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Monday, September 17, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 17, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

 - Four prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Benin, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Marcel Honorat Leon Agboton of Cotonou.

    - Bishop Antoine Ganye of Dassa-Zoume.

    - Bishop Victor Agbanou of Lokossa,

    - Bishop Rene-Marie Ehuzu C.I.M. of Porto Novo.

  On Saturday, September 15, he received in separate audiences:

 - Bishop Vincenzo Paglia of Terni-Narni-Amelia, Italy, accompanied by Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Sant'Egidio Community.

 - Youm Bosco Seong, ambassador of Korea, on his farewell visit.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 17, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father has written a Message to Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, for the Tenth Inter-Christian Symposium between Catholics and Orthodox, which is being held from September 16 to 19 on the Greek island of Tinos.

  The symposium, organized every two years by the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality at Rome's Antonianum Pontifical Athenaeum, and by the faculty of theology at the Aristotle University of Thessalonica, Greece, aims to study Catholics' and Orthodox' shared patrimony of faith and tradition. The current meeting - which has as its theme "St. John Chrysostom, a bridge between East and West" - coincides with the 1,600th anniversary of the death of that saint, considered as a Father of the Church in both East and West.

  In his Message, the Pope expresses his happiness at the fact that the gathering is being held on Tinos "where Orthodox and Catholics coexist fraternally," and he recalls how "ecumenical cooperation in the academic field contributes to maintaining an impetus towards the longed-for communion among all Christians.

  On the subject of ecumenical cooperation, the Pope points out how "Vatican Council II recognized in this field an opportunity to involve the entire People of God in the search for full unity."

  The Holy Father then goes on to refer to St. John Chrysostom as "a valiant, illuminated and faithful preacher of the Word of God, ... such an extraordinary hermeneutist and speaker that, from the fifth century, he was given the title of Chrysostom, which means golden-mouthed. A man whose contribution to the formation of the Byzantine liturgy is known to everyone," and whose mortal remains "after complex historical events have, since 1626, rested in St. Peter's Basilica."

"In 2004," Pope Benedict writes, "my venerated predecessor John Paul II donated part of the relics to His Holiness Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch, so that the great Father of the Church could be venerated both in the Vatican Basilica and in the church of St. George in Fanar."

  The symposium will consider St. John Chrysostom and communion with the Church of the West, studying a number of current problems. This, writes the Pope "will contribute to upholding and corroborating the real - though imperfect - communion that exists between Catholics and Orthodox, so that we may reach that fullness which will one day enable us to concelebrate the one Eucharist.

  "And it is to that blessed day," the Holy Father adds in conclusion, "that we look with hope, organizing practical initiatives such as this one."


VATICAN CITY, SEP 17, 2007 (VIS) - This morning the Pope received officials and members of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace for the fifth anniversary of the death of the Vietnamese Cardinal Francois-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, whose beatification cause has recently been opened. Also present at the audience were members of the St. Matthew Foundation and of the Cardinal Van Thuan International Observatory for the dissemination of the Church's social doctrine.

  The Pope recalled the fact that Cardinal Van Thuan had been president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and that he had launched the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, published in October 2004. He also recalled the late cardinal's "cordiality, ... his capacity for dialogue and for being close to everyone, ... his fervent commitment to spreading the Church's social doctrine among the world's poor, his longing for evangelization in his own continent of Asia, and his skill in coordinating activities of charity and human promotion which he initiated and supported in the most out-of-the-way places on earth."

  Cardinal Van Thuan, said Benedict XVI, "was a man of hope, he lived on hope and he spread it to everyone he met. It was thanks to this spiritual energy that he resisted all physical and moral difficulties. Hope sustained him as a bishop isolated for 13 years from his diocesan community; hope helped him to see, in the absurdity of the events that befell him (he was never put on trial during his long imprisonment), a providential plan of God."

  "Cardinal Van Thuan loved to repeat that Christians are people of the here and now, of the present moment which must be welcomed and experienced with the love of Christ. And his capacity to live for the present demonstrated his intimate abandonment in the hands of God and the evangelical simplicity which we all admired in him."

  The Holy Father concluded by expressing his joy at the news that the process of beatification of "this singular prophet of Christian hope" had begun.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 16, 2007 (VIS) - Following today's Angelus prayer at Castelgandolfo, the Pope mentioned the recent beatification of three Servants of God, one in Poland and two in France. He also called for an alliance between human beings and the environment in order to safeguard God's creation.

  "In Poland this morning," said the Holy Father, "in my name, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. beatified Fr. Stanislaus Papczynski, founder of the Congregation of Marian Clerics of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, ... a priest who set an example in preaching and formation of the laity, father to the poor and apostle of prayers for the deceased."

  The Pope went on: "Also this morning, in Bordeaux, France, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, in my name, beatified Sr. Marie Celine of the Presentation, a nun of the Second Order of St. Francis. Her life, marked by the cross, sought to be a sign of love for Christ, as she herself said: 'I thirst to be a rose of charity'."

  Finally, the Pope mentioned Fr. Basile-Antonie Marie Moreau, founder of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, beatified yesterday in Le Mans, France, also by Cardinal Saraiva Martins. "To the intercession of these new Blesseds I especially entrust their spiritual children," said the Pope, "that they may enthusiastically follow the shining witness of the prophets of God, Lord of all life."

  The Holy Father then went on to recall that "today is the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Montreal Protocol concerning substances that damage the ozone layer and cause grave harm to human beings and to the ecosystem.

  "Over the last two decades," he added, "thanks to exemplary collaboration in the international community between politics, science and the economy, important results have been achieved with positive repercussions on present and future generations.

  "It is my hope," he concluded, "that cooperation may be intensified in order to promote the common good, development and the protection of creation, reinforcing the alliance between man and the environment, which must be a mirror of God's creative love, whence we come and towards which we are proceeding."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 16, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI prayed the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in the internal courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo. Before the Marian prayer, the Pope commented on chapter 15 of the Gospel of St. Luke, "one of the most exalted and moving passages of all Sacred Scripture."

  The Pope began: "It is good to think that all over the world, wherever the Christian community gathers to celebrate the Sunday Eucharist today, this Good News of truth and salvation sounds out: God is merciful love."

  "God does not want even one of His children to be lost, and His soul overflows with joy when a sinner converts. True religion consists, then, in entering onto harmony with this Heart 'rich in mercy,' which asks us to love everyone, ... imitating the heavenly Father Who respects the freedom of each of us and draws us to Him with the invincible force of his faithfulness."

  "In our time," the Pope went on, "humanity has need of the vigorous proclamation and testimony of God's mercy. The beloved John Paul II, who was a great apostle of divine Mercy, prophetically discerned this urgent pastoral need. ... Throughout his pontificate he was a missionary of God's love to all people, Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, which blackened the dawn of the third millennium, he invited Christians and men and women of good will to believe that the Mercy of God is stronger than any evil, and that the salvation of the world is only to be found in the Cross of Christ."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 15, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - As members of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura: Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, Italy and Attilio Nicora, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, and Bishop Giuseppe Versaldi of Alessandria, Italy.

 - Cardinal Agostino Vallini, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, as president of the Commission for Advocates.

 - Archbishop Marco Dino Brogi O.F.M., as consultor of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 15, 2007 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received in audience the Poor Clares from the convent of the Immaculate Conception at Albano, which is located within the territory of the pontifical villas at Castelgandolfo.

  Addressing the nuns, Benedict XVI expressed his gratitude "for your daily support through prayer, and for your intense spiritual participation in the mission of the Pastor of the Universal Church. In the silence of the cloister and in the total and exclusive giving of self to Christ in accordance with the Franciscan charism, you provide a valuable service to the Church."

  "The Pope expects you to be burning torches of love, your hands joined in a vigil of incessant prayer, completely detached from the world in order to sustain the ministry of he whom Jesus has called to guide His Church."

  "Not always," said the Pope, "is public opinion aware of the silent dedication of people who, like you, seek to put the Gospel into effect 'sine glossa' with simplicity and joy. Nonetheless, you may be sure that the contribution you make to the apostolic and missionary activity of the Church in the world is truly extraordinary, and God will continue to bless you with the gift of many vocations, as He has up to now."

  "May St. Francis, St. Clare and the many male and female saints of your order help you to 'persevere faithfully unto the end' in your vocations," the Pope concluded. "May the Virgin of Sorrows grant you the gift of following her divine crucified Son and of embracing with serenity the difficulties and trials of daily life."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 15, 2007 (VIS) - Today, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Noel Fahey, the new ambassador of Ireland to the Holy See.

  Speaking English, the Pope began his address to the diplomat by recalling how "for over 1600 years Christianity has shaped the cultural, moral and spiritual identity of the Irish people, ... and it remains as a 'leaven' in the life of your nation. Indeed, the Christian faith has lost nothing of its significance for contemporary society since it touches 'man's deepest sphere'." The Holy Father then turned to consider Ireland's recent economic growth, pointing out how "this prosperity has undoubtedly brought material comfort to many, but in its wake secularism has also begun to encroach and leave its mark."

  Benedict XVI had words of praise for a recent initiative to promote a "structured dialogue" between Church and government in Ireland. "Some might question," he said, "whether the Church is entitled to make a contribution to the governance of a nation. In a pluralist democratic society should not faith and religion be restricted to the private sphere?"

  "The Church, in articulating revealed truth," he stated, "serves all members of society by shedding light on the foundation of morality and ethics, and by purifying reason, ensuring that it remains open to the consideration of ultimate truths and draws upon wisdom. Far from threatening the tolerance of differences or cultural plurality, or usurping the role of the State, such a contribution illuminates the very truth which makes consensus possible and keeps public debate rational, honest and accountable.

  "When truth is disregarded," he added, "relativism takes its place: instead of being governed by principles, political choices are determined more and more by public opinion, values are overshadowed by procedures and targets, and indeed the very categories of good and evil, and right and wrong, give way to the pragmatic calculation of advantage and disadvantage."

  Benedict XVI went on to mention the fruits of the Northern Ireland Peace Process, which have been achieved "through widespread international support, determined political resolve on the part of both the Irish and the British Governments, and the readiness of individuals and communities to embrace the sublime human capacity to forgive. ... It is my fervent prayer that the peace which is already bringing renewal to the North will inspire political and religious leaders in other troubled zones of our world to recognize that only upon forgiveness, reconciliation and mutual respect can lasting peace be built."

  "Ireland has in recent years made care of the environment one of its priorities in both domestic policy and international relations. The promotion of sustainable development and particular attention to climate change are indeed matters of grave importance for the entire human family, and no nation or business sector should ignore them." However, the Pope noted, "while the majesty of God's hand in creation is readily recognized, the full acknowledgement of the glory and splendor with which He has specifically crowned man is at times less readily understood.

  "A kind of split morality ensues," he continued. "The great and vital moral themes of peace, non-violence, justice, and respect for creation do not in themselves confer dignity on man. The primary dimension of morality stems from the innate dignity of human life - from the moment of conception to natural death - a dignity conferred by God Himself."

  "How disturbing it is that not infrequently the very social and political groups that, admirably, are most attuned to the awe of God's creation pay scant attention to the marvel of life in the womb. Let us hope that, especially among young people, emerging interest in the environment will deepen their understanding of the proper order and magnificence of God's creation of which man and woman stand at the center and summit."


VATICAN CITY, SEP 14, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Seamus Freeman S.A.C., pastor of the Church of San Vincenzo Pallotti at Pietralata in Rome, as bishop of Ossory (area 1,972, population 88,442, Catholics 84,053, priests 96, religious 299), Ireland. The bishop-elect was born in Mullinahone, Ireland in 1944 and ordained a priest in 1971. He succeeds Bishop Laurence Forristal, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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