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Monday, November 5, 2007


VATICAN CITY, NOV 5, 2007 (VIS).- The Holy Father appointed Giovanni Amici, and Paolo Sagretti as subdirectors of the General Services of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

  On Saturday, November 3, the Holy Father appointed:

- Bishop Angel Rubio Castro, auxiliar of Toledo (Spain), as bishop of Segovia (area 6.949, population 155.517, catholics 149.492, priests 180, religious 485), Spain. He succeeds bishop Luis Gutiérrez Martín, C.M.F., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Bishop Samuel Kleda, of Batouri (Cameroon), as coadjutor archbishop of Douala (area 1.200, population 2.591.000, catholics 552.314, priests  262, religious 429), Cameroon.

- Bishop Domenico Sigalini, of Palestrina (Italy), as Assistant General Ecclesiastic of Italian Catholic Action for the next three years.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 5, 2007 (VIS). Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council on Interreligious Dialogue has written a message to Hindus on the celebration of Diwali, the festival of lights, which falls on 9 November this year. The message is entitled, "Christians And Hindus: Determined to Walk the Path of Dialogue".

  "Sensitive to your religious feelings and respectful of your ancient religious tradition," the cardinal writes, "I sincerely hope that your search for the Divine, symbolized through the celebration of Diwali, will help you to overcome darkness with light, untruth with truth and evil with goodness."

  "The world around us is yearning for peace.  Religions promise peace because they trace their origin to God who, according to Christian belief, is our peace. Can we, as believers of different religious traditions, not work together to receive God's gift of peace and to spread it around us so that the world becomes for all people a better place to live?  Our respective communities must pay urgent attention to the education of believers, who can so easily be misled by deceitful and false propaganda."

  "Belief and freedom always go together," continued the cardinal. "There can be no coercion in religion: no one can be forced to believe, neither can anyone who wishes to believe be prevented from doing so.  (…) The Catholic Church has been faithful to this teaching as Pope Benedict XVI reminded recently to the Ambassadors of India and other countries to the Holy See: 'Peace is rooted in respect for religious freedom, which is a fundamental and primordial aspect of the freedom of conscience of individuals and of the freedom of peoples.'"

  "Forming believers first of all to discover the full dimensions and depth of their own religion, and then encouraging them to know other believers as well constitutes an important challenge for religious communities committed to building world peace.  Let us not forget that ignorance is the first and, perhaps, the principal enemy in the life of believers."

  "Like all human relationships, those between people of different religions need to be nourished by regular meetings, patient listening, collaborative action, and above all, by an attitude of mutual respect.  Accordingly, we must work to build bonds of friendship."

  "In situations of misunderstanding, people need to come together and communicate with one another, in order to clarify, in a fraternal and friendly spirit, their respective beliefs, aspirations and convictions.  Only through dialogue, avoiding all forms of prejudice and stereo-typed ideas about others and by faithful witness to our religious precepts and teaching, can we truly overcome conflicts.  Dialogue between followers of different religions is the necessary path today, indeed it is the only appropriate path for us as believers."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 5, 2007 (VIS). Continuing a November tradition, this morning the Pope celebrated Holy Mass in the Vatican Basilica for the souls of the cardinals and bishops who died this past year. Concelebrating with the Holy Father were the members of the College of Cardinals.

  At the beginning of the homily, Benedict XVI named the cardinals who had died in the past twelve months: Salvatore Pappalardo, Frédéric Etsou-Nzabi Bamungwabi, Antonio María Javierre, Angelo Felici, Jean-Marie Lustiger, Edouard Gagnon, Adam Kozlowiecki and Rosalio José Castillo Lara.

  The Pope offered an invitation to give thanks to God "for the gift he has given the Church through them and for all the good achieved with their help. Likewise," he stated, "we entrust the souls of the departed patriarchs, archbishops, and bishops to the Eternal Father, also expressing our recognition of their work in the name of the entire Catholic community."

  These men, our brothers, he continued, "were certainly men of distinct character, both for their personal trials as well as for the ministry they exercised. Nevertheless, all they had a great commonality: their friendship with the Lord Jesus."

  "During their temporal existence," the Holy Father asserted, "Jesus led them to know the name of God, granting them participation in the love of the Most Holy Trinity, (…) an experience of divine communion that, by its nature, tends to envelop one's entire existence, transfiguring it and preparing it for the glory of eternal life."

  Commenting on the responsorial psalm, "My soul is thirsting for God, for the living God. When will I see the face of God?," the Pope emphasized that "this thirst holds a truth that does not betray, a hope that does not delude. It is a thirst that, even through the darkest night, illuminates that path toward the source of life."

  Benedict XVI pointed out that the psalm acquires a tone of confidence at its heart as well as at its end: "Why are you discouraged, my soul, why do you worry me? Trust in God that I may praise him, my salvation and my God." In the light of Christ and his paschal mystery these words reveal a wonderful truth: not even death can render a believer's hope worthless because Christ," he concluded, "has entered the sanctuary of heaven for us and wants to lead us there where he has prepared us a place."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 4, 2007 (VIS). This afternoon, before praying the Angelus, the Pope addressed the thousands of people who filled St. Peter's Square.

  The Holy Father spoke of Jesus' encounter with Zacchaeus from today's Gospel reading. Besides noting that he was a rich man holding the position of "publican", and therefore publicly considered a sinner, the Pope recalled that he, nevertheless, desired to see Jesus at Jericho.

  "Jesus called by name a man who was despised by all. (…) The grace of that unforeseeable meeting was such that it completely changed Zacchaeus' life," said the Pope.

  "The Gospel teaches us once again that love, coming from God's heart and acting through the human heart, is a force that renews the world."

  Benedict XVI affirmed that "this truth shines forth particularly in the witness of the saint who is commemorated today: Charles Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan. His 16th century example is a perfect model of a pastor of charity, doctrine, apostolic zeal, and above all, prayer".

  "He dedicated himself completely to the Ambrosian church: visiting it in its entirety three times, convoking six provincial and eleven diocesan synods, founding seminaries for the formation of a new generation of priests, building hospitals, and giving his family wealth in the service of the poor. He defended the rights of the Church against the powerful, renewed the religious life, and instituted a new congregation of priests, the Oblates. (…) His motto consisted of a single word, "Humilitas". For Borromeo, as for our Lord Jesus, humility was the driving force that led him to renounce self and serve others."

  The Pope remembered in a special way his predecessor John Paul II who "bore his name with devotion". "We commend to the intercession of St. Charles all bishops in the world, for whom we invoke as always the heavenly protection of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church."

  After the Angelus, the Holy Father showed his concern with the news regarding the situation in the boundary region between Turkey and Iraq. "I would like to encourage every effort to reach a peaceful resolution to the problems that have recently surfaced between Turkey and the Iraqi Kurds."

  "I cannot forget," he continued, "that many peoples in that region have found refuge in their flight from the insecurity and terrorism that have threatened life in Iraq in these years. It is precisely for the good of these peoples, whose numbers include many Christians, that I hope that all sides of the conflict work toward peaceful solutions."

  Benedict XVI concluded by expressing the desire that "the relationships between the immigrant and local populations be carried out in the spirit of high moral civility that is the fruit of the spiritual and cultural values of every country and nation. May those who have the responsibility of security and outreach know how to make use of the proper means to guarantee the rights and responsibilities that are the basis of all true life and encounter shared among peoples."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 3, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father received today in separate audiences:

- Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam, apostolic nuncio in Uganda.

- Ten prelates from the Portuguese Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina visit":

    -Archbishop Jorge Ferreira da Costa Ortiga of Braga, with the auxiliary bishops Antonino Eugénio Fernandes Dias and António José da Rocha Couto, S.M.P., and with the emeritus archbishop Enrico Dias Nogueira.

    -Bishop António Francisco dos Santos of Aveiro, with the emeritus bishop António Baltasar Marcelino.

    -Bishop António Montes Moreira, O.F.M. of Bragança-Miranda, with the emeritus bishop António José Rafael.

    -Bishop Albino Mamete Cleto of Coimbra, with the emeritus bishop Joao Alves.

-Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 3, 2007 (VIS). Today the Pope received members of the New Families Movement, established forty years ago within the Focolare Movement, who were participating in a gathering on the theme "A House Built upon Rock: The Lived Gospel, an Answer to the Problems of Today's Family".

  While highlighting that the movement forms a network of 800,000 families in 182 nations across five continents, the Holy Father recalled that its pastoral work is an outgrowth of "four pillars: spirituality, education, a social nature, and solidarity".

  "Your commitment of silent and profound evangelization gives witness that only familial unity, a gift of the God who is Love, makes the family a true abode for love, a house that welcomes life and a school of Christian values for its children," he said.
  Benedict XVI emphasized that "the secret is precisely in living the Gospel". This is why, during the tasks of the assembly in these days, he said that "besides illustrating the situation of today's family in diverse cultural contexts, you have had the foresight to study the Word of God in depth and to listen to the testimony that shows us how the Holy Spirit acts in our hearts and in family life as well as in complex and difficult situations". In this context, the Pope referred to the uncertainty of dating couples in the face of a definitive decision, to matrimonial crises, to separation and divorce, and to non-traditional unions.

  The Pope also asked that, owing to their commitment, "pastoral strategies might be found that respond to the growing needs of today's family and the multiple challenges it has to face so that its particular mission in the Church and in society might not be lessened".

  "According to the divine plan," he continued, "the family is a sacred and sanctifying place and the Church, always close to it, sustains it in its mission, above all today because there are many perils that threaten it from within and without. Divine assistance is needed that it not give in to discouragement and so every Christian family should look with confidence to the Holy Family, the original 'domestic Church'."

  The Holy Father made evident to the families the certainty that "the humble and holy Family of Nazareth, the icon and model of every human family, will not cease in sustaining you from heaven. It is indispensable, however," he concluded, "that you have constant recourse to prayer, to listen to the Word of God, and to an intense sacramental life together with the effort to always live Christ's commandment of love and forgiveness. Love does not seek its own interest, does not brood over injury, but rejoices with the truth."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 2, 2007 (VIS). At 6:30 this afternoon, on the commemoration of the All Souls, Benedict XVI went down to the grottos of the Vatican Basilica to pray privately for the popes buried there as well as for all the deceased.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 2, 2007 (VIS). The Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, sent a telegram in the Pope's name on receiving news of the death this morning of Don Oreste Benzi, founder and president of the John XXIII Community who was know for his work in helping people overcome the chains of prostitution and drug addiction.

  In the telegram sent to the Bishop of Rimini, Msgr. Francesco Lambiasi, Benedict XVI expressed his sorrow for the death of this "humble and poor" 82-year-old priest.

  The Pope recalled "his intense pastoral life as first a parish priest and then as an untiring apostle of charity in defense of the most vulnerable among us, immersing himself in the serious social problems that afflict today's world".

  The Holy Father assured his prayers for the eternal rest of "this priest who was faithful to his vocation and an ever-obedient servant of the Church," finishing with an invocation to divine mercy for "the consolation of Christian hope for his entire spiritual family and for the Diocese of Rimini," to which he belonged.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 1, 2007 (VIS). Just before noon today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims.

  "Today, on the solemnity of All Saints," said the Pope, "our heart reaches out beyond the boundaries of space and time, reaches to heaven. At the beginnings of Christianity, the members of the Church were also called 'saints'."

"Effectively, Christians are already saints," the Holy Father stressed, "because baptism unites us to Jesus and his paschal mystery, but at the same time we must let ourselves be made holy, make ourselves ever more like him. At times it is thought that holiness is a condition of privilege reserved for the elect few. In reality, to let oneself become saint is the task of each Christian and, even more, of every human being."

  Benedict XVI referenced St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians where it is written that God "has blessed us in Christ, as he chose us in him, so that we might be holy and without blemish before him in love" and explained that "all human beings are thus called to the holiness that, ultimately, consists in living in his 'likeness', as children of God, as all beings were created to do".

  "Today, human beings are the children of God and should conform to their call through the path demanded by freedom. God invites us all to be part of his holy people. That path is Christ, the Son, God's holy one."

  Afterward, the Pope recalled that "the Church has wisely conformed itself closely to the celebration of All Saints and the commemoration of the dead" so that "our prayers of praise to God and veneration of the blessed souls that the liturgy today presents as 'a great multitude' might join with the prayer for the release of those souls who have gone before us in passing from this world to eternal life".

"Truthfully," the Holy Father concluded, "the Church invites us to pray for the dead every day, offering also our sufferings and difficulties that they, once completely purified, might be admitted to enjoy the light and peace of the Lord for all eternity."
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