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Monday, October 8, 2007


VATICAN CITY, OCT 6, 2007 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received members of the Austrian alpine ski team.

  Speaking German, the Holy Father told them that "when sport is practiced in the right spirit, and with respect for dignity, it helps to promote the development of the person.

 "Sport," he added, "helps man to consider his own capacities as a talent and his life as a gift of God. Even when sport is practiced at high levels, it is important to maintain an inner harmony between body and spirit in order not to reduce it to a mere search for results."

  The Pope then went on to enumerate a series of virtues "which must always characterize sporting activity: tenacity, a spirit of sacrifice, interior and exterior discipline, ... as well as a sense of justice, awareness of one's own limits and a respect for others. All virtues," he said, "for which you must train yourselves in daily life."

  On the subject of sports men and women as a model for the young, Benedict XVI pointed out how, "in a period marked by a loss of values and a lack of orientation, athletes can provide powerful motivations to work in favor of good in the various areas of life, from the family to the workplace."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 6, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was the text of a talk delivered yesterday by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, before the 62nd session of the U.N. General Assembly which is meeting to consider the question: "High-level Dialogue on Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Understanding and Cooperation for Peace."

  In his English-language address, Archbishop Mamberti made it clear that "there cannot be peace without understanding and cooperation among religions. There cannot be understanding and cooperation among religions without religious liberty. The safeguarding and promotion of religious liberty for all requires both State action and religious responsibility."

  "The full exercise of the right to religious freedom," he went on, "ensures openness to transcendence as an indispensable guarantee of human dignity; it allows all religions to manifest their own identity publicly, free from any pressure to hide or disguise it. Religious freedom includes the right to disseminate one's own faith and the right to change it. Respect for religious liberty would unmask the pretense of some terrorists to justify their unjustifiable actions on religious grounds."

  "Fruitful high-level international gatherings of religious leaders aimed at praying for and promoting peace should be replicated at national and local levels. Indeed, prayer and good intentions are authentic only if they translate into practical gestures at all levels."

  The secretary for Relations with States concluded by highlighting the fact that "religious communities can also make a positive contribution to peace by educating their own members in ... peace and solidarity."
SS/RELIGIOUS FREEDOM/UN:MAMBERTI            VIS 20071008 (260)


VATICAN CITY, OCT 6, 2007 (VIS) - Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi C.S., Holy See permanent observer to the Office of the United Nations and Specialized Institutions in Geneva, delivered a talk on October 2 during the 58th session of the executive committee of the U.N. High Commission for Refugees.

  Speaking English, Archbishop Tomasi expressed regret that "the number of refugees has increased again to some ten million persons, and internally displaced people to well over 24 million. The statistical trend shows that uprooting people from their homes is a major injustice caused by persisting conflicts that trigger this dehumanizing condition.

  "Other forms of violence," he added, "force people to leave their homes and native countries: these include extreme misery, environment degradation, religious intolerance and persecution, lack of freedom, lack of respect for advocacy activity on behalf of human rights. Millions of normal, ordinary human beings are thrust into situations of incredible humiliation and suffering."

  "Public opinion tends to accept almost as normal the fact that millions of fellow human beings are so uprooted and relegated to miserable and painful conditions," the archbishop observed." But welcoming refugees and giving them hospitality is, for every one, a vital gesture of human solidarity in order to help them feel less isolated by intolerance and disinterest."

  "In conclusion, addressing the problem of uprooted people from their own perspective, and that of their dignity and rights, will lead the international community to search for more comprehensive and humane solutions and to find the motivation for undertaking bold steps for their implementation."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 6, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop John Njue, coadjutor archbishop of Nyeri, Kenya, as archbishop of Nairobi (area 3,271, population 4,137,000, Catholics 1,273,000, priests 496, religious 2,407), Kenya. He succeeds Archbishop Raphael S. Ndingi Mwana'a Nzeki, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 7, 2007 (VIS) - Shortly before midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. Prior to the Marian prayer, the Pope spoke of today's Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and of missions to which this month of October is dedicated.

  "The Rosary," said the Holy Father, "is a means granted by the Virgin to contemplate Jesus and, by meditating upon His life, to love Him and follow Him ever more faithfully." He also recalled how Mary in her various apparitions, and especially in that of Fatima, had "insistently recommended the daily recitation of the Rosary in order to obtain an end to war.

  "We too," he added, "wish to accept the Virgin's maternal request, committing ourselves to the faithful recitation of the Rosary for peace in families, nations and the entire world. Yet we know that true peace is established where people and institutions open themselves to the Gospel, and the month of October helps us to recall this fundamental truth through [its] particular concern for maintaining the missionary spirit alive in all communities, and for supporting the efforts of those people ... who work on the frontiers of the Church's mission."

  The Pope recalled how the theme of this year's World Mission Day - to be celebrated on October 21 - is "all the Churches for all the world." He also highlighted the fact that "announcing the Gospel remains the Church's principal service to humanity, so as to offer the salvation of Christ to the men and women of our time, who suffer so many forms of humiliation and oppression, and to give a Christian orientation to the cultural, social and ethical changes that are taking place in the world.

  "This year," he added, "there is another reason that encourages us to renewed missionary commitment: the 50th anniversary of Servant of God Pius XII's Encyclical 'Fidei donum' which promoted and encouraged cooperation between Churches for the 'ad gentes' mission." Pope Benedict also recalled the 150th anniversary of the arrival in Sudan with five priests and a layman of St. Daniel Comboni, "the future bishop of Central Africa, and patron saint of those people."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 8, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope received Archbishop Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica, accompanied by the vicar, canons and coadjutors.

  The Holy Father recalled how the chapter of the papal basilica of St. Peter's dates back to 1053, "when Pope Leo IX confirmed on the archpriest and canons of St. Peter's, who had taken up residence in the monastery of Santo Stefano Maggiore, the possessions and privileges granted by his predecessors."

  "Under the guidance of the archpriest," said the Pope, "the activity of the Vatican chapter has, since its very origins, been directed towards various fields of activity," liturgical, administrative, pastoral, charitable. "From the 11th century until today 11 Popes have been part of the Vatican chapter, and among them I particularly wish to recall those of the 20th century, Pius XI and Pius XII."

  Benedict XVI then went on to tell his listeners of the "particular nature of the Vatican chapter, and the contribution the Pope expects from you: to recall with your prayerful presence at the tomb of Peter that nothing must be put before God; that the Church is entirely oriented towards Him, towards His glory; that the primacy of Peter is at the service of the unity of the Church, and that this unity is in its turn, at the service of the salvific plans of the Most Holy Trinity."

  "I put great trust in you and in your ministry, that St. Peter's Basilica may be a true place of prayer, adoration and praise for the Lord. In this sacred place, where every day thousands of pilgrims and tourists arrive from all over the world, more than elsewhere it is necessary that ... there should be a stable community of prayer guaranteeing a continuity with tradition and, at the same time, interceding for the intentions of the Pope in the Church and the world today."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 8, 2007 (VIS) - From October 8 to 15, the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox is holding its 10th plenary assembly in Ravenna, Italy, according to a communique issued by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

  This session is the second to be held since the reactivation of dialogue during the 2006 plenary in Belgrade. The commission was established in 1979 by Pope John Paul II and Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I, and held its first assembly in Patmos-Rhodes in 1980.

  The document to be analyzed by the commission at its current gathering is entitled "the ecclesiological and canonical consequences of the sacramental nature of the Church - conciliarity and sinodality in the Church." The study of this document, the communique reads, "was part of the program agreed at Patmos-Rhodes in 1980" but was "suspended to make way for questions concerning the relationship of Orthodoxy with the Oriental Catholic Churches following the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe. With the plenary of Belgrade, the commission reactivated its normal theological agenda."

  The commission is made up of 60 members, 30 Catholics and 30 Orthodox, and is jointly presided by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and His Excellency Ioannis (Zizioulas), metropolitan of Pergamo. The Catholic members are cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests and lay experts in various fields. The orthodox members represent - in the order indicated by Fanar - the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Patriarchate of Moscow, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Serbia, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Romania, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Bulgaria, the Orthodox Church of Georgia, the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, the Orthodox Church of Greece, the Orthodox Church of Poland, the Orthodox Church of Albania, the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and of Slovakia, the Orthodox Church of Finland, and the Orthodox Church of Estonia.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 8, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, Italy, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

 - Archbishop Geraldo Lyrio Rocha of Mariana, Archbishop Luiz Soares Vieira of Manaus, and Bishop Dimas Lara Barbosa, auxiliary of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, respectively president, vice-president and secretary general of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil.

 - Ronald S. Lauder, Michael Schneider and Maram Stern, respectively president, secretary general, and vice-secretary general of the World Jewish Congress.

 - Marcello Pera, senator of the Italian Republic.

  On Saturday, October 6, he received in separate audiences:

 - Vladimir Korolev, ambassador of Belarus, on his farewell visit.

 - Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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