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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

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Saturday, September 29, 2007


VATICAN CITY, OCT 1, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop William D'Souza S.J. of Buxar, India, as archbishop of Patna (area 28,808, population 24,982,000, Catholics 54,718, priests 181, religious 684), India. The archbishop-elect was born in Madanthar, India in 1946, he was ordained a priest in 1976 and consecrated a bishop in 2006. He succeeds Archbishop Benedict John Osta S.J., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Carlo Mazza of the clergy of the diocese Bergamo, Italy, director of the Italian Episcopal Conference's national office for the pastoral care of tourism and sport, as bishop of Fidenza (area 451, population 73,287, Catholics 72,431, priests 68, permanent deacons 11, religious 56), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Entratico, Italy 1942 and ordained a priest in 1968.

 - Appointed Archbishop Piero Marini, master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, as president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.

 - Appointed Fr. Guido Marini of the clergy of the archdiocese of Genoa, Italy, as master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations.

  On Saturday, September 29, it was made public that he:

 - Conferred upon Mario Agnes, director of the newspaper, "L'Osservatore Romano," the title of director emeritus.

 - Appointed Giovanni Maria Vian, journalist and professor of patristic philology at Rome's "La Sapienza" University, as director of "L'Osservatore Romano."

 - Appointed Carlo Di Cicco, author and journalist, as vice-director of "L'Osservatore Romano."

 - Appointed Fr. Marcel Chappin S.J., official at the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State, as vice-prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives.
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Friday, September 28, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 28, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- A delegation from the "Hochschule fur katholische Kirchenmusik und Musikpadagogik" of Regensburg, Germany.

- Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

- Giuseppe Balboni Acqua, Italian ambassador to the Holy See, on his farewell visit.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 28, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI made his farewells to Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano (the diocese in which Castelgandolfo is located), local religious communities, the civil authorities and the personnel in charge of security during his stay in the summer residence. The Pope is due to return to the Vatican in a few days time.

  "I would like to be able to pause and speak to each of you," said the Pope, "to thank you personally for the willingness and generosity with which you have contributed to the smooth functioning of the Pope's activities here in Castelgandolfo.

  "It is often the case," he added, "that such contributions remain unseen and compel you to work tiring hours, remaining away from your homes for long periods. Thus, your families are also involved in the sacrifices you have to face. For this reason, I would like to assure you once again of my most heartfelt appreciation, which I also extend to your relatives."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 28, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was the annual Message to Muslims for the end of the month of Ramadan from the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. It bears the signatures of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, respectively president and secretary of the council. The theme of the Message this year (1428 AH / 2006 AD) is, "Christians and Muslims: called to promote a culture of peace."

  Extracts from the document are given below:

  "In the troubled times we are passing through, religious believers have, as servants of the Almighty, a duty above all to work in favor of peace, by showing respect for the convictions of individuals and communities everywhere through freedom of religious practice. Religious freedom, which must not be reduced to mere freedom of worship, is one of the essential aspects of freedom of conscience, which is the right of every individual and a cornerstone of human rights. It takes into account the requirement that a culture of peace and solidarity between men can be built in which everybody can be firmly engaged in the construction of an increasingly fraternal society, doing everything one can to reject, denounce and refuse every recourse to violence which can never be motivated by religion, since it wounds the very image of God in man.

  "We know that violence, especially terrorism which strikes blindly and claims countless innocent victims, is incapable of resolving conflicts and leads only to a deadly chain of destructive hatred, to the detriment of mankind and of societies.

  "As religious believers, it is up to us all to be educators of peace, of human rights, of a freedom which respects each person. ... No individual in the national community should be excluded on the grounds of his or her race, religion, or any other personal characteristic. ... We are particularly responsible for ensuring that our young people, who will be in charge of tomorrow's world, are formed in this spirit" providing "everyone an education appropriate to his or her particular circumstances, especially a civic education which invites each young person to respect those around him or her, and to consider them as brothers and sisters with whom he or she is daily called to live, not in indifference, but in fraternal care."

  "In this spirit, the pursuit and intensification of dialogue between Christians and Muslims must be considered important, in both educational and cultural dimensions. Thus all forces can be mobilized in the service of mankind and humanity so that the younger generations do not become cultural or religious blocs opposed to one another, but genuine brothers and sisters in humanity. Dialogue is the tool which can help us to escape from the endless spiral of conflict and multiple tensions which mark our societies, so that all peoples can live in serenity and peace and with mutual respect and harmony among their component groups. ... This is the ardent hope I share with you: that Christians and Muslims continue to develop increasingly friendly and constructive relationships in order to share their specific riches, and that they will pay particular attention to the quality of the witness of their believers."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 28, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Michael J. Hoeppner of the clergy of the diocese of Winona, U.S.A., vicar general, as bishop of Crookston (area 44,574, population 250,941, Catholics 35,780, priests 45, permanent deacons 13, religious 123), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Winona in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1975. He succeeds Bishop Victor Herman Balke, 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.
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Thursday, September 27, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 27, 2007 (VIS) - Yesterday evening in the Swiss Hall of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI attended a concert by the "Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli" International Festival Orchestra of Brescia and Bergamo, Italy. The event was organized to mark the 110th anniversary of the birth of Pope Paul VI who was a native of the town of Concesio near Brescia.

  "Listening to these famous passages of music," said the Pope in a brief address he gave at the end of the concert, "has given us the opportunity to recall an illustrious Pope, Paul VI, who rendered a vital service to the Church and to the world in uneasy times, and in social conditions marked by profound cultural and religious changes."

  The Holy Father praised the "evangelical wisdom" with which Paul VI "guided the Church during and after Vatican Council II. With prophetic intuition, he understood the hopes and fears of the men and women of that time, seeking to highlight the positive aspects and illuminate them with the light of truth and of the love of Christ."

  "The love he nourished for humanity and its progress," Pope Benedict went on, "did not, however, prevent him from highlighting the contradictions ... and the risks of scientific and technological advancement disassociated from solid ... ethical and spiritual values."

  "Paul VI," the Holy Father concluded, "guided the Church prudently and courageously, with a realism and evangelical optimism nourished by indomitable faith. He hoped for the advent of a 'civilization of love,' convinced that evangelical charity is indispensable in creating authentic universal fraternity. ... His successors have taken up the spiritual heritage of Servant of God Paul VI and followed in his wake."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 27, 2007 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father met with Latin-rite prelates of the Ukrainian Episcopal Conference who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  In his talk to the bishops, the Pope expressed his appreciation for "the catechetical, liturgical, apostolic and charitable activities" in their dioceses. "Your pastoral work," he said, "is undertaken in a territory in which faithful of Latin rite and those of Greek-Catholic rite coexist."

  After highlighting how collaboration, even among Catholics, is not always easy due to "the diversity of their respective traditions," Benedict XVI affirmed that "the unity of Catholics within the diversity of rites, and the efforts to express this in all fields, reveal the true face of the Catholic Church and represent a highly eloquent sign for other Christians and for society as a whole."

  Referring to the problems the bishops identified in their reports, the Holy Father indicated how the solution "necessarily requires a synergy of efforts for a renewed announcement of the Gospel. The long years of atheist and communist domination have left evident traces in the current generations. These are challenges which call out to you to be met."

  "If communion is consolidated within Catholic communities, it will be easier to conduct a fruitful dialogue between the Catholic Church and the other Churches and ecclesial communities," said the Holy Father. In this context, he noted the importance of ecumenism and mentioned the "daily dialogue" Catholics seek to maintain with Orthodox, encouraging the prelates to ensure "that obstacles and even failures do not dampen your enthusiasm."

  Benedict XVI also turned to consider "the fundamental importance of adequately forming priests so that they can accomplish their mission as well as possible, and of concern for vocations which," he said, "is a pastoral priority to secure workers for the Lord's harvest.

  "The majority of priests," the Pope added, "show true abnegation, joyful generosity and humble adaptation to the precarious situation in which they find themselves, sometimes even forced to face economic difficulties. May God ever conserve and protect them! Love them because they are your indispensable collaborators, support and encourage them, pray for them and with them ... Ensure that in seminaries aspiring priests are given a full and balanced formation," without neglecting "the permanent formation of priests."

  The Pope concluded his address by underscoring how "the formation of lay men and women capable of bearing witness to their faith is becoming ever more necessary in our times, and is one of the pastoral objectives that must be pursued with determination."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 27, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. to Francesco Frangialli, secretary general of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), for the occasion of World Tourism Day which is being celebrated today and has as its theme: "Tourism opens doors for women."

  In his Letter, the cardinal highlights the fact that, according to the most recent WTO statistics, around 46 percent of the people employed in the international tourist industry are women.

  However, he notes, "despite this large and effective female presence, in many cases women are prevented from reaching positions of administrative responsibility and management in tourism. The reasons for this negative phenomenon are to be found in deep-rooted prejudices which lead to the persistence of stereotyping and of the traditional attribution of secondary roles on the basis of gender." This is particularly evident, the cardinal continues, "in those parts of the world where the moral, cultural and civil status of women puts them in a position of weakness and injustice."

  Cardinal Bertone then goes on to point out that all tourists, whatever their religion, social class or nationality, must commit themselves "to the protection and promotion of women." In this context he underlines the need "to work for an effective equality of rights for women, guaranteeing them equal treatment in the workplace, religious freedom, respect for the needs associated with motherhood, and the payment of a fair and remunerative salary."

  The Secretary of State adds: "Concrete support must be given to the right of girls and women to study and achieve professional qualifications, using appropriate positive laws to combat all forms of unjust exploitation of the female sex and the shameful commercialization of the female body. It is incumbent upon us to decry the intolerable scandal of a certain kind of sexual tourism which humiliates women, reducing them to a situation of practical slavery."

  The cardinal quotes the Message for World Peace Day 2007 in which Benedict XVI "denounced the 'inadequate consideration' shown for the condition of women and 'the mindset persisting in some cultures, where women are still firmly subordinated to the arbitrary decisions of men, with grave consequences for their personal dignity and for the exercise of their fundamental freedoms.' Only by overcoming these forms of discrimination," Cardinal Bertone concludes, "will it be possible for tourism to combine a concern for the tourists' experience with a guarantee for the quality of life of residents."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 27, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

    - Bishop Markiyan Trofym'yak of Lutsk.

    - Bishop Antal Majnek O.F.M. of Mukacheve of the Latins.

    - Bishop Bronislaw Bernacki of Odessa-Simferopol.

 - Cardinal Camillo Ruini, His Holiness' vicar general for the diocese of Rome.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 27, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Andres Stanovnick O.F.M. Cap. of Reconquista, Argentina, as archbishop of Corrientes (area 26,218, population 946,936, Catholics 880,649, priests 96, permanent deacons 21, religious 87), Argentina. The archbishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1949, he was ordained a priest in 1978 and consecrated a bishop in 2001. He succeeds Archbishop Domingo Salvador Castagna, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 26, 2007 (VIS) - In his general audience, which was held this morning in St. Peter's Square in the presence of more than 20,000 people, the Pope resumed the catechesis he had begun last week on St. John Chrysostom.

  This Father of the Church was appointed as bishop of Constantinople, capital of the eastern Roman empire, in the year 397 and immediately began planning the reform of the Church. said the Pope. "The austerity of the episcopal palace," he added, "had to be an example to everyone." In fact, thanks to his "concern for the poor," the saint "was also known as the 'Alms-giver' ... and he created a number of highly-regarded charitable institutions."

  "As a true pastor, he treated everyone cordially. ... In particular, he always showed tender concern for women and particular interest in marriage and the family. He invited the faithful to participate in liturgical life, which his creative genius would make particularly splendid and attractive." However "despite his kind heart, ... because of his continuous dealings with the civil authorities and institutions, he often found himself involved in political questions and intrigues, ... and was condemned to exile" where he died in the year 407.

  "Of St. John Chrysostom it was said," the Pope continued, "that God caused people to see in him another Paul, a Doctor of the Universe. ... Chrysostom's ideal vision is clearly expressed in his commentary to the first pages of the book of Genesis," in which he meditates upon "the eight works accomplished by God in the sequence of six days." The saint wishes "to lead the faithful back from the creation to the Creator, ... the God of condescension ... Who sends fallen man a letter: Holy Scripture."

  The bishop of Constantinople also refers to God as "tender Father, Doctor of souls, Mother and affectionate Friend." In the end "it is God Who descends towards us, He takes bodily from, ... dies on the cross, ... and truly becomes God-with-us, our brother."

  "In addition to these three stages - God Who is visible in His creation, God Who writes us a letter, and God Who descends towards us - there is a fourth stage in the life and activity of Christians: the vital and dynamic principle of the Holy Spirit Who transforms the reality of the world. God comes into our lives ... and transforms us from within."

  In his commentary to the Acts of the Apostles, St. John Chrysostom proposes "the model of the early Church as a model for society, creating a social 'utopia' ... and seeking to give a Christian soul and a Christian aspect to the city. In other words, Chrysostom understood that it was not enough to give alms, to help the poor one case at a time, rather that it was necessary to create a new structure, a new model for society ... based on the new Testament. For this reason, we may consider him as one of the great Fathers of the Church's social doctrine."

  With St. Paul, St. John Chrysostom "supported the primacy of human beings, including slaves and the poor." This contrasted with the structure of the Greek 'polis' where "vast sectors of the population were excluded form the right to citizenship;" in the Christian city, on the other hand, "all are brothers and sisters with the same rights."

  At the end of his life St. John Chrysostom returned to the theme of "God's plan for humanity," reaffirming that "God loves each of us with an infinite love, and therefore He wants everyone to be saved."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 26, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, U.S.A., as a member of the Congregation for Bishops.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 25, 2007 (VIS) - On Friday October 5, with the title of "The Century of Martyrs and Religious Persecution in Spain (1934-1939)," an academic conference will be held in Rome to mark the beatification of 498 Spanish martyrs of the 20th century. The beatification ceremony itself is due to be held on October 28.

  According to a communique published yesterday afternoon the event, which has been organized by the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE) and will begin at 6 p.m. in the Pontifical Augustinian Institute, will be attended by Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Sant'Egidio Community and author of the book "El siglo de los martires" (the century of martyrs); Msgr. Vicente Carcel Orti, a scholar of the history of the Church in Spain, and Fr. Juan Antonio Martinez Camino S.J., secretary general of the CEE, who will present the book "Quienes son y de donde vienen, 498 martires del siglo XX," which contains the biographies of the 498 future Blesseds.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 25, 2007 (VIS) - This morning the opening ceremony was held for the new Philatelic and Numismatic Museum of Vatican City State, located within the Vatican Museums.

  The new museum brings together all the stamps and coins minted in Vatican City State from 1929 to the present day. It includes a section containing sketches, printing plates, plaster models, bronze casts and other materials illustrating the various phases in the production of stamps and coins. It also contains a philatelic retrospective on the history of the postal service of the Pontifical State (1852-1870). The pictures on display in the new museum are original sketches by various artists that have been used in the production of postal stamps and aerograms.

  In a separate development, it has been announced that the Holy See will once again participate in the "European Heritage Days," an initiative promoted by the Council of Europe in which more than 40 countries on the continent take part. The celebrations this year will take place on Sunday, September 30, on the theme: "Europe, a shared heritage. The continent's Christian roots."

  On that day, entrance to the Vatican Museums and to the catacombs in Rome will be free of charge. At the San Callisto Catacombs on the Old Appian Way a photographic exhibition will be inaugurated entitled "The Catacombs of Rome, a privileged destination for European pilgrims." The exhibition will remain open to the public until October 30, 2007.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 25, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was the text of a speech delivered by Msgr. Pietro Parolin, under-secretary for Relations with States, before the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly which is meeting to deliberate on the theme of "the future is in our hands: addressing the leadership challenge of climate change."

  "Climate change is a serious concern and an inescapable responsibility," said Msgr. Parolin in his English-language talk. "My delegation wishes to stress the underlying moral imperative that everyone, without exception, has a grave responsibility to protect the environment," he added.

  "The best scientific assessments available have established a link between human activity and climate change," he continued. "However, the results of these scientific assessments, and the remaining uncertainties, should neither be exaggerated nor minimized in the name of politics, ideologies or self-interest. Rather they now need to be studied closely in order to give a sound basis for raising awareness and making effective policy decisions.

  "In recent times," he added, "it has been unsettling to note how some commentators have said that we should actually exploit our world to the full, with little or no heed to the consequences, using a world view supposedly based on faith." This, said Msgr. Parolin "is a fundamentally reckless approach." However "there are those who hold up the earth as the only good, and would characterize humanity as an irredeemable threat to the earth, whose population and activity need to be controlled by various drastic means." They, he stressed, "would place human beings and their needs at the service of an inhuman ecology."

  "Since no country alone can solve the problems related to our common environment, we need to overcome self-interest through collective action. On the part of the international community, this presupposes the adoption of a coordinated, effective and prompt international political strategy" to "identify ways ... to enhance sustainable development and foster a healthy environment," while bearing in mind "that poor nations and sectors of society are particularly vulnerable to the adverse consequences of climate change, due to lesser resources and capacity to mitigate their effects and adapt to altered surroundings."

  "The pace of achieving and codifying a new international consensus on climate change is not always matched by an equally expeditious and effective pace of implementation of such agreements. States are free to adopt international conventions and treaties, but unless our words are matched with effective action and accountability, we would do little to avert a bleak future and may find ourselves gathering again not too long from now to lament another collective failure."
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Monday, September 24, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2007 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Bishop Robert Bell Clune, former auxiliary of Toronto, Canada, on September 7 at the age of 86.

 - Bishop Giovanni Cogoni, emeritus of Iglesias, Italy, on September 12 at the age of 91.

 - Archbishop Luigi Dossena, apostolic nuncio, on September 9 at the age of 82.

 - Bishop Teresio Ferraroni, emeritus of Como, Italy, on September 4 at the age of 93.

 - Bishop Bernhard Huhn, former apostolic administrator of Gorlitz, Germany, on September 14 at the age of 86.

 - Bishop Jose Melgoza Osorio, emeritus of Netzahualcoyotl, Mexico, on September 4 at the age of 95.

 - Archbishop Jose Manuel Santos Ascarza O.C.D. emeritus of Concepcion, Chile, on September 14 at the age of 91.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences ten prelates from the Ukrainian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Cardinal Marian Jaworski, archbishop of Lviv of the Latins, accompanied by Coadjutor Archbishop-elect Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki, and by Auxiliary Bishop Leon Maly.

    - Bishop Leonid Maksymilian Dubrawski O.F.M. of Kamyanets-Podilskyi of the Latins, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Jan Niemiec.

    - Bishop Stanislaw Padewski O.F.M. Cap. of Kharkiv-Zaporizhia, accompanied by Coadjutor Bishop Marian Buczek.

    - Bishop Jan Purwinski of Kyiv-Zhytomyr, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Stanislav Szyrokoradiuk O.F.M. and Vitaliy Skomarovskyi.

  On Saturday, September 22, he received in audience Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2007 (VIS) - Late this morning, the Holy Father met with prelates of the Ukrainian Episcopal Conference who have just completed their "ad limina" visit. Apart from the bishops of Latin rite, also present at the audience were the bishops of Greek-Catholic rite.

  In his talk to them, the Pope highlighted the prelates' efforts "to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel in the dear land of Ukraine, sometimes encountering no small number of difficulties but always supported by the awareness that Christ guides His flock with a sure hand, the flock that He Himself entrusted to your hands as His ministers."

  "In the variety of her rites and her historical traditions, the One Catholic Church in every corner of the earth announces and bears witness to the One Jesus Christ, the Word of salvation for all men and for all of man. It is for this reason that the effectiveness of all our pastoral and apostolic projects depends, above all, on faithfulness to Christ.

  "We pastors," the Pope added, "just like all the faithful, are called to experience an intimate and constant familiarity with Him in prayer and in meekly listening to His Word. This is the only road to follow in order to become signs of His love and instruments of His peace and harmony, in all fields of life."

  "Animated by this spirit," the Holy Father told the prelates, "it is not difficult for you ... to intensify cordial cooperation between Latin bishops and Greek-Catholic bishops, for the good of the entire Christian people. Thus you have the opportunity to coordinate your pastoral plans and your apostolic activities, always offering testimony of that ecclesial communion which is also an indispensable condition for ecumenical dialogue with our brethren in the Orthodox and other Churches."

  The Holy Father suggested to the Latin and Greek-Catholic bishops that they meet at least once a year, reaching "agreement between yourselves in order to make pastoral activity ever more harmonious and effective. I am convinced that fraternal cooperation between pastors will be an encouragement and a stimulus for all the faithful to grow in unity and apostolic enthusiasm, and that it will also favor fruitful ecumenical dialogue."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2007 (VIS) - Jose Cuadra Chamorro, the new ambassador of Nicaragua to the Holy See, today presented his Letters of Credence to the Holy Father who, in his address to the diplomat, expressed his best wishes to the nation "so sorely tried by the recent hurricane, Felix."

  Benedict XVI renewed assurances of his prayers for the victims and reaffirmed his spiritual closeness to the all those affected, voicing the hope that, "apart from internal aid, they also receive generous contributions for the international community."

  In order to resolve Nicaragua's various "economic, social and political problems" said the Holy Father, it is important for the country "to be able to rely, not only on the willingness and participation of citizens, but above all on that of the heads of various political and business groups. What is vital, then, is a union of effort and will to make it possible for political leaders to act decisively in the face of the challenges of a globalized world."

  In order to achieve the goals the Nicarguan government has set - such as "the so-called 'Zero Hunger' campaign, combating the drugs problem, increasing literacy, eliminating poverty," and "thus reducing the inequality between people who have a superabundance of wealth and those who lack the basic necessities" - what is vital "is transparency and honesty in public affairs which, in the face of any form of corruption, favor the authorities' credibility in the eyes of citizens."

  In trying to reach these objectives, said the Pope, "the heads of civil institutions will find in the Church of Nicaragua - notwithstanding her lack of resources and with a firmness in principles inspired by the Gospel - a sincere collaborator in seeking just solutions. They should also recognize the Church's efforts to increase the awareness and responsibility of citizens, encouraging their participation and commitment in serving the needs of people who are often immersed in poverty."

  "The bishops of your country," the Pope told the newly-accredited diplomat, "faithful to their strictly pastoral mission, are ready to maintain a dialogue - a constant and sincere communication - with the government, contributing to the creation of the essential conditions that favor true reconciliation, establishing a climate of peace and authentic social justice. Nonetheless 'the direct duty to work for a just ordering of society ... is proper to the lay faithful' who must undertake their political activity as 'social charity'."

  The Holy Father then expressed the Holy See's appreciation of Nicaragua "for the position she takes on social questions in the international arena, especially as regards the theme of life, and in the face of no small amount of internal and international pressure." He also considered "it very positive that last year the national assembly approved the revocation of therapeutic abortion," and affirmed the "need to increase the aid that Sate and society provide to women who have serious problems during pregnancy."

  Finally Benedict XVI dwelt on "the urgent necessity to retrieve and promote human and moral values in the face of so many forms of violence, even in the home and often as a result of the disintegration of families. ... The Church in Nicaragua is well aware of this sad state of affairs and seeks to face it with her teaching and her pastoral programs. However the intervention of public institutions is also necessary, with appropriate educational programs on matters concerning the organization of social life."


VATICAN CITY, SEP 23, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the balcony overlooking the internal courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered there.

  Before the Marian prayer, the Pope recalled his visit that morning to the diocese of Velletri where he had dedicated his homily to "the correct use of worldly goods." Through the parable from the Gospel of St. Luke concerning a dishonest but shrewd manager, he said, Christ taught His disciples the best way to employ material wealth.

  "Money is not of itself 'dishonest'," affirmed the Holy Father, "but more than anything else it has the power to lead man into blind selfishness. What is needed, then, is to achieve a kind of 'conversion' of economic resources: instead of using them for our own interests, we must think of the needs of the poor, imitating Christ Himself Who ... 'though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich'."

  "At this point," he went on, "we could open a vast and complex field of reflection on the question of wealth and poverty, also on a world scale, in which two forms of economic logic come face to face: the logic of profit and that of the equal distribution of wealth. These do not contradict one another so long as their relationship is well regulated.

  "Catholic social doctrine," the Pope added, "has always supported the idea that the equal distribution of wealth is a priority," although "profit is, of course, legitimate and, in appropriate measure, necessary for economic development." In this context, Benedict XVI recalled how, in his Encyclical "Centesimus annus," John Paul II had written: "The modern business economy has positive aspects. Its basis is human freedom exercised in the economic field, just as it is exercised in many other fields." Yet, Pope Benedict added, "capitalism must not be considered as the only valid model of economic organization."

  "The urgent problems of hunger and the environment provide mounting evidence, that the logic of profit, if it prevails, increases the imbalance between rich and poor in a ruinous exploitation of the planet. When, on the other hand, the logic of sharing and solidarity prevails it is possible to alter and redirect our course towards equal and sustainable development."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 23, 2007 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father made a pastoral visit to Velletri, south of Rome, where he presided at a Eucharistic celebration in the cathedral square. Benedict XVI held the title of the suburbicarian diocese of Velletri-Segni from the year 1993 until his election to the pontificate in April 2005. His successor as the titular holder of the diocese is Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, while the incumbent is Bishop Vincenzo Apicella.

  In his homily the Pope commented on today's Gospel reading of the dishonest manager, and reflected on the danger of excessive attachment to money and material wealth.

  "In truth," he told the several thousand faithful who had gathered to hear him, "life is always a choice: between faithfulness and unfaithfulness, between selfishness and altruism, between good and evil. The end of this particular Gospel passage is incisive and peremptory: no servant can serve two masters," which in the final analysis means "you cannot serve God and wealth."

  "A fundamental decision is, then, necessary," Pope Benedict proceeded, "the choice between the logic of profit as the ultimate criteria for our actions and the logic of sharing and solidarity. If the logic of profit prevails, the imbalance between poor and rich increases, as does the ruinous exploitation of the planet. When, on the other hand, the logic of sharing and solidarity prevails it is possible to alter and redirect our course towards equal development and the common good of everyone. Ultimately it is a decision between selfishness and love, between justice and dishonesty, ... between God and Satan.

  "If loving Christ and our fellow man is not considered as a superficial accessory," he added, "but rather as the real and ultimate aim of our entire life, we must know how to take fundamental decisions, to be ready to make radical sacrifices, if necessary even unto martyrdom. Today, as yesterday, the life of Christians calls for the courage to swim against the tide, to love like Jesus Who went so far as to sacrifice Himself upon the cross."

  After the Mass, the Pope blessed a bronze column given to him a year ago as a gift by 100 Bavarian cities to mark his apostolic trip to Germany and his 80th birthday. Two columns were made, one is in the Pope's home town of Marktl am Inn, the other has been donated by him to the diocese of Velletri-Segni.

  After bidding farewell to the civil and religious authorities of Velletri, the Holy Father returned to the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo where he prayed the Angelus.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 22, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Szczecin-Kamien, Poland, presented by Bishop Jan Galecki, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Accepted the resignation from the diocese of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg, Poland, presented by Bishop Tadeusz Werno, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed as members of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences: Mario Sensi, professor of medieval Church history at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome; Giampaolo Romanato, professor of modern history at the University of Padua, Italy; and Werner Maleczek, professor of medieval history at the University of Vienna, Austria.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 22, 2007 (VIS) - This morning in Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father received participants in the traditional meeting of bishops who have been appointed over the course of the last twelve months. With them, he reflected on the apostolic and pastoral nature of a bishop's life of prayer.

  After highlighting how "the chief place in the life of a successor to the Apostles must be reserved for God," the Pope told the bishops to reserve a special mention for priests in their prayers, "that they may persevere in their vocation, faithful to the priestly mission with which they have been entrusted.

  "How edifying its," he added, "for each priest to know that his bishop - from whom he received the gift of priesthood or who is in any case his father and friend - remains close to him in prayer and affection, and is always ready to welcome him, listen to him, support and encourage him. Nor," he continued," in a bishop's prayers, should there ever be lacking a supplication for new vocations. They must be asked insistently of God, that He may call 'whom He will' to the sacred ministry."

  "Where men and women are constantly rushing and lose themselves, where people live as if God does not exist," the Pope told the newly-consecrated bishops, "create places and moments for prayer where, in silence, in listening to God through 'lectio divina,' in individual and community prayer, mankind can meet God and enjoy a living experience of Jesus Christ Who reveals the true face of the Father."

  The Holy Father exhorted the bishops "to make the cathedral an exemplary house of prayer, especially liturgical prayer, where the diocesan community united with their bishop can praise and thank God for His work of salvation, and intercede for all humankind."

  "Be men of prayer," Benedict XVI concluded. "In appealing to God for yourselves and for your faithful, have the trust of children, the boldness of a friend, and the perseverance of Abraham, who was tireless in his intercession."
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Friday, September 21, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of the archdiocese of Mother of God in Moscow, Russian Federation, as metropolitan archbishop of Minsk-Mohilev (area 69,800, population 4,800,000, Catholics 210,000, priests 74, religious 111), Belarus.

 - Fr. Paolo Pezzi F.S.C.B., rector of the major seminary of Mary Queen of the Apostles in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, as metropolitan archbishop of the archdiocese of Mother of God in Moscow (area 2,629.000, population 58,820,000, Catholics 200,000, priests 128, permanent deacons 1, religious 267), Russian Federation. The archbishop-elect was born in Russi, Italy, in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1990.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

 - Cardinal Julian Herranz, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI received 200 people who have been participating in a conference of the Executive Committee of the Centrist Democratic International (IDC), which is presided by the Italian politician Pierferdinando Casini.

  The Pope told his audience how "your visit gives me an opportunity to bring to your attention some of the values and ideals that have been molded and deepened in a decisive way by the Christian tradition in Europe and throughout the world, ... such as the centrality of the human person, a respect for human rights, a commitment to peace and the promotion of justice for all."

  These "fundamental principles," the Pope went on, "are closely interconnected. In effect, when human rights are violated, the dignity of the human person suffers; when justice is compromised, peace itself is jeopardized."

  The Holy Father encouraged his listeners "to persevere in your efforts to serve the common good, taking it upon yourselves to prevent the dissemination and entrenchment of ideologies which obscure and confuse consciences by promoting an illusory vision of truth and goodness. In the economic sphere, for example, there is a tendency to view financial gain as the only good, thus eroding the internal ethos of commerce."

  He continued: "There are those who maintain that human reason is incapable of grasping the truth, and therefore of pursuing the good that corresponds to personal dignity," while others "believe that it is legitimate to destroy human life in its earliest or final stages." Another cause of concern, he said, lies in "the growing crisis of the family, which is the fundamental nucleus of society based on the indissoluble bond of marriage between a man and a woman."

  The Holy Father then turned to consider "the defense of religious liberty, which is a fundamental, irrepressible, inalienable and inviolable right. ... The exercise of this freedom also includes the right to change religion, which should be guaranteed not only legally, but also in daily practice."

  "Within every human heart there are needs and desires which find their fulfillment in God alone. For this reason, God can never be excluded from the horizon of man and world history. That is why all authentically religious traditions must be allowed to manifest their own identity publicly, free from any pressure to hide or disguise it.

  "Moreover," he added, "due respect for religion helps to counter the charge that society has forgotten God: an accusation shamelessly exploited by some terrorist networks in an attempt to justify their threats against global security. Terrorism is a serious problem whose perpetrators often claim to act in God's name and harbor an inexcusable contempt for human life.

  "Society naturally has a right to defend itself, but this right must be exercised with complete respect for moral and legal norms, including the choice of ends and means. In democratic systems, the use of force in a manner contrary to the principles of a constitutional State can never be justified."

  "In this regard, the social teaching of the Catholic Church offers some points for reflection on how to promote security and justice both at the national and international levels. This teaching is based on reason, natural law and the Gospel."

  "The Church knows that it is not her specific task to oversee the political implementation of this teaching: her objective is to help form consciences in political life, to raise awareness of the authentic requirements of justice, and to foster a greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest."

  "For those of you who share a faith in Christ," Benedict XVI concluded, "the Church asks you to bear witness to that faith today with even greater courage and generosity. The integrity of Christians in political life is indeed more necessary than ever so that the 'salt' of apostolic zeal does not lose its 'flavor'."
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Thursday, September 20, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Fabio Bernardo D'Onorio O.S.B., ordinary abbot of Montecassino, Italy, as archbishop of Gaeta (area 603, population 160,150, Catholics 152,350, priests 81, permanent deacons 18, religious 246), Italy. The archbishop-elect was born in Veroli, Italy in 1940, he was ordained a priest in 1966 and consecrated a bishop in 2004. He succeeds Archbishop Pier Luigi Mazzoni, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Cesar Daniel Fernandez, rector of the metropolitan seminary of Buenos Aires, Argentina, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Parana (area 30,348, population 559,710, Catholics 503,739, priests 124, religious 211), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1980.


VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2007 (VIS) - Holy Father today received in separate audiences six prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Benin, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Fidele Agbatchi of Parakou.

    - Bishop Paul Kouassivi Vieira of Djougou.

    - Bishop Clet Feliho of Kandi.

    - Bishop Pascal N'Koue of Natitingou.

    - Bishop Martin Adjou Moumouni of N'Dali.

    - Fr. Pascal Guezodje, diocesan administrator of Abomey.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2007 (VIS) - In Castelgandolfo at midday today, Benedict XVI received prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Benin, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  The Pope began his address by noting how, over recent years, the bishops had "shown great evangelical courage in guiding the people of God through numerous difficulties, ... showing pastoral concern for the great questions facing society, especially in the field of justice and human rights."

  After encouraging the African prelates "to develop an authentic spirituality of communion," both among themselves and with their priests, the Holy Father called on priests to maintain "an intense spiritual life."

  Referring then to the influence of tradition on social life, the Pope highlighted the need "to stimulate the best aspects of tradition and to reject its harmful elements, which cause damage, and nourish fear and exclusion." In this context he affirmed that "in order to help the faithful compare their faith with 'traditional' beliefs, a solid Christian formation is necessary" which, furthermore, "will teach them to pray with faith. ... Catechists make a precious contribution to this demanding task."

  "Institutes of consecrated life make a generous contribution to the mission," said the Holy Father. "I invite members of communities of contemplative life to continue to be - through their discreet presence - a permanent call for all believers to seek the face of God tirelessly and to thank Him for all His gifts."

  In the "cultural context" of Benin, said Pope Benedict, "it is necessary that the Church's presence be expressed through visible signs which indicate the authentic meaning of her mission to humankind. Among these signs, enthusiastic and animated liturgical celebrations have a pre-eminent place. They are an eloquent testimony of the faith of your communities at the very heart of society. For this reason, it is important for the faithful to participate in the liturgy fully, actively and fruitfully."

  In order to avoid "introducing into the liturgy elements incompatible with Christian faith, or actions that may generate confusion, seminarians and priests must be given a solid liturgical formation that enables them to gain a profound knowledge of the foundations, significance and theological value of liturgical rites."

  The Holy Father then recalled how the bishops had publicly defended, "courageously and in various circumstances, the values of the family and of respect for life" against "ideologies that propose models or attitudes opposed to an authentic concept of human life. I encourage you," he added, "to continue this commitment, which is a service to the whole of society"

  "In this context," said the Pope, "the formation of young people is also one of your pastoral priorities. ... In helping them to acquire human and spiritual maturity, bring them to discover God. ... The difficulties people face in committing to Christian marriage and remaining faithful to the vows they have made - obstacles often associated with culture and tradition - call not only for a serious preparation for this Sacrament but also for permanent accompaniment of families, especially in moments of greatest difficulty."

  Benedict XVI concluded his talk by expressing satisfaction for "the atmosphere of mutual understanding that characterizes relations between Christians and Muslims" in Benin. "In order to avoid the development of any kind of intolerance and to prevent all forms of violence, it is necessary to pursue sincere dialogue, founded on an ever greater mutual understanding, especially through human relationships, agreement on the values of life, and mutual cooperation in everything that promotes universal wellbeing. Such dialogue also requires the training of competent individuals to help people know and understand the religious values we share, and respect differences faithfully."
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Wednesday, September 19, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 19, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Francisco Carlos da Silva of the clergy of the diocese of Sao Carlos, pastor of the parish of Sao Sebastiao at Borborema, as bishop of Ituiutaba (area 22,742, population 345,000, Catholics 295,000, priests 42, religious 43), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Tabatinga, Brazil in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1982.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 19, 2007 (VIS) - In his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square, the Pope continued with his series of catecheses on the subject of the Fathers of the Church, focussing today on St. John Chrysostom.

  The Pope began by recalling the fact that this year marks the 16th centenary of the death of St. John Chrysostom, who was born in Antioch, in modern-day Turkey, in the year 349. "Called Chrysostom, meaning 'golden-mouthed,' for his eloquence, it could be said that he is still alive today through his works," the Holy Father observed.

  "Ordained a deacon in 381 and a priest in 386, he became a famous preacher in the churches of his city; ... 387 was John's 'heroic year'," said Benedict XVI, the year of "the so-called 'revolt of the statues' when people destroyed the imperial statues as a sign of protest against the rise in taxes."

  The Holy Father then went on to observe how this saint "was one of the most prolific of the Fathers, of him we have 17 treatises, more than 700 authentic homilies, his commentaries on Matthew and Paul, and 241 letters. He was not a speculative theologian. He transmitted the traditional and certain doctrine of the Church at a time of theological controversies, caused above all by Arianism, in other words the negation of Christ's divinity."

  "His is an explicitly pastoral theology," the Pope continued, "in which he shows a constant concern for coherence between thought expressed in words and real existence, This, in particular, is the common thread of the magnificent catecheses with which he prepared catechumens to receive Baptism."

  Benedict XVI indicated how "St. John Chrysostom was concerned that his writings should accompany the integral - physical, intellectual and religious - development of the person."

  In his works, the saint highlighted the importance of childhood because it is then "that inclinations to vice and virtue appear. For this reason the law of God must, from the beginning, be impressed upon the soul 'as upon a wax tablet'."

  Childhood, said the Pope referring to the saint's writings, "is followed by the sea of adolescence in which the gales blow violently as concupiscence grows within us." Then comes courtship and marriage, about which the saint points out "that a well prepared husband and wife close the way to divorce: everything takes place joyfully and children can be educated to virtue. When the first child is born, he or she is like a bridge: the three become a single flesh because the child brings the two parts together and all together they constitute a family, a little Church."

  Finally, the Pope recalled how the saint used to address his writings to the lay faithful who, "through Baptism, take on the priestly office, royal and prophetic. ... This lesson of Chrysostom on the authentically Christian presence of the lay faithful in the family and in society is today more important than ever."
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Tuesday, September 18, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 18, 2007 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Bishop Miguel Angel Araujo Iglesias, emeritus of Mondonedo-Ferrol, Spain, on July 22 at the age of 87.

- Bishop Alejo Benedicto Gilligan, emeritus of Nueve de Julio, Argentina, on 17 July at the age of 91.

- Bishop Endre Kovacs O. Cist., former auxiliary of Eger, Hungary, on July 29 at the age of 79.

- Bishop Enrique Pelach y Feliu, emeritus of Abancay, Peru, on July 19 at the age of 89.

- Bishop Felix Pepen y Soliman, former auxiliary of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on July 21 at the age of 87.

- Bishop Hubert Patrick O'Connor O.M.I., emeritus of Prince George, Canada, on July 24 at the age of 79.

- Archbishop Joao Resende Costa S.D.B., emeritus of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on July 21 at the age of 96.

- Archbishop Lawrence Khai Saen-Phon-On, emeritus of Thare and Nonseng, Thailand, on July 24 at the age of 78.

- Bishop Quirino Adolfo Schmitz O.F.M., emeritus of Teofilo Otoni, Brazil, on July 20 at the age of 88.

- Cardinal Edouard Gagnon P.S.S., president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Family and of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, on August 25 at the age of 89.

- Cardinal Jean Lustinger, archbishop emeritus of Paris, France, on August 5 at the age of 80.

- Bishop Maximo Andre Biennes T.O.R., emeritus of Sao Luiz de Caceres, Brazil, on August 10 at the age of 86.

- Archbishop Domenico Caloyera O.P., emeritus of Izmir, Turkey, on August 7 at the age of 92.

- Bishop Franco Dalla Valle S.D.B. of Juina, Brazil, on August 2 at the age of 62.

- Bishop Gerard Louis Frey, emeritus of Lafayette, U.S.A., August 16 at the age of 93.

- Bishop Augustine Harris, emeritus of Middlesborough, Great Britain, August 30 at the age of 89.

- Bishop Peter Saburo Hirata P.S.S., emeritus of Fukuoka, Japan, on August 5 at the age of 93.

- Bishop Jose Ramon Santos Iztueta Mendizabal C.P., prelate emeritus of Moyobamba, Peru, on August 27 at the age of 78.

- Bishop Vicente C. Manuel S.V.D., former apostolic vicar of San Jose in Mindoro, Philippines, on August 18 at the age of 68.

- Bishop Lino Vomboemmel O.F.M., emeritus of Santarem, Brazil, on August 6 at the age of 73.

- Archbishop Vicente Angelo Jose Marchetti Zioni, emeritus of Botucatu, Brazil, on August 9 at the age of 95.
.../DEATHS/...                            VIS 20070918 (420)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 18, 2007 (VIS) - The annual meeting of university pastoral care workers, promoted by the Catechesis-School-University Commission of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), is due to take place in Zagreb, Croatia, from September 21 to 23.

  According to a communique made public today by the office for pastoral care in universities of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), participants in the meeting "intend to reflect on the prospects for university pastoral care in Europe, with a view to the Bologna Process which will conclude in 2010.

  "The work of the meeting will be opened by Bishop Marek Jedraszewski, vice-president of the CCEE Catechesis-School-University Commission. The work will be coordinated by Msgr. Lorenzo Leuzzi and will examine such questions as: the path of university professors, the European Meeting of University Students 2009, and the formation of university chaplains."

  The focus of the meeting will be a verification of the 'Lineamenta' for university pastoral care guided by Fr. Augustin del Agua, head of pastoral care in universities for the Spanish Episcopal Conference. The meeting will be closed by Cardinal Josip Bozanic, archbishop of Zagreb and vice-president of the CCEE.

Monday, September 17, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 17, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

 - Four prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Benin, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Marcel Honorat Leon Agboton of Cotonou.

    - Bishop Antoine Ganye of Dassa-Zoume.

    - Bishop Victor Agbanou of Lokossa,

    - Bishop Rene-Marie Ehuzu C.I.M. of Porto Novo.

  On Saturday, September 15, he received in separate audiences:

 - Bishop Vincenzo Paglia of Terni-Narni-Amelia, Italy, accompanied by Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Sant'Egidio Community.

 - Youm Bosco Seong, ambassador of Korea, on his farewell visit.
AP/.../...                                VIS 20070917 (110)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 17, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father has written a Message to Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, for the Tenth Inter-Christian Symposium between Catholics and Orthodox, which is being held from September 16 to 19 on the Greek island of Tinos.

  The symposium, organized every two years by the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality at Rome's Antonianum Pontifical Athenaeum, and by the faculty of theology at the Aristotle University of Thessalonica, Greece, aims to study Catholics' and Orthodox' shared patrimony of faith and tradition. The current meeting - which has as its theme "St. John Chrysostom, a bridge between East and West" - coincides with the 1,600th anniversary of the death of that saint, considered as a Father of the Church in both East and West.

  In his Message, the Pope expresses his happiness at the fact that the gathering is being held on Tinos "where Orthodox and Catholics coexist fraternally," and he recalls how "ecumenical cooperation in the academic field contributes to maintaining an impetus towards the longed-for communion among all Christians.

  On the subject of ecumenical cooperation, the Pope points out how "Vatican Council II recognized in this field an opportunity to involve the entire People of God in the search for full unity."

  The Holy Father then goes on to refer to St. John Chrysostom as "a valiant, illuminated and faithful preacher of the Word of God, ... such an extraordinary hermeneutist and speaker that, from the fifth century, he was given the title of Chrysostom, which means golden-mouthed. A man whose contribution to the formation of the Byzantine liturgy is known to everyone," and whose mortal remains "after complex historical events have, since 1626, rested in St. Peter's Basilica."

"In 2004," Pope Benedict writes, "my venerated predecessor John Paul II donated part of the relics to His Holiness Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch, so that the great Father of the Church could be venerated both in the Vatican Basilica and in the church of St. George in Fanar."

  The symposium will consider St. John Chrysostom and communion with the Church of the West, studying a number of current problems. This, writes the Pope "will contribute to upholding and corroborating the real - though imperfect - communion that exists between Catholics and Orthodox, so that we may reach that fullness which will one day enable us to concelebrate the one Eucharist.

  "And it is to that blessed day," the Holy Father adds in conclusion, "that we look with hope, organizing practical initiatives such as this one."


VATICAN CITY, SEP 17, 2007 (VIS) - This morning the Pope received officials and members of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace for the fifth anniversary of the death of the Vietnamese Cardinal Francois-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, whose beatification cause has recently been opened. Also present at the audience were members of the St. Matthew Foundation and of the Cardinal Van Thuan International Observatory for the dissemination of the Church's social doctrine.

  The Pope recalled the fact that Cardinal Van Thuan had been president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and that he had launched the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, published in October 2004. He also recalled the late cardinal's "cordiality, ... his capacity for dialogue and for being close to everyone, ... his fervent commitment to spreading the Church's social doctrine among the world's poor, his longing for evangelization in his own continent of Asia, and his skill in coordinating activities of charity and human promotion which he initiated and supported in the most out-of-the-way places on earth."

  Cardinal Van Thuan, said Benedict XVI, "was a man of hope, he lived on hope and he spread it to everyone he met. It was thanks to this spiritual energy that he resisted all physical and moral difficulties. Hope sustained him as a bishop isolated for 13 years from his diocesan community; hope helped him to see, in the absurdity of the events that befell him (he was never put on trial during his long imprisonment), a providential plan of God."

  "Cardinal Van Thuan loved to repeat that Christians are people of the here and now, of the present moment which must be welcomed and experienced with the love of Christ. And his capacity to live for the present demonstrated his intimate abandonment in the hands of God and the evangelical simplicity which we all admired in him."

  The Holy Father concluded by expressing his joy at the news that the process of beatification of "this singular prophet of Christian hope" had begun.
AC/VAN THUAN/...                            VIS 20070917 (350)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 16, 2007 (VIS) - Following today's Angelus prayer at Castelgandolfo, the Pope mentioned the recent beatification of three Servants of God, one in Poland and two in France. He also called for an alliance between human beings and the environment in order to safeguard God's creation.

  "In Poland this morning," said the Holy Father, "in my name, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. beatified Fr. Stanislaus Papczynski, founder of the Congregation of Marian Clerics of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, ... a priest who set an example in preaching and formation of the laity, father to the poor and apostle of prayers for the deceased."

  The Pope went on: "Also this morning, in Bordeaux, France, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, in my name, beatified Sr. Marie Celine of the Presentation, a nun of the Second Order of St. Francis. Her life, marked by the cross, sought to be a sign of love for Christ, as she herself said: 'I thirst to be a rose of charity'."

  Finally, the Pope mentioned Fr. Basile-Antonie Marie Moreau, founder of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, beatified yesterday in Le Mans, France, also by Cardinal Saraiva Martins. "To the intercession of these new Blesseds I especially entrust their spiritual children," said the Pope, "that they may enthusiastically follow the shining witness of the prophets of God, Lord of all life."

  The Holy Father then went on to recall that "today is the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Montreal Protocol concerning substances that damage the ozone layer and cause grave harm to human beings and to the ecosystem.

  "Over the last two decades," he added, "thanks to exemplary collaboration in the international community between politics, science and the economy, important results have been achieved with positive repercussions on present and future generations.

  "It is my hope," he concluded, "that cooperation may be intensified in order to promote the common good, development and the protection of creation, reinforcing the alliance between man and the environment, which must be a mirror of God's creative love, whence we come and towards which we are proceeding."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 16, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI prayed the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in the internal courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo. Before the Marian prayer, the Pope commented on chapter 15 of the Gospel of St. Luke, "one of the most exalted and moving passages of all Sacred Scripture."

  The Pope began: "It is good to think that all over the world, wherever the Christian community gathers to celebrate the Sunday Eucharist today, this Good News of truth and salvation sounds out: God is merciful love."

  "God does not want even one of His children to be lost, and His soul overflows with joy when a sinner converts. True religion consists, then, in entering onto harmony with this Heart 'rich in mercy,' which asks us to love everyone, ... imitating the heavenly Father Who respects the freedom of each of us and draws us to Him with the invincible force of his faithfulness."

  "In our time," the Pope went on, "humanity has need of the vigorous proclamation and testimony of God's mercy. The beloved John Paul II, who was a great apostle of divine Mercy, prophetically discerned this urgent pastoral need. ... Throughout his pontificate he was a missionary of God's love to all people, Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, which blackened the dawn of the third millennium, he invited Christians and men and women of good will to believe that the Mercy of God is stronger than any evil, and that the salvation of the world is only to be found in the Cross of Christ."
ANG/DIVINE MERCY/...                        VIS 20070917 (280)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 15, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - As members of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura: Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, Italy and Attilio Nicora, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, and Bishop Giuseppe Versaldi of Alessandria, Italy.

 - Cardinal Agostino Vallini, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, as president of the Commission for Advocates.

 - Archbishop Marco Dino Brogi O.F.M., as consultor of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
NA/.../...                                VIS 20070917 (90)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 15, 2007 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received in audience the Poor Clares from the convent of the Immaculate Conception at Albano, which is located within the territory of the pontifical villas at Castelgandolfo.

  Addressing the nuns, Benedict XVI expressed his gratitude "for your daily support through prayer, and for your intense spiritual participation in the mission of the Pastor of the Universal Church. In the silence of the cloister and in the total and exclusive giving of self to Christ in accordance with the Franciscan charism, you provide a valuable service to the Church."

  "The Pope expects you to be burning torches of love, your hands joined in a vigil of incessant prayer, completely detached from the world in order to sustain the ministry of he whom Jesus has called to guide His Church."

  "Not always," said the Pope, "is public opinion aware of the silent dedication of people who, like you, seek to put the Gospel into effect 'sine glossa' with simplicity and joy. Nonetheless, you may be sure that the contribution you make to the apostolic and missionary activity of the Church in the world is truly extraordinary, and God will continue to bless you with the gift of many vocations, as He has up to now."

  "May St. Francis, St. Clare and the many male and female saints of your order help you to 'persevere faithfully unto the end' in your vocations," the Pope concluded. "May the Virgin of Sorrows grant you the gift of following her divine crucified Son and of embracing with serenity the difficulties and trials of daily life."
AC/.../POOR CLARES                        VIS 20070917 (290)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 15, 2007 (VIS) - Today, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Noel Fahey, the new ambassador of Ireland to the Holy See.

  Speaking English, the Pope began his address to the diplomat by recalling how "for over 1600 years Christianity has shaped the cultural, moral and spiritual identity of the Irish people, ... and it remains as a 'leaven' in the life of your nation. Indeed, the Christian faith has lost nothing of its significance for contemporary society since it touches 'man's deepest sphere'." The Holy Father then turned to consider Ireland's recent economic growth, pointing out how "this prosperity has undoubtedly brought material comfort to many, but in its wake secularism has also begun to encroach and leave its mark."

  Benedict XVI had words of praise for a recent initiative to promote a "structured dialogue" between Church and government in Ireland. "Some might question," he said, "whether the Church is entitled to make a contribution to the governance of a nation. In a pluralist democratic society should not faith and religion be restricted to the private sphere?"

  "The Church, in articulating revealed truth," he stated, "serves all members of society by shedding light on the foundation of morality and ethics, and by purifying reason, ensuring that it remains open to the consideration of ultimate truths and draws upon wisdom. Far from threatening the tolerance of differences or cultural plurality, or usurping the role of the State, such a contribution illuminates the very truth which makes consensus possible and keeps public debate rational, honest and accountable.

  "When truth is disregarded," he added, "relativism takes its place: instead of being governed by principles, political choices are determined more and more by public opinion, values are overshadowed by procedures and targets, and indeed the very categories of good and evil, and right and wrong, give way to the pragmatic calculation of advantage and disadvantage."

  Benedict XVI went on to mention the fruits of the Northern Ireland Peace Process, which have been achieved "through widespread international support, determined political resolve on the part of both the Irish and the British Governments, and the readiness of individuals and communities to embrace the sublime human capacity to forgive. ... It is my fervent prayer that the peace which is already bringing renewal to the North will inspire political and religious leaders in other troubled zones of our world to recognize that only upon forgiveness, reconciliation and mutual respect can lasting peace be built."

  "Ireland has in recent years made care of the environment one of its priorities in both domestic policy and international relations. The promotion of sustainable development and particular attention to climate change are indeed matters of grave importance for the entire human family, and no nation or business sector should ignore them." However, the Pope noted, "while the majesty of God's hand in creation is readily recognized, the full acknowledgement of the glory and splendor with which He has specifically crowned man is at times less readily understood.

  "A kind of split morality ensues," he continued. "The great and vital moral themes of peace, non-violence, justice, and respect for creation do not in themselves confer dignity on man. The primary dimension of morality stems from the innate dignity of human life - from the moment of conception to natural death - a dignity conferred by God Himself."

  "How disturbing it is that not infrequently the very social and political groups that, admirably, are most attuned to the awe of God's creation pay scant attention to the marvel of life in the womb. Let us hope that, especially among young people, emerging interest in the environment will deepen their understanding of the proper order and magnificence of God's creation of which man and woman stand at the center and summit."


VATICAN CITY, SEP 14, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Seamus Freeman S.A.C., pastor of the Church of San Vincenzo Pallotti at Pietralata in Rome, as bishop of Ossory (area 1,972, population 88,442, Catholics 84,053, priests 96, religious 299), Ireland. The bishop-elect was born in Mullinahone, Ireland in 1944 and ordained a priest in 1971. He succeeds Bishop Laurence Forristal, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
NER:RE/.../FREEMAN:FORRISTAL                    VIS 20070914 (90)

Friday, September 14, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 14, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon.

 - Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

 - Cardinal James Francis Stafford, penitentiary major of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
AP/.../...                                VIS 20070914 (60)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 14, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office published the following communique late this morning:

  "This morning, Omar Hassan Ahmed El-Bashir, president of the Republic of Sudan, was received in audience by the Holy Father Benedict XVI in his summer residence at Castelgandolfo. The president subsequently went on to meet Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States and, until last year, apostolic nuncio in Khartoum.

  "Discussions focussed on the country's political and religious situation, with particular reference to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to the situation in Darfur. On this matter, very positive views were expressed concerning fresh peace negotiations for Darfur, due to be held on October 27 in Libya. It is the Holy See's heartfelt hope that these negotiations prove successful in order to put an end to the suffering and insecurity of those peoples, ensuring them the humanitarian assistance to which they have the right, and initiating development projects. Attention also turned to the regional aspects of the crisis.

  "Other subjects of joint interest were considered, such as the defense of life and of the family, the respect and promotion of human rights including the fundamental right of religious freedom, the importance of inter-religious dialogue and of collaboration between believers in all religions - in particular Christians and Muslims - for the promotion of peace and the common good. In this context, the positive role of the Catholic Church and her institutions in Sudanese society was reiterated, especially in the field of education."
OP/AUDIENCE SUDANESE PRESIDENT/...            VIS 20070914 (260)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 14, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was a response from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to certain questions raised by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops concerning artificial nutrition and hydration. The replies were approved by the Holy Father during an audience granted to Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the congregation. The text of the responses has been published in its Latin original and in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Polish and Portuguese.

  "First question: Is the administration of food and water (whether by natural or artificial means) to a patient in a 'vegetative state' morally obligatory except when they cannot be assimilated by the patient's body or cannot be administered to the patient without causing significant physical discomfort?

  "Response: Yes. The administration of food and water even by artificial means is, in principle, an ordinary and proportionate means of preserving life. It is therefore obligatory to the extent to which, and for as long as, it is shown to accomplish its proper finality, which is the hydration and nourishment of the patient. In this way suffering and death by starvation and dehydration are prevented.

  "Second question: When nutrition and hydration are being supplied by artificial means to a patient in a 'permanent vegetative state,' may they be discontinued when competent physicians judge with moral certainty that the patient will never recover consciousness?

  "Response: No. A patient in a 'permanent vegetative state' is a person with fundamental human dignity and must, therefore, receive ordinary and proportionate care which includes, in principle, the administration of water and food even by artificial means."

  An English-language note accompanying the responses indicates that: "When stating that the administration of food and water is morally obligatory 'in principle,' the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith does not exclude the possibility that, in very remote places or in situations of extreme poverty, the artificial provision of food and water may be physically impossible, and then 'ad impossibilia nemo tenetur.' However, the obligation to offer the minimal treatments that are available remains in place, as well as that of obtaining, if possible, the means necessary for an adequate support of life. Nor is the possibility excluded that, due to emerging complications, a patient may be unable to assimilate food and liquids, so that their provision becomes altogether useless. Finally, the possibility is not absolutely excluded that, in some rare cases, artificial nourishment and hydration may be excessively burdensome for the patient or may cause significant physical discomfort, for example resulting from complications in the use of the means employed.

  "These exceptional cases, however, take nothing away from the general ethical criterion, according to which the provision of water and food, even by artificial means, always represents a 'natural means' for preserving life, and is not a 'therapeutic treatment.' Its use should therefore be considered 'ordinary and proportionate,' even when the 'vegetative state' is prolonged."

Thursday, September 13, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 13, 2007 (VIS) - This morning in Castelgandolfo the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Jozef Dravecky, the new ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the Holy See.

  In his English-language address to the diplomat the Pope recalled how next year marks the 15th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Slovak Republic and the Holy See. In this context, he thanked the ambassador for his reassurance that Slovakia is committed to fulfilling the two unresolved points of the "Basic Agreement" between the two States, regarding "conscientious objection and the financing of Church activities." The other two points, concerning Catholic education and spiritual ministry to Catholics serving in the armed forces, have already been ratified

  On the subject of education, Benedict XVI reiterated the importance of States guaranteeing "the Church the freedom to establish and administer Catholic schools, affording parents the opportunity to choose a means of education that fosters the Christian formation of their children. ... Indeed, a solid education that nourishes all the dimensions of the human person, including the religious and spiritual, is in the interest of both Church and State. In this way, young people can acquire habits that will enable them to embrace their civic duties as they enter adulthood."

  "The family," he went on, "is the nucleus in which a person first learns human love and cultivates the virtues of responsibility, generosity and fraternal concern. Strong families are built on the foundation of strong marriages. Strong societies are built on the foundation of strong families. Indeed, all civic communities should do what they can to promote economic and social policies that aid young married couples and facilitate their desire to raise a family.

  "Far from remaining indifferent to marriage," he added, "the State must acknowledge, respect and support this venerable institution as the stable union between a man and a woman who willingly embrace a life-long commitment of love and fidelity."

  "The rich cultural and spiritual heritage of Slovakia holds great potential for revitalizing the soul of the European continent," said the Pope noting how the ambassador had "drawn attention to the heroic sacrifices made by countless men and women in your nation's history who, in times of persecution, labored at great cost to preserve the right to life, religious liberty, and the freedom to place oneself at the charitable service of one's neighbor."

  Benedict XVI concluded by expressing the hope that "the celebrations marking the 1150th anniversary of Sts. Cyril and Methodius will renew Slovakia's vigor to bear witness to these timeless values. In this way, she will inspire other member States of the European Union to strive for unity while recognizing diversity, to respect national sovereignty while engaging in joint activity, and to seek economic progress while upholding social justice."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 12, 2007 (VIS) - Shortly before 10 a.m. today, the Pope arrived in the Vatican by helicopter from his summer residence in Castelgandolfo. He then went to St. Peter's Square for his weekly general audience.

  Addressing the more than 12,000 people present, the Holy Father recalled his recent pastoral visit to Austria to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the shrine of Mariazell, a visit, he said, "that was above all a pilgrimage on the theme of 'looking to Christ,' that is, of going towards Mary who shows us Jesus."

  The Pope spoke of his arrival in Vienna where he had visited the city's Judenplatz and the monument to the Shoah, and of his meeting with the public authorities of the country and the diplomatic corps. "Such moments," he explained, "are precious opportunities in which Peter's Successor has the chance of exhorting the leaders of nations to favor the cause of peace and of true economic and social progress. With particular reference to Europe, I renewed my encouragement to continue the current process of unification on the basis of values inspired by its shared Christian heritage."

  The Pope described Mariazell as "one of the symbols of the meeting between European peoples and Christianity" and highlighted how many philosophers, not always from a Christian standpoint, "have recognized the central role of Christianity in defending the modern conscience from the currents of nihilism and fundamentalism." In the Marian shrine, said the Holy Father, we understand that "to see Jesus with Mary's eyes is to encounter God Love, Who was made man for us and died upon the Cross."

  Turning to consider his meeting with the Austrian clergy, Benedict XVI pointed out how religious and priests always "strive to present everyone with a reflection of the goodness and beauty of God," by choosing the way of poverty, chastity and obedience, understood "in their authentic Christological sense, not individualist but relational and ecclesial."

  During Sunday's concelebrated Mass in Vienna's cathedral of St. Stephen, "I dwelt upon the importance of Sundays" said the Holy Father, "which give meaning to work and rest, renew the significance of creation and redemption, and express the value of freedom and of service to others."

  Benedict XVI also mentioned the joy he had felt when he visited the abbey of Heiligenkreuz and the Pontifical Theological Faculty. There, he recalled, he reiterated the value of prayer "as service of praise and adoration ... over which nothing must take precedence," and of the liturgy "oriented towards God," highlighting also how "theological study must never be separated from spiritual life and prayer."

  Finally, the Pope mentioned his meeting with voluntary groups in Vienna. "Volunteer work must not be seen as 'filling the gaps' left by the State and public institutions," he said, "rather as a complementary presence, vital to ensure that attention remains focused on the least advantaged."

  "In Vienna and Mariazell," he concluded, "the living, faithful and variegated truth of the Catholic Church appeared particularly clearly. ... A Church that implements and is witness to a generous 'yes' to life in all its dimensions, a Church that renews her bi-millennial tradition at the service of a future of peace and of true social progress for the entire human family."
AG/VISIT AUSTRIA/...                        VIS 20070912 (550)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 11, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, presented by Archbishop Pius Alick Ncube, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Bishop Armand Maillard of Laval, France as archbishop of Bourges (area 14,210, population 546,715, Catholics 501,000, priests 139, permanent deacons 17, religious 399), France. The archbishop-elect was born in Offroicourt, France in 1943, he was ordained a priest in 1970 and consecrated a bishop in 1996. He succeeds Archbishop Hubert Barbier, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
RE:NER/.../NCUBE:MAILLARD:BARBIER                    VIS 20070911 (120)

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