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Monday, October 22, 2007


VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Valentin Reynoso Hidalgo M.S.C., pastor of the parish of "Nuestra Senora de la Altagracia," as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Santiago de los Caballeros (area 3,691, population 1,187,000, Catholics 969,000, priests 99, permanent deacons 116, religious 241), Dominican Republic. The bishop-elect was born in Nagua, Dominican Republic in 1942 and ordained a priest in 1975.

  On Saturday, October 20, it was made public that he appointed Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista, professor of the Center for Globalization and Democracy of the Technological Institute of Monterrey in Mexico City, Mexico, as an ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

 - Archbishop Leopoldo Jose Brenes Solorzano of Managua, Nicaragua.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today released the following communique:

  "This morning, Francois Bozize, president of the Central African Republic, visited His Holiness Benedict XVI, subsequently going on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "During the cordial discussions consideration was given to questions concerning the situation in the Central African Republic, with particular reference to the peace process and the role played by the Church in the fields of national dialogue, healthcare and education. Mention was also made of the need for the international community's support to help the country overcome poverty and the other difficulties it currently faces."


VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2007 (VIS) - At 1 p.m. today, in the great hall of the archiepiscopal seminary of Capodimonte in Naples, Benedict XVI met with the heads of the delegations participating in the 21st International Meeting for Peace, an annual initiative promoted by the Sant'Egidio Community which has as its theme this year: "A world without violence, faiths and cultures in dialogue."

  "What you represent," said the Pope in his address, "in a certain sense expresses the different worlds and religious heritages of humanity, to which the Catholic Church looks with sincere respect and cordial attention."

  "The current meeting takes us back in our minds to 1986 when ... John Paul II invited high-level religious representatives to the town of St. Francis in order to pray for peace, underlining on that occasion the intrinsic link uniting authentic religious attitudes with this fundamental good for humanity," said the Holy Father. He also recalled how in 2002, following the attack against the World Trade Center in New York of September 11, 2001, John Paul II again invited religious leaders to Assisi "to ask God to put an end to the grave perils threatening humanity, especially because of terrorism.

  "While respecting the differences of the various religions," Benedict XVI added, "we are called to work for peace, and to an effective commitment to promote reconciliation between peoples. This is the true 'spirit of Assisi' which is opposed to all forms of violence and to all abuses of religion as a pretext for violence. Faced with a world riven by conflict, where sometime violence is justified in the name of God, it is important to reiterate that religions can never become vehicles of hatred, that never by invoking the name of God can evil and violence be justified.

  "Quite the contrary, religions can and must offer valuable resources for the creation of a peaceful humanity, because they speak to man's heart of peace. The Catholic Church intends to continue down the path of dialogue in order to favor understanding between religious cultures, traditions and wisdom. It is my heartfelt hope that this spirit may become ever more widespread, especially where tensions are strongest, where freedom and respect for others are denied, and men and women suffer the consequences of intolerance and incomprehension."

  After the meeting, the Holy Father had lunch with cardinals and bishops of the Campania region of Italy, who are participating in the International Meeting for Peace, and, at 4 p.m., travelled to the cathedral of Naples where he prayed before the Blessed Sacrament and venerated the relics of Naples' patron saint, St Gennaro.

  At 5.30 p.m. Benedict XVI boarded his helicopter bound for the Vatican, where he arrived at 6.30 p.m.


VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2007 (VIS) - At the end of today's Mass in Naples' Piazza del Plebisicito, and before praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI made some brief remarks to the faithful.

  The Pope greeted a number of delegations from various countries, in Naples for the International Meeting for Peace promoted by the Sant'Egidio Community on the theme: "A world without violence, faiths and cultures in dialogue." The Pope expressed the hope that "this important cultural and religious initiative may contribute to consolidating peace in the world."

  He then recalled the fact that today is World Mission Day which, he said, "has a highly significant theme: 'All the Churches for all the world.' Each particular Church is jointly responsible for the evangelization of all humanity and this cooperation between Churches was increased by Pope Pius XII with the Encyclical 'Fidei donum' published 50 years ago.

  "Let us ensure that our spiritual and material support to those working on the frontiers of the mission is not lacking: priests, religious and lay people who not infrequently encounter serious difficulties in their work, and sometimes even persecutions."

  Finally, Benedict XVI referred to the 45th Social Week of Italian Catholics which is currently being celebrated in the Italian cities of Pistoia and Pisa. "Many are the problems and challenges facing us today," he said. "What is required is strong commitment on everyone's part, especially the lay faithful who operate in the social and political fields, in order to ensure that all individuals, and particularly the young, enjoy the vital conditions for developing their natural talents and for making generous life choices at the service of their families and of the entire community."

  After praying the Angelus, the Pope travelled by car to the archiepiscopal seminary of Capodimonte to meet the heads of the delegations participating in the International Meeting for Peace.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2007 (VIS) - Today the Pope made a pastoral visit to Naples, Italy, celebrating Mass at 10 a.m. in the city's central square of Piazza del Plebisicito where, despite the cold and rain, more than 20,000 people gathered to hear him. He subsequently went on to inaugurate an International Meeting for Peace, organized by the Sant'Egidio Community.

  In his homily, commenting today's Bible reading on the "need to pray always and not to lose heart," the Holy Father told the citizens of Naples that "faced with difficult and complex social situations such as your own, it is necessary to reinforce hope, which is founded on faith and expressed in tireless prayer."

  "Faith," he went on, "assures us that God always listens to our prayers and answers them at the right moment, even if daily experience seems to contradict this certainty.

  "In fact," he added, "in the face of certain criminal acts, or of the many problems of daily life which the newspapers do not even mention, the entreaty of the ancient prophet arises spontaneously in the heart: 'O Lord, how long shall I cry for help and you will not listen? Or cry to you 'Violence!' and you will not save?' There is just one reply to this urgent invocation: God cannot change things without our conversion, and our conversion begins with the 'cry' of the soul imploring forgiveness and salvation."

  Turning to consider the daily reality of life in Naples, the Holy Father mentioned "poverty and the lack of housing, unemployment and underemployment, and the lack of prospects for the future. Then there is the sad phenomenon of violence," he added, which concerns not only "the deplorable number of crimes of the Camorra, but also the fact that violence tends, unfortunately, to become a widespread mentality insinuating itself into the fiber of social life - in both the historic neighborhoods of the city center and in the modern and anonymous outskirts - with the particular risk of attracting young people who grow up in environments in which illegality and the black market ... flourish."

  In this context, Pope Benedict called for an "intensification of efforts towards a serious prevention strategy, aimed at school, work and helping young people to manage their free time. What is needed is an intervention that involves everyone in combating all forms of violence, starting with the formation of consciences and transforming mentalities, attitudes and everyday behavior."

  Benedict XVI concluded by asking God "to make the Christian community grow in true faith and firm hope, capable of effectively contrasting despair and violence.

  "Naples needs appropriate political interventions but, even more so, a profound spiritual renewal. It needs believers who put their full faith in God and, with His help, commit themselves to spreading the values of the Gospel in society. For this we ask the help of Mary and of your patron saints, in particular St. Gennaro."
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