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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

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Friday, October 19, 2007


VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Franco Croci, vice-president of the Central Labor Office of the Holy See, as consultor of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences Cardinal Ricardo Maria Carles Gordo, archbishop emeritus of Barcelona, Spain.

  This evening, he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy See Press Office released the following communique:

  "This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, president of the United Republic of Tanzania. Immediately afterwards, the illustrious guest met with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.; also present at the meeting were Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, Bernard Kamillius Membe, Tanzanian minister for foreign affairs, and Ali Siwa, ad interim charge d'affaires at the Tanzanian embassy to the Holy See.

  "In the course of the discussions, having recalled the role that for many years Tanzania has played in the pacification of the Great Lakes region of Africa, attention turned to relations between State and Church, ever marked by mutual respect and esteem, and to the contribution Catholics make to the progress of the Tanzanian people, especially in the fields of education, healthcare and other forms of social work.

  "Other areas of common interest were examined, such as the importance of peaceful coexistence and collaboration between believers in all religions, in particular between Christians and Muslims, For its part, the Holy See reiterated the commitment of the Catholic Church and her institutions to work for an integral and harmonious development of all the Tanzanian people."


VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father received eight prelates from the Episcopal Conference of the Congo who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  In his address to them the Holy Father highlighted "the specific and concrete contribution of bishops in establishing peace and reconciliation in the country," and made a call "to Christians and to the population entire to open the way to reconciliation so that ethnic and social differences, experienced with mutual respect and love, become a shared wealth and not a cause for division."

  Referring then to the bishops' reports in which they identify "the urgent need to create real dynamism in the local Churches," Benedict XVI pointed out how evangelizing activity depends upon "living ecclesial communities. Places in which the Gospel is lived and charity (especially with the poor) is practiced, demonstrate a form of pastoral care based on the idea of proximity, and also constitute a strong bulwark against the sects," he said.

  The Pope invited the prelates to concern themselves "with the initial and permanent Christian formation of the faithful, ensuring they understand the Christian mystery, and base themselves on the reading of Scripture and sacramental life." In this context, he thanked the people involved in the formation of the laity, in particular catechists and their families.

  The Holy Father asked the bishops to support and help priests to lead "an ever more dignified and holy existence, rooted in a profound spiritual life and an emotional maturity lived in celibacy."

  "By remaining close to priests," he continued, "you will be for them models of priestly life and help them to a greater awareness of the sacramental fraternity that comes into being with ordination. I call upon the many Congolese priests who live outside their country to give serious consideration to the pastoral needs of their dioceses, and to take the necessary decisions in response to the urgent appeals of their diocesan Churches."

  Benedict XVI warned that "the noticeable reduction in the number of canonical marriages is a real challenge facing the family. ... Civil legislation, the weakening of the family structure, and the weight of certain traditional practices, especially the exorbitant cost of dowries, are a real brake on young people's commitment to marriage."

  "What is needed," the Holy Father concluded, "is a profound pastoral reflection in order to promote the dignity of Christian marriage, the reflection and realization of Christ's love for His Church. It is important to help couples to achieve the human and spiritual maturity necessary to undertake ... their mission as Christian spouses and parents, reminding them that their love is unique, indissoluble, and that marriage contributes to the full realization of their human and Christian vocation."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, the Pope received a delegation from the Mennonite World Conference, a group which has recently expressed the desire to meet the Pope and to visit some of the dicasteries of the Holy See. This is the Mennonite Conference's first visit to Rome.

  "The Mennonites are part of the Anabaptist tradition of the Reformation," explains a communique issued by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. "To use a modern term, the Mennonites could be described today as pacifists. For their views on Baptism which, they feel, should be administered only to people capable of making autonomous decisions, they were subject ... to persecution in both Protestant and Catholic countries." In 1986 and 2002, the leaders of the Mennonite World Conference accepted John Paul II's invitation to participate in the meetings for peace in Assisi.

  "In the ecumenical spirit of recent times, we have begun to have contacts with each other after centuries of isolation," the Pope told the Mennonite leaders in his English-language talk. "Since it is Christ Himself who calls us to seek Christian unity, it is entirely right and fitting that Mennonites and Catholics have entered into dialogue in order to understand the reasons for the conflict that arose between us in the sixteenth century. To understand is to take the first step towards healing."

  "Mennonites are well known for their strong Christian witness to peace in the name of the Gospel, and here, despite centuries of division, the dialogue report 'Called Together to be Peacemakers' has shown that we hold many convictions in common. We both emphasize that our work for peace is rooted in Jesus Christ."

  Catholics and Mennonites "both understand that 'reconciliation, non violence, and active peacemaking belong to the heart of the Gospel.' Our continuing search for the unity of the Lord's disciples is of the utmost importance. Our witness will remain impaired as long as the world sees our divisions."

  The Pope concluded his address by expressing the hope that the visit "will be another step towards mutual understanding and reconciliation."


VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2007 (VIS) - The Pope has sent a Message to Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference for the occasion of the 45th Social Week of Italian Catholics, which is being held in the Italian cities of Pistoia and Pisa from October 18 to 21 on the theme: "The common good today: a commitment that comes from afar."

  After recalling the fact that this year marks the centenary of the first Social Week, the Pope affirms that the theme "still maintains all its importance" and that "it must be considered and promoted also in the context of international relations. ... Precisely because of the social foundations of human life, the good of each individual is naturally interconnected with the good of all humanity."

  The task of lay men and women, writes Pope Benedict, is "to work for a correct ordering of society ... and to cooperate in the just organization of social life together with all other citizens, each according to their skills and under their own autonomous responsibility."

  The Pope also highlights the importance of anthropological questions including "respect for life and the attention that must be given to the needs of the family based on marriage between a man and a woman."

  "These are not just 'Catholic' values and principles, but shared human values to be protected and safeguarded, like justice, peace and the defense of creation."

  The Message then goes on to consider the effect of work-related problems on families and young people saying, "when lack of job-security does not allow young people to build their own family, the authentic and complete development of society is seriously compromised." The Pope also invites Italian Catholics to respond to these challenges "not by giving up and withdrawing into themselves but, on the contrary, with renewed dynamism, opening themselves trustingly to new relationships and not neglecting any of the energies capable of contributing to cultural and moral growth."

  Finally, Benedict XVI turns his attention to "a specific area" which "stimulates Catholics to question themselves: that of the relationship between religion and politics. The absolute novelty brought by Jesus is that He opened to way to a freer and more human world, with full respect for the distinction and autonomy that exists between what is of Caesar and what is of God."

  "The Church, then, if on the one hand she recognizes she is not a political player, on the other she cannot but concern herself with the good of the entire civil community, in which she lives and operates. To that community she offers her particular contribution, forming the political and business classes to a genuine spirit of truth and honesty, with the aim of searching for the common good and not for individual profit."

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