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Friday, March 16, 2007


VATICAN CITY, MAR 16, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Alfonso Rivero Monsalve, the new ambassador of Peru to the Holy See, asking the diplomat to pass on his "respectful greetings to Alan Garcia Perez," Peruvian president, and "to the beloved people of Peru."

  "This meeting calls to mind the profound ties that have existed and continue to exist between your nation and the Church," said Benedict XVI. And he recalled how "the Catholic faith, taken there by evangelizers such as St. Toribio de Mogrovejo, ... became accepted and slowly penetrated the cultural and social fabric of that blessed people among whom the first saints of Latin America soon appeared," such as "Rose of Lima, Martin de Porres, Francis Solano, Juan Macias, and the Blessed Ana de los Angeles Monteagudo."

  The Pope went on to refer to "the profound changes" that Peru is facing in the context of "social, political and economic transformations," observing that such processes "have a direct effect upon people and their values."

  "We know," he said, "that Peru wishes to respond effectively to the phenomenon of globalization, taking advantage of the opportunities presented by economic growth to ensure that the resulting wealth and other social advantages reach everyone in an equitable way. Peruvians ... also hope that health services may serve all social categories, that education may be available to everyone, ... and that corruption may be contrasted with an integrity that enables the effective operation of public institutions, thus helping to overcome so many situations of hunger and misery."

  "Furthermore," the Holy Father continued, "there is a pressing need for unity of intent among leaders to ensure they face the challenges of a globalized world ... with true solidarity. The Church, which recognizes the State's role in social, political and economic questions, assumes as her duty - deriving from her evangelizing mission - the protection and proclamation of the truth about human beings, about the meaning of life and its final destiny, which is God. She is the source of inspiration ensuring that the dignity of the person and of life, from conception to natural end, is recognized and protected, as guaranteed by the Peruvian Constitution."

  "From the Apostolic See," Pope Benedict continued, "we will continue to support all social efforts currently being made in favor of equality of opportunity," and to ensure "that each Peruvian feels their inalienable rights are respected," and that "the Peruvian episcopate continues to foment, in the light of the Gospel and the Church's social doctrine, the search for truth in the family, the workplace and the socio-political field."

  "The Church, aware of her religious mission (and for that reason sublimely human), and of her duty to propose the truth to all mankind (who as children of God have a superior dignity that comes before all positive law), will continue to work to reach these objectives," the Pope concluded. Moreover, as "an expert in humanity she teaches that only by respecting moral law which defends and protects the dignity of the human person, can peace by built, favoring stable social progress."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 16, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences five prelates from the Italian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Domenico Caliandro of Nardo-Gallipoli.

    - Archbishop Donato Negro of Otranto.

    - Bishop Vito De Grisantis of Ugento-Santa Maria di Leuca.

    - Bishop Pietro Maria Fragnelli of Castellaneta.

    - Bishop Michele Castoro of Oria.

  This evening, he is scheduled to receive in audience Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 16, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was the final declaration of the 13th General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which held an international congress in the Vatican from February 23 to 24 on the theme "Christian conscience in support of the right to life."

  Among other things, the assembly declared that the "test bed" of Christian conscience "is in the healthcare profession when it faces the duty of protecting human life and the risk of finding itself in situations of cooperation with evil in the application of professional duties." In such situations "the due exercise of 'decided contentious objection' assumes great importance."

  The declaration highlights the need "for mobilization of all those concerned with human life, a mobilization that must also extend to the political field. An indispensable requirement of justice is respect for the principle of equality, which requires the protection of everyone's rights, especially of the weakest and most defenseless."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 16, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today published a communique announcing the Holy Father's forthcoming trip to Brazil from May 9 to 14, for the occasion of the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean, due to be held in the city of Aparecida. During the course of the trip, the Pope will also visit the archdioceses of Sao Paulo and Aparecida.
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 16, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope received participants in the annual course on the internal forum promoted by the Apostolic Penitentiary.

  In his address, Benedict XVI considered the importance of the Sacrament of Penance and the need for priests to prepare themselves to administer it with devotion and faithfulness to God, for the sanctification of Christian people.

  "We all," said the Holy Father, "need to draw from the inexhaustible spring of divine love, which was made totally manifest to us in the mystery of the Cross, in order to find true peace with God, with ourselves and with our fellow man. Only from this spiritual spring is it possible to draw the interior energy indispensable for defeating evil and sin in the ceaseless struggle that marks our earthly pilgrimage towards the heavenly homeland."

  The Pope highlighted how in the modern world "we see a humanity that wishes for self sufficiency, where no small number of people almost feel they can do without God to live well; and yet, how many seem sadly condemned to face ... empty lives, how much violence there still is on the earth, how much solitude weighs upon the soul of man in the era of communication! In a word, it seems today that we have lost a 'sense of sin' ... but have increased our 'complex of guilt'."

  "May priests, ministers of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, always feel that their task is to make known the merciful love of God, both through words and in their approach to penitents. Like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, welcome penitent sinners, help them to arise from their sin and encourage them to make amends, never compromising with evil but resuming the journey towards evangelical perfection."

  Priests, said the Holy Father, must be animated by a constant longing for sanctity. In order to carry out their "important mission," as confessors they "must remain faithful to the Church's Magisterium in matters of moral doctrine, aware that the law of good and evil is not determined by situations, but by God."

  The Holy Father concluded by calling upon the Virgin, Mother of Mercy, "to support the ministry of priest confessors and to help Christian communities to understand the value and importance of the Sacrament of Penance for the spiritual growth of all the faithful."
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