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Thursday, November 8, 2007


VATICAN CITY, NOV 8, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Giancarlo Maria Bregantini C.S.S. of Locri-Gerace, Italy, as metropolitan archbishop of Campobasso-Boiano (area 1,120, population 125,000, Catholics 123,000, priests 95, permanent deacons 7, religious 157), Italy. The archbishop-elect was born in Denno, Italy in 1948, he was ordained a priest in 1978 and consecrated a bishop in 1994. He succeeds Archbishop Armando Dini, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Gerald John Mathias of Simla and Chandigarh, India, as bishop of Lucknow (area 45,125, population 25,158,000, Catholics 6,905, priests 79, religious 367), India.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 8, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Vernon James Weisgerber of Winnipeg, Bishop Pierre Morissette of Baie-Comeau and Msgr. Mario Paquette P.H., respectively president, vice-president and secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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

    - Bishop Jacinto Tomas de Carvalho Botelho of Lamego.

    - Bishop Manuel Jose Macario do Nascimento Clemente of Porto, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Joao Miranda Teixeira and Antonio Maria Bessa Taipa.

    - Bishop Jose Augusto Martins Fernandes Pedreira of Viana do Castelo.

 - Archbishop Vito Rallo, apostolic nuncio to Burkina Faso and Niger, accompanied by members of his family.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in separate audiences four prelates from the Portuguese Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Antonio Augusto dos Santos Marto of Leiria-Fatima, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Serafim de Sousa Ferreira e Silva.

    - Bishop Jose Francisco Sanches Alves of Portalegre-Castelo Branco.

    - Bishop Manuel Pelino Domingues of Santarem.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 8, 2007 (VIS) - Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, apostolic nuncio to Spain, participated as Holy See delegate to the 28th Conference of European Ministers of Justice, which was held in Lanzarote, Spain, from October 25 to 26.

  In his talk, the text of which was made public today, the archbishop laid emphasis on "the conditions and means of access to justice for such vulnerable categories as immigrants and juveniles," calling for "their rights to be protected and any forms of discrimination against them to be prevented or eliminated."

  The archbishop indicated that "European statistics show how such people, in one way or in another, suffer forms of exclusion and inequality of treatment in the workplace, in education ... and in healthcare. ... Moreover exploitation and abuse, including sexual abuse, which affect juveniles and immigrants - especially women - raise many moral and legal questions."

  "The Holy See delegation considers such situations to be in patent contradiction to the fundamental values which are rooted in European culture and inspire the process of integration among the peoples of Europe." Thus the risk exists "of transforming the vital rules of coexistence into a simple legal formality which, often, is not truly functional when faced with the requirements of social order."

  "As for the situation of political asylum seekers and refugees, it must be noted," said Archbishop Monteiro, "that legal procedures are generally limited to authorizing their entry into the country," and do not concern themselves "with the reasons that bring such people to escape from their native countries."

  "Therefore, alongside humanitarian commitment, it is necessary to promulgate norms and procedures that translate the typical forms of European solidarity into legal terms, recognizing that, by reason of their dignity and the rights deriving therefrom, people must not be subject to discrimination."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 8, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy See Press Office released the following communique:

  "The Holy Father Benedict XVI today received in audience Armando Guebuza, president of the Republic of Mozambique. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "During the cordial discussions, the good relations existing between the Holy See and Mozambique were noted with pleasure, as was the convergence of ideas and intentions on the contribution the Church can make to the good of the entire nation, expressing a hope for ever more solid collaboration in the field of healthcare, and education of the young generations who are the hope of the nation. In particular, the Catholic Church is committed to strengthening and developing her presence in the university sector.

  "Mention was also made of the Rome Peace Agreement, the 15th anniversary of which was celebrated on October 4, concurring on the need to achieve full national reconciliation. Finally the resumption of talks was proposed, with a view to an Agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of Mozambique."


VATICAN CITY, NOV 8, 2007 (VIS) - This morning, the pontifical academies held their twelfth public session under the presidency of Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of their coordinating council. During the meeting, the academies' annual prize was bestowed upon Antongiulio Granelli, author of a thesis on: "The Cemetery of Panfilo on the via Salaria vetus in Rome."

  For the occasion Benedict XVI sent a Message to Archbishop Ravasi, who is also president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. "The celebration of this public session," writes the Pontiff in his Message, "annually renews an opportunity for meeting and collaboration between the pontifical academies ... in order to harmonize their various initiatives, all of which have a precise objective: promoting, both in the Church and the world, a culture worthy of human life, fecundated by faith, capable of proposing the beauty of Christian life and of providing an adequate response to the ever more numerous challenges of today's cultural and religious context."

  The Pope dwells on the theme chosen for the session - "Witnesses of His love (Sacramentum caritatis, 85). The love of God as shown by martyrs and by the works of the Church" - indicating how it expresses "the fundamental link between the celebration of the divine Mysteries and the witness of life, between the experience of encountering the Mystery of God ... and the dynamism of a renewed commitment that causes us to be 'witnesses of His love'."

  The Holy Father highlights how "it is more necessary than ever to re-present the example of Christian martyrs, both those of antiquity and those of our own time, whose lives and witness, even to the spilling of their blood, are the supreme expression of love of God."

  The Pope concludes by mentioning "the works of charity that have flowered down the centuries through the efforts of generous faithful" who "have striven to create and promote charitable initiatives and institutions to meet the needs of the poorest, thus giving concrete expression to the close and indissoluble link between love of God and love of others."


VATICAN CITY, NOV 8, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter written by the Holy Father for the occasion of the 16th centenary of the death of St. John Chrysostom, in which he underlines the saint's "shining figure," proposing it "for the joint edification" of the universal Church.

  The Letter was read this morning at the opening of an international congress, "St. John Chrysostom 1600 years after his Death," being held at Rome's "Augustinianum" patristic institute from November 8 to 10.

  "The life and doctrinal teaching of this saintly bishop and Doctor ring out in every century," the Pope writes, "and even today they still induce universal admiration. The Roman Pontiffs have always recognized in him a living source of wisdom for the Church and their interest in his magisterium became more intense over the course of last century."

  Referring to the life and ministry of the saint, Benedict XVI recalls how he was born in Antioch in Syria in the mid fourth century. "During his 12 years of priestly ministry in the Antiochean Church, John distinguished himself for his capacity to interpret Scripture in a manner the faithful could understand." He also sought "to strengthen the unity of the Church, ... at a historical moment in which it was threatened both internally and externally. He rightly felt that unity among Christians depends above all on a correct understanding of the central mystery of the Church's faith: that of the Blessed Trinity and the Incarnation of the Divine Word."

  "Having served the Church in Antioch as a priest and preacher for 12 years, John was consecrated bishop of Constantinople in 398, remaining there for five and a half years. In that role, he concerned himself with the reform of the clergy, encouraging priests by word and example to live in conformity with the Gospel."

  St. John Chrysostom "tirelessly denounced the contrast that existed in the city between the extravagant wastefulness of the rich and the indigence of the poor." At the same time, he encouraged the wealthy "to welcome homeless people into their own houses." He also "stood our for his missionary zeal" and built hospitals for the sick.

  Talking of the bishop of Constantinople's ministry, Benedict XVI recalls how "since the fifth century John Chrysostom has been venerated by the entire Church, Eastern and Western, for his courageous witness in defense of ecclesial faith and for his generous dedication to pastoral ministry."

  "Special mention must also be made of the extraordinary efforts undertaken by St. John Chrysostom to promote reconciliation and full communion between Christians of East and West. In particular, his contribution proved decisive in putting an end to the schism separating the See of Antioch from the See of Rome and from other Western Churches."

  The Pope goes on to highlight how "both in Antioch and Constantinople John spoke passionately of the unity of the Church throughout the world. ... For John, the unity of the Church is rooted in Christ, the Divine Word Who with His Incarnation united Himself to the Church as a head is united to its body."

  "For John Chrysostom the ecclesial unity achieved in Christ finds unique expression in the Eucharist." His "profound veneration" for this Sacrament was "particularly nourished in the celebration of the divine liturgy. In fact, one of the richest expressions of Eastern liturgy bears his name: 'The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom'."

  The Holy Father indicates how, "with great profundity, John Chrysostom develops his ideas on the effects of sacramental communion in believers. ... He tirelessly repeats that preparation for Holy Communion must include penitence for sins and gratitude for the sacrifice Christ made for our salvation. Thus, he exhorts the faithful to participate fully and devotedly in the rites of divine liturgy and to receive Holy Communion in the same way."

  John Chrysostom "also draws the moral consequences" from his contemplation of the Eucharistic Mystery, reminding people "that communion with the Body and Blood of Christ obliges them to offer material assistance to the poor and hungry who live among them."

  Benedict XVI expresses the hope that this centenary may be a good occasion to increase studies on the saint, "recovering his teachings and encouraging his devotion."

  "May the Fathers of the Church," the Pope concludes, "become a stable point of reference for all Church theologians." And may theologians themselves discover "a renewed commitment to recover the heritage of wisdom of the holy Fathers. The result can only be a vital enrichment of their ideas, even on the problems of our own times."
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