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Monday, November 12, 2007


VATICAN CITY, NOV 11, 2007 (VIS) - Benedict XVI dedicated his remarks before today's Angelus to the figure of St. Martin, bishop of Tours and "one of Europe's most famous and venerated saints," whose feast falls today.

  The Pope reminded the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square of some of the main episodes in the life of the saint: his Baptism at the age of 20, his military career, his subsequent entry into the priesthood and monastic life and his famous act of charity when, still a soldier, he came across a beggar trembling with cold and, removing his own cape, he cut it in two giving half to the poor man.

  "St. Martin's charitable gesture," the Pope explained, "is part of the same logic that brought Jesus to multiply the loaves for the hungry crowds, but above all to leave Himself as food for humanity in the Eucharist. ... This is the logic of sharing through which real love towards others is expressed."

  "Only through joint commitment to sharing is it possible to respond to the great challenge of our time: that of building a world of peace and justice in which all men and women can live with dignity. This can come about if a model of real solidarity prevails in the world, one capable of ensuring that all the inhabitants of the planet have the necessary food, water, and medical care, but also work and energy resources as well as cultural wealth and scientific and technical knowledge."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 10, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the eparchy of Hajdudorog and of the apostolic exarchate of Miskolc, Hungary, presented by Bishop Szilard Keresztes, in accordance with canon 201, para. 1 and 2, of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

 - Appointed Fr. Michael George Mabuga Msonganzila, national director of the Pontifical Missionary Works in Tanzania, as bishop of Musoma (area 29,549, population 1,390,000, Catholics 250,000, priests 114, religious 47), Tanzania. The bishop-elect was born in Bukumbi, Tanzania, in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1984.

 - Appointed Bishop Jean-Louis Brugues O.P. of Angers, France, as secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Bagneres de Bigorre, France in 1943, he was ordained a priest in 1975 and consecrated a bishop in 2000.

 - Appointed Msgr. Grzegorz Kaszak of the clergy of the archdiocese of Szczecin-Kamien, Poland, rector of the Pontifical Polish Ecclesiastical Institute in Rome, as secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

 - Appointed Frs. Waldemar Barszcz T.O.R., and Leonello Leidi C.O., officials of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as bureau chiefs in the same congregation.

 - Appointed Fr. Gianfranco Grieco O.F.M. Conv., editor at "L'Osservatore Romano," as bureau chief in the Pontifical Council for the Family.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 10, 2007 (VIS) - This morning confraternities from dioceses in Italy gathered in St. Peter's Square for an audience with the Pope. Forty thousand members of various confraternities participated in Mass, at the end of which the Holy Father arrived to extend his greetings to them.

  In his remarks the Pope recalled "the importance and influence confraternities have had in the Christian communities of Italy since the early centuries of last millennium," and how they soon became "groups of lay faithful dedicated to accentuating certain features of popular religiosity associated with the life of Jesus Christ ... and with devotion to the Virgin Mary and the saints," often combining this with "works of mercy and solidarity."

  "This spirit of fraternal charity is better understood if we consider how [confraternities] began to be formed in the Middle Ages, when structured forms of public assistance ensuring social and sanitary care for the weakest groups of society still did not exist," he said.

  However, Benedict XVI went on, confraternities "are not mere mutual-assistance societies or philanthropic associations, but groups of brothers who, wishing to live the Gospel in the awareness of being a living part of the Church, aim to put into practice the commandment of love, which encourages people to open their hearts to others, especially to those in difficulty."

  "In the period of great change we are currently traversing, the Church ... also needs you, dear friends, to ensure that the announcement of the Gospel of charity reaches everyone, along old paths and new. Rooted in the solid foundation of faith in Christ, may your worthy confraternities, with their unique charisms and the ecclesial vitality that distinguishes them, continue to spread the message of salvation to people, working on the many frontiers of new evangelization.

  "You will be able to carry out this important mission if you always cultivate profound love for the Lord and meek obedience to your pastors," added the Pope in conclusion. "With these conditions, and firmly maintaining the necessary evangelical and ecclesial requisites, your confraternities will continue to be popular schools of faith lived in the forge of sanctity, ... ferment and leaven in society, contributing to the creation of that spiritual rebirth in which we all hope."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 10, 2007 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received prelates from the Portuguese Episcopal Conference who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  In his talk to them the Pope invited the bishops to give thanks to God "for the great mercy He showed towards the pilgrim Church in Portugal during the Holy Year, and over subsequent years which were impregnated with that same jubilee spirit."

  Benedict XVI recalled the numerous initiatives undertaken by Portuguese prelates during recent times: "the general register of Sunday Mass, ... the organization, in more than one diocese, of a Eucharistic 'statio,' ... the celebration of a national meeting for movements and new ecclesial communities and of a congress on the family, ... the signing in 2004 of a new Concordat, and the acclamation of exemplary sanctity in the person of a number of new Blesseds."

  Referring to the need to find "new ways to integrate the faithful into community life," the Pope said: "It is necessary to change the manner of organization of the Portuguese ecclesial community and the mentality of its members," so as to ensure "that the Church marches to the rhythm of Vatican Council II and that the functions of clergy and laity remain clearly established," at the same time bearing in mind the fact that "we are all one since we were baptized and integrated into the family of the children of God, and we are all responsible for the growth of the Church."

  "Ecclesiology of communion in accordance with the Council," the Pope continued, "is the right path that must be followed," though "without losing sight of possible obstacles such as horizontalism, ... democratization in the attribution of sacramental ministries, parity between conferred orders and new services, and discussion over which of the members of the community is first (a useless discussion because the Lord Jesus has already decided who is last)."

  The Holy Father pointed out that, despite the fact that it is sometimes necessary to discuss the attribution of responsibility, "such questions must not distract us from the true mission of the Church" which must "speak principally not of herself but of God."

  "The evangelization of individuals and of communities depends on ... the encounter with Jesus Christ," said Benedict XVI, recalling how "Christian initiation normally takes place via the Church."

  "Faced with the large number of non-practicing Christians in your dioceses," said the Pope, "it might be worthwhile to verify 'the effectiveness of current approaches to Christian initiation, so that the faithful can be helped both to mature through the formation received in our communities and to give their lives an authentically Eucharistic direction, so that they can offer a reason for the hope within them in a way suited to our times'."

  The Pope concluded by recalling the recent celebrations for the 90th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady. "I like to think of Fatima," he said, "as a school of faith in which the Virgin Mary is the teacher. There she placed her cathedra to teach the young wayfarers, and later the masses, the eternal truths and the arts of prayer, belief and love."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 10, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram to Bishop Rafael Masahiro Umemura of Yokohama, Japan, for the death, at the age of 77, of Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

  In his telegram, the Pope recalls the late cardinal's pastoral ministry "for nearly two decades" in Yokohama, as well as his "lively concern for the poor and his generous service to the universal Church", and he commends "the soul of this proud son of the Japanese people to the loving mercy of God our heavenly Father."

  In another telegram, sent to Teresa Teruko Uematsu, sister of the late cardinal, the Holy Father assures her of my prayers for Cardinal Hamao's eternal rest "and I ask our Lord Jesus Christ to grant you the consolation and peace born of our firm hope in His promises."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 11, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, after praying the Angelus, the Pope expressed his concern at the political situation in Lebanon.

  "The Lebanese national assembly will shortly be called to elect a new head of State." he said. "As is clear from the many initiatives undertaken over these days, it is a crucial moment upon which the very survival of Lebanon and of its institutions depends. I share the concerns expressed recently by His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Maronite patriarch, and his hope that all the Lebanese may recognize themselves in the new president. Together let us call upon Our Lady of Lebanon that she may inspire in all ... parties the necessary detachment from personal interests and a true passion for the common good."

  Benedict XVI then went on to address members of the Argentinean community in Rome and of the Salesian family with reference to the beatification of Ceferino Namuncura, being held today at Chimpay, Argentina, under the presidency of Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.

  "We give thanks to God for the extraordinary witness of this 19-year-old student who, animated by his devotion to the Eucharist and by his love of Christ, wished to become a Salesian and a priest in order to show the way to heaven to his brethren of the Mapuche people. With his life he illuminates our own path to sanctity, inviting us to love our fellow man with the same love as that with which God loves us. Let us appeal to Mary Help of Christians that the example of the new Blessed may produce abundant fruits of Christian life, especially among the young."


VATICAN CITY, NOV 12, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Suprapto Martosemoto, the new ambassador of Indonesia to the Holy See, presented his Letters of Credence to the Holy Father. Addressing the diplomat in English, the Pope began his talk by praising Indonesia for its "commitment to pursue policies aimed at advancing the noble goals of democracy and social harmony enshrined in the Constitution."

  "This determination, which calls for sacrifice ... and the cooperation of all political and social groups, is indispensable for overcoming the forces of polarization and conflict, carrying forward the renewal of economic life and consolidating a just democratic order in full respect for the rights of every individual and community.

  "Certainly at present one of the gravest threats to Indonesia's cherished ideal of national unity is the phenomenon of international terrorism," the Pope added, expressing his appreciation for the Indonesian government's "position of condemning terrorist violence, under whatever pretext it occurs, as a criminal offence which, by its contempt for human life and freedom, undermines the very foundations of society.

  "This is particularly the case when the holy name of God is invoked as a justification for such acts. The Church, ... in fidelity to the teaching of her Master, unequivocally condemns the manipulation of religion for political ends, while urging the application of international humanitarian law in every aspect of the fight against terrorism."

  He proceeded: "Indonesia, as a multi-religious country with the largest Muslim population of any nation in the world, plays an important and positive role in promoting inter-religious cooperation, both within its borders and in the international community. Dialogue, respect for the convictions of others, and collaboration in the service of peace are the surest means of securing social concord."

  In this context, the Pope mentioned the "promising development ... represented by the growing instances of cooperation between Christians and Muslims in Indonesia, aimed particularly at the prevention of ethnic and religious conflicts in the most troubled areas."

  Pope Benedict then turned to consider the situation of Indonesian Catholics who, though a small minority, "desire to participate fully in the life of the nation. ... Through their network of educational and health care institutions, they seek to offer a significant service to their brothers and sisters, regardless of religion, and to instill the ethical values fundamental for authentic civic progress and peaceful coexistence.

  "While their right to the free exercise of their religion in complete equality with their fellow citizens is guaranteed by the national Constitution," he added, "the protection of this fundamental human right calls for constant vigilance on the part of all.

  "In this regard I note that Indonesia has recently acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and I am confident that this will help to further consolidate the freedom and legitimate autonomy of individual Christians and their institutions."

  The Holy Father concluded: "As Indonesia now sits as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, I take the present occasion to express my confidence that the principles which inspire your own national policies of pacification, dialogue and tolerance will enable Indonesia to make a fruitful contribution to the solution of global conflicts and the promotion of a peace based on international solidarity and concern for the integral development of individuals and peoples."


VATICAN CITY, NOV 12, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals.

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

 - Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B. secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

  On Saturday, November 10, he received in separate audiences:

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

    - Cardinal Jose da Cruz Policarpo, patriarch of Lisbon, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Tomas Pedro Barbosa da Silva Nunes, Anacleto Cordeiro Goncalves de Oliveira, and Carlos Alberto de Pinho Moreira Azevedo.

    - Bishop Antonio de Sousa Braga S.C.I. of Angra.

    - Bishop Antonio Jose Cavaco Carrilho of Funchal, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Teodoro de Faria.
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