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Friday, November 30, 2007


VATICAN CITY, NOV 30, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Reinhard Marx of Trier, Germany as metropolitan archbishop of Munich and Freising (area 12,081, population 3,473,600, Catholics 1,819,941, priests 1,336, permanent deacons 203, religious 3,219), Germany. The archbishop-elect was born in Geseke, Germany in 1953, he was ordained a priest in 1979 and consecrated a bishop in 1996.

 - Appointed Bishop Oscar Urbina Ortega of Cucuta, Colombia, as metropolitan archbishop of Villavicencio (area 50,000, population 550,000, Catholics 502,000, priests 154, permanent deacons 13, religious 59), Colombia. The archbishop-elect was born in Arboledas, Colombia in 1947, he was ordained a priest in 1973 and consecrated a bishop in 1998.

 - Appointed Fr. Alfonso Carrasco Rouco of the clergy of the diocese of Mondonedo-Ferrol, professor of dogmatic theology at the "San Damaso" theological faculty of Madrid, Spain, as bishop of Lugo (area 7,703, population 289,080, Catholics 282,125, priests 398, religious 330), Spain. The bishop-elect was born in Villalba, Spain in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1985. He succeeds Bishop Jose Higinio Gomez Gonzalez O.F.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. John Corriveau O.F.M. Cap., former minister general of the Franciscan order of Friars Minor Capuchins, as bishop of Nelson (area 78,400, population 370,000, Catholics 75,000, priests 38, religious 25), Canada. The bishop-elect was born in Zurich, Canada in 1941 and ordained a priest in 1965. He succeeds Bishop Eugene Jerome Cooney, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Vittorio Lupi of the clergy of the diocese of Ventimiglia-Sanremo, Italy, vicar general, as bishop of Savona-Noli (area 400, population 148,808, Catholics 146,410, priests 134, permanent deacons 8, religious 458), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Ceriana, Italy in 1941 and ordained a priest in 1964.

 - Appointed Msgr. Paul Tighe of the clergy of the archdiocese of Dublin, Ireland, director of the Diocesan Office for Public Affairs, as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

 - Appointed Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti, official at the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, as adjunct secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 30, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences nine prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik of Daejeon.

    - Bishop Boniface Choi Ki-san of Incheon, accompanied by Bishop emeritus William John McNaughton M.M.

    - Bishop Paul Choi Deok-ki of Suwon, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Matthias Ri Iong-hoon.

    - Bishop Joseph Lee Han-taek S.J. of Uijongbu.

    - Bishop Jacobus Kim Ji-Seok of Wonju.

    - Archbishop John Choi Young-soo of Daegu, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil.

  This evening, he received in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 30, 2007 (VIS) - Benedict XVI's second Encyclical, "Spe Salvi" which is dedicated to the theme of Christian hope, was published today. The document - which has an introduction and eight chapters - begins with a quote from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans: "spe salvi facti sumus" (in hope we are saved).

  The chapter titles are as follows: "1. Faith is Hope; 2. The concept of faith-based hope in the New Testament and the early Church; 3. Eternal life - what is it?; 4. Is Christian hope individualistic?; 5. The transformation of Christian faith-hope in the modern age; 6. The true shape of Christian hope; 7. 'Settings' for learning and practicing hope: i) Prayer as a school of hope, ii) Action and suffering as settings for learning hope, iii) Judgement as a setting for learning and practicing hope; 8. Mary, Star of Hope."

  The Holy Father explains in his Introduction that "according to the Christian faith, 'redemption' - salvation - is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey."

  Hence, "a distinguishing mark of Christians" is "the fact that they have a future: ... they know ... that their life will not end in emptiness. ... The Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known - it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing. The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life."

  "To come to know God - the true God - means to receive hope." This was well understood by the early Christians, such as the Ephesians who before encountering Christ had many gods but "were without hope." The problem faced by Christians of long standing, the Holy Father says, is that they "have grown accustomed to, ... have almost ceased to notice that we possess the hope that ensues from a real encounter with this God."

  The Pope recalls that Jesus "did not bring a message of social revolution" like Spartacus, and that "he was not engaged in a fight for political liberation like Barabbas of Bar-Kochba." He brought "something totally different: ... an encounter with the living God, ... an encounter with a hope stronger than the sufferings of slavery, a hope which therefore transformed life and the world from within, ... even if external structures remained unaltered."

  Christ makes us truly free. "We are not slaves of the universe" or of "the laws of matter and of evolution." We are free because "heaven is not empty," because the Lord of the universe is God "Who in Jesus has revealed Himself as Love."

  Christ is the "true philosopher" Who "tells us who man truly is and what a man must do in order to be truly human." He shows us "the way beyond death; only someone able to do this is a true teacher of life." He offers us a hope that is, at one and the same time, expectation and presence because "the fact that this future exists changes the present."

  The Pope remarks that "perhaps many people reject the faith today simply because they do not find the prospect of eternal life attractive. ... The present-day crisis of faith," he continues, "is essentially a crisis of Christian hope. ... The restoration of the lost Paradise is no longer expected from faith," but from technical and scientific progress whence, it its believed, the "kingdom of man" will emerge. Hope thus becomes "faith in progress" founded on two pillars: reason and freedom which "seem to guarantee by themselves, by virtue of their intrinsic goodness, a new and perfect human community."

  The Pope mentions "two essential stages in the political realization of this hope:" the French and the Marxist Revolutions. Faced with the French Revolution, "the Europe of the Enlightenment ... had cause to reflect anew on reason and freedom," while the proletarian revolution left behind "a trail of appalling destruction." Marx's fundamental error was that "he forgot man and he forgot man's freedom. ... He thought that once the economy had been put right, everything would automatically be put right. His real error is materialism. ... Let us put it very simply: man needs God, otherwise he remains without hope. ... Man can never be redeemed simply" by an external structure, "man is redeemed by love," an unconditional, absolute love: "Man's great, true hope which holds firm in spite of all disappointments can only be God - God Who has loved us and continues to love us to the end."

  The Pope then identifies four "settings" for learning and practicing hope. The first of these is prayer. "When no one listens to me any more, God still listens to me. ... When there is no longer anyone to help me, ... He can help me."

  Alongside prayer is action: "Hope in a Christian sense is always hope for others as well. It is an active hope, in which we struggle ... towards a brighter and more humane world." Yet only if I know that "my own life and history in general ... are held firm by the indestructible power of Love" can "I always continue to hope."

  Suffering is another of the "settings" for learning hope. "Certainly we must do whatever we can to reduce suffering," however "it is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, Who suffered with infinite love." Another fundamental aspect is to suffer with others and for others. "A society unable to accept its suffering members ... is a cruel and inhuman society," he writes.

  Finally, another setting for learning hope is the Judgement of God. "There is a resurrection of the flesh. There is justice. There is an 'undoing' of past suffering, a reparation that sets things aright." The Pope writes of his conviction "that the question of justice constitutes the essential argument, or in any case the strongest argument, in favor of faith in eternal life." It is, indeed, impossible "that the injustice of history should be the final word. ... God is justice and creates justice. ... And in His justice there is also grace. ... Grace does not cancel out justice. ... Evildoers, in the end, do not sit at table at the eternal banquet beside their victims without distinction, as though nothing had happened."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 30, 2007 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, Cardinals Georges Marie Martin Cottier O.P., pro-theologian emeritus of the Pontifical Household, and Albert Vanhoye S.J., professor emeritus of New Testament exegesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, presented the Encyclical of Benedict XVI, "Spe salvi," on the theme of Christian hope.

  In his talk, Cardinal Cottier explained how "Christian hope has been subject to ever-harsher criticisms" to the effect that "it is pure individualism: by abandoning the world to its misery, Christians allegedly take refuge in an eternal salvation which is exclusive and private."

  "A question remains," said the cardinal, "a question that cannot be eluded: how did the idea arise that, with Christianity, the quest for salvation became a selfish quest that refuses service to others?"

  New problems "have a vital impact on the modern crisis of Christian faith and hope," and there emerges "a new form of hope which is called 'faith in progress' oriented towards a new world, the world of the 'kingdom of man'."

  "Faith in progress," the cardinal explained "has become the ever more dominant conviction of modernity, and two categories are becoming increasingly central to the idea of progress: reason and freedom." Thus, he went on, "reason is considered as a power of good and for good," and progress, having "overcome all forms of dependency," is "moving towards perfect freedom. In this perspective freedom appears as a promise for the full realization of man."

  After highlighting the "crisis of Christian hope in modern culture, and its replacement with faith in progress," Cardinal Cottier identified a "question that returns insistently: what may we hope?" In this context he indicated that "sections 22 and 23 of the document are of vital importance. They explain to us the essential objective of the Encyclical from both a pastoral and a cultural standpoint."

  For his part, Cardinal Vanhoye indicated how the introduction to the Encyclical "immediately makes clear the decisive importance of hope, which is later reiterated on a number of occasions. In order to be able to face the present with all its problems and difficulties, we have an absolute need for hope and for a truly valid and firm hope."

  In sections 10 to 12, on the theme of eternal life, "the Holy Father uses vivid realism to explain the current mentality of many people," said the cardinal. "Eternal life is the subject of hope, but many people today 'do not find the prospect of eternal life attractive. What they desire is not eternal life at all, but this present life. ... Death, admittedly, one would wish to postpone for as long as possible. But to live always, without end - this, all things considered, can only be monotonous and ultimately unbearable."

  Cardinal Vanhoye explained how the second part of the Encyclical describes the "settings for learning and practising hope," and thus has a direct and tangible link to Christian life. Three "settings" are identified: "Prayer as a school of hope. Action and suffering as settings for learning hope. Judgement as a setting for learning and practicing hope."

  The Encyclical also presents "the Final Judgement of God as one of the 'settings for learning and practising hope'," said Cardinal Vanhoye, but "with a significance evidently different from that of the other 'settings' because the Final Judgement is not a present reality like prayer or suffering. Nonetheless, the Judgement gives rise to hope because it will eliminate evil. Here the Encyclical presents profound reflections on the terrible problem of evil and justice."

Thursday, November 29, 2007


VATICAN CITY, NOV 29, 2007 (VIS) - Holy Father appointed Bishop Rochus Josef Tatamai M.S.C., auxiliary of Kerema, Papua New Guinea, as bishop of Bereina (area 19,146, population 86,500, Catholics 69,000, priests 21, permanent deacons 1, religious 39), Papua New Guinea.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 29, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences nine prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jinsuk, archbishop of Seoul, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Andrew Yeom Soo jung, Lucas Kim Woon-hoe and Basil Cho Kyu-man.

    - Archbishop Andreas Choi Chang-mou of Kwangju, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong.

    - Bishop Peter Kang U-il of Cheju.

    - Bishop Vincent Ri Pyung-ho of Jeonju.

    - Bishop John Chang Yik of Ch'unch'on, apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Hamhung.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 29, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning, Thursday November 29, 2007, Janez Jansa, prime minister of the Republic of Slovenia, was received in audience by the Holy Father. He subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.

  "The prime minister expressed the Slovenian nation's recognition for the concern shown it by the Holy See ever since it independence, and he invited the Holy Father to visit Slovenia in 2009, for the occasion of the Year of Young People and for the closure of the National Eucharist Congress.

  "Prime Minister Jansa also outlined the priorities and principal initiatives for the forthcoming six-month Slovenian presidency of the European Union, from January to June 2008. In this context, the Cardinal Secretary of State expressed his hope that the six-month Slovenian presidency may bring positive results and, in particular, peace and stability in the region of southeastern Europe.

  "Finally, a number of bilateral questions were addressed, such as the process of restoring ecclesiastical property nationalized under the communist regime, and the prospects for creating a military ordinariate."


VATICAN CITY, NOV 29, 2007 (VIS) - On October 13, for the occasion of the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan (Eid al-Fitr), a group of 138 Muslim religious leaders sent an open letter to the Holy Father Benedict XVI and to other Christian leaders. The letter was entitled: "A Common Word between Us and You."

  The Holy Father has replied with a letter of his own, signed by the Cardinal Secretary of State and addressed to Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal, president of the Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought and one of the signatories of the original letter.

  In expressing his thanks and appreciation for this significant initiative by the eminent group of Muslim figures, the Holy Father reaffirms the importance of dialogue based on effective respect for the dignity of the person, on objective knowledge of the other's religion, on the sharing of religious experience, and on joint commitment to promoting mutual respect and acceptance.

  The Secretary of State's reply also mentions the Holy Father's willingness to receive Prince Ghazi and a delegation of the signatories of the letter, and also highlights the readiness of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, in collaboration with other specialized pontifical institutes, to organize a working meeting.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


VATICAN CITY, NOV 28, 2007 (VIS) - Continuing his series of catecheses on Fathers of the Church, Benedict XVI today dedicated his general audience to the figure of St. Ephrem the Syrian, "the most famous poet of the patristic age." The audience was held in the Paul VI Hall in the presence of 8,000 people.

  Before discussing St. Ephrem, the Pope remarked how "it is widely believed today that Christianity is a European religion which subsequently exported that continent's culture to other countries. But the truth is much more complex."

  "The roots of the Christian religion," the Pope explained, "are in the Old Testament, hence in Jerusalem and the Semitic world. And Christianity constantly draws nourishment from these Old Testament roots. The spread of Christianity in the early centuries was directed both westwards - to the Greco-Latin world where it later inspired European culture - and eastwards to Persia and India, where it contributed to the formation of a specific culture, in Semitic languages and with its own identity."

  Benedict XVI indicated that "in order demonstrate the one Christian faith's multiplicity of cultural form ever since its inception" he had chosen to focus his audience on St. Ephrem, a theologian and a poet who was born in Nisibis around the year 306 and died in Edessa in 373.

  "Poetry," the Holy Father explained, "enabled him to deepen his theological reflections through the use of paradox and images."

  "Ephrem gave poetry and liturgical hymns a didactic and catechetical character, ... so as to use liturgical feasts as opportunities to spread the doctrine of the Church."

  Benedict XVI dwelt briefly on Ephrem's ideas concerning God the Creator, saying: "Nothing in the Creation is isolated and the world is - alongside Scared Scripture - a Bible of God. Using his freedom wrongly, man overturns the order of the universe."

  For Ephrem, "Jesus' presence in Mary's womb greatly raised the dignity of women ... about whom he always speaks with sensitivity and respect," said the Pope. "Just as there is no Redemption without Jesus, so there is no Incarnation without Mary. And the divine and human dimensions of the mystery of our Redemption are already to be found in the saint's writings."

  Honored in Christian tradition with the title of "harp of the Holy Spirit," Ephrem remained a deacon of the Church throughout his life. "This was a decisive and emblematic choice," said the Holy Father. "He was a deacon, in other words a servant in liturgical ministry and, more radically, in the love of Christ ... as well as in charity towards his brethren who, with great skill, he introduced to a knowledge of the divine Revelation."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 28, 2007 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, which was held in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope launched an appeal for everything possible to be done to halt the spread of AIDS.

  "December 1," he said, "marks World AIDS Day. I remain spiritually close to everyone suffering from this terrible sickness, and to their families, especially those who have lost a loved one. To everyone I give assurances of my prayers.

  "Furthermore, I wish to exhort all people of good will to increase their efforts to halt the spread of the HIV virus, to combat the disdain which is often directed towards people who are affected by it, and to care for the sick, especially those who are still children."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 28, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, auxiliary of Munster, Germany, as bishop of Limburg (area 6,182, population 2,329,472, Catholics 685,458, priests 457, permanent deacons 60, religious 1,267), Germany.

 - Archbishop Henryk Josef Nowacki, apostolic nuncio to Slovakia, as apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 28, 2007 (VIS) - "Young migrants" is the theme of the Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is to be celebrated on January 13, 2008. The Message has been published in Italian, French, English, German, Spanish and Portuguese. Large extracts of the English-language version are given below:

  "The theme of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees invites us this year to reflect in particular on young migrants. ... The vast globalization process underway around the world brings a need for mobility, which also induces many young people to emigrate and live far from their families and their countries. The result is that many times the young people endowed with the best intellectual resources leave their countries of origin, while in the countries that receive the migrants, laws are in force that make their actual insertion difficult."

  "For the young migrants, the problems of the so-called 'difficulty of dual belonging' seem to be felt in a particular way: on the one hand, they feel a strong need not to lose their culture of origin, while on the other, the understandable desire emerges in them to be inserted organically into the society that receives them, but without this implying a complete assimilation and the resulting loss of their ancestral traditions. Among the young people, there are also girls who fall victim more easily to exploitation, moral forms of blackmail, and even abuses of all kinds.

  "Next, looking more closely at the sector of forced migrants, refugees and the victims of human trafficking, we unhappily find many children and adolescents too. On this subject it is impossible to remain silent before the distressing images of the great refugee camps present in different parts of the world. ... These children and adolescents have only had as their life experience the permanent, compulsory 'camps' where they are segregated, far from inhabited towns, with no possibility normally to attend school."

  "The question is raised of how to respond to the expectations of the young migrants? What can be done to help them? Of course, it is necessary to aim first of all at support for the family and schools. But how complex the situations are, and how numerous the difficulties these young people encounter in their family and school contexts! In families, the traditional roles that existed in the countries of origin have broken down, and a clash is often seen between parents still tied to their culture and children quickly acculturated in the new social contexts.

  "Likewise, the difficulty should not be underestimated which the young people find in getting inserted into the educational course of study in force in the country where they are hosted. Therefore, the scholastic system itself should take their conditions into consideration and provide specific formative paths of integration for the immigrant boys and girls that are suited to their needs. The commitment will also be important to create a climate of mutual respect and dialogue among all the students in the classrooms based on the universal principles and values that are common to all cultures."

  "The Church looks with very particular attention at the world of migrants and asks those who have received a Christian formation in their countries of origin to make this heritage of faith and evangelical values bear fruit in order to offer a consistent witness in the different life contexts."

  "Among the migrants ... there is one category to consider in a special way: the students from other countries who because of their studies, are far from home. ... They are young people who need a specific pastoral care because they are not just students, like all the rest, but also temporary migrants. They often feel alone under the pressure of their studies and sometimes they are also constricted by economic difficulties."

  "It is necessary to help them find a way to open up to the dynamism of inter-culturality and be enriched in their contact with other students of different cultures and religions. For young Christians, this study and formation experience can be a useful area for the maturation of their faith, a stimulus to be open to the universalism that is a constitutive element of the Catholic Church.

  "Dear young migrants, prepare yourselves to build together your young peers a more just and fraternal society by fulfilling your duties scrupulously and seriously towards your families and the State. Be respectful of the laws and never let yourselves be carried away by hatred and violence. Try instead to be protagonists as of now of a world where understanding and solidarity, justice and peace will reign."

  "The Church needs you too and is counting on your contribution. You can play a very providential role in the current context of evangelization. Coming from different cultures, but all united by belonging to the one Church of Christ, you can show that the Gospel is alive and suited to every situation; it is an old and ever new message. It is a word of hope and salvation for the people of all races and cultures, of all ages and eras."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 28, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Holy See Press Office, Cardinal Raffaele Martino, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto and Msgr. Novatus Rugambwa, respectively president, secretary, and under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, presented the Pope's Message for the 94th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, due to be held on January 13, 2008 on the theme of "Young Migrants."

  Cardinal Martino affirmed that in our own time "the migration of young people is undergoing considerable growth. The young are forced to emigrate because of poverty and want, environmental decay, local and international conflicts, political and religious persecution, the demand for labor in industrialized countries, family reunion, etc."

  "Young migrants," the cardinal said, "often find themselves alone, in a no-man's-land halfway between two cultures." This causes them "to live in a situation of great uncertainty that prevents them from conceiving a feasible project for their future and increases the factors that lead to marginalization, opening the doors to criminality, prostitution, alcohol, drugs and larceny."

  "The crisis of values of our own day," the president of the pontifical council continued, "leads to the spiritual death of many young immigrants. Most of them are also relatively distant from religious concerns, and often recognize that they have received no ... education in this field."

 "Specific pastoral action in support of young immigrants must be undertaken while bearing in mind the existential situation of the individual: ... the language, culture, religion, origin and personal history of each young immigrant."

  Archbishop Marchetto focussed above all on aspects concerning the right to asylum and the situation of refugees. After recalling the fact that in some States unaccompanied minors are placed in detention, he turned to consider living conditions in refugee camps.

  "Transitional camps," he said, "must go back to the role for which they were intended: places in which to reside temporarily. ... Currently, however, it has become a general practice, especially in countries of the South, to force people to live in overcrowded camps, very often in unspeakable conditions. Normally they are not even allowed to work, while their freedom of movement is limited, and thus they become totally dependent on the internal distribution of food within the camps. Moreover, they are often reduced to a life with a minimum of necessary goods and scant dignity. ... Hence there is little future for people who live in these places, which are often located in remote areas."

  Finally, the archbishop praised the work of female religious who, "assisted by Catholic NGOs and by U.N. organizations, care for and accompany young people, especially girls who have suffered violence, rape or threats. There also exist," he added, "centers for underage mothers, offering them a second chance to complete their interrupted education or to learn a trade."

  In his remarks, Msgr. Rugambwa considered the position of students who emigrate, highlighting how in his Message the Pope presents them "as a gift for man and for the Church. They bring with them the great resources of their youth, and must be open and receptive to new ideas and experiences while, at the same time, capable of remaining anchored in the truth."

  "As the Holy Father says," indicated Msgr. Rugambwa, "these young people, must not only increase their openness to the dynamism of inculturation, but also seek opportunities for dialogue between cultures and religions, ... thus they will experience the universality of the Church."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


VATICAN CITY, NOV 27, 2007 (VIS) - On Sunday, December 2, Benedict XVI is due to visit the Roman hospital of St. John the Baptist, which belongs to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and specializes in the treatment and rehabilitation of people suffering from neurological disorders.

  The Pope will celebrate Mass for the patients and their families before going on to visit the reanimation unit, one of the few Italian healthcare structures specifically dedicated to providing specialized therapy for patients recovering from comas.

  According to a note published by the communications office of the Order of Malta, this event has a twofold historical significance: firstly because it is "the first visit by a Pope to this hospital," and secondly because the hospital itself has a long-standing link to the See of Peter, "being built on the site of the ancient 'Castello della Magliana,' used by Pontiffs for centuries as their summer residence."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 27, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy See delegation to the International Middle East Conference which begins today in Annapolis, U.S.A., will be made up of Msgr. Pietro Parolin, under-secretary for Relations with States, and Msgr. Francesco Coppola, nunciature counsellor, according to a statement by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J.

  Last Sunday, after praying the Angelus, the Pope had encouraged faithful to join the Day of Prayer called by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to ask for peace in the Holy Land and for "the gifts of wisdom and courage for all participants in this important meeting."

  In Annapolis, the Holy Father said on Sunday, "Israelis and Palestinians, with the help of the international community, aim to relaunch the negotiating process in order to find a just and definitive solution to the conflict which, for the last 60 years, has bloodied the Holy Land and brought so many tears and so much suffering to the two peoples."


VATICAN CITY, NOV 27, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of N'Zerekore, Guinea, presented by Bishop Philippe Kourouma, upon having reached the age limit.
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Monday, November 26, 2007


VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office yesterday released information concerning the meeting for prayer and reflection between the Pope and the members of the College of Cardinals, which took place on November 23 in the Vatican's New Synod Hall.

  The morning session began with a greeting pronounced by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, who was celebrating his 80th birthday that day.

  After congratulating Cardinal Sodano, the Pope introduced the theme he had chosen for the day's discussion, "ecumenical dialogue in the light of prayer and of the Lord's command: 'Ut unum sint'."

  Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, then "provided a broad outline of the current situation of ecumenical dialogue and relations, focussing on three main areas: relations with the ancient Churches of the East; relations with the ecclesial communities that came into being in the wake of the Reform of the 16th century; relations with charismatic and Pentecostal movements that developed above all during last century."

  Cardinal Kasper also presented "the results achieved in each of these fields, describing progress made to date and problems still outstanding."

  The subsequent debate "included a wide-ranging exchange of experiences and opinions, reflecting a variety of situations. Seventeen cardinals spoke and numerous problems were addressed, among them the joint ecumenical commitment of Christians in the social and charitable fields, and in defending moral values in the transformation of modern societies.

  "It was particularly noted," the communique adds, "that the Church's social doctrine and its implementation is one of the most promising areas for ecumenism. Mention was also made of the commitment to continue the 'purification of memory' and to use forms of communication" that no not "wound the sensibility of other Christians.

  "It was suggested that profound consideration be given to the possibilities for ecumenical development," in which context "recent and highly significant events were mentioned, such as the ecumenical assembly of Sibiu, Romania, the ecumenical and inter-religious meeting of Naples, Italy, the journey to Paris of Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow, and the great ecumenical gatherings of ecclesial movements at Stuttgart, Germany."

  Finally, "in the wider context, attention turned to relations with Judaism and to inter-religious dialogue."

  The meeting continued at 5 p.m. with the celebration of Vespers, after which contributions were forthcoming from 16 cardinals.

  "On the theme of ecumenism, further attention was given to questions such as collaboration among Christians of different confessions for the defense of the family in society and in legislative systems, and the importance of spiritual ecumenism and of personal relations with the faithful and with authorities of other Christian confessions.

  "A number of the contributions touched on relations with the Jews and with Islam. Mention was made of the encouraging sign represented by the letter from 138 Muslim leaders and by the visit of the king of Saudi Arabia to the Pope."

  Other subjects discussed included "the difficulties faced by the Christian faith in a secularized world, ...the importance of a new evangelization which responds to post-modern man's most profound and permanent hopes for happiness and freedom. On the continent of Latin America there exists a new missionary drive nourished also by the recent general conference of the Latin American episcopate held in Aparedica, Brazil.

  "Certain specific contributions were dedicated to the situation of consecrated life in the world today, and to the formation of seminarians.

  "The Holy Father's important letter to the Catholic Church in China was recalled, and its favorable reception by bishops and faithful was noted.

  "The urgency was underlined of the Church's commitment to peace, to the struggle against poverty and to disarmament, especially nuclear disarmament."

  "Certain purely informative contributions dwelt on the forthcoming international Eucharistic Congress, of Quebec, Canada, the Pauline Year, and the diffusion of the Catholic press and especially of 'L'Osservatore Romano.'

  "Following a brief reply from Cardinal Kasper on a number of specific points, the Holy Father delivered a concluding address, summing up what had been discussed. He thanked the cardinals for their participation and contributions and announced the forthcoming publication of his new Encyclical dedicated to the subject of hope, in response to the deepest expectations of our contemporaries."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2007 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica this morning, Benedict XVI celebrated his second Ordinary Public Consistory, during which he created 23 new cardinals.

  Following the opening liturgical greeting, the Holy Father read the formula of creation and solemnly proclaimed the names of the new cardinals. The first of them, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, then thanked the Pope in the name of all the others.

  After a Gospel reading, the Holy Father pronounced his homily.

  The College of Cardinals, he said, recreates "the ancient 'presbyterium' of the bishop of Rome, the members of which, while carrying out their pastoral and liturgical functions in the various Churches, ensured [the Pope] did not lack their precious collaboration in carrying out the duties associated with his universal apostolic ministry.

  "Times have changed," Pope Benedict added, "and the great family of Christ's disciples has today spread to every continent, ... it speaks almost every language of the world and its members include people from all cultures. The diversity of the members of the College of Cardinals, in terms of both geographical and cultural background, serves to underline this providential growth, at the same time highlighting the changing pastoral requirements to which the Pope is called to respond."

  Benedict XVI reminded the cardinals that each one of them "represents a portion of the mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church in every corner of the earth." Referring then to the communities entrusted to their care, he made particular mention of "those most tried by suffering, challenges and difficulties of various kinds" and especially "the dear Christian communities of Iraq."

  Iraqi Christians, he went on, "experience in their own flesh the dramatic consequences of enduring conflict, and are currently living in an extremely fragile and delicate political situation. By calling the Chaldean patriarch to enter the College of Cardinals, I have sought to give concrete expression to my spiritual closeness and affection for those peoples. Together let us reaffirm the solidarity of the entire Church towards Christians in that dear land, and invite people to call upon merciful God for ... the advent of reconciliation and peace."

  Commenting then on the Gospel of St. Mark which relates how "ambition caused the sons of Zebedee to claim for themselves the best positions in the kingdom of the Messiah," the Holy Father emphasized how "all true disciples of Christ aspire to just one thing: sharing His passion without seeking any reward. Christians are called to assume the status of 'servant,' following Jesus' footsteps, in other words to give their lives for others freely and disinterestedly.

  "Not the search for power and success but the humble giving of self for the good of the Church must characterize our every gesture and word," he added. "True Christian greatness, in fact, does not consist of domination but of service."

  "Be apostles of God, Who is Love, and witnesses of evangelical hope. This is what Christian people expect from you," the Pope concluded. "Christ calls on you to confess His truth before mankind, to embrace and to share His cause, and to do all this ... with that inner humility which is the result of cooperation with the grace of God."
  At the end of the homily the new cardinals made the profession of faith before the people of God, swearing their faithfulness and obedience to the Pope and his successors.

  One by one, in the order in which they were created, the new cardinals then came and knelt before the Holy Father who imposed the red "biretta" or hat and assigned them a titular or diaconate church in Rome as a sign of their participation in the Pope's pastoral concern for the city.

  The Pope gave each new cardinal his Bull of Creation and exchanged an embrace of peace with them. The cardinals then exchanged the same embrace with each other

  The celebration concluded with the prayer of the faithful, the recitation of the Our Father and the final blessing.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2007 (VIS) - Following are the names of the 23 new cardinals created by Pope Benedict XVI in this morning's consistory, and the titular or diaconate churches he assigned to them:

1. Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans.

2. Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, diaconate of Sts. Blaise and Charles ai Catinari.

3. Cardinal John Patrick Foley, diaconate of St. Sebastian al Palatino.

4. Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, diaconate of St. Mary "Liberatrice" a Monte Testaccio.

5. Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, diaconate of St. Lawrence in Piscibus.

6. Cardinal Angelo Comastri, diaconate of St. Salvatore in Lauro.

7. Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, diaconate of the Sacred Heart of Christ the King.

8. Cardinal Raffaele Farina S.D.B., diaconate of St. John della Pigna.

9. Cardinal Agustín Garcia-Gasco Vicente, title of St. Marcellus.

10. Cardinal Sean Baptist Brady, title of Sts. Quiricus and Julitta.

11. Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, title of St. Sebastian at the Catacombs.

12. Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, title of San Luigi dei Francesi.

13. Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, title of the Gran Madre di Dio.

14. Cardinal Theodore-Adrien Sarr, title of St. Lucy a Piazza d'Armi.

15. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, title of St. Paul of the Cross a "Corviale."

16. Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, title of St. Mary of the Presentation.

17. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, title of St. Eusebius.

18. Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, title of St. Andrew al Quirinale.

19. Cardinal John Njue, title of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

20. Cardinal Giovanni Coppa, diaconate of St. Linus.

21. Cardinal Estanislao Esteban Karlic, title of the Our Lady of Sorrows in Piazza Buenos Aires.

22. Cardinal Urbano Navarrete S.J., diaconate de St. Pontian.

23. Cardinal Umberto Betti O.F.M., diaconate of Sts. Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2007 (VIS) - A note released today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff provides details concerning the taking of possession of the following titles and diaconates:

  Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy, will take possession of the title of Gran Madre di Dio, at Via Cassia 1, Rome, at 5 p.m. on Monday November 26.

  Cardinal John Patrick Foley, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, will take possession of the diaconate of St. Sebastian al Palatino, at Via di San Bonaventura 1, Rome, at 5 p.m. on Tuesday November 27.

  Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, will take possession of the diaconate of Sts. Blaise and Charles ai Catinari, at Piazza Benedetto Cairoli 117, Rome, at 6.30 p.m. on Sunday December 2.


VATICAN CITY, NOV 25, 2007 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at 10.30 a.m. today, Solemnity of Christ the King, the Pope presided at a Eucharistic concelebration with the 23 new cardinals created in yesterday's consistory. During the course of the ceremony he presented them with their ring of office.

  In his homily, the Holy Father affirmed that the crucified Christ represents "the maximum possible revelation in this world of God's love, because God is love and Jesus' death on the cross is the greatest act of love in all of history." In this context he recalled the fact that the crucifixion is depicted on the cardinal's ring of office. "This for you," he told the neo-cardinals, "will be a permanent invitation to remember what King you serve, to what throne He was raised, and how He remained faithful unto the end to triumph over sin and death with the power of divine mercy.

  "The Mother Church, bride of Christ," he added, "gives you this token in remembrance of her Bridegroom, Who loved her and gave Himself for her. Thus, by wearing the cardinal's ring, you are constantly reminded to give your own lives for the Church."

  "How can we not feel," Pope Benedict asked, "the joy and the responsibility of serving this King, of bearing witness with life and word to His lordship? This, in particular, is our task venerable brother cardinals: announcing to the world the truth of Christ, hope for each human being and for the entire human family."

  He went on: "It is a consoling for me to know that I can always rely on you, both collegially and individually, so that I too may carry out the fundamental duty of the Petrine ministry."

  The Holy Father identified an aspect "closely associated" with this mission: "peace among all of Christ's disciples, as a sign of the peace that Jesus came into the world to establish."

  "The Church," the Pope explained, "is that part of humanity in which Christ's regality already appears, and has as its principal manifestation peace. She is the new Jerusalem, still imperfect because a pilgrim in history, but capable in some way of anticipating the heavenly Jerusalem."

  Benedict XVI concluded by reminding the cardinals that "prayer for peace and unity is your primary and principal mission, that the Church may be 'firm and united,' a sign and instrument of unity for the entire human race."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 25, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, following this morning's Eucharistic concelebration in the Vatican Basilica with the cardinals created in yesterday's consistory, the Holy Father came out into St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims gathered there.

  Benedict XVI began his remarks by recalling that "this Tuesday in Annapolis, U.S.A., Israelis and Palestinians, with the help of the international community, aim to relaunch the negotiating process in order to find a just and definitive solution to the conflict which, for the last 60 years, has bloodied the Holy Land and brought so many tears and so much suffering to the two peoples.

  "I ask you," he added, "to join the Day of Prayer called for today by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to implore, from the Spirit of God, peace for that region so dear to us, and the gifts of wisdom and courage for all participants in this important meeting."

  The Pope then went on to greet those present in several languages, expressing his "special gratitude" to the faithful "who have come from afar to accompany the new cardinals and participate in this event, which is such a singular expression of the unity and universality of the Catholic Church."

  At 1.15 p.m., in the atrium of the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father had lunch with the new cardinals and with other cardinals who had come to Rome for the consistory and for the meeting of prayer and reflection held on November 23.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2007 (VIS) - In the Paul VI Hall at 11.30 a.m. today, the Holy Father received the 23 new cardinals created in the consistory held on Saturday, November 24. With the prelates were members of their families and other faithful who have accompanied them to Rome.

  "The consistory and yesterday's Eucharistic celebration," said the Pope, "have provided us with a unique opportunity to experience the catholicity of the Church, well represented by the varied provenance of the members of the College of Cardinals, gathered in close communion around Peter's Successor."

  Having greeted the new cardinals in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Polish, the Pope addressed them all together giving them assurances of his prayers and asking them always to accompany him with "your valuable human and pastoral experience.

  "I place great reliance on your precious support in order to be able to carry out my ministry to the entire people of God," added Benedict XVI. He then addressed the families and friends of the new cardinals whom he asked to keep on praying for them and for him, "that communion between pastors and the Pope may remain solid, so as to present the whole world with the testimony of a Church faithful to Christ and ready to meet the spiritual hopes and needs of modern man with prophetic courage."

  The Holy Father concluded: "Returning to your dioceses, bear my greetings and the assurances of my constant prayers to the Lord. Upon you, dear cardinals, and upon everyone present here, I invoke the protection of the heavenly Mother of God and of the saintly Apostles Peter and Paul."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., archbishop of Quebec, Canada.

 - A delegation from Iraq.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Jesus Tirso Blanco S.D.B., vice-inspector of the Salesians in Angola, as bishop of Lwena (area 223,043, population 700,000, Catholics 140,000, priests 20, religious 20), Angola. The bishop-elect was born in Ramos Mejia, Argentina in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1985.
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Friday, November 23, 2007


VATICAN CITY, NOV 23, 2007 (VIS) - The new Encyclical of Benedict XVI, "Spe salvi," will be presented in the Holy See Press Office at 11.30 a.m. on Friday, November 30. The document will be presented by Cardinal Georges Marie Martin Cottier O.P., pro-theologian emeritus of the Pontifical Household, and by Cardinal Albert Vanhoye S.J., professor emeritus of New Testament exegesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute.


VATICAN CITY, NOV 23, 2007 (VIS) - At 10.30 a.m. tomorrow, November 24, the Pope will hold an Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of 23 new cardinals.

  The consistory for the creation of new cardinals, according to the new rite introduced during the consistory of June 28, 1991, contains the following points:

  Following a liturgical greeting, the Pope reads the formula of creation, and solemnly proclaims the names of the new cardinals. The first of the new cardinals then addresses the Holy Father on behalf of everyone.

  This is followed by the Liturgy of the Word, the Pope's homily, the Profession of Faith and the taking of the oath by each cardinal.

  Each new cardinal then approaches the Holy Father and kneels before him to receive the cardinal's biretta and to be assigned a title or deaconry.

  The Pope places the biretta on the cardinal's head and says, in part: "(This is) red as a sign of the dignity of the office of a cardinal, signifying that you are ready to act with fortitude, even to the point of spilling your blood for the increase of the Christian faith, for peace and harmony among the people of God, for freedom and the spread of the Holy Roman Catholic Church".

  The Holy Father hands over the Bull of Creation as cardinal, assigns the title or deaconry and exchanges a kiss of peace with the new members of the College of Cardinals. The cardinals also exchange such a sign among themselves.

  The rite is concluded with the Prayer of the Faithful, the recitation of the Our Father and the final blessing.

  At 10.30 a.m. on Sunday, November 25, Solemnity of Christ the King, the Holy Father will preside at a concelebrated Mass with the new cardinals, during which he will give them the cardinal's ring, "the sign of dignity, pastoral care and the most solid communion with the See of Peter."

  As he places the ring on the new cardinal's finger, the Pope says: "Take this ring from the hand of Peter and know that, with the love of the Prince of the Apostles, your love for the Church is strengthened."

  Following the morning's ceremony, the College of Cardinals will have 201 members, of whom 120 are electors. The members of the College, by continent of origin, are divided as follows: 104 from Europe, 20 from North America, 34 from South America, 18 from Africa, 21 from Asia and 4 from Oceania.

  As advisors to the Pope, the cardinals act collegially with him through consistories, which meet by order of the Roman Pontiff and under his presidency. Consistories can either be ordinary or extraordinary. In the ordinary consistory, all cardinals present in Rome, other bishops, priests and special guests are convened. These consistories are called by the Pope for consultation on certain important issues or to give special solemnity to some celebrations. An extraordinary consistory is one to which all cardinals are convened, and is celebrated when some special needs or more serious affairs of the Church suggest that it should be held.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 23, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr, Hyacinth Oroko Egbebo M.S.P. superior general of the Missionary Society of St Paul in Abuja, Nigeria, as auxiliary of the apostolic vicariate of Bomadi (area 18,000, population 2,700,000, Catholics 21,000, priests 17, religious 6), Nigeria. The bishop-elect was born in Ogriagbene, Nigeria, in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1990.
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Thursday, November 22, 2007


VATICAN CITY, NOV 22, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope received participants in the 34th general conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which has its headquarters in Rome.

  In his English-language talk to the delegates, the Pope indicated that "all forms of discrimination, and particularly those that thwart agricultural development, must be rejected since they constitute a violation of the basic right of every person to be 'free from hunger.' These convictions are in fact demanded by the very nature of your work on behalf of the common good of humanity."

  Benedict XVI highlighted the paradox of "the relentless spread of poverty in a world that is also experiencing unprecedented prosperity, not only in the economic sphere but also in the rapidly developing fields of science and technology."

  Such obstacles as "armed conflicts, outbreaks of disease, adverse atmospheric and environmental conditions and the massive forced displacement of peoples," said the Pope, "should serve as a motivation to redouble our efforts to provide each person with his or her daily bread.

  "For her part, the Church is convinced that the quest for more effective technical solutions in an ever-changing and expanding world calls for far-sighted programs embodying enduring values grounded in the inalienable dignity and rights of the human person," he added.

  "The united effort of the international community to eliminate malnutrition and promote genuine development necessarily calls for clear structures of management and supervision, and a realistic assessment of the resources needed to address a wide range of different situations. It requires the contribution of every member of society - individuals, volunteer organizations, businesses, and local and national governments - always with due regard for those ethical and moral principles which are the common patrimony of all people and the foundation of all social life."

  Benedict XVI continued his talk by saying that "today more than ever, the human family needs to find the tools and strategies capable of overcoming the conflicts caused by social differences, ethnic rivalries, and the gross disparity in levels of economic development."

  "Religion, as a potent spiritual force for healing the wounds of conflict and division, has its own distinctive contribution to make in this regard, especially through the work of forming minds and hearts in accordance with a vision of the human person."

  "Technical progress, important as it is, is not everything," the Pope told the FAO delegates. "Progress must be placed within the wider context of the integral good of the human person. It must constantly draw nourishment from the common patrimony of values which can inspire concrete initiatives aimed at a more equitable distribution of spiritual and material goods."

  "This principle," he explained, "has a special application to the world of agriculture, in which the work of those who are often considered the 'lowliest' members of society should be duly acknowledged and esteemed."

  In conclusion the Holy Father recalled how "FAO's outstanding activity on behalf of development and food security clearly points to the correlation between the spread of poverty and the denial of basic human rights, beginning with the fundamental right to adequate nutrition. Peace, prosperity, and respect for human rights are inseparably linked. The time has come to ensure, for the sake of peace, that no man, woman and child will ever be hungry again!"
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 22, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy See Press Office released the following communique:

  "The ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of 23 new cardinals will be preceded - tomorrow, November 23 - by a meeting of prayer and reflection of the College of Cardinals, to take place in the Vatican's New Synod Hall. After praying the Middle Hour (Terce), at 9.30 a.m. the Holy Father will greet the cardinals present. Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity will then deliver a report on the theme: 'Information, reflections and evaluation concerning the current moment in ecumenical dialogue.' This will be followed by contributions from the cardinals, lasting until 12.30 p.m.

  "The meeting will resume at 5 p.m. with the celebration of Vespers. Then, following an introduction by the Holy Father, a free exchange of ideas will take place between the cardinals on the life of the Church in general. The day of prayer and reflection will conclude at 7 p.m. with an address by the Supreme Pontiff."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 22, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

    - Bishop Peter Kihara Kariuki I.M.C. of Marsabit.

    - Bishop Salesius Mugambi of Meru.

    - Bishop Luigi Paiaro of Nyabururu.

 - Archbishop Paolo Pezzi F.S.C.B. of the archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow, Russia, accompanied by members of his family.
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007


VATICAN CITY, NOV 21, 2007 (VIS) - At his general audience this morning Benedict XVI turned his attention to Aphraates, known as "the Sage," an important Christian figure from 4th century Syria. The audience, held in St. Peter's Square, was attended by around 15,000 people.

  The Pope explained how Christian communities in Syria at that time were essentially part of "the Semitic world from which the Bible itself emerged," an expression of a form of Christianity "with theological formulations that had not yet come into contact with different cultural trends but lived off its own forms of thought. These were Churches," he continued, "in which asceticism, under various forms of hermitic life, ... played an important role."

  "Aphraates was from an ecclesial community located on the frontier between Judaism and Christianity" that was "strongly linked to the Mother Church of Jerusalem and ... sought to remain faithful to the Judeo-Christian tradition of which it felt itself to be a product."

  The Holy Father noted the significance of the fact that "Aphraates defined himself as a 'disciple of Sacred Scripture,' ... which he considered to be his only source of inspiration." In his works "he often presents the salvation achieved by Christ as healing and, hence, Christ Himself as doctor. Sin on the other hand is seen as a wound which only penance can heal." Another important aspect of his writings is "his teaching on prayer and in particular on Christ as master of prayer."

  For Aphraates, "Christian life is focussed on the imitation of Christ," and he considered "humility to be one of the most appropriate virtues for the disciple of Christ" because "man's nature is humble and it is God who exalts it with His own glory. ... By remaining humble, even in their earthly surroundings, Christians may establish a relationship with the Lord."

  His vision of human beings and their corporeal reality, said the Pope, "is very positive: the human body ... is called to beauty, to joy and to light." And it is faith that "enables sincere charity, expressed in love for God and for others."

  Another key concept in Aphraates' thought is that of fasting, which the Syrian "Sage" understood "in its widest sense: ... abstention from food as a practice necessary in order to be charitable, ... abstention from vain or abhorrent words, abstention from anger and from the ownership of goods."

  Benedict XVI concluded by returning to Aphraates' teaching on prayer. "Prayer is achieved," he said, "when Christ dwells in the heart of Christians, inviting them to a coherent commitment of charity towards their fellows."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 21, 2007 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Pope launched and appeal for peace in Somalia.

  "Distressing news is reaching us," he said, "concerning the precarious humanitarian situation in Somalia, and especially in Mogadishu, ever more profoundly afflicted by social insecurity and poverty. I am following the development of events with concern and appeal to all those with political responsibility, at both local and international level, to find peaceful solutions and bring relief to that dear people. I also encourage the efforts of those who, though facing insecurity and discomfort, remain in the region to bring aid and comfort to the inhabitants."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 21, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning in the Sala Bologna of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, a meeting was held of heads of dicastery and other heads of Vatican State and of organizations associated with the Holy See or administratively dependent on APSA (Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See).

  "The meeting was presided by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.

  "It was dedicated to presenting a number of important new measures concerning the salaries of personnel working in the service of the Vatican.

  "The principal and most innovative measure concerns the new parameters for the payment of staff (who are employed in a system of ten functional levels), and above all the introduction of 'classes of merit' within each individual level. This novelty brings an element of incentive and remuneration into the Vatican salary system, taking account - within each individual functional level - of factors such as dedication, professionalism, productivity and correctitude.

  "Other measures relate to management categories and to Regulations concerning lay management personnel.

  "All these measures will come into effect on January 1, 2008, though the 'classes of merit' will be gradually applied over time.

  "It should be recalled that, from January 1, new measures for overtime payments will also come into effect, completing those introduced over the last few months.

  "All these measures involve advantages for staff and, naturally, a greater outlay for the administrative offices, which are invited to follow wise management practices in order to be able to meet these new expenses, which are aimed at improving the treatment of staff."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 21, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Isaac Amani Massawe of the clergy of the diocese of Moshi, Tanzania, pastor of the cathedral, as bishop of the same diocese (area 5,029, population 1,053,199, Catholics 658,000, priests 365, religious 1,976). The bishop-elect was born in Mango, Tanzania in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1975. He succeeds Bishop Amedeus Msarikie, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Paul Hwang Cheol-soo, auxiliary and diocesan administrator of Pusan, Korea, as bishop of the same diocese (area 3,267, population 5,456,348, Catholics 392,956, priests 263, religious 832).
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007


VATICAN CITY, NOV 20, 2007 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a telegram sent by the Holy Father, via Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., to Viktor Yushchenko, president of the Republic of Ukraine, for a recent explosion in the country's Zasyadko mine which killed 88 people:

  "Having learned of the disaster in the Zasyadko mine in eastern Ukraine, the Supreme Pontiff wishes to express his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the government authorities and to the entire nation. While giving assurances of his fervent prayers for the souls of the deceased, he calls upon the Lord of heaven to grant consolation to the injured and to those suffering from the dramatic loss of their loved ones."


VATICAN CITY, NOV 20, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Holy See Press Office, the presentation took place of a document published by the Congregation for Catholic Education, entitled: "Educating Together in Catholic Schools. A Shared Mission between Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful."

  Participating in the press conference were Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski and Msgr. Angelo Vincenzo Zani, respectively prefect and under-secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and Roberto Zappala, rector of the high schools of the Gonzaga Institute in Milan, Italy.

  In his talk, Cardinal Grocholewski expressed the view that globalization "favors meeting and exchange between peoples, but it can also produce dangerous cultural homologies, a sort of cultural colonialism."

  The cardinal went on to note that "a profound malady is affecting the educational world, especially in the West." Professors "feel a lack of motivation and have to witness the frustration of their educational duties. Among the worrying signs are the increase of violence in schools and among adolescents, and the difficulties faced by families which, it as well to recall, have the prime responsibility for the education of their children" and must play "an active part in the school community."

  Msgr. Zani provided a number of statistics illustrating the presence of Catholic schools in various areas of the globe.

  "In the world today," he said, "there are some 250,000 Catholic educational institutes frequented by slightly fewer than 42 million pupils, distributed over the continents as follows: ten million in Africa, twelve million in the Americas, ten million in Asia, nine million in Europe, and 800,000 in Oceania. Teachers in Catholic schools number around three and a half million."

  Msgr. Zani continued: "Catholic schools operate in all geographical areas, including those in which religious liberty does not exist or that are socially and economically disadvantaged," and have "an amazing capacity to respond to emergencies and to formative needs."

  To illustrate this point, Msgr. Zani quoted the examples of Lebanon, where "the program of Catholic schools has as its principal aim that of leading young people to dialogue and collaboration between Muslims and Christians," and of Bosnia where, "in the midst of the Balkans war, the archdiocese of Sarajevo founded three schools called 'Schools for Europe,' ... to welcome Serbs, Croats and Muslims."

  "Special mention must be made," he continued, "of countries in Central and Eastern Europe. There the collapse of communism unblocked a situation which had persisted for many years, enabling a rediscovery of the value of the individual and of freedom, also in the formative process. In many of those countries educational laws have been greatly revised and now also include recognition and economic support for Catholic schools."

  Professor Zappala indicated that the document, 26 pages long and published in English, French, Spanish and Italian, "wishes to contribute to reflections on three fundamental aspects concerning the collaboration between lay faithful and consecrated people in Catholic schools."

  To this end, the professor explained, the text of the document is divided into three sections. The first section, "communion in the mission of education, ... focuses on the theological and anthropological roots of communion." In the second section, "a journey of formation for educating together," it is made clear that "to educate in communion and for communion a specific formation is necessary;" thus this section considers the aspects of professional formation, theological and spiritual formation, and communion for education.

  As for the third section, "communion for opening oneself towards others," Professor Zappala quoted from the document, saying: "Educating in communion and for communion means directing students to grow authentically as persons who 'gradually learn to open themselves up to life as it is, and to create in themselves a definite attitude to life' that will help them to open their views and their hearts to the world that surrounds them, able to see things critically, with a sense of responsibility and a desire for constructive commitment."


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

 - Appointed Fr. Brendan Kelly of the diocese of Galway and Kilmacduagh, Ireland, vicar general, as bishop of Achonry (area 1,450, population 37,464, Catholics 35,752, priests 48, religious 87), Ireland. The bishop-elect was born in Ballinakill, Ireland in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1971. He succeeds Bishop Thomas Flynn, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Michael W. Warfel of Juneau, U.S.A., as bishop of Great Falls-Billings (area 241,276, population 391,360, Catholics 51,629, priests 74, permanent deacons 6, religious 81), USA.

 - Appointed as members of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue: Archbishops Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; and Bishops Thomas Dabre of Vasai, India; Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, auxiliary of Kwangju, Korea, and Christopher Charles Prowse, auxiliary of Melbourne, Australia.

 - Appointed as consultors of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue: Bishops Paul Hinder O.F.M. Cap., apostolic vicar of Arabia, U.A.E.; George Frendo O.P., auxiliary of Tirane-Durres, Albania, and Janusz Kaleta, apostolic administrator of Atyrau, Kazakhstan; Msgrs. Paolo Selvadagi, professor at the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome, and Peter D. Fleetwood, adjunct secretary of the CCEE, Great Britain; Frs. Wilybard Lagho, head of dialogue with Islam for the archdiocese of Mombasa, Kenya; James Massa, secretary of the commission for ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Fernando Giannetti, pastor of "Nuestra Senora de la Misericordia" in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Jean-Marc Aveline, director of the "Institut de Science et de Theologie des Religions" of Marseille, France; Hector Michael Ortega, spiritual director of the "community of philosophy" of the diocesan seminary of Colma, Mexico; Jurandyr Araujo S.D.B., delegate for Afro-Brazilian religions of the Brazilian Episcopal Conference; Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot M.C.C.I., president of Rome's Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies; Joseph Ellul O.P., professor at Malta's Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas; Benedict Kanakapalli O.C.D., professor at India's Pontifical Urban University; Lorenzo Piretto O.P., vicar delegate, apostolic vicar of Istanbul, Turkey, and Benoit Vermander S.J., academic director of the Ricci Institute of Taipei, Taiwan; Sr. Gertrud Veronika de Jesus Wiedmann, superior general of the Fraternity of the Little Sisters of Jesus, Germany; and Professor Teresa de Jesus Osorio Dias Goncalves, former official of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.
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Monday, November 19, 2007


VATICAN CITY, NOV 17, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father received participants in an international conference promoted by the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, which was held in the Vatican from November 15 to 17.

  The Pope noted that the theme of the meeting, the pastoral care of sick elderly people, "is a fundamental aspect of health care ministry." Those who accompany such people, he added, may ask themselves: "does the existence of a human being, when in a very precarious state because of age or infirmity, still have meaning? Why, when the challenge of sickness becomes so dramatic, should we not accept euthanasia as a form of liberation? Is it possible to live with illness as a human experience to be accepted with patience and courage?"

  After highlighting how "modern efficiency-oriented mentality" considers elderly sick people "as a 'burden' and a 'problem' for society," Benedict XVI indicated the need to adopt palliative care methods where required, even though they may not lead to a cure. "And alongside the indispensable clinical treatment," he said, "sick people have need of understanding, comfort and of constant encouragement and accompaniment.

  "Old people in particular," the Pope added, "need to be helped to follow the last stage of their earthly lives consciously and humanly, to prepare themselves serenely for death which - we Christians know - is the passage to the embrace of the heavenly Father, full of tenderness and mercy."

  The Holy Father then went on to emphasize how families should welcome their sick elderly members "and look after them with loving gratitude" so they may prepare for death "in an atmosphere of familial affection." Furthermore, he continued, "in the most difficult moments, sick people ... should be encouraged to find the strength to face their trials in prayer and the comfort of the Sacraments. They should be surrounded by brothers and sisters in the faith who are ready to listen to them and share their feelings. This, in fact, is the true aim of the 'pastoral' care of elderly people, especially when they are ill, and even more so when they are seriously ill."

  Benedict XVI recalled the "the exemplary witness of faith and courage" shown by John Paul II during his sickness, and the late Pope's call to scientists and doctors "to dedicate themselves to research to prevent and cure the illness associated with old age without ever giving in to the temptation to adopt practices that shorten elderly and sick lives, practices which would in effect constitute euthanasia."

  "Human life is a gift from God which we are all called to protect at all times," the Holy Father said. "What is needed is a generalized commitment so that human life may be respected, not only in Catholic hospitals but in all places that care for the sick."

  In closing the Pope highlighted how Jesus, "dying on the cross, gave human suffering transcendent value and significance. In the face of suffering and sickness believers are called not to lose their serenity because nothing, not even death, can separate us from Christ's love. In Him and with Him it is possible to face up to and overcome all physical and spiritual trials and, even in the moment of greatest suffering, experience the fruits of Redemption."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 17, 2007 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has announced that in St. Peter's Square at 10.30 a.m. on Saturday, November 24, Pope Benedict XVI will hold an Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of 23 new cardinals.

  Also in St. Peter's Square, at 10.30 a.m. on Sunday, November 25, Solemnity of Christ the King, the Holy Father will preside at a concelebrated Mass with the new cardinals, during which he will give them their ring of office.

  The program for the courtesy visits to the new cardinals has also been published; they will be held from 4.30 to 6.30 p.m. on November 24, in the following locations:


Atrium: Cardinals Francisco Robles Ortega, Urbano Navarrete S.J. and Umberto Betti O.F.M.

Hall: Cardinals Agustin Garcia-Gasco Vicente, Sean Baptist Brady, Lluis Martinez Sistach and Andre Vingt-Trois.


Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo.


Vicariate of Vatican City: Cardinal Angelo Comastri.

Library: Cardinal Giovanni Coppa.


Sala Regia: Cardinals Leonardo Sandri and John Patrick Foley.

Hall of Blessings: Cardinals Theodore-Adrien Sarr, Oswald Gracias, Daniel N. DiNardo, Odilo Pedro Scherer, John Njue, Emmanuel III Delly, Estanislao Esteban Karlic.

Sala Ducale: Cardinals Paul Josef Cordes and Stanislaw Rylko.

Sala dei Paramenti 1: Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco.

Sala dei Paramenti 2: Cardinal Raffaele Farina S.D.B.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 18, 2007 (VIS) - At midday, before praying the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope commented on today's reading from the Gospel, "a biblical vision of history" in which the words of Jesus "invite the disciples not to be afraid but to face difficulties, misunderstandings and even persecutions with trust, persevering in their faith in Him."

  In St. Luke's text, Christ tells His disciples: "When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified, for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately."

  The Pope explained: "Mindful of this warning the Church has, since the beginning, ... scrutinized the signs of the times and put the faithful on their guard against recurring expressions of Messianism which from time to time arise to announce the imminent end of the world. In reality history has to follow its course and this also involves human dramas and natural disasters. Over history a plan of salvation is developed, which Christ already fulfilled in His incarnation, death and resurrection. The Church continues to announce this mystery ... through preaching, celebration of the Sacraments and the witness of charity."

  "Let us accept Christ's invitation to face daily events trusting in His provident love," said the Holy Father. "Let us have no fear for the future, even when it appears dark and gloomy, because the God of Jesus Christ, who adopted history to open it to its transcendent fulfillment, is its alpha and omega, its beginning and end. He guarantees that each small but genuine act of love contains all the meaning of the universe, and that those who do not hesitate to lose their lives for Him find them fully."

  Consecrated people "maintain just such a perspective" said the Pope making particular mention of those "called to a life of contemplation in cloistered monasteries" to whom the Church will dedicate a special Day on November 21. "The monastery, as a spiritual oasis, shows today's world what is the most important, indeed the only decisive, factor: that there exists a definitive reason which makes life worthwhile and that is God and His ineffable love. Faith working through charity is the true antidote against a nihilist mentality which, in our time, is extending its influence ever more widely in the world."

  In remarks following the Angelus, the Holy Father turned his attention to Servant of God Antonio Rosmini, who will be beatified this afternoon in the Italian city of Novara. He was, said the Pope, "a great priest and an illustrious man of culture" who stood out "for what he himself called 'intellectual charity,' in other words the reconciliation of reason with faith.

  "May his example help the Church, and especially the Italian ecclesial communities, to grow in their awareness that the light of human reason is the light of Grace, when they advance together they become a source of blessings for human beings and for society."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 18, 2007 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Pope reiterated "the expression of my deepest condolences to the families" of Bangladesh, for the cyclone that struck the country a number of days ago "causing numerous victims and grave damage."

  "I appeal to international solidarity," the Pope continued, "which has already been activated to meet immediate necessities. And I encourage people to make every possible effort to help these our brothers and sisters who have been so sorely tried."

  Benedict XVI then went on to recall how today in Jordan the eighth assembly will begin of States signatories to the "Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Antipersonnel Mines and on their Destruction." After recalling how "the Holy See is one of the principal promoters of this convention, which was adopted ten years ago," the Pope expressed his hope "for the success of the conference so that these devices, which continue to reap victims including many children, may be completely banned."

  The Holy Father also recalled the fact that today marks the Day dedicated by the World Health Organization (WHO) to victims of road accidents, and he gave assurances of his prayers "for everyone killed in traffic accidents and for their families." He also called for "the redoubling of efforts to ensure people drive carefully and protect their own lives and those of others. This is a duty of charity we owe one another," he said.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 19, 2007 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Pope received prelates from the Kenya Episcopal Conference who have just completed their five-yearly "ad limina" visit.

  Speaking English, the Pope began his talk to them by recalling that "it is bishops who, as ministers and signs of communion in Christ, are pre-eminently called to make manifest the unity of His Church." In this context he urged them "to continue your fraternal cooperation with one another in the spirit of the community of Christ's disciples, united in your love for Him and in the Gospel that you proclaim."

  "Within each diocese, the vibrancy and harmony of the presbyterate offers a clear sign of the vitality of the local Church. ... As bishops, we must constantly strive to build up the sense of community among our priests. ... We must be close to them and encourage them, in the first place, to remain firmly rooted in prayer. ... Let them drink deeply from the wells of Sacred Scripture and from the daily and reverent celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist. Let them give themselves generously to praying the Liturgy of the Hours."

  "A key focus of unity in a community is the institution of marriage and family life, which the people of Africa hold in particular esteem. ... This precious treasure must be guarded at all costs. All too often, the ills besetting some parts of African society, such as promiscuity, polygamy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, can be directly related to disordered notions of marriage and family life.

  "For this reason," he added, "it is important to assist parents in teaching their children how to live out a Christian vision of marriage, conceived as an indissoluble union between one man and one woman, essentially equal in their humanity and open to the generation of new life.

  "While this understanding of Christian family life finds a deep resonance in Africa, it is a matter of great concern that the globalized secular culture is exerting an increasing influence on local communities as a result of campaigns by agencies promoting abortion.

  "This direct destruction of an innocent human life can never be justified, however difficult the circumstances that may lead some to consider taking such a grave step. When you preach the Gospel of Life, remind your people that the right to life of every innocent human being, born or unborn, is absolute and applies equally to all people with no exception whatsoever"

  "The Catholic community must offer support to those women who may find it difficult to accept a child, above all when they are isolated from their family and friends. Likewise, the community should be open to welcome back all who repent of having participated in the grave sin of abortion, and should guide them with pastoral charity to accept the grace of forgiveness, the need for penance, and the joy of entering once more into the new life of Christ."

  Benedict XVI pointed out how the Church in Kenya "is well known for the fine contribution made by its educational institutions in forming generations of young people in sound ethical principles and in opening their minds to engage in peaceful and respectful dialogue with members of other social or religious groups.

  "At a time when a secularist and relativist mentality is increasingly asserting itself through global means of social communication, it is all the more essential that you continue to promote the quality and the Catholic identity of your schools, universities and seminaries. Take the steps necessary in order to affirm and clarify their proper institutional status," he concluded. "Today there is a particular need for highly trained professionals and persons of integrity in the area of medicine, where advances in technology continue to raise serious moral questions."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 19, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

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

    - Bishop Anthony Muheria of Embu.

    - Bishop Alfred Kipkoech Arap Rotich, military ordinary.

    - Bishop Anthony Ireri Mukobo I.M.C., apostolic vicar of Isiolo.

  On Saturday, November 17, he received in separate audiences:

 - Eight prelates from the Kenya Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop John Njue of Nairobi, apostolic administrator of Muranga, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop David Kamau Ng'ang'a, and by Archbishop emeritus Raphael Ndingi Mwana'a Nzeki.

    - Bishop Emmanuel Okombo Wandera of Kericho.

    - Bishop Martin Musonde Kivuva of Machakos, apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Kitui.

    - Bishop Peter J. Kairo of Nakuru.

    - Bishop Cornelius Schilder of Ngong M.H.M., accompanied by Bishop emeritus Colin Cameron Davies M.H.M.
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