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Wednesday, June 20, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JUN 20, 2007 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Bishop Marion Francis Forst, titular of Leavenworth, on June 2, at the age of 96.

 - Bishop Marcelo Mendiharat Pommies, emeritus of Salto, Uruguay, on June 12 at the age of 93.
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 20, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Cincinnati, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Carl K. Moeddel, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Fr. Daniel Kozelinski Netto of the clergy of the eparchy of Sao Joao Batista em Curitiba of the Ukrainians, Brazil, as auxiliary of the same eparchy (Catholics 161,500, priests 81, permanent deacons 2, religious 553). The bishop-elect was born in Colonia Paraiso, Brazil in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1980.
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 20, 2007 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, held in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope recalled the fact that today marks World Refugee Day, an initiative promoted by the United Nations "to ensure that public opinion does not lose sight of those who have been obliged to abandon their countries in the face of a real danger to their lives.

  "Welcoming refugees and giving them hospitality," the Holy Father added, "is for everyone a vital gesture of human solidarity, in order to help them feel less isolated by intolerance and disinterest. For Christians, moreover, it is a concrete way to express evangelical love.

  "It is my heartfelt wish that these brothers and sisters of ours, who have suffered such harsh trials, may be guaranteed refuge and the recognition of their rights, and I invite the leaders of nations to offer protection to all those who find themselves in such delicate situations of need."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 20, 2007 (VIS) - Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis during this morning's general audience to the figure of St. Athanasius of Alexandria (circa 300-373), calling him a "column of the Church," and a "model of orthodoxy in both East and West." Before the audience, which was held in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope visited the Vatican Basilica where he greeted faithful gathered there.

  After noting how St. Athanasius' statue was placed by Bernini, alongside statues of other doctors of the Church (St. John Chrysostom, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine), around the cathedra of St. Peter in the apse of the Vatican Basilica, the Pope described the Alexandrian saint as a "passionate theologian of the incarnation of the 'Logos,' the Word of God," and "the most important and tenacious adversary of the Arian heresy which then threatened faith in Christ by minimizing His divinity, in keeping with a recurring historical tendency which is also evident in various ways today."

  Athanasius participated in the Council of Nicaea, when bishops established "the symbol of faith ... which has remained in the tradition of the various Christian confessions and in the liturgy as the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed." There it is affirmed that "the Son is 'of one substance' with the Father, precisely in order to highlight His full divinity which was denied by the Arians. ... The fundamental idea behind St. Athanasius theological labors was precisely that God is accessible, ... and that though our communion with Christ we can truly unite ourselves to God."

  Nonetheless, the Arian crisis did not end with the Council of Nicaea "and on five occasions over a period of 30 years, ... Athanasius [bishop of Alexandria from 328] was forced to abandon his city, spending 17 years in exile." In this way, however, "he was able to support and defend in the West ... the Nicene faith and the ideals of monasticism."

  This saint's most famous work "is his treatise 'On the Incantation of the Word'," in which he affirms that the Word of God "was made man that we might be made God; and He manifested Himself by a body that we might receive the idea of the unseen Father; and He endured the insolence of men that we might inherit immortality."

  Athanasius is also the author of meditations upon the Psalms and, above all, of one of the most popular works of ancient Christian literature, "the 'Life of St. Anthony,' the biography of St. Anthony Abbot which ... made a great contribution to the spread of monasticism in East and West."

  The life of Athanasius, like that of St. Anthony, the Pope concluded, "shows us that 'those who draw near to God do not withdraw from men, but rather become truly close to them'."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 20, 2007 (VIS) - At 5 p.m. yesterday at the altar of the Cathedra in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father presided at the funeral of Cardinal Angelo Felici, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and president emeritus of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," who died on Sunday June 17 at the age of 87.

  In his homily, Benedict XVI recalled the words Servant of God John Paul II wrote to Cardinal Felici on the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest, the 25th of his consecration as a bishop. "Your episcopal ministry, Pope John Paul affirmed, has been entirely dedicated to the good of the faithful, and to the beneficial mission of the Roman Pontiffs and the Apostolic See.

  "Today," Pope Benedict added, "we wish to give thanks to the Lord for the abundant harvest of apostolic fruits that Cardinal Felici, with the help of divine grace, was able to gather in the various areas of his enlightened and valuable pastoral and diplomatic activity." The late cardinal worked in the Secretariat of State before being appointed pro-nuncio in the Netherlands, later becoming pontifical representative in Portugal and in France. Subsequently he was appointed as prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei."

  The Holy Father noted how among the late cardinal's papers was a print of the Virgin, "Mater Salvatoris, as venerated in the chapel of the Pontifical Leonine College where he studied as a young man. On the back it bears this invocation: 'I trust in you, Lord, and in Your Most Holy Mother, that I may not be eternally confused.' How many times must he have repeated the words of this prayer, written in his own handwriting with a view to his final departure. We may consider this as the spiritual legacy he left us: words which, better than anything else, today help us to reflect and to pray."
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THE CEREMONY FOR THE REOPENING OF THE CATHEDRAL of Noto, Italy took place yesterday morning. For the occasion, the Pope sent a message to Bishop Giuseppe Malandrino of Noto thanking everyone who participated in the rebuilding work following the sudden collapse of the building 11 years ago. The Holy Father also expresses the hope that the reconstructed cathedral, "a true masterpiece of the Sicilian Baroque and heritage of humanity, ... may, in its beauty, be an invitation for the diocesan community of Noto to grow in communion and in apostolic fervor."

NEW HUMANISM FOR EUROPE, the role of universities, is the theme of a European meeting of university professors which is due to be held in Rome from June 21 to 24 to mark the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome (1957-2007). The congress is being promoted by the president of the Italian Republic, the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) and the Office for the Pastoral Care of Universities of the Vicariate of Rome.

"THE HUMAN FAMILY, COMMUNITY OF PEACE," is the theme of the Pope's Message for the 41st World Day of Peace, due to be celebrated on January 1, 2008. A communique made public today affirms that the theme chosen by Benedict XVI "is based on his conviction that the perception of a common destiny and the experience of communion are essential factors in the realization of the common good."
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