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Tuesday, May 8, 2007


VATICAN CITY, MAY 8, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Giuseppe Zenti of Vittorio Veneto, Italy, as bishop of Verona (area 3,059, population 859,825, Catholics 792,000, priests 1,005, permanent deacons 26, religious 2,817), Italy. He succeeds Bishop Flavio Carraro O.F.M. Cap., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Alberto Silvani of the clergy of the diocese of Massa Carrara-Ponteromli, Italy, pastor of the parish of St. Peter the Apostle in Avenza, as bishop of Volterra (area 1,743, population 82,580, Catholics 81,080, priests 65, religious 128), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Virgoletta di Villafranca in Lunigiana, Italy, in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1970.

 - Appointed Bishop Robert Harris, auxiliary of Sault Sainte Marie, Canada, as bishop of Saint John, New Brunswick (area 60,000, population 282,600, Catholics 113,700, priests 75, permanent deacons 2, religious 137), Canada.

 - Appointed Fr. Michael John Zielinski O.S.B. Oliv., abbot of the abbey of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Pecos, U.S.A., as vice-president of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church and of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology. He also appointed Msgr. Jose Manuel Del Rio Carrasco, official of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, as under-secretary of that pontifical commission.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 8, 2007 (VIS) - The Vatican Apostolic Library is to close to the public for a period of three years beginning on July 14, due to renovation work in some parts of the Renaissance building in which it is housed.

  The wing in which the collections are kept is in need of structural repair work including strengthening the floor which is showing signs of subsiding, bringing large areas of the building into line with safety norms, and moving a number of sectors in order to rationalize access to the works.

  According to the "Osservatore Romano," the decision to close the library was reached only after various other solutions to resolve the above-mentioned problems had been considered. Over the last few months everything possible has been done to intervene without disturbing the 20,000 scholars and researchers who use the library each year, including the transfer of some 300,000 books to nearby areas in order to lighten the load on the floor.

  During the period of closure, all the other functions of the library will continue, including the photographic reproduction of manuscripts for researchers.

  The library was established by Pope Nicholas V who, in 1448, transferred around 350 Greek, Latin and Hebrew codices acquired by his predecessors to the Vatican. In earlier times, collections had been kept at the Lateran Palace in Rome (until the end of the 13th century) and at Avignon (during the years Popes resided in that French city). Between 1370, when the papacy returned to Rome, and 1447, the collections were dispersed, with parts in Rome and others in Avignon and elsewhere.

  The real foundation of the library, however, is due to Pope Sixtus IV. On June 14 1475, with the Bull "Ad decorem militantis Ecclesiae," he assigned a budget to the institution and appointed as librarian Bartolomeo Platina, who drew up the first catalogue in 1481. At that time, the library possessed 3,500 manuscripts and was the largest in the western world. Around the year 1587, Pope Sixtus V commissioned the architect Domenico Fontana to construct a new building to house the library, which is where it is still located today.

  In 1623, Duke Maximilian I of Bavaria donated the entire Palatine Library of Heidelberg, containing some 3,500 manuscripts, to Gregory XV as a sign of gratitude for the Pope's support during the Thirty Years War. In 1657 the Vatican Apostolic Library acquired the manuscripts of the dukes of Urbino, and in 1689 the collections of Queen Christina of Sweden.

  Today, the Vatican Apostolic Library houses some 75,000 manuscripts, 1,600,000 printed books and 8,300 incunabula, while the Vatican Secret Archives, which were separated from the library at the beginning of the 17th century, contain around 150,000 volumes. Among the most important manuscripts is the "Codex Vaticanus," the oldest known manuscript of the Bible.


VATICAN CITY, MAY 8, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was a communique concerning the seventh meeting of the Special Council for Europe of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops. The meeting was held in the Vatican on April 23.

  The gathering was attended by Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, and by members of the presidency of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE).

  According to the communique Archbishop Eterovic, making reference to John Paul II's 2003 Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Europa, recalled the challenges and the signs of hope facing the Church on the European continent.

  "The challenges of the current moment should encourage all the living forces of the Church," the communique reads, "to renew the impetus of evangelization on the European continent, which is showing signs of some weariness but also of revival."

  "In the face of the modern challenges facing the Church throughout the continent of Europe," it is "episcopal collegiality" that represents "the appropriate space for the communion of pastors among themselves and with the Holy Father, with a view to renewed evangelizing activity.

  "Such communion," the communique adds, "which enjoys the guarantee of unity and effectively ensures the real unity of the universal Church and of the Church in Europe, strengthens pastors as they constantly announce the Gospel in their various situations, where it is necessary to reaffirm the primacy of God in order to reiterate the dignity of man, created in His image an likeness, in the personal and community dimension."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 8, 2007 (VIS) - For the occasion of Benedict XVI's forthcoming apostolic trip to Brazil from May 9 to 14, his sixth visit outside Italy as Pope, statistics concerning the Brazilian Catholic Church have been released. The information, updated to December 31, 2005, comes from the Central Statistical Office of the Church.

  Brazil has a population of 184,180 million, of whom 155,628 million (84.5 percent) are Catholic. There are 269 ecclesiastical circumscriptions, 9,504 parishes and 36,729 pastoral centers of other kinds. Currently there are 427 bishops, 18,087 diocesan and regular priests, 2,676 male religious, 33,765 female religious, 2,015 lay members of secular institutes, 72,704 lay missionaries and 492,370 catechists. Minor seminarians number 3,858, and major seminarians 9,450.

  A total of 2,472,348 children and young people attend 6,073 centers of Catholic education, from kindergartens to universities. Other charitable and social institutions belonging to the Church, or run by priests or religious in Brazil include 366 hospitals, 1,013 clinics, 764 homes for the elderly or disabled, 1,942 orphanages and nurseries, 2,159 family counseling centers and other pro-life centers, and 2,830 centers for education and social rehabilitation.
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