (120)


VATICAN CITY, APR 29, 2007 (VIS) - At midday, before praying the Regina Coeli with thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope recalled that today is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, during which "all the faithful are invited to pray especially for vocations to the priesthood and to consecrated life."

  The Holy Father referred to the fact that he had just ordained 22 deacons in the Vatican Basilica and called for all priests to be granted "the gift of perseverance, that they may continue to pray faithfully, to celebrate Mass with ever renewed devotion, to live their lives listening to the Word of God, and that day after day they may assimilate the same feelings and attitudes as Jesus the Good Shepherd.

  "We also pray," he added, "for those preparing themselves for the priestly ministry, and for formators in the seminaries of Rome, Italy and the entire world. We pray for families that, in them, the 'seed' of the call to priestly ministry may continue to nurture and ripen."

  This year, Pope Benedict continued, the theme of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is "vocation to the service of the Church as communion." All the baptized, he said, "are called to contribute to the work of salvation. In the Church there are, however, a number of vocations especially dedicated to the service of communion. The person primarily responsible for Catholic communion is the Pope, Peter's Successor and Bishop of Rome. Alongside him, custodians and masters of unity are the bishops, successors of the Apostles, assisted by priests. But consecrated persons and all the faithful are also at the service of communion.

  "In the heart of the Church as communion," he added in conclusion, "is the Eucharist: the various vocations all draw from this supreme Sacrament the spiritual strength to build ... the one ecclesial Body."
ANG/VOCATIONS:COMMUNION/...                VIS 20070430 (320)


VATICAN CITY, APR 29, 2007 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today, the fourth Sunday of Easter and the 44th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Benedict XVI presided at a Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica during which he conferred priestly ordination upon 22 deacons of the diocese of Rome.

  Eleven of the newly-ordained priests are from the Major Roman Seminary, eight from the "Redemptoris Mater" College and the other three from the Seminary of Divine Love, the "Almo Collegio Capranica," and the Seminary of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ.

  The Pope began his homily by referring to the Gospel episode of the Good Shepherd. "Christ," he said, "knows His sheep and His sheep know Him, just as the Father knows Him and He knows the Father. This is not merely intellectual knowledge but a profound personal relationship; a knowledge of the heart typical of those who love and are loved, of those who are faithful and who know that, in turn, they can trust. It is a knowledge of love by virtue of which the Shepherd invites His followers to follow Him, and that finds full expression in the gift He gives them of eternal life."

  Addressing the newly-ordained priests, the Holy Father said "may the certainty that Christ does not abandon us and that no obstacle can prevent the realization of His universal plan of salvation be for you a cause of constant consolation - even in times of difficulty - and of unshakeable hope. The goodness of the Lord is always with you and is strong.

  "The Sacrament of Holy Orders," Benedict XVI added, "makes you participants in Christ's own mission. You will be called to spread the seed of His Word, the seed that brings people to the Kingdom of God, to dispense divine mercy and to nourish the faithful at the table of His Body and His Blood. In order to be worthy ministers you must constantly nourish yourselves from the Eucharist, source and summit of Christian life.

  "In approaching the altar, your daily school of sanctity and of communion with Christ, ... you will always discover the wealth and tenderness of the love of the divine Master, Who today calls you to a more intimate friendship with Him.

  "If you listen to Him meekly, if you follow Him faithfully, you will learn to translate His love and His passion for the salvation of souls into life and pastoral ministry. Each of you will become, with Jesus' help, a good shepherd ready to give, if necessary, even your lives for Him."

  The Holy Father went on: "Despite misunderstandings and contrasts, the apostles of Christ do not lose their joy; indeed they are witnesses of the joy that arises from being with the Lord, from love for Him and for our fellows."

  At the end of his homily, the Holy Father called for prayers "so that in all parishes and Christian communities concern for vocations and the formation of priests may grow." In particular, he called upon the newly-ordained priests "to be faithful to the mission to which the Lord calls them today, and to be ready to renew every day their 'yes ' to God, their unreserved 'here I am.' And let us ask the Lord of the harvest, on this Day of Prayer for Vocations, to continue to produce many holy priests, completely dedicated to the service of Christian people."
HML/PRIESTLY VOCATIONS/...                    VIS 20070430 (580)


VATICAN CITY, APR 28, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy See Press Office released the following communique:

  "The Holy Father Benedict XVI today received in audience Valdas Adamkus, president of the Republic of Lithuania. The president subsequently went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.

  "In the course of the cordial discussions, satisfaction was expressed for the good relations that exist between the Holy See and Lithuania, the fruit of a mutual trust and of a shared desire to collaborate. The convergence of ideas and aims on the contribution the Catholic Church can make for the good of the entire nation was also noted, and the hope expressed for an ever more tangible collaboration.

  "The meeting also served for an exchange of information and ideas on the role played by Lithuania within the European Union and upon her relations with neighboring States."


VATICAN CITY, APR 28, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received participants in the extraordinary Synod of the Syrian Catholic Church, which has just concluded. The assembly, held in the Vatican from April 26 to 28 and presided, in the Holy Father's name, by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., was attended by His Beatitude Ignace Pierre VIII Abdel-Ahad, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon, and thirteen other bishops.

  In his talk to them, the Pope affirmed that he had called the extraordinary assembly in order "to revive the secular ties that bind your Church to the Apostolic See and, at the same time, to express the esteem and interest of the Bishop of Rome for each one of you, pastors of a part of the People of God that is not large but ancient and important."

  Recalling the traditional Easter readings from the Acts of the Apostles, Benedict XVI highlighted how they reveal the progress of the nascent Church "which was not always easy, but was rich in apostolic fruits. From the beginning there was no lack of external hostility and persecutions, nor of ... tensions and contrasts within the communities themselves." Yet, "despite the shadows and difficulties of various kinds which the first Christians had to face, the shining light of the Church's faith in Jesus Christ has never been extinguished."

  Pope Benedict then went on to refer to John Paul II's concern for the Oriental Churches and how the late pontiff had always invited them to "to seek unity and reconciliation;" and he reaffirmed his own "profound conviction" that "today too, as at the dawn of Christianity, each community is called to give a clear witness of fraternity."

  "Over these days," he went on, "you have reflected upon the means to overcome the obstacles that hinder the normal practice of ecclesial life. You are aware that this is necessary and even indispensable. It is required by the ministry of the Lord Who entrusted His flock to you; it is required for the good of the Syrian Catholic Church. It is required by the particular situation in which you live in the Middle East and the witness that the Catholic Churches together can give."

  "At this time, Catholic communities have to face numerous challenges all over the world" because of dangers and problems that "can obscure the values of the Gospel. As for your own Church, the violence and conflicts suffered by a part of the flock entrusted to you represent supplementary difficulties that further endanger not only peaceful coexistence, but even people's lives."

  "In such situations, it is important for the Syrian Catholic ecclesial community to announce the Gospel decisively, promoting appropriate pastoral activities to face the challenges of post-modernity, and as a shining example of unity in a fragmented world."

  The Pope concluded his talk by recalling how Vatican Council II had highlighted that the Oriental Catholic Churches "are called to play a special role in furthering the ecumenical journey." And he invited the members of the Synod "to continue with enthusiasm, trust and perseverance in the missionary activity of St. Paul, following the footsteps of St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Ephraim and the patron saints."

  After the meeting, the Pope lunched with participants in the Synod at the Vatican's "Domus Sanctae Marthae."

Friday, April 27, 2007


VATICAN CITY, APR 27, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences seven prelates from the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Lucio Soravito de Franceschi of Adria-Rovigo.

    - Bishop Giuseppe Andrich of Belluno-Feltro.

    - Bishop Angelo Daniel of Chioggia.

    - Bishop Ovidio Poletto of Concordia-Pordenone.

    - Archbishop-Bishop Antonio Mattiazzo of Padova.

    - Bishop Andrea Bruno Mazzocato of Treviso.

    - Bishop Flavio Roberto Carraro O.F.M. Cap., of Verona.

  This evening the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in audience Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 27, 2007 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at midday today, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, presented the "Lineamenta" for the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, due to be held from October 5 to 26, 2008 on the theme: "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church."

  The "Lineamenta," a document containing the draft guidelines on the theme of the forthcoming meeting, has been published in various languages including English and is composed of an introduction, three chapters and a conclusion. The text includes a questionnaire relating to the themes covered, the aim of which is to stimulate more profound reflection at all levels of the ecclesial community. Responses must be sent to the general secretariat of the Synod of Bishops before the end of November 2007.

  The introduction makes it clear that this meeting is a continuation of the last synodal assembly, which was held in 2005 on the theme: "The Eucharist, Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church." The aim of the 2008 meeting, the text reads, is to set forth "the intrinsic connection between the Eucharist and the Word of God. ... This is the Synod's underlying purpose and primary goal, namely, to fully encounter the Word of God in Jesus the Lord, present in the Sacred Scriptures and the Eucharist."

  The text of the "Lineamenta" goes on to explain that the aim of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly is "to help clarify the basic truths of Revelation as the Word of God, Divine Tradition, the Bible and the Magisterium, which prompt and guarantee an authentic and effective living of the faith; to spark an appreciation and deep love of Sacred Scriptures so that 'the faithful might have easy access' to it; to renew listening to the Word of God, in the liturgy and catechesis, specifically through 'lectio divina,' duly adapted to various circumstances; and to offer a Word of consolation and hope to the poor of the world."

  The first chapter - entitled "Revelation, the Word of God and the Church" - considers such matters as the human need for Revelation; Divine Tradition and Sacred Scripture in the Church, a single sacred deposit of the Word of God; and the demanding task of interpreting the Word of God in the Church.

  "The Word of God in the life of the Church" is the title of the second chapter of the "Lineamenta," which recalls how the Church was born and lives by the Word of God, and how the People of God draw nourishment from the Word in various ways: in the liturgy and in prayer, in evangelization and catechesis, in exegesis and in theology, and in the lives of believers.

  Chapter three - entitled "The Word of God in the Mission of the Church" - highlights how the Word of God must remain accessible to everyone at all times. "Listening to the Word of God," the text reads, "must always take into consideration its ecumenical dimension." Moreover, the Word of God is "a light for inter-religious dialogue" with the Jewish people and with those of other faiths.

  "A fervent listening to the Word," the document concludes, "is fundamental to a personal encounter with God."

  During today's press briefing Archbishop Eterovic, recalling the fact that the "Lineamenta" refer to the Vatican Council II Dogmatic Constitution "Dei Verbum," pointed out that "more than 40 years after that great conciliar document, it is time to identify, within the Universal Church, the positive results it has brought to the People of God, especially as concerns biblical renewal in the fields of liturgy, theology and catechesis."

  However, he went on, "unresolved and problematic aspects persist, for example phenomena such as ignorance concerning the doctrine of the Revelation and of the Word of God, as well as the significant detachment of many Christians from the Bible." Archbishop Eterovic also highlighted how the forthcoming synodal assembly "will have a prevalently pastoral goal."

  Msgr. Fortunato Frezza, under-secretary of the Synod of Bishops, also present at the press briefing, affirmed that the "Lineamenta" may be considered in the light of "the correct interpretation of Vatican Council II, ... its proper hermeneutics, ... its interpretation and application, as an exercise of that hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity, of the one Church which the Lord gave to us. She grows and develops in time, yet always remains the same, the one Church of the pilgrim People of God."
SE/LINEAMENTA/ETEROVIC                    VIS 20070427 (770)


VATICAN CITY, APR 27, 2007 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. announced that Benedict XVI has accepted the invitation presented recently by Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations, to visit the headquarters of that organization in New York.

  "The Pope," said Fr. Lombardi, "has accepted the invitation in general terms, and has expressed his willingness to visit the U.N. headquarters, although as yet there is no date or program for the trip."

  Servant of God John Paul II visited the U.N. headquarters in 1979, and again in 1995 for the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the organization.
OP/VISIT POPE UN/LOMBARDI                    VIS 20070427 (120)

Thursday, April 26, 2007


VATICAN CITY, APR 26, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Five prelates from the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Dino De Antoni of Gorizia.

    - Bishop Eugenio Ravignani of Trieste.

    - Archbishop Luigi Bressan of Trento.

    - Bishop Wilhelm Emil Egger O.F.M. Cap., of Bolzano-Bressanone.

    - Archbishop Pietro Brollo of Udine.

 - Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, president of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), accompanied by Cardinals Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, France, and Josip Bozanic, archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia, vice-presidents, and by Msgr. Aldo Giordano, secretary general.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 26, 2007 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at midday today, a press conference was held to present the 13th plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences which is due to be held in the Vatican from April 27 to May 1 and which has as its theme this year: "Charity and Justice in the Relations among Peoples and Nations."

  Participating in the press conference were Mary Ann Glendon, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and professor of law at Harvard University, U.S.A.; Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences; and Juan Jose Llach, counsellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and professor of economics at Austral University, Argentina.

  An English-language note regarding the theme of the forthcoming plenary was made public today. "Although it is at times a common conviction that the pursuit of charity and justice at the international level is of key importance for contemporary society, at the same time we encounter signs that are working in the opposite direction," the note reads, and goes on to list a number of "worrying recent signs of the times" such as "the re-emergence of nationalism," and signs that "economic and social convergence between developed and developing countries is still confined only to a few of this last category."

  Other "worrying signs" include the high "incidence of poverty and extreme poverty" and the fact that "multilateral institutions such as the UN, the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank ... are demonstrating signs of weakness and tiredness." Furthermore "there are now well-grounded doubts about the possibility of really implementing" the Millennium Goals of halving the number of poor people in the world by the year 2015.

  A further cause for concern is the fact that "the aid that has been given has fallen far short of the goal of allocating 0.7 percent of the GDP of developed countries to foreign aid," and "has often been inefficiently distributed and utilised." Finally, the note mentions the problem of war and terrorism highlighting how the beginning of the new century was "characterised by a notable increase in the social and moral scourge of terrorism. At the same time, the world is still afflicted on a large scale by wars between countries and wars within countries."

  The text then mentions Benedict XVI's Encyclical "Deus caritas est" as a specific source of inspiration. "In particular," the note says, the Encyclical "reminds us that the theological and human virtue of charity must preside over all of the social teaching and all of the social works of the Church and her members. ... The Pope draws our attention to the fact that this teaching is both timely and significant, 'in a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence.'

  "This," the note adds, "is why 'Deus Caritas est' has been correctly described as being in part a social encyclical. It is love (caritas) that animates the Church's care for the needy, the work of lay women and men for justice and peace in the secular sphere, and is the leavening force of the Church in society."

  "Indeed, 'Deus Caritas est' places itself in the long lineage of other social encyclicals, not only because it addresses the virtue of charity but also because it attributes primary importance to the virtue of justice." In the Encyclical, "Benedict XVI declares: 'In today's complex situation, not least because of the growth of a globalized economy, the Social Doctrine of the Church has become a set of fundamental guidelines offering approaches that are even beyond the confines of the Church'."

  "When discussing the relationship between the Church, a 'Community of Love,' and politics," says the note, "the Pope offers the strongest vision that has ever been formulated in the contemporary age on the relationship between politics and justice: 'The just ordering of society and the State is a central responsibility of politics.' Indeed, 'Justice is both the aim and the intrinsic criterion of all politics.' For the Pope, justice (and politics) is not a mere utilitarian or contractual technique but 'by its very nature has to do with ethics'."

  On the other hand, however, the Holy Father "perceives the modern danger of detaching reason from faith" when he states: "if reason is to be exercised properly, it must undergo constant purification, since it can never be completely free of the danger of a certain ethical blindness caused by the dazzling effect of power and special interests."

  The note goes on: "This critical work of faith frees reason from its limits: 'Faith enables reason to do its work more effectively and to see its proper object more clearly.' Not only the historical dimension of the meaning of justice, founded on both the Jewish and Christian traditions and the Roman and Greek inheritance, but also its contemporary meaning, derive from the constant purification that faith brings to reason: 'This is where Catholic social doctrine has its place: it has no intention of giving the Church power over the State. Even less is it an attempt to impose on those who do not share the faith ways of thinking and modes of conduct proper to faith'."

  The note concludes: "The Holy Father, in conformity with this teaching on charity and justice, thus calls for the structures of charitable service in the social context of the present day to promote the wellbeing of individuals, of peoples and of humanity."
ACAD-SS/CHARITY:JUSTICE/GLENDON            VIS 20070426 (940)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Willy Ngumbi M. Afr., formator of novices of the White Fathers at Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, as bishop of Kindu (area 82,883, population 500,000, Catholics 180,000, priests 21, religious 35), Democratic Republic of the Congo. The bishop-elect was born in Bujumbura, Burundi, in 1965 and ordained a priest in 1993.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was the annual Message to Buddhists for the Feast of Vesakh issued by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. The Message is signed by Cardinal Paul Poupard and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, respectively president and secretary of the pontifical council.

  Followers of the Theravada Buddhist tradition in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar will celebrate Vesakh, a moveable feast which marks important events in the life of Gautama Buddha, on May 2. In other countries where the Mahayana Buddhist tradition is followed (China, Japan and Korea), the events of his life are celebrated on different days.

  The Message for Vesakh 2007 - published in English, Italian and French, and entitled "Christians and Buddhists: educating communities to live in harmony and peace" - begins: "Building a community requires concrete gestures which reflect the respect for the dignity of others. ... Yet, there are people today who still need to learn about others and other people's beliefs in order to overcome prejudices and misunderstandings."

  "Education for peace is a responsibility which must be borne by all sectors of society. Of course, this starts in ordinary homes where the family, the fundamental pillar of society, strives to transmit traditional and sound values to children by a deliberate effort to inform their consciences. The younger generations deserve and indeed thrive upon value-based education which reinforces respect, acceptance, compassion and equality."

  With reference to the communications media, the Message states: "The media's power to shape minds, especially of the young, cannot be underestimated. While the irresponsible elements within it are increasingly being recognized for what they are, it is also the case that much good can be effected through quality productions and educational programs. When people working within the media exercise their moral conscience, it is possible to dispel ignorance and impart knowledge, preserve social values, and portray the transcendental dimension of life which arises from the spiritual nature of all people."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2007 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Pope reminded those present that, "by initiative of the United Nations, this week is dedicated to safety on the roads.

  "I would like," he added, "to address a word of encouragement to the public institutions that seek to maintain highways safe and to protect human life with appropriate means, and to the people who dedicate themselves to research into new technologies and strategies to reduce the many accidents on roads all over the world."

  He concluded: "As I invite people to pray for the victims, the injured and their families, it is my hope that a conscious sense of responsibility towards others may induce drivers, especially the young, to greater prudence and respect for the highway code."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2007 (VIS) - In today's general audience Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis to Origen of Alexandria, a third century historian and "one of the greatest writers" of Church history. The audience was held in St. Peter's Square in the presence of more than 25,000 people.

 Origen, said the Pope, "took up the legacy of Clement and carried it towards the future in such an innovative way as to effect an irreversible turn in the development of Christian thought. He was a true master ... and an exemplary witness of the doctrine he transmitted."

  The "irreversible turn" effected by Origen, said the Pope, substantially involved "grounding theology in the explanation of Scripture, in other words, the perfect symbiosis between theology and exegesis. Indeed, the characteristic of Origen's doctrine seems to lie in the constant invitation to pass from the reading to the spirit of Scripture in order to progress in knowledge of God.

  "This 'allegorism' - to use the words of Von Balthasar - coincided with the development of Christian dogma through the teaching the Doctors of the Church who, in one way or another, learned the lesson of Origen. Thus tradition and Magisterium, the foundation and guarantee of theological research, come together as 'Scripture enacted'."

  The Pope recalled how Origen's interests ranged from "exegesis to dogma, to philosophy, to apologetics, asceticism and mysticism" and represented "a fundamental and overall vision of Christian life."

  However, the "inspirational core" of Origen's work is "his three-level reading of the Bible." The first reading had "the aim of better identifying the text and presenting the most trustworthy edition. ... This is always the first step," said the Holy Father, "knowing what is written and knowing what historical scripture initially and intentionally meant."

  "In the second place, Origen systematically read the Bible ... minutely, broadly and profoundly," adding "philological and doctrinal notes. Finally, ... he dedicated himself to preaching the Bible, adapting himself to a truly assorted public."

  Also in his homilies, Origen "took advantage of every opportunity to recall the various dimensions of meaning of Sacred Scripture;" meanings that "assist or express a journey of growth in the faith. There is a literal meaning, but the literal meaning hides profundities that do not appear at first view."

  "This second dimension is the moral meaning: what we must do to live the Word." Finally, there is also a "spiritual meaning, in other words the unity of Scripture which, throughout, speaks of Christ. It is the Holy Spirit which helps us understand the Christological content, and so the unity of Scripture in its diversity."

  On this subject, Benedict XVI explained how in his recently-published book "Jesus of Nazareth" he had "sought to show ... this multidimensional aspect of the Word of Holy Scripture, which must first of all be respected in a historical sense." Although "this sense is transcended by Christ in the light of the Holy Spirit."

  Origen, the Pope continued, "effectively came to promote the 'Christian reading' of the Old Testament, responding brilliantly to the challenge of heretics, above all Gnostics and Marcionites who set the two Testaments against one another and even went so far as to reject the Old Testament."

  "I invite you," the Holy Father concluded, "to welcome in your hearts the teaching of this great master of the faith. He reminds us ... that the Church is renewed and rejuvenated in a prayerful reading of Scripture and a coherent life commitment. We pray to the Lord to give us today thinkers, theologians and exegetes who may discover this multidimensionality, this permanent relevance of Sacred Scripture."
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Tuesday, April 24, 2007


VATICAN CITY, APR 24, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Msgr. Konrad Zdarsa, vicar general of the diocese of Dresden-Meissen, Germany, as bishop of Gorlitz (area 9,700, population 792,824, Catholics 32,203, priests 59, permanent deacons 4, religious 84), Germany. The bishop-elect was born in Hainichen, Germany in 1944 and ordained a priest in 1974.

 - Bishop John Clayton Nienstedt of New Ulm, U.S.A., as coadjutor archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis (area 17,225, population 3,027,000, Catholics 837,000, priests 514, permanent deacons 221, religious 1,206), U.S.A. The archbishop-elect was born in Detroit, U.S.A., in 1947, he was ordained a priest in 1974, and consecrated a bishop in 1996.
NER:NEC/.../ZDARSA:NIENSTEDT                VIS 20070424 (120)


VATICAN CITY, APR 24, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was the text of a talk delivered by Msgr. Franco Follo before the executive council of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), on April 20.

  Msgr. Follo, Holy See permanent observer to UNESCO, dwelt on the importance of the authentic promotion of the dignity of women and of their participation in social life.

  "Christian faith," said the permanent observer, "nourishes the conviction that no human being, man or woman, can be denied the intrinsic value that God granted to each person," a value "that cannot be alienated. At the same time, this original dignity reminds us that all human beings must be treated as people and not as objects."

  Msgr. Follo highlighted how political and social, national and international organizations "have the duty to do everything possible to ensure that such dignity is always respected, in all the stages of a person's life. In this context, greater attention must be given to ensuring respect for women and girls, especially as concerns their physical integrity, their free decision to choose a husband, and the need for them to access education and social life."

  "Thanks to women, whose often humble and unseen activities must be supported, it will be possible to promote the family more effectively as a basic social cell, young people will learn to integrate into social networks, peace will be sought with greater intensity, and dialogue and human relationships will become factors for fraternity and solidarity at the local level. In other words," he concluded, "all of society will benefit from the vocation, the activity and the genius of women."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 24, 2007 (VIS) - On April 29, fourth Sunday of Easter and 44th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, the Pope is due to preside at a Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica during which he will confer priestly ordination upon 22 deacons from the diocese of Rome.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 24, 2007 (VIS) - Late this morning, the Holy See Press Office published the following communique on the Pope's audience with Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), president of the Palestinian Authority.

  "This morning, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, accompanied by his entourage. President Abbas then went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "In the course of the cordial discussions, attention turned to the situation in the Middle East. Particular appreciation was expressed for the commitment - thanks also to the help of the international community - to relaunch the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. Talks also dwelt upon the internal Palestinian situation with reference, among other things, to the difficulties faced by Catholics, and the value of their contribution to that society."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 24, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was the Message of Benedict XVI for the 44th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which is due to be celebrated on April 29, the fourth Sunday of Easter, and which has as its theme this year: "The vocation to the service of the Church as communion."

  The Message is dated February 10 and has been published in Spanish, English, French, Italian, German, Portuguese and Polish. Extracts from the text are given below:

  "The first Christian community was built, in its original core, when some fishermen of Galilee, having met Jesus, ... accepted His pressing invitation: 'Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men!'

  "In fact, God has always chosen some individuals to work with Him in a more direct way, in order to accomplish His plan of salvation. In the Old Testament, in the beginning, He called Abraham to form a 'great nation;' afterwards, He called Moses to free Israel from the slavery of Egypt. ... In the New Testament, Jesus, the promised Messiah, invited each of the Apostles to be with Him and to share His mission. ... The mission of the Church, therefore, is founded on an intimate and faithful communion with God.

  "The Vatican Council II Constitution 'Lumen gentium' describes the Church as 'a people made one with the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,' in which is reflected the very mystery of God. This means that the love of the Trinity is reflected in her. Moreover, thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit, all the members of the Church form 'one body and one spirit' in Christ. This people, organically structured under the guidance of its pastors, lives the mystery of communion with God and with the brethren, especially when it gathers for the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the source of that ecclesial unity for which Jesus prayed on the eve of His passion."

  "This intense communion favors the growth of generous vocations at the service of the Church: the heart of the believer, filled with divine love, is moved to dedicate itself wholly to the cause of the Kingdom. In order to foster vocations, therefore, it is important that pastoral activity be attentive to the mystery of the Church as communion; because whoever lives in an ecclesial community that is harmonious, co-responsible and conscientious, certainly learns more easily to discern the call of the Lord.

  "The care of vocations, therefore, demands a constant 'education' for listening to the voice of God. ... Now, docile and faithful listening can only take place in a climate of intimate communion with God which is realized principally in prayer. According to the explicit command of the Lord, we must implore the gift of vocations, in the first place by praying untiringly and together to the 'Lord of the harvest.' The invitation is in the plural. ... The Good Shepherd, therefore, invites us to pray to the heavenly Father, to pray unitedly and insistently, that He may send vocations for the service of the Church as communion."

  "It is indispensable that, within the Christian people, every ministry and charism be directed to full communion; and it is the duty of the bishop and priests to promote this communion in harmony with every other Church vocation and service. The consecrated life, too, of its very nature, is at the service of this communion."

  "Dear brothers and sisters whom the Lord calls to particular vocations in the Church: I would like to entrust you in a special way to Mary, so that she, who more than anyone else understood the meaning of the words of Jesus: 'My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it.' ... May she help you to say with your lives: 'Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God'."
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Monday, April 23, 2007


VATICAN CITY, APR 21, 2007 (VIS) - Shortly after 3 p.m. today, Benedict XVI departed from Rome's Ciampino airport bound for the northern Italian town of Vigevano, on the first stage of his two-day pastoral visit to the dioceses of Vigevano and Pavia.

  At 4.40 p.m., after a brief stopover in the airport of Milan, the Pope's helicopter landed in Vigevano's "Dante Merlo" stadium from where he travelled by popemobile to the town center. Along the route, he passed in front of the convent of cloistered nuns of the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament who came out to greet him. At 5.15, he arrived at the bishop's residence where he was welcomed by the local religious and civil authorities.

  The Pope appeared at the balcony of the episcopal residence, overlooking Piazza Sant'Ambrogio, to greet the thousands of people gathered there, including many young people and groups of sick. "I thank you," he said, "for your cordial and enthusiastic welcome. As I descended from the helicopter, I could almost hear the echo of the bells of all the churches in the diocese which rang out at midday today to wish me a choral welcome."

  "Here in Vigevano, the only diocese in Lombardy not visited by my venerated predecessor John Paul II, I have chosen to begin my pastoral pilgrimage within Italy. Thus it is as if I am resuming the path he followed, to continue to proclaim to the men and women of Italy the announcement, ancient yet ever new, that resounds with particular vitality in this time of Easter: Christ is risen! Christ is alive! Christ is with us today and forever."

  After his greetings, Benedict XVI went to Piazza Ducale where he presided at a Eucharistic concelebration with Lombard bishops and priests of the diocese of Vigevano.

  In his homily he recalled the words from the Gospel reading, "cast the net ... and you will find" which Jesus addressed to His disciples on Lake Tiberias after a fruitless fishing expedition that had lasted all night. The empty net, the Pope remarked, must have appeared to the Apostles "as the outcome of their experience with Jesus: they had known Him and accompanied Him, and He had promised them so much, and yet there they were with their nets empty of fish."

  Christ came out to meet them, though the disciples did not recognize Him. Nonetheless "they trusted Jesus and the result was a miraculously abundant catch of fish." It was then that John became aware of the presence of the Risen One and exclaimed: "'It is the Lord!' This spontaneous profession of faith," said Pope Benedict, "is also an invitation for us to proclaim that the Risen Christ is the Lord of our lives."

  "I have come here among you," the Holy Father continued, "above all to encourage you to be zealous witnesses to Christ. It is faithful adherence to His word that will make your pastoral activities fruitful. When the work in the Lord's vineyard seems in vain, like the Apostles nighttime efforts, it must not be forgotten that Jesus is capable of overturning everything in a moment. This evangelical episode ... reminds us, on the one hand, that we must commit ourselves to pastoral activities as if the outcome depended entirely upon our own efforts; on the other hand, it brings us to understand that the true success of our mission is entirely a gift of Grace. In the mysterious designs of His wisdom, God knows when it is time to intervene."

  "What does Christ's invitation to 'cast the net' actually mean?" the Pope asked. "In the first place it means, as it did for the disciples, believing in Him and trusting in His word. Jesus asks you, as He asked them, to follow Him with a sincere and firm faith. Listen, then, to His word and meditate upon it every day. ... Following the fundamental guidelines of the Synod and the instructions of your pastor, remain united and open yourselves to the vast horizons of evangelization. ... Sharing, collaborating and a feeling of joint responsibility, this is the spirit that must constantly animate your community.

  "Such a community requires everyone's contribution" he added. "Individual parishes - like the tiles of a mosaic and in full harmony among themselves - will form a living Church that is an organic part of the People of God." Moreover, "an indispensable contribution to evangelization comes from lay associations, communities and groups."

  Benedict XVI also encouraged his listeners "to continue to look after young people, both those who are 'near' and those who are 'far away.' In this context tirelessly promote ... a form of vocational pastoral care that helps the young in their search for a true meaning to give to their lives." The Pope also recalled that the family "is the principal element of social life, and so only by working in support of families can we renew the fabric of the ecclesial community and of civil society itself."

  The Pope concluded his homily by mentioning the patron saints of Vigevano: St. Ambrose, St. Charles Borromeo and Blessed Matteo Carreri, and he also referred to other people from the local area whose causes of beatification are currently underway. These include Fr. Francesco Pianzola who "went out to meet the spiritual poverty of his time with a courageous missionary style," and Teresio Olivelli, a layman of Catholic Action "who died at the age of just 29 in the Hersbruck concentration camp, a sacrificial victim of a brutal form of violence which he tenaciously opposed with the ardor of charity."

  Finally, the Holy Father commended the community to the Mother of God "that a renewed effusion of the Holy Spirit" may descend upon the diocese. He also reiterated how the "disciples' tiring and fruitless night's fishing is a perennial admonishment for the Church of all times: alone, without Jesus, we can do nothing!"

  Following the Mass, the Pope travelled by helicopter to Pavia where he arrived at 8.15 p.m.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 22, 2007 (VIS) - Immediately on arriving in Pavia yesterday evening, the Holy Father travelled by car to the city cathedral where he appeared at the balcony to greet young people gathered in the square below.

  The Pope called on them not to be afraid to commit their lives to Christ Who, he said, "never disappoints our expectations because He knows what is in our hearts ... The Church - which needs your commitment to carry the evangelical message, especially to your peers - supports you on the road of knowledge of the faith and of love for God and for our fellow man. ... Society ... awaits your contribution in order to create a less selfish and more cohesive form of shared coexistence, one truly animated by the great ideals of justice, freedom and peace."

  At 9 a.m. today, Sunday, Benedict XVI visited the "San Matteo" hospital which treats sick people from Pavia and all Italy. Having greeted the president and a representative of the patients, the Pope expressed his thanks to the doctors, nurses and all the hospital staff.

  Here, said the Holy Father, "truly inspiring results are achieved. It is my heartfelt hope that vital scientific and technological progress will always be accompanied by a concern to promote, alongside the good of sick people, such fundamental values as respect for and defense of life at every stage, upon which the authentically human quality of coexistence depend."

  Benedict XVI highlighted the fact that "in each person suffering from illness it is He Himself Who awaits our love. Of course, suffering is abhorrent to the human heart, yet it remains true that when accepted with love and illuminated with faith, it becomes a precious opportunity that unites us mysteriously to Christ the Redeemer, the Man of suffering Who on the Cross took upon Himself the pain and death of man. With the sacrifice of His life He redeemed human suffering and made it the fundamental means of salvation.

  "Dear sick people," he concluded, "entrust to the Lord the discomfort and pain you have to face, and in His plan you will become means of purification and redemption for the world entire."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 22, 2007 (VIS) - Having concluded his visit to Pavia's "San Matteo" hospital, the Pope travelled by car to the "Almo Collegio Borromeo" where he celebrated Mass at 10.30 a.m. Bishops of Lombardy, priests of the diocese of Pavia and a number of Augustinian Fathers concelebrated with the Holy Father.

  In his homily, the Pope focussed on the "three great stages" of St. Augustine's journey of conversion.

  These "conversions" of St. Augustine, he said, "were in fact one big conversion: searching for the Face of Christ and then walking alongside Him."

  "The first fundamental conversion was Augustine's interior journey towards Christianity, towards that 'yes' of faith and Baptism. ... The saint was constantly tormented by the question of truth. ... He wanted to find the right path, and not just to live blindly without meaning or goal. This passion for truth is the true key to understanding his life."

  "He had always believed - at times somewhat vaguely, at others more decidedly - that God exists and that He looks after us. But truly knowing God and really becoming familiar with Jesus Christ, to reach the point of saying 'yes' to Him with all the consequences it brings: this was the great interior struggle of the years of his youth."

  St. Augustine's "second conversion," Pope Benedict explained, took place following his Baptism, when he returned to Hippo in Africa where he founded a small monastery and intended to dedicate his life to the contemplation of God. However, by popular request and almost by force, he was ordained a priest and so "had to live with Christ for everyone."

 "The great philosophical work of his life, of which he had dreamed, remained unwritten. In its place came something more precious: the Gospel translated into the language of everyday life."

  This, said the Holy Father "was the second conversion that this man, struggling and suffering, had to achieve: being there for everyone, offering his life, always and anew together with Christ, so that others could find Him Who is true life."

  Finally, "the third and decisive stage" on St. Augustine's journey of conversion took place when he discovered that "only one person is truly perfect and that the words of the Sermon on the Mount are fully realized only in one person, in Jesus Christ Himself. And the entire Church - all of us, including the Apostles - must pray every day: 'forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.'

  "Augustine had understood an ultimate level of humility. Not only the humility to make his own great philosophy part of the faith of the Church, not only the humility to translate his great knowledge into the simplicity of announcement, but also the humility to recognize that he himself and the entire pilgrim Church were in constant need of the merciful goodness of a forgiving God. And we, Augustine added, become as similar as possible to the Perfect Christ when we become like Him people of mercy."

  Following the Eucharistic celebration and before praying the Regina Coeli, the Pope addressed a special greeting to young people, to whom he expressed the hope "that you become ever more aware of the joy of following Christ and of becoming His friends. ... This is the same joy that brought me to write my recently-published book 'Jesus of Nazareth.' It may be a little difficult for the youngest of you, but I consign it to you ideally, that it may accompany the journey of faith of the new generations."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 22, 2007 (VIS) - This afternoon at 4.15, the Pope travelled to the University of Pavia where he met with representatives from the world of culture in the university's "Tersiano" courtyard. Following a greeting from Angiolino Stella, rector of the university, and from a representative of the students, the Holy Father pronounced a few words of his own.

  "All universities," he said, "should safeguard their identity as centers of study 'made to man's measure,' in which students do not remain anonymous but are able to cultivate a fruitful dialogue with professors, drawing incentives for their own cultural and human development."

  "It is of fundamental importance," he went on, "that the commitment to academic research remains open to the existential question of meaning in peoples lives. ... Only by valuing the person and interpersonal relations can didactic interaction become an educational relationship."

  The love of Christ gave form to St. Augustine's life commitment, said Pope Benedict. "From a life dedicated to searching for worldly success he passed to a life totally donated to Jesus Christ, the only Master and Lord. May St. Augustine be for everyone a model for the dialogue between reason and faith."

  "By the intercession of St. Augustine," the Pope concluded, "may the University of Pavia always stand out for its special attention to individuals, for a marked community dimension in academic research, and for a fruitful dialogue between faith and culture."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 22, 2007 (VIS) - After his meeting with representatives from the world of culture in the University of Pavia, Benedict XVI travelled to the basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro to celebrate Vespers. Before entering the basilica, the Holy Father paused on the patio of the convent of St. Augustine where he blessed the cornerstone of a new Augustinian cultural center, which the Order intends to dedicate to him.

  Once inside the basilica, the Pope incensed the urn containing the relics of St. Augustine and, after greeting Bishop Giovanni Giudici of Pavia and Fr. Robert Francis Prevost, prior general of the Augustinian Order, pronounced his homily.

  "In this moment of prayer I would like to gather here, at the tomb of the 'Doctor gratiae,' a significant message for the journey of the Church," said the Pope. "This message comes to us from the encounter between the Word of God and the personal experience of the great bishop of Hippo. ... Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, ... is the revelation of the face of God Love to all human beings as they travel along the paths of time towards eternity. ... This is the heart of the Gospel, the central nucleus of Christianity. The light of this love opened Augustine's eyes and brought him to encounter the 'beauty, ever ancient and ever new' in which alone the human heart finds peace."

  "Here before the tomb of St. Augustine," the Pope continued, "I would like once again to consign ideally to the Church and to the World my first Encyclical, which contains this central message of the Gospel: 'Deus caritas est,' God is love," and which is "greatly indebted to the thought of St. Augustine who was enamoured of the Love of God."

  "In the wake of the teachings of Vatican Council II and of my venerated predecessors, I am convinced ... that contemporary humanity has need of this essential message. ... Here everything must begin and here everything must lead, all pastoral activity and all theological treatises."

  "Love is the heart of Church life and of her pastoral activity. ... Only those who have a personal experience of the Lord's love are able to exercise the task of guiding and accompanying others on the road of following Christ. ... Following Christ is above all a question of love."

  The Holy Father went on: "May your membership of the Church and your apostolate always stand out for their freedom from any kind of personal interest and for their unreserved adhesion to Christ's love. Young people in particular need to receive the announcement of freedom and joy, the secret of which is in Christ. He is the most authentic response to the expectations of their hearts which are troubled by the many questions they carry within."

  "Following the footsteps of St. Augustine, you too must be a Church that frankly announces the 'good news' of Christ. ... The Church is not simply an organization for collective expression nor, at the other extreme, is she the sum of individuals living a private religion. The Church is a community of people who believe in the God of Jesus Christ and commit themselves to living in the world the commandment of love that He left us."

  "I encourage you," the Holy Father concluded, "to pursue the 'exalted degree' of Christian life which considers charity as the bond of perfection, and which must also be translated into a form of moral life inspired by the Gospel."

  A the conclusion of Vespers, the Pope went to Pavia's "P. Fortunati" stadium whence he travelled by helicopter to the airport of Milan. There he boarded a plane that took him back to Rome where he landed shortly before 8.30 p.m.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 21, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Tura, India, presented by Bishop George Mamalassery, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Andrew Marak.

 - Appointed Luis Morao Andreazza O.F.M., auxiliary of Santa Ana, El Salvador, as bishop of Chalatenango (area 2,016, population 271,000, Catholics 244,00, priests 32, religious 34), El Salvador. He succeeds Bishop Eduardo Antonio Alas Alfaro, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed as members of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples: Archbishops Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State; Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Hanoi, Vietnam; and Gianfranco Agostino Gardin O.F.M. Conv., secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

 - Appointed Bishop Jean-Pierre Grallet O.F.M., auxiliary of Strasbourg, France, as archbishop of the same archdiocese (area 8,280, population 1,808,000, Catholics 1,356,000, priests 877, permanent deacons 56, religious 1,869). The archbishop-elect was born in Rozelieures, France in 1941, he was ordained a priest in 1969, and consecrated a bishop in 2004.
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A LETTER HAS BEEN MADE PUBLIC, WRITTEN IN LATIN and dated April 2, in which the Pope appoints Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president of the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace" and of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the fifth centenary of the death of St, Francis of Paola. The event is due to be held in Paola, Italy, from May 1 to 4. The cardinal will be accompanied by Msgrs. Aniceto Molinaro, pro-dean of the faculty of philosophy at the St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum, Rome, and Luigi Falcone of the Secretariat of State.

TO MARK THE BEGINNING OF THE GERMAN PRESIDENCY of the European Union and of the Group of Eight most industrialized States (G8), the Holy Father sent a Letter, dated December 16, 2006, to Angela Merkel, chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. In the Letter, the Pope expresses the appreciation of the Catholic Church for the intention, expressed by the German government and shared by the other members of the G8, to keep the theme of poverty as the focus of international political agreements, with particular concern for Africa. The German chancellor replied to the Pope's Letter with one of her own in which she expresses her intention to continue to combat poverty and to achieve the millennium development goals.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 23, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences Archbishop Ubaldo Ramon Santana Sequera F.M.I., of Maracaibo, Venezuela, president of the Episcopal Conference of Venezuela. Archbishop Santana Sequera was accompanied by Archbishop Roberto Luckert Leon of Coro and Cardinal Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, Santiago de Venezuela, vice presidents of the same episcopal conference; and by Bishop Ramon Jose Viloria Pinzon of Puerto Caballo, secretary general.

  On Saturday, April 21, he received in separate audiences five prelates from the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Rodolfo Cetoloni O.F.M., of Montepulciano-Chiusi-Pienza.

    - Bishop Mario Meini of Pitigliano-Sovana-Orbetello.

    - Dom Michelangelo Riccardo M. Tiribilli, O.S.B., abbot of Monte Oliveto Maggiore.

    - Msgr. Paolo Razzauti, diocesan administrator of Livorno.

    - Msgr. Marco Fabbri, diocesan administrator of Volterra.
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Sunday, April 22, 2007


VATICAN CITY, APR 20, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences four prelates from the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Luciano Giovannetti of Fiesole.

    - Bishop Gastone Simoni of Prato.

    - Bishop Fausto Tardelli of San Miniato.

    - Bishop Giovanni De Vivo of Pescia.

  This evening, he is scheduled to receive in audience three prelates from the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Antonio Buoncristiani of Siena-Colle di Val d'Elsa-Montalcino.

    - Bishop Franco Agostinelli of Grosseto.

    - Bishop Giovanni Santucci of Massa Marittima-Piombino.
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Friday, April 20, 2007


VATICAN CITY, APR 18, 2007 (VIS) - Late today, the Holy See Press Office released a communique concerning this afternoon's meeting between His Holiness Benedict XVI and Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations Organization.

  "The meeting," the communique reads, "was part of a series of audiences that in the past Supreme Pontiffs, and in particular Pope John Paul II, have granted to secretaries general of the United Nations, as a sign, among other things, of the Holy See's appreciation for the vital role played by the UN in maintaining peace in the world and promoting the development of peoples.

  "Ban Ki-moon wished to meet the Holy Father in the course of his first trips to Africa, Europe and the Middle East, a few months after coming into office on January 1 this year, also in order to present him with an official invitation to visit the headquarters of the United Nations.

  "His Holiness and Ban Ki-moon discussed themes of mutual interest, such as restoring faith in multilateralism and reinforcing dialogue between cultures, and they did not fail to consider international questions deserving of particular attention.

  "Mention was also made of the contribution that the Catholic Church and the Holy See can give - on the basis of their identity and with their own specific means - to the activities of the United Nations in solving current conflicts and achieving agreement between States.

  "The audience with the Pope was followed by a fruitful encounter with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States."


VATICAN CITY, APR 19, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Oscar Julio Vian Morales S.D.B., apostolic vicar of El Peten, Guatemala, as metropolitan archbishop of Los Altos, Quetzaltenango-Tontonicapan (area 3,012, population 1,290,000, Catholics 1,037,000, priests 57, religious 165), Guatemala. The archbishop-elect was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala in 1947, he was ordained a priest in 1976, and consecrated a bishop in 1997. He succeeds Archbishop Victor Hugo Martinez Contreras, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 20, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received members of the Papal Foundation, a Catholic organization based in the United States, for the occasion of their annual pilgrimage to Rome.

  "Since its inception," he said to them, speaking in English, "the Papal Foundation has sought to advance the Church's mission by supporting specific charities close to the heart of the Successor of Peter in his solicitude for all Churches. I willingly take this occasion to express my gratitude not only for the assistance which the Foundation has given to developing countries through grants supporting a variety of educational and charitable projects, but also through the many scholarships provided to pontifical universities here in Rome for lay faithful, priests and religious.

  "In this way," he added, "you are making a significant contribution to the formation of future leaders whose minds and hearts are shaped by the teaching of the Gospel, the wisdom of Catholic social teaching and a profound sense of communion with the Universal Church in her service to the entire human family."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 20, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "Today, April 20, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Mahinda Rajapaksa, president of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. The president subsequently went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.

  "In the course of the talks - and in the light of the current situation in Sri Lanka - the need was reiterated to respect human rights and resume the path of dialogue and negotiation as the only way to put an end to the violence that is bloodying the island. The Catholic Church, which offers a significant contribution to the life of the country, will intensify her delicate task of forming consciences with the sole ambition of favoring the common good, reconciliation and peace."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 20, 2007 (VIS) - During the second year of Benedict XVI's pontificate, 3,368,220 faithful and pilgrims participated in Rome in general and special audiences, in the Sunday Angelus and in liturgical celebrations presided by the Holy Father.

  According to statistics released by the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, between April 20, 2006 and 19 April, 2007, a total of more than a million people participated in the Wednesday general audiences, with the peak being in May, and almost one and a half million attended the Sunday Angelus in St. Peter's Square.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2007


VATICAN CITY, APR 18, 2007 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a telegram sent yesterday afternoon by Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., in the Pope's name, to Bishop Francis Xavier DiLorenzo of Richmond, U.S.A., for the killing of 32 people in a shooting incident at a technical institute in Virginia, U.S.A.

  "Deeply saddened by news of the shooting at Virginia Tech, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has asked me to convey the assurance of his heartfelt prayers for the victims, their families and for the entire school community. In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy he asks God our Father to console all those who mourn and to grant them that spiritual strength which triumphs over violence by the power of forgiveness, hope and reconciling love."


VATICAN CITY, APR 18, 2007 (VIS) - In the general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI returned to his series of catecheses on the Fathers of the Church, focussing on the figure of St. Clement of Alexandria.

  The Pope indicated that Clement was born in the mid second century, probably in Athens, whence "the great interest for philosophy which would make him one of the flag-bearers of dialogue between faith and reason in Christian tradition." He later moved to Alexandria, but abandoned the city during the persecution of 202-203 and died in Cappadocia in 215.

  His most important work is a trilogy that has provided "effective accompaniment to the spiritual maturation of Christians," said the Pope. The first part is "an exhortation addressed to those beginning the journey of faith" in which "the Logos Jesus Christ exhorts mankind to start decisively down the road of Truth." In the second part of the trilogy "Jesus Christ becomes a pedagogue, in other words educator of those who, by virtue of Baptism, have already become children of God." In the third part, Christ is "the Master Who presents the most profound teachings."

  In this way "the Clementine catechesis provides a step-by-step accompaniment to the progress of catechumens and of baptized so that, with the two 'wings' of faith and reason, they may attain an intimate knowledge of the Truth that is Jesus Christ. ... Only this knowledge of the Person Who is truth is 'true gnosis.' "

  "Clement returns to the doctrine which holds that man's ultimate goal is to become like God. This is possible thanks to the connatural similarity with Him that man received at the moment of the creation, and by which he is already ... the image of God. This connatural similarity makes it possible to know the divine realities, to which man adheres primarily through faith." Then, "through the practice of virtue, he can develop to the point of contemplating God."

  "Two virtues adorn the heart of the 'true gnostic,' ... freedom from the passions," and love "which ensures intimate union with God." Thus "the ethical ideal of ancient philosophy, in other words freedom from the passions, is redefined by Clement and conjugated with love in the constant process of assimilation to God ".

  In this way Clement "creates the second great opportunity for dialogue between the Christian message and Greek philosophy. ... For him, the Greek philosophical tradition, almost like the Law for the Jews, is an area of 'revelation', both being paths leading to the Logos."

  This Father of the Church, the Pope concluded, "can serve as an example to Christians, to catechists and to theologians of our time" whom John Paul II urged in his Encyclical "Fides et Ratio" to "recover and express to the full the metaphysical dimension of truth in order to enter into a demanding critical dialogue with ... contemporary philosophical thought."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 18, 2007 (VIS) - In greetings at the end of today's general audience, the Pope made particular mention of Angola, remarking how 400 years ago, during the pontificate of Paul V, the first black ambassador from a Christian kingdom in Africa came to Rome. That ambassador, the representative of the Kingdom of the Congo (modern-day Angola), was Dom Antonio Emanuel Ne Vunda, cousin of King Alvaro II.

  "I invoke the blessings of God upon the entire nation," said the Holy Father, "that each individual may contribute to consolidating the peace that was achieved five years ago, and that promised to give a voice to the people and to institute authentically democratic life. I ask everyone to persevere in the work of reconciling hearts that still bleed for the wounds of war, and I express my joy at the reconstruction in progress, as I remind the religious and civil authorities of their obligation to favor the poorest. God bless Angola!"
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VATICAN CITY, APR 18, 2007 (VIS) - "Dialogue in airport chaplaincies as a response to terrorism" is the theme of the 13th world seminar of Catholic chaplains and members of civil aviation chaplaincies, due to be held in Rome from April 23 to 26.

  According to a communique made public today "the seminar, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, aims to support and encourage the pastoral efforts of those who concern themselves with this sector of human mobility."

  As an introduction to the work of the seminar, Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will present some "philosophical and theological" reflections on the subject of evil.

  Experts from the United Nations and from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will explain strategies "to protect airport structures and workers, as well as passengers and the general public."

  "The seminar," the communique goes on, "aims to contribute towards countering terrorism through ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue in the world's airports" where people from various Churches and ecclesial communities and other great religions work, and where people from different cultures and nationalities come together. In this context, "in order to help participants to discover the paths of dialogue," Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, will speak on the subject of "inter-religious dialogue to counter terrorism," and bishop Brian Farrell L.C., secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, on "ecumenical collaboration in relation to the threats of terrorism."

  The program of the seminar also includes the testimony of two chaplains: Fr. David Baratelli of the airport of Newark who will recount his experiences during and immediately after the attack on the World Trade Center in New York, and Fr. Paschal Ryan of Heathrow, who will talk about the discovery of plans for an attack against that airport.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 18, 2007 (VIS) - This evening, the Holy Father is due to receive in audience Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations Organization, accompanied by an entourage.
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Tuesday, April 17, 2007


VATICAN CITY, APR 14, 2007 (VIS) - This morning in the Hall of Congregations of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Pope presided at a meeting with the heads of dicastery of the Roman Curia. The main subject of discussion was Benedict XVI's forthcoming apostolic trip to Brazil, due to take place from May 9 to 14. Attention also focussed on the situation of the Church in Latin America.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 15, 2007 (VIS) - Today, the second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, the Pope presided at a Eucharistic concelebration in St. Peter's Square to mark his own 80th birthday which falls tomorrow, April 16. The event was attended by 50,000 people.

  Concelebrating with the Pope were 60 cardinals, archbishops and bishops of the Roman Curia, as well as auxiliary bishops and a representative of the priests of the diocese of Rome. Also present at the Mass was Metropolitan Ioannis (Zizioulas) of Pergamo, the envoy of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.

  Opening his homily, Benedict XVI recalled how Servant of God John Paul II had wished this Sunday to be dedicated to Divine Mercy. In the word "mercy" said Pope Benedict, John Paul II "saw the entire mystery of the Redemption summarized and newly interpreted for our times. ... He had a profound experience of the shadows that threaten the world even in our own time. But he also experienced, and no less strongly, the presence of God Who opposes all these forces with His power that is completely different and divine: with the power of mercy."

  "It is mercy that places a limit to evil. In mercy, all God's utterly unique power is expressed: His sanctity, the power of truth and of love."

  At his death John Paul II "entered into the light of Divine Mercy, from where ... he new speaks to us in a completely new way. 'Have faith,' he tells us, 'in divine Mercy! Day after day, become men and women of God's mercy!'."

  Pope Benedict then recalled how "precisely during these days particularly illuminated by Divine Mercy," he was celebrating his own 80th birthday.

  "I have always considered it a great gift that birth and rebirth were granted me, so to say, together, on the same day," said the Holy Father referring to the fact that he had been baptized on the day he was born. "Thus, in the course of one single day, I was born as a member of my own family and of the great family of God."

  The Pope gave thanks to God for having had the chance to experience "the meaning of 'family,' ... the meaning of paternity, ... and for having been able to enjoy a profound experience of the significance of maternal goodness."

  And the Holy Father expressed particular thanks "because, from my first day, I was able to enter and grow in the great community of believers."

  "Birth and rebirth; earthly family and the great family of God," he said, "this is the great gift of God's multiple mercies, the foundation upon which we rest."

  Ordained a priest on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in 1951, Benedict XVI recalled his vocation as "a new and demanding gift," that gave him the opportunity to experience how "the Lord is not only the Lord, but also a friend. He has placed His hand over me and will not abandon me."

  Having become Pope, "with the increased burden of responsibility the Lord has also brought new help to my life. I often note with joy how many are the people who support me with their prayer; who with their faith and love help me to undertake my ministry; who are indulgent with my weakness."

  The Pope concluded by noting how "God's mercies accompany us each day. All we must do is remain alert to perceive them. We are too inclined to note only the daily struggle, ... but if we open our hearts, then we can, though immersed in that struggle, continually note how good God is to us; how He thinks of us in small things thus helping us to achieve great ones."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 15, 2007 (VIS) - In St. Peter's Square, at the end of the Eucharistic celebration marking his 80th birthday, the Holy Father prayed the Regina Coeli with the pilgrims gathered there.

  The Pope thanked those present and noted how over these days "the entire Church, as a true family," was surrounding him with affection.

  The Holy Father then went on to recall that it was Servant of God John Paul II who instituted Divine Mercy Sunday, and that he died on the eve of that Feast.

  "This Sunday," said Pope Benedict, "marks the end of the week - or more correctly the 'Octave' - of Easter, which the liturgy considers as a single day, 'the day that the Lord has made.' It is not a chronological time, but a spiritual time that God opened in the fabric of the days when He raised Christ from the dead. The Creator Spirit, infusing new and eternal life into the buried body of Jesus of Nazareth, brought the work of creation to completion giving rise to a 'novelty', the novelty of a new humanity which, at the same time, is a novelty of a new world and a new era.

  "This renewal of the world," he added, "can be summarized in a word: the word that the Risen Christ pronounced to His disciples as a greeting and, even more so, as an announcement of His victory: 'Peace be with you.'

  "Peace is the gift that Christ left to His friends as a blessing intended for all men and all peoples. Not peace as a balance of power according to the mentality of the 'world,' but as a new reality, fruit of God's Love and of His Mercy. This is the peace that Jesus Christ bought at the price of His Blood and that He communicates to those who believe in Him."

  Benedict XVI called upon Mary, "incarnation of Divine Mercy," to help us "allow ourselves to be renewed by the Spirit in order to cooperate in the work of peace that God is achieving in the world," a work "that makes no noise, but is accomplished in the innumerable gestures of charity of all His children."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 16, 2007 (VIS) - Today, his 80th birthday, Benedict XVI dedicated the morning to audiences, during which he received a number of his fellow countrymen. At 1 p.m. he had lunch with members of the College of Cardinals in the Sala Ducale of the Vatican Apostolic Palace.

  In the evening, in the Paul VI Hall, a concert was held in the Holy Father's honor, given by the Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR) of Stuttgart, Germany. The orchestra, directed by the Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel, played pieces by Giovanni Gabrieli (1554/57-1612), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904).

  At the end of the concert, the Pope thanked the conductor and musicians, expressing his conviction that music "truly is the universal language of beauty, capable of uniting men and women of good will all over the world, bringing them to raise their gaze to the Heights and aspire to absolute Good and Beauty, the ultimate source of which is God Himself.

  "In looking back over my own life," he added, "I thank God for having given me music which, almost as a travelling companion, has always brought me comfort and joy."

  The Holy Father also expressed his gratitude "to the people who, from the earliest years of my infancy, introduced me to this source of inspiration and serenity. I thank those who unite music and prayer in harmonious praise of God and His works. They help us to glorify the Creator and Redeemer of the world."

  "This is my desire," he concluded: "that the greatness and beauty of music may also give you, dear friends, a new and continual inspiration to build a world of love, solidarity and peace."

  After the concert, those present sang "Happy Birthday" to the Pope in Italian and German.
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CARDINAL CHRISTOPH SCHONBORN O.P., ARCHBISHOP of Vienna, Austria; Daniele Garrone, dean of the Waldensian faculty of theology in Rome; and Massimo Cacciari, professor of aesthetics at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan, Italy, together presented Benedict XVI's new book "Jesus of Nazareth" in a conference held at the Vatican's Synod Hall on the afternoon of Friday, April 13. In his talk, Cardinal Schonborn recalled how "over and above the grandeur of the analyses, the wealth of intuition and insight with which this book is laden, the whole work is inspired by the contained passion for He whom [Benedict XVI] now has the task of representing upon the earth."

THE HOLY FATHER HAS WRITTEN A LETTER TO CARDINAL Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointing him as special papal envoy to the closing celebrations for the centenary of the evangelization of northern Ghana, due to be held in Navrongo on April 23. The mission accompanying the cardinal will be made up of Msgr. Roger Aboteyuure of the diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga, and Fr. Francis Bomamsam M. Afr., provincial superior in Ghana and Nigeria of the Missionaries of Africa.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 16, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Edmund Stoiber, minister-president of Bavaria, Germany, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

 - Peter Harry Carstensen, minister-president of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, accompanied by his entourage.

 - Metropolitan Ioannis Zizoulas of Pergamo.

  On Saturday, April 14, he received in audience Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 16, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop John Ribat M.S.C., of Bereina, Papua New Guinea, as coadjutor archbishop of Port Moresby (area 120,224 , population 531,658, Catholics 196,713, priests 56, religious 297), Papua New Guinea. The archbishop-elect was born in Volavolo, Papua New Guinea in 1957, he was ordained a priest in 1985, and consecrated a bishop in 2001.

  On Saturday, April 14, it was made public that he:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Utrecht, Netherlands, presented by Cardinal Adrianus Johannes Simonis, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Phat Diem, Vietnam, presented by Bishop Joseph Nguyen Van Yen, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Bishop Vincentius Sensi Potokota of Maumere, Indonesia, as archbishop of Ende (area 5,084, population 454,000, Catholics 416,000, priests 167, religious 721), Indonesia. The archbishop-elect was born in Saga, Indonesia in 1951, he was ordained a priest in 1980, and consecrated a bishop in 2006.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 17, 2007 (VIS) - On Saturday, April 21, and on Sunday, April 23, the Holy Father will make a pastoral visit to the Italian dioceses of Vigevano and Pavia, for the 750th anniversary of the Bull "Licet Ecclesiae Catholicae" with which Pope Alexander IV unified the various groups following the Augustinian rule into one great Order.

  Soon after his election to the pontificate on April 19, 2005, Benedict XVI was invited by Fr. Robert Prevost, prior general of the Augustinian order, to come and venerate the remains of St. Augustine which are conserved in the basilica of San Pietro in Cieldoro in Pavia. Having accepted invitation, the Holy Father will visit the basilica where he will light a votive candle before the saint's casket in perennial memory of his visit.

  The Pope will also bless the first stone of the Augustinian cultural center, which the Order intends to dedicate to Benedict XVI in honor of the strong spiritual and theological ties binding the Holy Father and the great Doctor of the Church.

Friday, April 13, 2007


VATICAN CITY, APR 13, 2007 (VIS) - "Jesus of Nazareth," a book written by Benedict XVI will be on sale in Italian, German, and Polish bookshops from Monday, April 16, which is also the Pope's 80th birthday. The volume, 448 pages long, is to be translated into 20 languages.

  The Italian publishing house, Rizzoli, entrusted by the Vatican Publishing House with the sale of the rights of the book throughout the world, today released a press communique stating that "'Jesus of Nazareth' is the first part of a two-volume work examining Jesus' public life from His Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration."

  "On the one hand," the communique continues, "this is a pastoral narrative ... offering an introduction to the principles of Christianity. ... On the other, the text is an essay that maintains the strict academic discipline that distinguish the writings and talks of the theologian Joseph Ratzinger.

  "The pastoral concerns of the Pope," it adds, "and his exceptional theological doctrine, come together to focus on the central theme of the work: the conviction that, in order to understand the figure of Jesus Christ, it is necessary to start from His union with the Father.

  "A historical-critical methodology is indispensable for serious exegesis." Such a methodology "has granted access to a great quantity of material and knowledge that enable us to reconstruct the figure of Jesus with a profundity unimaginable a few decades ago. Nonetheless, only faith can lead to the understanding that Jesus is God; and if in the light of this conviction the sacred texts are read with the instruments of modern historical-critical methodology, ... they reveal ... a figure worthy of faith.

  "For Joseph Ratzinger, faith and critical research are complementary, not antagonistic, and the Jesus of the Gospels is the historical Jesus," the communique concludes.

  A synopsis of the new volume, entitled "the Pope's path towards Jesus," makes it clear that this book "reflects the personal search by Joseph Ratzinger for the 'face of Jesus,' and is not a document of the Magisterium."

  "For Benedict XVI, the biblical text contains all the elements to affirm that the historical figure of Jesus Christ is also in fact the Son of God, Who came to earth to save humankind."

  "Based on the intimate unity between the Old and New Testament, and employing Christological hermeneutics which see in Jesus Christ to the key to the entire Bible, Joseph Ratzinger presents the Jesus of the Gospels as the 'new Moses' Who fulfills the ancient expectations of Israel. This new and true Moses must lead the people of God to real and definitive freedom. He does so through successive steps which, nonetheless, always allow God's plan to be seen in its entirety."

  In this light, "the immersion of Jesus in the waters of the Jordan is the symbol of His death and descent into hell, a reality that accompanied Him throughout His life. In order to save humanity, ... He had to overcome the principal temptations that in different forms threaten mankind of all times and, transforming them into obedience, reopen the way towards God, towards the Promised Land which is the Kingdom of God."

  "The theme of the 'Kingdom of God' which runs throughout Jesus' announcement is given deeper consideration in the Pope's reflection on the Sermon on the Mount, ... in which the Beatitudes constitute the main points of the new Law and, at the same time, represent a self-portrait of Jesus." The Sermon "shows that this Law is not just, as in Moses' case, the result of a 'face to face' meeting with God, but carries in itself the fullness that arises from Jesus' intimate union with the Father."

  Hence, a "fundamental element" of man's life is "talking and listening to God. And for this reason Benedict XVI has dedicated an entire chapter to prayer, explaining the Our Father that Jesus Himself taught us."

  The synopsis continues: "The profound contact of men and women with God the Father through Jesus in the Holy Spirit brings them together in the 'us' of a new family which, with the choosing of the Twelve, recalls the origins of Israel. ... Even in its highly varied composition, the new family of Jesus, the Church of all times, finds in Him the unifying center and the guidance to live the universal nature of His Gospel.

  "In order to make the content of His message more accessible and to turn it into a form of practical guidance, Jesus used parables. ... However, there is also a purely theological explanation of the meaning of the parables, and Joseph Ratzinger highlights this in a singularly profound analysis."

  The Holy Father's book then goes on to consider "the metaphors used by Jesus to explain His mystery." These are "the great images of St. John," but "before analyzing them the Pope presents a very interesting summary of the various results of academic research into who John the Evangelist was," and "opens new horizons for readers, revealing Jesus ever more clearly as the 'Word of God'."

  "This point of view is broadened further in the last two chapters of the book ... where the true mission of the Messiah of God and the destiny of those who follow Him is definitively established." Finally "an in-depth analysis of the titles which, according to the Gospels, Jesus used for Himself, concludes the Pontiff's book."

  "Alongside the man of faith, ... alongside the highly sophisticated theologian, ... what also emerges from this book is the pastor who truly manages to 'encourage in readers the growth of a living relationship' with Jesus Christ. ... In this light," the synopsis concludes, "the Pontiff is not afraid to tell the world that, by excluding God and clinging only to visible and material reality, we risk self destruction in the selfish search for a purely material wellbeing," while renouncing the possibility "of achieving true freedom in the 'Promised Land,' the 'Kingdom of God'."
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