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Friday, September 28, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 28, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- A delegation from the "Hochschule fur katholische Kirchenmusik und Musikpadagogik" of Regensburg, Germany.

- Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

- Giuseppe Balboni Acqua, Italian ambassador to the Holy See, on his farewell visit.
AP/.../... VIS 20070928 (60)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 28, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI made his farewells to Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano (the diocese in which Castelgandolfo is located), local religious communities, the civil authorities and the personnel in charge of security during his stay in the summer residence. The Pope is due to return to the Vatican in a few days time.

  "I would like to be able to pause and speak to each of you," said the Pope, "to thank you personally for the willingness and generosity with which you have contributed to the smooth functioning of the Pope's activities here in Castelgandolfo.

  "It is often the case," he added, "that such contributions remain unseen and compel you to work tiring hours, remaining away from your homes for long periods. Thus, your families are also involved in the sacrifices you have to face. For this reason, I would like to assure you once again of my most heartfelt appreciation, which I also extend to your relatives."
AC/FAREWELL/CASTELGANDOLFO                VIS 20070928 (180)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 28, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was the annual Message to Muslims for the end of the month of Ramadan from the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. It bears the signatures of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, respectively president and secretary of the council. The theme of the Message this year (1428 AH / 2006 AD) is, "Christians and Muslims: called to promote a culture of peace."

  Extracts from the document are given below:

  "In the troubled times we are passing through, religious believers have, as servants of the Almighty, a duty above all to work in favor of peace, by showing respect for the convictions of individuals and communities everywhere through freedom of religious practice. Religious freedom, which must not be reduced to mere freedom of worship, is one of the essential aspects of freedom of conscience, which is the right of every individual and a cornerstone of human rights. It takes into account the requirement that a culture of peace and solidarity between men can be built in which everybody can be firmly engaged in the construction of an increasingly fraternal society, doing everything one can to reject, denounce and refuse every recourse to violence which can never be motivated by religion, since it wounds the very image of God in man.

  "We know that violence, especially terrorism which strikes blindly and claims countless innocent victims, is incapable of resolving conflicts and leads only to a deadly chain of destructive hatred, to the detriment of mankind and of societies.

  "As religious believers, it is up to us all to be educators of peace, of human rights, of a freedom which respects each person. ... No individual in the national community should be excluded on the grounds of his or her race, religion, or any other personal characteristic. ... We are particularly responsible for ensuring that our young people, who will be in charge of tomorrow's world, are formed in this spirit" providing "everyone an education appropriate to his or her particular circumstances, especially a civic education which invites each young person to respect those around him or her, and to consider them as brothers and sisters with whom he or she is daily called to live, not in indifference, but in fraternal care."

  "In this spirit, the pursuit and intensification of dialogue between Christians and Muslims must be considered important, in both educational and cultural dimensions. Thus all forces can be mobilized in the service of mankind and humanity so that the younger generations do not become cultural or religious blocs opposed to one another, but genuine brothers and sisters in humanity. Dialogue is the tool which can help us to escape from the endless spiral of conflict and multiple tensions which mark our societies, so that all peoples can live in serenity and peace and with mutual respect and harmony among their component groups. ... This is the ardent hope I share with you: that Christians and Muslims continue to develop increasingly friendly and constructive relationships in order to share their specific riches, and that they will pay particular attention to the quality of the witness of their believers."
OP/RAMADAN MESSAGE/TAURAN:CELATA            VIS 20070928 (540)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 28, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Michael J. Hoeppner of the clergy of the diocese of Winona, U.S.A., vicar general, as bishop of Crookston (area 44,574, population 250,941, Catholics 35,780, priests 45, permanent deacons 13, religious 123), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Winona in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1975. He succeeds Bishop Victor Herman Balke, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
NER:RE/.../HOEPPNER:BALKE                    VIS 20070928 (100)

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