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Monday, March 12, 2007


VATICAN CITY, MAR 12, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

    - Archbishop Cosmo Francesco Ruppi of Lecce.

    - Archbishop Francesco Cacucci of Bari-Bitonto.

    - Bishop Mario Paciello of Altamura-Gravina-Acquaviva delle Fonti.

    - Bishop Raffaele Calabro of Andria.

    - Bishop Domenico Padovano of Conversano-Monopoli.

    - Archbishop Giovanni Battista Pichierri of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie.

    - Archbishop Domenico Umberto D'Ambrosio of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo.

  On Saturday, March 10, he received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Rosalio Jose Castillo Lara S.D.B., president emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State.

 - Cardinal Miguel Obando Bravo S.D.B., archbishop emeritus of Managua, Nicaragua.

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

    - Bishop Gabriele Mana of Biella.

    - Bishop Germano Zaccheo of Casale Monferrato.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 12, 2007 (VIS) - A Holy See delegation led by Msgr. Pietro Parolin, under-secretary for Relations with States, today returned to Rome after a week-long visit to Vietnam.

  During the visit, the members of the delegation met with Bishop Paul Nguyen Van Hoa of Nha Trang, president of the Episcopal Conference of Vietnam, and with the Vietnamese government's permanent committee for religious affairs which highlighted the role of the Catholic community in the country.

  For its part, the Holy See delegation expressed the hope that Catholics may be able to make an ever greater contribution to the dissemination of moral values, especially as regards the formation of young people. And both sides, according to a communique made public today, "highlighted the fact that outstanding problems can be faced and duly resolved in mutual agreement, through patient and constructive dialogue."

  The delegation also met various government figures with whom it raised the question of the normalization of relations with the Holy See. The Vietnamese authorities gave assurances that, following the prime minister's instructions, "the competent bodies are already at work, and certain concrete ways to begin the process of establishing diplomatic relations have been examined."

  Of particular importance was the visit to the diocese of Kontum, in the country's central highlands, mostly made up of ethnic minorities, the so-called "montagnards" who participated in the various ceremonies in large numbers.

  "To everyone," the communique reads, "the delegation brought the encouragement and blessings of the Holy Father, towards whom the faithful showed signs of profound affection, filial devotion and faithfulness, in the hope that Pope himself will one day be able to make a pastoral visit to that country."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 11, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. In his remarks the Pope referred to the Gospel of Luke and its account of Jesus' comments on two events: the revolt of certain Galileans, violently suppressed by Pontius Pilate, and the collapse of the tower of Siloam which killed 18 people.

  "According to the mentality of that time," the Pope explained, "people tended to believe that tragedies befell victims because of some grave sin they had committed. However, Jesus says :'Do you think that ... these Galileans ... were worse sinners than all other Galileans? ... Or that those eighteen who perished ... were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem.' And in both cases He concludes: 'No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did'."

  "Jesus wishes to convince his hearers of the need for conversion," said the Holy Father. "He does not present His case in moralistic terms, but in realistic ones, as the only adequate response to events that cast doubt upon human certainties. In the face of certain tragedies, He says, it serves no purpose to blame the victims. True wisdom means letting oneself be touched by the precariousness of life and adopting an attitude of responsibility: doing penance and improving our lives.

  "This is wisdom, this is the most effective response to evil, at all levels," he added. "Indeed, ruin is the final destiny of people and societies who live without ever questioning themselves. On the other hand conversion, though it does nor free us from problems and misfortune, enables us to face up to these things in a different way."

  Conversion, the Pope insisted, "helps to prevent evil by neutralizing certain threats and, in all cases, it helps us to overcome evil with good, if not always in terms of the events themselves - which are at times independent of our will - certainly in spiritual terms. All in all, conversion overcomes evil at its root, which is sin, although it cannot always avoid the consequences of evil."

  Benedict XVI concluded by calling upon Mary to help us understand that "doing penance and correcting our behavior is not simple moralism, but the most effective way to improve ourselves and society. This is well expressed by the phrase: 'It is better to light a match than to curse the darkness'."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 10, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Quelimane, Mozambique, presented by Bishop Bernardo Felipe Governo O.F.M. Cap., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Fr. Vincenzo Bertolone S.d.P., under-secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as bishop of Cassano all'Jonio (area 1,311, population 106,600, Catholics 105,000, priests 68, permanent deacons 3, religious 69), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Agrigento, Italy in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1975.
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 10, 2007 (VIS) - A prayer vigil was held in the Paul VI Hall at 4 p.m. today for the occasion of the fifth European Day for Universities. The initiative has been being promoted by the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) and the vicariate of Rome's office for pastoral care in universities on the theme: "Intellectual charity, the way to renewed cooperation between Europe and Asia."

  During the gathering there were satellite linkups with university students in the cities of Turin, Bologna, Manchester, Coimbra, Krakow, Prague, Tirana, Hong Kong, Calcutta, Manila and Islamabad.

  At 5 p.m. the Holy Father arrived to pray the Rosary. He then extended greetings in various languages, both to the young people present in the Paul VI Hall and to those following events from the European and Asian cities.

  "Intellectual charity," said Pope Benedict, "can unite the existential journeys of young people who, though they live at great distances from one another, nonetheless feel linked by their interior quest and the witness they bear." Briefly abandoning his prepared text, he then added: "perhaps I should write a new chapter of my Encyclical 'Deus caritas est' on the subject of intellectual charity."

  The Pope called upon the university students to make an "original and creative" contribution to "building a new humanism, based on fruitful dialogue between faith and reason."

  "The mystery of the Cross is not removed from the theme of intellectual charity, on the contrary, it illuminates it," he said. "Christian wisdom is the wisdom of the Cross. Christian students and, even more so, Christian teachers, interpret all reality in the light of the mystery of God's love, which has in the Cross its highest and most complete revelation.

  "Dear young people," he added, "I entrust you once again to the Cross of Christ: accept it, embrace it, follow it. It is the tree of life! At its foot you will always find Mary, Mother of Jesus. With her, throne of wisdom, turn your gaze upon Him Who was pierced for us, contemplate the infinite fountain of love and truth, and you too will become joyful disciples and witnesses. This is my hope for each of you."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 10, 2007 (VIS) - In a communique made public today, the Pontifical Council for Culture announced that on Monday, March 12, an exhibition will be inaugurated of works by four artists belonging to the "Russian World" collective. The exhibition is being held in the council's headquarters and is entitled "Land of the Lord."

  In the twenty paintings on display, the artists Nikolaj Anokhin, Ilya Kaverznev, Seghey Smirnov and Nikolaj Tretiakov, present "a nostalgic and spiritualized view of the Russian soul through landscapes and figures, a meditation upon time and eternity."

  "The exhibition," the communique continues, "is taking place within the framework of renewed cultural and spiritual contacts between Rome and Moscow. ... The welcome the Pontifical Council for culture offers this exhibition of Russian painting, marks another step forwards in the dialogue between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church, to which the 'Russian World' collective is strongly linked."

  The exhibition will be open from March 12 to 20 in the offices of the Pontifical Council for Culture in piazza San Calisto 16, Rome.


VATICAN CITY, MAR 10, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father has accepted an invitation extended by the bishops of the Italian dioceses of Treviso and Belluno-Feltre to spend his summer vacation this year at Lorenzago di Cadore in the Dolomite mountains. From July 9 to 27, Benedict XVI will stay in the same house, belonging to the diocese of Treviso, as was used in the past by John Paul II.
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 10, 2007 (VIS) - In the basilica of St. John Lateran, on Monday April 2, the second anniversary of the death of John Paul II, the closing session will be held of the diocesan investigation into the life, virtues and fame of sanctity of the late pontiff.

  Having received notification from the postulator of John Paul II's cause of beatification and canonization, Fr. Slawomir Oder, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Holy Father's vicar general for the diocese of Rome, announced the news in a letter addressed to the priests, deacons, male and female religious and laity of the city.

  The opening session of the diocesan investigation was held in the same basilica on June 28, 2005, less than three months after John Paul II's death, after Benedict XVI waived the normal waiting period of five years after the death of a Servant of God.

  The diocesan investigation over, the acts and documents will now pass to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, where all the material will be studied.
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