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Monday, September 3, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 3, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, presented by Cardinal Paul Poupard, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Gianfranco Ravasi, prefect of the Ambrosian Library of Milan, Italy, as president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, and of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Merate, Italy, in 1942 and was ordained a priest in 1966.

 - Appointed Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, apostolic nuncio to Zimbabwe, as apostolic nuncio to the Philippines.

 - Appointed Msgr. Tommaso Caputo, head of protocol at the Secretariat of State, as apostolic nuncio to Malta and Libya, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Afragola, Italy in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1974.

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of secretary of the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, presented by Bishop Franco Croci, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Vincenzo Di Mauro, delegate of the Ordinary Section of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, as secretary of the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of bishop. The bishop-elect was born in Monza, Italy in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1976.

 - Appointed Msgr. Francesco Giovanni Brugnaro, Holy See permanent observer to the World Tourism Organization, as archbishop of Camerino - San Severino Marche (area 1,603, population 59,738, Catholics 57,250, priests 126, permanent deacons 1, religious 228), Italy. The archbishop-elect was born in San Dona di Piave, Italy in 1943 and ordained a priest in 1982. He succeeds Archbishop Angelo Fagiani, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 3, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences seven prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Laos and Cambodia, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Msgr. Tito Banchong Thopanhong, apostolic administrator of the apostolic vicariate of Luang Prabang, Laos.

    - Bishop Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, apostolic vicar of Pakse, Laos.

    - Bishop Jeang Sommeng Vorachak, apostolic vicar of Savannakhet, Laos.

    - Bishop Jean Khamse Vithavong, apostolic vicar of Vientiane, Laos.

    - Bishop Emile Destombes M.E.P., apostolic vicar of Phnom-Penh, Cambodia.

    - Fr. Enrique Figaredo Alvargonzales S.J., apostolic prefect of Battambang, Cambodia.

    - Fr. Antonysamy Susairaj M.E.P., apostolic prefect of Kompong-Cham, Cambodia.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 3, 2007 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. released the following declaration at midday today:

  "At around 7.30 a.m. today Alessandro Benedetti, aged 26 and a member of the Corps of the Gendarmerie of Vatican City State, was found in a bathroom of the Gendarmerie's barracks in a very grave condition with a gunshot wound. The young man was taken immediately to Santo Spirito Hospital where he died at around 9 a.m.

  "Initial evidence would seem to suggest that the young man committed suicide. A note found on the scene is currently being studied by Vatican magistrates who are following the case and who will examine the information that emerges from the autopsy which has been requested by the Italian coroner.

  "Alessandro Benedetti was recruited into the Corps of the Gendarmerie last April as a 'gendarme cadet' following the usual psychological aptitude selection process, also concerning the handling of weapons

  "His behavior had not, until now, given cause for concern.

  "The Holy Father learnt the news with great sadness. He entrusts young Alessandro to the mercy of God, and remains spiritually close to the Benedetti family and to the members of the Gendarmerie."


VATICAN CITY, SEP 1, 2007 (VIS) - Pope Benedict XVI's general prayer intention for September is: "That the ecumenical assembly of Sibiu in Romania may contribute to the growth of unity among all Christians, for whom the Lord prayed at the Last Supper."

  His mission intention is: "That, following Christ joyfully, all missionaries may know how to overcome the difficulties they meet in everyday life."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 1, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Holy Father to diocesan newspapers in Austria for his forthcoming apostolic visit - from September 7 to 9 - to Vienna and to the Shrine of Mariazell which is celebrating its 850th anniversary.

  "I love the magnificent landscapes of your homeland which remind me of the Sunday walks of my infancy, ... the great culture of Austria and the friendliness of your people," writes Benedict XVI.

  "During my visit," he continues, "I will encounter a great culture enriched with the passing centuries, but above all I will encounter the present: the conflicts and questions of an ever more fast-moving age, the fatigue and faith of being Christian and coexisting with different cultures and traditions."

  Austria's Marian "heart," says the Holy Father, is in the Shrine of Mariazell, and he recalls how his private chapel in the Vatican contains a copy of the Virgin of Mariazell which John Paul II brought with him from the shrine.

  "When I pray in the chapel," Pope Benedict concludes, "the benevolent face of the Mother of God of Mariazell looks upon me, and I too perceive that sense of tranquillity ... which St. Joseph transmits to the Baby Jesus."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 2, 2007 (VIS) - At 5 p.m. today the Pope met with a group of faithful at the Shrine of Loreto. The Holy Father had also visited the shrine yesterday evening for a period of private prayer following his meeting with young people on the esplanade of Montorso.

  The Holy Father thanked both the local mayor and Archbishop Gianni Danzi, prelate of Loreto and pontifical delegate to that Marian shrine, for the welcome they had given to him and to the thousands of young people.

  Despite the inconvenience that this kind of meeting inevitably brings, said Pope Benedict "the daily flow of pilgrims from all parts of Italy and from all over the world, represent a precious opportunity that you should value and appreciate. It is an invitation to grow in faith and in devotion to the Virgin.

  "Never forget," he added, "the great privilege you have of living in the shadow of the Holy House. Take advantage of this to maintain a filial dialogue of faith and love with Mary, our celestial Mother. The welcome you show visitors and faithful is a daily witness of the maternal love that, in this place, Mary wishes to dispense to all her sons and daughters, May the Holy House truly be the center and the heart of your city."

  At 5.45 p.m., the Pope's helicopter departed from the John Paul II Center at Montorso near Loreto, arriving at Castelgandolfo an hour later.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 2, 2007 (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. today, the Holy Father travelled by popemobile to the esplanade of Montorso near Loreto, Italy, where he presided at a Eucharistic concelebration in the presence of half a million young people.

  In his homily Benedict XVI affirmed that "Jesus Christ, God made man, in Mary assumed our own flesh, took part in our lives and wished to share in our history. In order to accomplish this Covenant, God sought a young heart and found it in Mary."

  "Even today God continues to seek young hearts, He seeks young people with great hearts who are capable of making space for Him in their lives in order to become protagonists of the New Covenant."

  The Pope called on the young people to let themselves be drawn into "the new life that arises from the encounter with Christ," so as "to become apostles of His peace in your families, among your friends, within your ecclesial communities and in the various areas in which you live and work."

  In Loreto, said the Pope, "our thoughts naturally go to the Holy House of Nazareth which is the shrine of humility: the humility of God Who became flesh and the humility of Mary who accepted Him in her womb; the humility of the Creator and the humility of the creature."

  Today, he continued, "the humble are seen as resigned and defeated, as people who have nothing to say to the world. Yet the truth is that humility is the best way, and not only because it is a great human virtue but also, and primarily, because it is God's own way of acting."

  The Holy Father launched a message to the young people "who wish to follow Christ and to be part of His Church. ... Do not follow the path of pride but that of humility. Swim against the tide. Do not listen to biased and persuasive voices advocating lifestyles based on arrogance and violence, on self-importance and success at all costs, on appearance and possession to the detriment of being."

  "Be vigilant and critical" towards the messages that reach you via the communications media, warned the Holy Father. "Do not be afraid to give preference to the 'alternative' paths indicated by real love: a life of sobriety and solidarity; pure and sincere emotional relationships; honest commitment in study and work; profound concern for the common good. Do not be afraid to seem different or to be criticized for ... being out of fashion. Your peers, ... and especially those who seem furthest from the mentality and values of the Gospel, have a profound need to see someone who dares to live in accordance with the fullness of humanity as manifested by Jesus Christ."

  Pope Benedict invited his audience to look to Mary in order to experience "God's 'yes' to humanity." Thus, he went on, "we come to understand that our faith does not propose a series of moral prohibitions but a joyous path to the light of God's 'yes'." In this context, he indicated that the main challenge that young people must face is that of "following Christ to the full, without reserve or compromise. And following Christ means feeling oneself to be a living part of His body, which is the Church. .... Following Christ also involves a constant struggle to make one's own contribution to building a more just and united society, in which everyone can enjoy the goods of the earth."

  "Without doubt, one of the fields in which urgent efforts are necessary is that of the defense of creation. ... Before it is too late, courageous choices must be made aimed at recreating a powerful bond between man and the earth. What is needed is a decided 'yes' to safeguarding creation and a deep commitment to invert tendencies that risk leading to conditions of irreversible degradation." In this context, the Pope expressed his appreciation for an initiative by the Italian Church to raise awareness concerning the problems of environmental protection, with a National Day celebrated on September 1.

  Benedict XVI concluded by assuring young people of his prayers and affection, in the hope "that you may enthusiastically continue the path of the 'Agora,' that special three-year journey of openness, dialogue and mission." He also invited them to participate in World Youth Day, due to be celebrated in Sydney, Australia, in July 2008.

  After Mass and before praying the Angelus, the Holy Father said that "Loreto, after Nazareth, is the ideal place for prayer and meditation on the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God."

  "There is," said the Pope, "a mutual bond between the piazza [the Agora] and the house [the Holy House of Loreto]. The piazza is large and open, it is a place for meeting others, for dialogue. ... The house, on the other hand, is a place for meditation and for interior silence where the Word can be absorbed profoundly. In order to take God into the piazza it is necessary first to have absorbed Him in the house, just as Mary did at the Annunciation. And, vice versa, the house is open onto the piazza."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 1, 2007 (VIS) - Shortly after 4 p.m. today, the Pope departed by helicopter from the pontifical residence at Castelgandolfo bound for the Italian shrine of Loreto where he presided at a national meeting of young people concluding the first year of the "Agora" of Italian youth. The event is being promoted by the Italian Episcopal Conference.

  At 5.15 p.m., the Pope's helicopter arrived at the John Paul II Center at Montorso near Loreto. From there the Holy Father travelled by popemobile to the esplanade of Montorso where he joined 300,000 young people for a prayer vigil during which he replied to a number of questions that were put to him.

  One question addressed "the disquiet shared by many young people from all parts of the world and all religions" concerning their place in history and their fear of being left on the margins. The Pope replied by indicating how "according to the divine plan, the world has no margins. ... For God we are all at the center, ... equally loved and called to undertake great deeds, ... each using his or her own talents."

  "Dear young people," said the Pope, "in Jesus' name I repeat to you tonight: Go! Live! Love! In God's eyes each of you is important, You are important to your family and friends, ... to your country, to the entire world, to the Church and to Jesus Christ." The Holy Father also exhorted the young people not to feel marginalized "because no life is unimportant. ... You must realize that you are important protagonists, because you are at the center of God's love."

  Benedict XVI then delivered a talk to the participants, whom he described as "the hope of the Church in Italy," and he invited them "to open their hearts and offer everything to Jesus" with the "interior strength and trusting abandonment" that was Mary's.

  "What a stupendous exhibition of youthful and inspiring faith we are experiencing this evening!" he cried. "This evening, thanks to you, Loreto has become the spiritual capital of youth, the center towards which multitudes of young people on the five continents turn. ... The Pope is close to you, and for each of you he asks from the Lord the gift of a full and happy life, a life rich in meaning."

  "Today, unfortunately, a full and happy life is not infrequently seen by many young people as a distant dream. ... Do not be afraid, Christ can fulfil the most intimate aspirations of your heart! ... Each one of you, if you remain united to Christ, can achieve great things. ... You should not be afraid to dream of great plans for goodness, and you should not let yourselves be discouraged by difficulties. Christ has trust in you and wants you to realize all your most noble and exalted dreams of true happiness."

  The Holy Father then recalled the Annunciation, when the angel told Mary "of her participation, in the most intimate possible way, in the greatest of God's plans: the salvation of humanity." The Pope emphasized how "her 'yes' changed her life and the history of humanity entire. ... And from Mary we learn to pronounce our own 'yes,' because she really knows what it means to respond generously to the requests of the Lord."

  Mary, Benedict XVI continued, "knows of your great desire for love, your need to love and to be loved. Looking at her, ... you will discover the beauty of love. ... true and profound love." All young people starting out in life "cultivate the dream of a love that will give full meaning to their future. For many of them this is achieved in marriage and the creation of a family."

  "I well know that today such a dream is becoming ever less easy to accomplish. How many failures of love do we see around us! ... The Mother of God, the community of believers and the Pope are near you and pray that the crisis affecting families in our time does not become irreversible," said the Holy Father, and he renewed his invitation to participants "not to be afraid," because "for those who trust in God nothing is impossible.

  "This is true for people destined for married life," he added, "and even more so for those whom God has called to a life of complete detachment from the goods of the earth and of complete dedication to His Kingdom. Among you are those directed towards the priesthood, consecrated life, and others who aspire to be missionaries."

  "Be certain that a life dedicated to God is never spent in vain," said the Holy Father. He then concluded his talk by reminding the young people of the celebrations for World Youth Day 2008, due to take place in Sydney, Australia. "Let us pray," he said, "that the Lord Who accomplishes all prodigies may enable many of you to be there."
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