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Wednesday, May 2, 2007


VATICAN CITY, MAY 2, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Piotr Libera, auxiliary of Katowice, Poland and secretary general of the Polish Episcopal Conference, as bishop of Plock (area 11,000, population 811,893, Catholics 808,349, priests 615, religious 333), Poland.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 2, 2007 (VIS) - In greetings at the end of today's general audience, the Pope referred to his forthcoming apostolic trip to Brazil, which is due to begin on May 9.

  Addressing pilgrims in Portuguese, Benedict XVI said: "Following my meeting with Latin-American youth and with the bishops of that continent, I hope to be able to preside at the canonization of Blessed Antonio de Santa Ana Galvao, and to inaugurate in Aparecida the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean."

  The Holy Father invited those present "to seek the protection of Our Lady for the success of this event, which is so significant for all of Latin America. May this important ecclesial meeting be an encouragement to the disciples of Christ to welcome with courageous faith and renewed hope the conclusions of this great assembly."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 2, 2007 (VIS) - During his general audience this morning, the Pope returned to consider the figure of Origen, the famous third century historian. Last week the Holy Father had focussed on the life of this Father of the Church and on his literary works, this week he turned to Origen's teachings on prayer and the Church.

  Origen, the Pope told the 30,000 people gathered in a rain-swept St. Peter's Square, "constantly intertwines his exegetical and theological works with experiences and suggestions concerning prayer."

  For Origen "the understanding of Scripture requires, more even than study, intimacy with Christ and prayer. He is convinced that the best way to know God is love, and that there can be no true 'scientia Christi' without being enamoured of Him."

  "The highest level of knowledge of God flows from love," said the Pope. To demonstrate this, Origen "bases himself upon a meaning sometimes given to the verb 'to know' in Hebrew: when it is used to express the act of human love. ... Just as man and woman are 'two in one flesh,' so God and the believer become 'two in one spirit'."

  Benedict XVI then turned to another of Origen's teachings, this time concerning the Church and the "common priesthood" of the faithful. "Purity and honesty of life," said the Pope, and "faith and study of the Scriptures are the indispensable conditions for exercising the universal priesthood. Even more so, then, are they indispensable for the exercise of the priestly ministry.

  "These conditions - integrity of life and welcoming and studying the Word - create a true 'hierarchy of sanctity' in the common priesthood of the Christian faithful," the Holy Father added. "Origen places martyrdom at the peak of this journey of perfection. ... This tireless journey of perfection concerns us all, so long as the gaze of our hearts is turned to contemplation of the Knowledge and the Truth that is Jesus Christ."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 1, 2007 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for May is: "That, following the example of the Virgin Mary, all Christians should allow themselves to be guided by the Word of God and always remain attentive to the signs of the Lord in their own lives."

  His mission intention is: "That in mission territories there may be no lack of good and enlightened teachers in the major seminaries and in the institutes of consecrated life."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 1, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Holy Father addressed to Mary Ann Glendon, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, and to participants in the academy's 13th plenary assembly which was held in the Vatican from April 27 to May 1 on the theme: "Charity and Justice in the Relations among Peoples and Nations."

  In his message, published in English and Italian, the Pope makes it clear that, according to "the principle of the universal destination of all the goods of creation, ... everything that the earth produces and all that man transforms and manufactures, all his knowledge and technology, is meant to serve the material and spiritual development and fulfillment of the human family and all its members."

  The Holy Father goes on to identify "three specific challenges facing our world, challenges which I believe can only be met through a firm commitment to that greater justice which is inspired by charity.

  "The first," he adds, "concerns the environment and sustainable development. The international community recognizes that the world's resources are limited and that it is the duty of all peoples to implement policies to protect the environment in order to prevent the destruction of that natural capital whose fruits are necessary for the well-being of humanity. ... Also needed is a capacity to assess and forecast, to monitor the dynamics of environmental change and sustainable growth, and to draw up and apply solutions at an international level."

  "Indeed, if development were limited to the technical-economic aspect, obscuring the moral-religious dimension, it would not be an integral human development, but a one-sided distortion which would end up by unleashing man's destructive capacities."

  The second challenge "involves our conception of the human person and consequently our relationships with one other. If human beings are not seen as persons, male and female, created in God's image and endowed with an inviolable dignity, it will be very difficult to achieve full justice in the world. Despite the recognition of the rights of the person in international declarations and legal instruments, much progress needs to be made in bringing this recognition to bear upon such global problems as the growing gap between rich and poor countries."

  The third challenge "relates to the values of the spirit." Benedict XVI explains that, "unlike material goods, those spiritual goods which are properly human expand and multiply when communicated. Unlike divisible goods, spiritual goods such as knowledge and education are indivisible."

  Having emphasized the urgent need for "a just equality of opportunity, especially in the field of education and the transmission of knowledge," the Pope laments the fact that "education, especially at the primary level, remains dramatically insufficient in many parts of the world.

  "To meet these challenges," he concludes, "only love for neighbor can inspire within us justice at the service of life and the promotion of human dignity. Only love within the family, founded on a man and a woman, who are created in the image of God, can assure that inter-generational solidarity which transmits love and justice to future generations. Only charity can encourage us to place the human person once more at the center of life in society and at the center of a globalized world governed by justice."
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