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Wednesday, January 31, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JAN 31, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Sergio da Rocha, auxiliary of Fortaleza, Brazil, as coadjutor archbishop of Teresina (area 26,495, population 1,052,564, Catholics 958,197, priests 91, permanent deacons 2, religious 196), Brazil. The archbishop-elect was born in Dobrada, Brazil in 1959, he was ordained a priest in 1984, and consecrated a bishop in 2001.
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 31, 2007 (VIS) - Yesterday evening, Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., made the following declaration concerning comments by Giorgio Napolitano, president of the Italian Republic, on the need to bear in mind the Church's position when preparing a law on de facto couples. President Napolitano had made his remarks on Monday, during the course of an official visit to Spain.

  "The comments of President Giorgio Napolitano are certainly highly appreciable, an expression of the great concern for the views of the Holy Father that he has shown on many occasions, and an encouragement to an attitude of dialogue and respect that is not always present in current political debate. He invites us to seek a broad vision of the problems of society, showing great sensitivity towards the concerns expressed by the Church authorities, recognizing their legitimacy and the fact that they are deeply motivated and animated by the search for the common good of society and, in this specific case, of Italian society.

  "It remains to be seen how the desired synthesis may be found in dialogue, involving the various components of the Italian political and social community, in such a way that the positions expressed by the authorities of the Church in Italy are taken into due consideration."
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 31, 2007 (VIS) - In today's general audience Benedict XVI resumed his catechesis on outstanding figures of early Christianity, concentrating on the three principal collaborators of St. Paul: Barnabas, Silas and Apollos. The audience was held in the Paul VI Hall in the presence of six thousand people.

  "We must recognize," he began, "that the Apostle was an eloquent example of a man open to collaboration: in the Church he did not want to do everything by himself, but made use of many different colleagues."

  Barnabas "was one of the first to embrace Christianity," the Pope explained, "and it was he who guaranteed the sincerity of Paul's conversion before the Christian community of Jerusalem, which still distrusted its one-time persecutor". The Holy Father also recalled how Barnabas had participated in the Council of Jerusalem, at which it was decided "to distinguish the practice of circumcision from Christian identity." However, Paul and Barnabas "fell into disagreement at the beginning of the second missionary journey because Barnabas wanted to bring along the young John Mark, and Paul did not."

  "Even among saints differences, discord and controversies arise," commented the Holy Father. "And I find this a consolation because we see that saints have not 'come down from heaven.' They are people like us, with problems, even complicated problems. Sanctity does not consist in never having made mistakes or sinned,. Sanctity grows in the capacity for conversion and penance, of willingness to start again and, above all, in the capacity for reconciliation and forgiveness."

  Silas, also known as Silvanus, communicated the decisions of the Council of Jerusalem to the Christians of Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. "Evidently he was held to be capable of mediating between ... Jewish Christians and Christians of pagan origin, thus serving the unity of the Church in the diversity of her rites and origins."

  Apollos was a "cultured man well-versed in the Scriptures," the Pope continued. He preached in Ephesus and also in Corinth where, however, his success "had problematic overtones because some members of the Church there, fascinated by his oratory, in his name set themselves against the others."

  "Paul ... expresses appreciation for Apollos activities but reprimands the Corinthians for being divided. ... He draws an important lesson from the whole affair: Both I and Apollos, he writes, are no more ... than simple ministers, through whom you have come to the faith. ... All have different tasks in the field of the Lord."

  The Holy Father concluded: "These words are still valid for everyone today, for Popes, for cardinals, bishops, priests and lay people. We are all humble ministers of Jesus. We serve the Gospel to the extent that we can, according to our gifts, and we pray to God that He may make His Gospel and His Church grow today."
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