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Monday, February 5, 2007


VATICAN CITY, FEB 5, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted:

 - The resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Chur, Switzerland, presented by Bishop Amedee Grab O.S.B., upon having reached the age limit.

 - The resignation from the office of auxiliary of Chur, Switzerland, presented by Bishop Peter Henrici S.J., upon having reached the age limit.

  On Saturday, February 3, it was made public that he appointed:

 - As members of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See: Cardinals Wilfrid Fox Napier O.F.M., archbishop of Durban, South Africa; Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, Peru; Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, archbishop of Lagos, Nigeria; Eusebio Oscar Scheid S.C.I., archbishop of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia; Marc Ouellet P.S.S., archbishop of Quebec, Canada; Gaudencio B. Rosales, archbishop of Manila, Philippines; Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk of Seoul, Korea.

 - Cardinal Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as a member of the pontifical commission "Ecclesia Dei."

 - Msgr. Jose Maria Serrano Ruiz as president of the Court of Appeal of Vatican City State.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 5, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

    - Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, archbishop of Milan, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Carlo Roberto Maria Redaelli, Francesco Coccopalmerio, Marco Ferrari, Erminio De Scalzi and Luigi Stucchi, and former Auxiliary Bishop Angelo Mascheroni

    - Bishop Roberto Amadei of Bergamo, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Lino Bortolo Belotti.

    - Bishop Giulio Sanguineti of Brescia, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Francesco Beschi.

    - Bishop Diego Coletti of Como.

    - Bishop Oscar Cantoni of Crema.

    - Bishop Dante Lafranconi of Cremona.

    - Bishop Giuseppe Merisi of Lodi.

  On Saturday, February 3, he received in separate audiences:

 - Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein, accompanied by Princess Maria and their family.

 - Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

 - Cardinal Georges Cottier, O.P. pro-theologian emeritus of the Pontifical Household.

 - Archbishop Francesco Monterisi, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 5, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father sent a telegram of condolence, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., to Archbishop Salvatore Gristina of Catania, Italy, for the killing there of police inspector Filippo Raciti during disturbances following a football match on February 2 between the teams of Catania and Palermo. Today in Catania, Archbishop Gristina will preside at the late inspector's funeral.

  "Informed of the tragic killing of Chief Inspector Filippo Raciti, the Supreme Pontiff expresses his spiritual closeness to the wife and children of the victim, as well as to the injured and the police who, with other law enforcement forces, work to safeguard the security of citizens.

  "In reiterating his firm condemnation of all forms of violence that disfigure the world of football, the Holy Father exhorts its protagonists to promote respect for legality with greater determination, favoring loyalty, solidarity and healthy competitiveness. In this hope, His Holiness raises fervent prayers for the soul of the faithful servant of the State and, while invoking heavenly consolation upon the relatives and colleagues and all those stricken by such dramatic loss, he sends a comforting apostolic blessing, which may also be extended to those present at the funeral rites."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 5, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was the Message of the Holy Father to the Youth of the World for the Occasion of the 22nd World Youth Day, which is to be celebrated in all dioceses on Palm Sunday, April 1, and has as its theme this year Jesus' words from the Gospel of John: "Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another." The Message is dated January 27, 2007. Ample extracts from the English-language version are given below:

  "Love is possible, and the purpose of my message is to help reawaken in each one of you - you who are the future and hope of humanity-, trust in a love that is true, faithful and strong; a love that generates peace and joy; a love that binds people together and allows them to feel free in respect for one another."

  "How is God-Love revealed to us? ... In Christ, true God and true Man, we have come to know love in all its magnitude. ... The manifestation of divine love is total and perfect in the Cross. ... Redeemed by His blood, no human life is useless or of little value, because each of us is loved personally by Him with a passionate and faithful love, a love without limits."

  "Moreover, the Crucifix, which after the Resurrection would carry forever the marks of His passion, exposes the 'distortions' and lies about God that underlie violence, vengeance and exclusion. Christ is the Lamb of God Who takes upon Himself the sins of the world and eradicates hatred from the heart of humankind. This is the true 'revolution' that He brings about: love."

  "Christ cried out from the Cross: 'I am thirsty.' This shows us His burning thirst to love and to be loved by each one of us. It is only by coming to perceive the depth and intensity of such a mystery that we can realize the need and urgency to love Him as He has loved us. ... To love as He loves us means loving everyone without distinction, even our enemies, 'to the end'."

  "I would like to linger for a moment on three areas of daily life where you, my dear young friends, are particularly called to demonstrate the love of God. The first area is the Church, our spiritual family. ... You should stimulate, with your enthusiasm and charity, the activities of the parishes, the communities, the ecclesial movements and the youth groups to which you belong. Be attentive in your concern for the welfare of others, faithful to the commitments you have made. Do not hesitate to joyfully abstain from some of your entertainments; cheerfully accept the necessary sacrifices; testify to your faithful love for Jesus by proclaiming His Gospel, especially among young people of your age."

  "The second area ... is your preparation for the future that awaits you. If you are engaged to be married, God has a project of love for your future as a couple and as a family. Therefore, it is essential that you discover it with the help of the Church, free from the common prejudice that says that Christianity with its commandments and prohibitions places obstacles to the joy of love and impedes you from fully enjoying the happiness that a man and woman seek in their reciprocal love."

  "The period of engagement, very necessary in order to form a couple, is a time of expectation and preparation that needs to be lived in purity of gesture and words. It allows you to mature in love, in concern and in attention for each other; it helps you to practise self-control and to develop your respect for each other. These are the characteristics of true love that does not place emphasis on seeking its own satisfaction or its own welfare. In your prayer together, ask the Lord to watch over and increase your love and to purify it of all selfishness.

  "Do not hesitate to respond generously to the Lord's call, for Christian matrimony is truly and wholly a vocation in the Church. Likewise, dear young men and women, be ready to say 'yes' if God should call you to follow the path of ministerial priesthood or the consecrated life. Your example will be one of encouragement for many of your peers who are seeking true happiness."

  "The third area of commitment that comes with love is that of daily life with its multiple relationships. I am particularly referring to family, studies, work and free time. ... Develop your capacities, not only in order to become more 'competitive' and 'productive,' but to be 'witnesses of charity.' In addition to your professional training, also make an effort to acquire religious knowledge that will help you to carry out your mission in a responsible way. In particular, I invite you to carefully study the social doctrine of the Church so that its principles may inspire and guide your action in the world."

  "My dear young friends, I want to invite you to 'dare to love.' Do not desire anything less for your life than a love that is strong and beautiful and that is capable of making the whole of your existence a joyful undertaking of giving yourselves as a gift to God and your brothers and sisters. ... Love is the only force capable of changing the heart of the human person and of all humanity, by making fruitful the relations between men and women, between rich and poor, between cultures and civilizations. This is shown to us in the lives of the saints. ... Try to know them better, entrust yourselves to their intercession, and strive to live as they did. I shall just mention Mother Teresa. ... The only desire of her life was to quench the thirst of love felt by Jesus, not with words, but with concrete action by recognizing His disfigured countenance thirsting for love in the faces of the poorest of the poor."

  "Only the Lord's help will allow us to keep away from resignation when faced with the enormity of the task to be undertaken. It instills in us the courage to accomplish that which is humanly inconceivable. Contact with the Lord in prayer grounds us in humility."

  "Above all, the Eucharist is the great school of love. When we participate regularly and with devotion in Holy Mass, when we spend a sustained time of adoration in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, it is easier to understand the length, breadth, height and depth of His love that goes beyond all knowledge. By sharing the Eucharistic Bread with our brothers and sisters of the Church community, we feel compelled, like Our Lady with Elizabeth, to render 'in haste' the love of Christ into generous service towards our brothers and sisters."

  "The next World Youth Day ... will be an important stage on the way to the meeting in Sydney where the theme will be: 'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses.' May Mary, the Mother of Christ and of the Church, help you to let that cry ring out everywhere, the cry that has changed the world: 'God is love!' I am together with you all in prayer and extend to you my heartfelt blessing."
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 4, 2007 (VIS) - The Day for Life, an initiative promoted by the Italian Episcopal Conference which is celebrated in Italy today, provided the theme for Benedict XVI's remarks before praying the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. The theme of this year's Day is: "Love and desire life."

  The Pope echoed the Italian bishops' call "for men and women of good will ... to welcome the great and mysterious gift of life. Life, which is the work of God, must not be denied to anyone, not even to the small and defenseless unborn, and especially so when the baby has grave disabilities.

  "At the same time," he added, "I invite everyone not to fall into the trap of thinking they can dispose of human life at will, to the point of legitimizing ... euthanasia, perhaps even masking it under a veil of human pity."

  The Week for Life and the Family being celebrated in the diocese of Rome, he continued, represents "an important occasion to pray and reflect upon the family, which is the 'cradle' of life and of all vocations." The Pope recalled that the family founded upon marriage "is the natural environment for the birth and education of children and, therefore, for ensuring the future of the entire human family."

  However, the family is suffering "a profound crisis and today has to face many challenges. Hence it must be defended, helped, protected and cherished in its unrepeatable uniqueness. Although this is, in the first place, the responsibility of husband and wife, the Church and all public institutions also have a priority duty to support the family through pastoral and political initiatives that take account of the real needs of the couple, of the elderly and of the new generations."

  The Holy Father concluded his reflections by calling, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, "for more respect for the sacred nature of life, greater awareness of the true needs of the family, and an increase in the number of people who contribute to creating a civilization of love in the world."
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 3, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Pope, written in Latin and dated January 2, in which he appoints Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the 15th World Day of the Sick, due to take place in Seoul, Korea, on February 11.

  The cardinal will be accompanied on his mission by Fr. Kyung Sang Paul Lee, secretary general for Catholic education in the archdiocese of Seoul, and by Fr. Young Man Steven Han, administrative director of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea.


VATICAN CITY, FEB 3, 2007 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Pope received a large group of representatives from secular institutes in various countries, who are in Rome for the occasion of an international symposium being held to mark the anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution "Provida Mater Ecclesia."

  Recalling that six decades have passed since February 2 1947, when Pope Pius XII promulgated the Apostolic Constitution, Benedict XVI said: "That juridical act was not an end but the starting point of a process that aimed to define a new form of consecration: that of lay faithful and diocesan priests, called to live with evangelical radicalism the secular state in which, by virtue of their life condition or pastoral ministry, they are immersed."

  The Holy Father went on to enumerate the characteristics of the secular mission: "bearing witness to human virtues, ... an 'honorable conduct of life' as mentioned by Peter in his first Letter, ... and commitment to building a society that recognizes in all its various aspects the dignity of human beings and the values essential for their full realization, from politics to economics, from education to commitment to public health, from providing services to scientific research."

  "All the circumstances in which man lives and dies," the Pope told his audience, "are an opportunity for you to bear witness to the salvific work of God. This is your mission."

  The Holy Father told the members of the secular institutes that "the secular nature of your consecration highlights, on the one hand, the means you use to put it into practice, ... and on the other, the way in which it develops: through a profound relationship with the signs of the times, which you are called to discern, individually and as a group, in the light of the Gospel."

  "The place of your apostolate is, then, the entire human sphere, not only in the Christian community, ... but also and above all in the civil community with which you relate in the search for the common good and in dialogue with everyone, called to bear witness to Christian anthropology, which proposes meaning to a society disoriented and confused by the multi-cultural and multi-religious atmosphere that characterizes it."

  Benedict XVI concluded with an exhortation to announce "the beauty of God and of His Creation. Following the example of Christ, remain obedient to love and be men and women of humbleness and mercy, capable of following the paths of the world doing only good. ... The Church also needs you to give completeness to her mission. Be seed of sanctity ... in the furrow of history."
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 3, 2007 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father met with members of congregations, institutes, societies of apostolic life, and new forms of consecrated life, for the occasion of the World Day of Consecrated Life, an annual celebration instituted by John Paul II.

  At the end of the Eucharistic celebration presided by Cardinal Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Benedict XVI entered the basilica and greeted those present. Opening his address he affirmed that the Day "is an appropriate opportunity to ask the Lord together for the gift of an ever more incisive presence of male and female religious, and of consecrated people, in the Church on her journey in the world."

  The Pope reminded his audience that "your evangelical witness, in order to be truly effective, must arise from an unreserved response to the initiative of God, Who consecrated you for Him through a special act of love."

  "In our time there exists, especially among the young, a widespread need to meet God. Those who are chosen by God for consecrated life make this spiritual longing definitively their own. ... With their example, they proclaim to the world - which is often disoriented but in reality searching for meaning - that God is the Lord of existence."

  Consecrated men and women, "by choosing obedience, poverty and chastity for the Kingdom of Heaven, show that all ties of love to things and to people are incapable of definitively satisfying the heart." Their lives "constitute a total and definitive, unconditional and passionate response to God."

  "When they renounce everything to follow Christ," the Pope added, "consecrated people ... necessarily become a 'sign of contradiction,' because their way of life and thought often contrasts with the logic of the world. ... When faced with such courage, many people who thirst for truth are inspired and attracted by those who do not hesitate to give their lives for that which they believe."

  The Pope encouraged those present never to forget that "consecrated life is a divine gift and that it is, in the first instance, the Lord who brings it to success. ... This certainty must be a comfort to you, keeping you from temptation and discouragement in the face of the inevitable difficulties of life and the many challenges of the modern age."

  The Pope concluded his remarks by recalling how that day's liturgy of the Presentation of the Lord Jesus in the Temple is characterized by the symbol of light, "indicating Christ, the true light of the world, which shines forth in the night of history and illuminates all searchers after truth. Dear consecrated men and women, burn with this flame and make it shine in your own lives, so that everywhere may be lit by a fragment of the brilliance irradiated by Jesus, splendor of truth."
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