Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

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...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Thursday, July 31, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 31 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Jean-Pierre Tafunga S.D.B. of Uvira, Democratic Republic of the Congo, as coadjutor archbishop of the archdiocese of Lubumbashi (area 61,828, population 2,433,000, Catholics 1,066,358, priests 208, religious 812), Democratic Republic of the Congo. The archbishop-elect was born in Panda-Likasi, Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1942, he was ordained a priest in 1972 and consecrated a bishop in 1993.
NEC/.../TAFUNGA                            VIS 20080731 (80)


VATICAN CITY, 31 JUL 2008 (VIS) - Following are highlights of the activities of Pope Benedict XVI and of the Holy See for the months of April to July 2008.


 - 2: Mass in St. Peter's Square for the soul of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, presided by Pope Benedict XVI and concelebrated with members of the College of Cardinals.

 - 2-6: First World Apostolic Congress on Mercy.

 - 6: Holy Father sends a telegram of condolence for the killing in Baghdad, Iraq, on 5 April of Fr. Yousef Adel Abudi of the Syrian Orthodox Church.

 - 7: Holy Father visits the memorial to the witnesses of the faith in the 20th and 21st centuries, located in the basilica of St. Bartholomew on Rome's Isola Tiberina, to mark the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the Sant'Egidio Community.

 - 7: Holy Father receives in audience prelates from the Antilles Episcopal Conference at the end of their five-yearly "ad limina" visit.

 - 10: Cardinal Ernesto Corripio Ahumada, archbishop emeritus of Mexico, Mexico, dies at the age of 88.

 - 15-21: Holy Father's apostolic trip to the United States of America.

 - 19: Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, dies at the age of 72.

 - 24: Holy Father receives in audience prelates from the southern Caucasus region at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

 - 27: Benedict XVI presides at a Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica during which he ordains 28 deacons from the diocese of Rome and one from the Pontifical Urban College.


 - 2: Holy Father receives in audience prelates from the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

 - 3: Benedict XVI presides at the praying of the Rosary in the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major.

 - 6-9: Official visit to the Church of Rome and to the Holy Father Benedict XVI of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians.

 - 7: Holy Father attends a concert offered by the Chinese Philharmonic Orchestra and the Shanghai Opera House Chorus in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall.

 - 9: The Holy See website acquires a new page in Latin, the official language of the Catholic Church. Alongside the other languages in which the website (www.vatican.va) has been available for many years (Italian, German, Spanish, French, English and Portuguese), a new option, "Sancta Sedes Latine", has now been added.

 - 10: Holy Father receives in audience prelates from the Hungarian Catholic Bishops' Conference at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

 - 10: Publication of a decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary by which Benedict XVI grants the faithful Plenary Indulgence for the occasion of the two-thousandth anniversary of the birth of the Apostle Paul. The Plenary Indulgence will be valid throughout the Pauline Year which runs from 28 June 2008 to 29 June 2009.

 - 12: Presentation of the Letters of Credence of Mordechay Lewy, the new ambassador of Israel to the Holy See.

 - 13: Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, dean emeritus of the College of Cardinals, dies in Paris, France, at the age of 86.

 - 15: Holy See adheres to the Convention of Vienna for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, and to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

 - 16: Holy Father receives in audience prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Thailand at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

 - 16: Publication of a prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan, composed by Benedict XVI to mark the Day of Prayer for the Church in China (24 May).

 - 17-18: Pastoral visit of Benedict XVI to the Italian cities of Savona and Genoa.

 - 19: Press conference to present the Holy See's Pavilion in "Expo Zaragoza 2008", an international exposition being held in the Spanish city of Zaragoza from 14 June to 14 September on the theme: "Water and sustainable development".

 - 23: Holy Father receives in audience prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Albania at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

 - 24: Benedict XVI receives in separate audiences Nikola Gruevski, prime minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Ivajlo Kalfin, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, each leading a delegation from their respective countries on a visit to Rome for the commemoration of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.

 - 27: Press conference to present the results of the recently-completed restoration of the Valerii Mausoleum, one of the most important monuments of the Roman necropolis located under the Vatican Basilica.

 - 29: Presentation of the Letters of Credence of nine new ambassadors to the Holy See: Ahmada Rweyemamu Ngemera of Tanzania; Nyine S. Bitahwa of Uganda; Wesley Momo Johnson of Liberia, Hissein Brahim Taha of Chad; Debapriya Bhattacharya of Bangladesh; Sergei F. Aleinik of Belarus; Alexandre Cece Loua of Guinea, Tikiri Bandara Maduwegedera of Sri Lanka, and Obed Wadzani of Nigeria.

 - 30: Holy Father receives in audience prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Myanmar at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

 - 31: Presentation of the Letters of Credence of Acisclo Valladares Molina, the new ambassador of Guatemala to the Holy See.


 - 2: During the course of a meeting with faithful from the archdiocese of Turin, Italy, the Holy Father announces that in the spring of 2010 there will be another "Solemn Exposition" of the Shroud of Turin.

 - 6: Holy Father receives in audience prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

 - 9: Benedict XVI inaugurates the ecclesial congress of the diocese of Rome (9 to 12 June), on the theme: "Jesus has risen. Educating for hope in prayer, in action and in suffering".

 - 12: Holy Father receives in audience prelates from the Catholic Bishop's Conference of Bangladesh at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

 - 12: Presentation of the "Instrumentum laboris" (working document) for the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, due to take place from 5 to 26 October on the theme: "The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church".

 - 13: Holy Father receives in audience George W. Bush, President of the United States of America.

 - 14-15: Pastoral visit of Benedict XVI to Santa Maria di Leuca and Brindisi, Italy.

 - 16: Presentation of the Letters of Credence of Antoine Zanga, the new ambassador of Cameroon to the Holy See.

 - 19: Holy Father receives in audience prelates from the Pakistan Catholic Bishops' Conference at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

 - 19: Holy Father receives in audience Joseph Kabila Kabange, president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 - 26: Holy Father receives in audience prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Honduras at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

 - 26: Presentation of the Letters of Credence of Firmin Mboutsou, the new ambassador of Gabon to the Holy See.

 - 27: Holy Father appoints Cardinal Agostino Vallini, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, as his vicar general for the diocese of Rome and archpriest of the papal basilica of St. John Lateran. He succeeds Cardinal Camillo Ruini, whose resignation from the same office the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - 27: Holy Father receives in audience bishops of the Chinese dioceses of Hong Kong and Macao at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

 - 28: Holy Father receives in audience Anibal Cavaco Silva, president of the Republic of Portugal.

 - 28: In the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, Benedict XVI presides at the celebration of first Vespers for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles, marking the opening of the Pauline Year. Among those participating in the ceremony are the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and representatives from other Churches and Christian communities.

 - 29: On the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, Benedict XVI celebrates the Eucharist in the Vatican Basilica, in the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. Concelebrating with the Holy Father are 40 new metropolitan archbishops, upon whom he imposes the pallium.


 - 3: Holy Father receives in audience Sir Nathaniel Rahumaea Waena, governor general of the Solomon Islands.

 - 4: Publication of a decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary by which Benedict XVI grants the faithful Plenary Indulgence for the occasion of 23rd World Youth Day.

 - 9: Holy Father receives in audience King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain.

 - 12-21: Holy Father's apostolic trip to Australia for 23rd Word Youth Day, which has as its theme : "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses".

 - 25: Holy Father receives in audience Nouri Al-Maliki, prime minister of Iraq.
.../ACTIVITIES 2008/...                        VIS 20080731 (1490)


VATICAN CITY, 31 JUL 2008 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for August is: "That the human family may know how to respect God's design for the world and thus become ever more aware of the great gift of God which Creation represents for us".

  His mission intention is: "That the answer of the entire people of God to the common vocation to sanctity and mission may be promoted and fostered, with careful discernment of the charisms and a constant commitment to spiritual and cultural formation".
BXVI-PRAYER INTENTIONS/AUGUST/...            VIS 20080731 (100)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 30 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Luiz Antonio Guedes of Bauru, Brazil, as bishop of Campo Limpo (area 1,560, population 2,992,000, Catholics 2,735,000, priests 172, permanent deacons 19, religious 535), Brazil. He succeeds Bishop Emilio Pignoli, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
NER:RE/.../GUEDES:PIGNOLI                    VIS 20080730 (70)


VATICAN CITY, 30 JUL 2008 (VIS) - Following are highlights of the activities of Pope Benedict XVI and of the Holy See for the months of January to March 2008. Another summary, covering the period from April to July, will be published tomorrow.


 - 4: Holy Father visits the "Dono di Maria" shelter for the poor, located in the Vatican, which Servant of God John Paul II entrusted to the care of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta in 1988.

 - 12: Holy Father receives in audience Thomas Yayi Boni, president of the Republic of Benin.

 - 19: Holy Father receives in audience Faure Gnassingbe, president of the Republic of Togo.

 - 21: Holy Father receives in audience Jose Manuel Ramos-Horta, president of the Democratic Republic of East Timor.

 - 21: Presentation of the Pauline Year (due to run from 28 June 2008 to 29 June 2009) and of various initiatives due to be held at the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls.

 - 23: Publication of a Letter from the Pope to the diocese and the city of Rome on the vital importance of education.

 - 24: Holy Father receives in audience prelates from the Slovenian Episcopal Conference at the end of their five-yearly "ad limina" visit.

 - 25: Holy Father receives in audience participants in a congress organised by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts to mark the 25th anniversary of the Code of Canon Law.

 - 29: Presentation of Benedict XVI's 2008 Lenten Message: "Christ made Himself Poor for you".


 - 1: Holy Father receives in audience prelates from the Greek-Catholic Church of Ukraine, at the end of their first "ad limina" visit in 70 years.

 - 2: Holy Father receives in audience Fatmir Sejdiu, president of Kosovo.

 - 6: Holy Father receives in audience Danilo Turk, president of the Republic of Slovenia.

 - 8: Holy Father receives in audience prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Costa Rica at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

 - 9: Telegram of condolence from the Pope for the death of Fra' Andrew Bertie, prince and grand master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who died on 7 February at the age of 79.

 - 14: Just three years after the death of Sister Lucia dos Santos (known to the world as one of the three seers of Fatima), Pope Benedict waives the five-year waiting period established by canonical norms (art. 9 of "Normae servandae") and grants that the diocesan stage of the cause for her beatification may begin.

 - 18: Presentation of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints' Instruction "Sanctorum Mater" for conducting diocesan or eparchial enquiries in the causes of saints, and of the supplement to the "Index ac status causarum".

 - 21: Presentation of the Letters of Credence of Viadeta Jancovic, Serbia's new ambassador to the Holy See.

 - 23: Benedict XVI symbolically presents families, teachers and young people with the Letter he wrote on 21 January to the diocese and city of Rome concerning the vital importance of education.

 - 24: Holy Father makes a pastoral visit to the Roman parish of Santa Maria Liberatrice a Monte Testaccio.

 - 28: Holy Father receives in audience prelates from the Episcopal Conference of El Salvador at the conclusion of their "ad limina" visit.

 - 29: Presentation of the Letters of Credence of Mary Ann Glendon, the new ambassador of the United States to the Holy See and former president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.


 - 6: Cardinal Peter Poreku Dery, archbishop emeritus of Tamale, Ghana, dies at the age of 89.

 - 6: Holy Father receives in audience prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

 - 7: Holy Father receives in audience Jean-Claude Juncker, prime minister of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

 - 9: Holy Father makes a pastoral visit to San Lorenzo in Piscibus, located near St. Peter's Square, part of the San Lorenzo International Youth Centre inaugurated by Pope John Paul II on 13 March 1983.

 - 13: Holy Father receives in audience prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Haiti at the conclusion of their "ad limina" visit.

 - 13: Telegram of condolence from the Holy Father to Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq, for the death of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mossul of the Chaldeans, Iraq, who was kidnapped on 29 February.

 - 14: Presentation of the Letters of Credence of Carlos Federico de la Riva Guerra, the new ambassador of Bolivia to the Holy See.

 - 14: Telegram of condolence from the Pope for the death at the age of 88 of Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolari Movement.

 - 15: Presentation of the Letters of Credence of Miltiadis Hiskakis, the new ambassador of Greece to the Holy See.

 - 22: Cardinal Adolfo Antonio Suarez Rivera, archbishop emeritus of Monterrey, Mexico, dies at the age of 81.
.../ACTIVITIES 2008/...                        VIS 20080730 (840)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 29 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The administrative council of the "Populorum Progressio" Foundation, which met in Guadalajara, Mexico, from 9 to 12 July, has approved 2,108,300 dollars of financial aid for 200 new development projects in support of poor indigenous mixed race and Afro-American rural communities of Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a communique released by the foundation yesterday.

  "Indigenous peoples and 'campesinos' represent a high percentage of the population of Latin America. The rapid process of urbanisation of the continent and the imposition of a post-modern culture have isolated these peoples from the social context and from the development to which others have had access. Thus they have been largely marginalised and lack protection, on many occasions unjustly losing ownership of their lands. The efforts of the ecclesial community to defend and assist these peoples have been broadly supported by recent Popes: from Paul VI to Servant of God John Paul II to Benedict XVI. And one sign of such concern is the Pontifical 'Populorum Progressio' Foundation", established on 13 February 1992.

  This year the countries that presented the greatest number of projects were Brazil (39), Colombia (35), Peru (27) and Ecuador (18). A large part of the money distributed is the fruit of the generosity of the Italian Church and the Italian Episcopal Conference, although "Populorum Progressio" is examining the possibility of involving benefactors from the American content in order to increase and diversify its sources of income. From its inception to the present, the foundation has raised more than 24 million dollars, distributed to more than 2,200 projects.

  "The projects presented to the foundation - prepared by the various ecclesial communities and by pastoral groups within dioceses - are first approved by diocesan bishops then examined by the administrative council", the communique explains. "They are all aimed at the integral development of peoples and involve the following sectors: 29.9 percent to agriculture, livestock and small businesses; 33.2 percent to public service infrastructures such as the supply of drinking water, fencing, toilets and communal halls; 19.46 percent to the building of schools, houses and health centres; 12.3 percent to professional training, communication, tools and publications; 5.14 percent to healthcare: medical equipment and staff training".

  At the end of the meeting, a new president and vice president of the administrative council were elected, respectively, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico, and Archbishop Edmundo Luis Flavio Abastoflor Montero of La Paz, Bolivia.
CON-CU/POPULORUM PROGRESSIO/...                VIS 20080729 (420)

Monday, July 28, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 28 JUL 2008 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father travelled by car from his summer residence at Castelgandolfo to Rome's Ciampino airport, where at 10.35 a.m. he boarded a plane for Bolzano. Landing in that city's "Dolomitas" airport at 11.20 a.m., he then travelled by car to Bressanone where he will remain until 11 August.

  Pope Benedict will be staying in the seminary of Bressanone, a small city in north-eastern Italy where he spent a number of holidays between 1970 and 2004.

  On Sunday 3 August and Sunday 10 August, Benedict XVI will preside at the praying of the Angelus in the cathedral square of Bressanone.

  General audiences will resume, following the Pope's return, from Wednesday 13 August.

  From 15 August, on Sundays and Solemnities the praying of the Angelus will take place at the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo.
.../POPE VACATION/BRESSANONE                VIS 20080728 (150)


VATICAN CITY, 27 JUL 2008 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, Benedict XVI addressed some remarks to participants in the general assembly of the "Focolari" Movement, who have just elected as their president Maria Voce, a former collaborator of the late Chiara Lubich, and as co-president Giancarlo Faletti, joint head of the Focolari in Rome.

  "As I express my happiness at the election of the new leaders", said the Pope, "I encourage you all, dear brothers and sisters, to continue joyfully and courageously along the path of the spiritual heritage of Chiara Lubich, as enshrined in your Statues, increasing communion in families, in communities and in all areas of society".

  The Holy Father then addressed greetings to people currently on holiday, expressing the hope that "they may spend days of serenity and of beneficial physical and spiritual relaxation. However, I do not forget those who are unable to enjoy a period of rest and vacation: I am thinking of the sick in hospital and rest homes, of prisoners, of the elderly, of those who are alone, and of everyone who spends the summer in the heat of the city. To each of them I give assurances of my closeness and a mention in my prayers".


VATICAN CITY, 27 JUL 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the balcony overlooking the inner courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, to pray the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered there.

  The Pope spoke of his recent trip to Australia to preside at the 23rd World Youth Day where, he said, he had had the opportunity "to encounter the youthful face of the Church". He also recalled how people - using "a beautiful expression that encapsulates the essence of these international Days established by John Paul II" - had described the participants as "young pilgrims of the world".

  "These meetings", the Holy Father explained, "represent stages of a great pilgrimage across the planet to show how faith in Christ makes us all children of the one Father Who is in heaven, and builders of a civilisation of love".

  What characterised the meeting in Sydney, he went on, "was an awareness of the central role of the Holy Spirit, a leading player in the life of the Church and of Christians". The Pope went on to recall how, during the days leading up to the closing Mass, bishops from all over the world had presented catecheses in the churches of Sydney, "moments of reflection and of prayer, indispensable in order to ensure the event left not only outward traces but a profound interior impression on people's consciences.

  "The evening vigil in the heart of the city, under the Southern Cross", the Pope added, "was a choral invocation of the Holy Spirit", while during the Eucharistic celebration of Sunday 20 July, he had "invited everyone present to renew their baptismal promises

  "Thus", he went on, "this World Day became a new Pentecost, from which the mission of young people started out afresh, called to be apostles of their peers like so many saints and blesseds" such as "Blessed Piergiorgio Frassati whose relics, placed in Sydney cathedral, were venerated by a constant pilgrimage of young people. All young men and woman are called to follow their example and share the personal experience of Jesus which changes the lives of His 'friends' with the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God's love".

  Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by thanking the WYD organisers and everyone who had prayed for the success of the event. Finally, he invoked the protection of Mary for his own period of vacation which begins tomorrow in Bressanone, a city in the Italian region of Alto Adige.
ANG/WYD/...                                VIS 20080728 (420)


VATICAN CITY, 26 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Archbishop Ramiro Moliner Ingles, apostolic nuncio to Ethiopia and Djibouti and apostolic delegate to Somalia, as apostolic nuncio to Albania.

 - Archbishop Antonio Mennini, apostolic nuncio to the Russian Federation, also as apostolic nuncio to Uzbekistan.

 - As consultors of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts: Metropolitan Archbishop Andrews Thazhath of Trichur of the Syro-Malabars, India; Fr. Pablo Gefaell, professor at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome; Fr. Luis Okulik, professor at the St. Pius X Institute of Venice, Italy; Fr. Cyril Vasil S.J., rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute of Rome; Fr. Varghese Koluthara C.M.I., provincial superior in India; Fr. Lorenzo Lorusso O.P., professor at the Pontifical Oriental Institute of Rome, and Peter Szabo, professor at the Pazmany Peter Katolikus Egyetem of Budapest, Hungary.
NN:NA/.../...                                VIS 20080728 (150)


VATICAN CITY, 26 JUL 2008 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, the Holy See Press Office announced that on 4 October, Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of Italy, Benedict XVI will make an official visit to the Quirinal Palace, resident of the Italian president, to return the visit made by Giorgio Napolitano, president of the Italian Republic, to the Vatican on 20 November 2006.
OP/VISIT QUIRINAL/NAPOLITANO                VIS 20080728 (80)

Friday, July 25, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 25 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - As members of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America: Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and Archbishop Jose Horacio Gomez of San Antonio, U.S.A.

 - As members of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum": Fr. Marian Subocz, director general of "Caritas Polska"; Fr. Oscar Arias Bravo, executive co-ordinator of "Caritas Mexico - CEPS"; Francois Soulage, national president of "Secours Catholique", and Lesley-Anne Knight, secretary general of "Caritas Internationalis".

 - As members of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences: Onorato Bucci, professor of institutions of Roman law at the University of Molise, Italy; Paolo Nardi, professor of the history of medieval and modern law at the University of Siena, Italy, and Elisabeth Kieven, professor of the history of architecture at the University of Tubingen, Germany.
NA/.../...                                    VIS 20080725 (150)


VATICAN CITY, 25 JUL 2008 (VIS) - On Monday 28 July, the Holy Father is due to travel to Bressanone, a small city of 20,000 inhabitants located in the Italian alpine region of Alto Adige, where he will spend a period of vacation in the local seminary, until 11 August.

  The fact that the Pope has chosen to go to Bressanone "represents a novelty with respect to earlier years" when he went to Les Combes in Valle d'Aosta and Lorenzago di Cadore, explained Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. in an interview. "The place is associated with many memories of Pope Benedict's life", said Fr. Lombardi "and has particular value for its German-language culture. What we call Alto Adige and in German is known as Sudtirol is, in fact, a fundamental area for German-language culture and the Pope, as a highly cultured man, will certainly feel at home there".

  The director of the Holy See Press Office went on to point out that during his fortnight in the mountains "the Pope has no scheduled appointments, apart from his traditional meeting with priests from the diocese and the surrounding areas" which this year will take place on 6 August, and the praying of the Angelus on Sunday 3 August and Sunday 10 August.

  After his return to Castelgandolfo on 11 August, the Holy Father will begin to prepare his forthcoming trips: to the Italian city of Cagliari on 7 September, and to Paris and Lourdes in France from 12 to 15 September. In October, the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God will meet "and the Pope is already preparing himself. It is possible that he may dedicate time - if he is well-rested and able to work - to the second part of his book on Jesus or to completing his social Encyclical, which we have been expecting for some time. Or who knows", Fr. Lombardi concluded, "but that he may have something else in mind: last year he gave us his Encyclical on hope which, in a certain sense, we were not expecting".
.../POPE VACATION/LOMBARDI                        VIS 20080725 (360)


VATICAN CITY, 25 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The following communique was released this morning by the Holy See Press Office:

  "Today in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Nouri Kamel Al-Maliki, prime minister of the Republic of Iraq. The prime minister had earlier met with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "The discussions, which took place in a cordial atmosphere, provided an opportunity to examine a number of fundamental aspects of the situation in Iraq, also taking into account the regional situation. Particular attention was given to the question of the many Iraqi refugees, both inside and outside the country, who are in need of assistance, also with a view to their hoped-for return.

  "Renewed condemnation was expressed for the violence that continues to hit various parts of the country almost daily, not sparing the Christian communities which strongly feel the need for greater security.

  "The hope was expressed that Iraq may definitively discover the road to peace and development through dialogue and co-operation among all ethnic and religious groups, including minorities, which, while respecting their respective identities and in a spirit of reconciliation and of searching for the common good, together undertake the moral and civil reconstruction of the country. In this context, the importance of inter-religious dialogue was reiterated, as a way to religious understanding and civil coexistence. The prime minister invited the Holy Father to visit Iraq.
OP/AUDIENCE/AL-MALIKI                        VIS 20080725 (260)

Thursday, July 24, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 24 JUL 2008 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has written a Message to African bishops with responsibility for the pastoral care of culture, who are currently participating in a conference at Bagamoyo, Tanzania. The conference, organised by the Pontifical Council for Culture, has as its theme: "Pastoral Prospects for the New Evangelisation in the Context of Globalisation and its Effects on African Cultures".

  In his Message, which was read out yesterday at the beginning of the conference, the Pope recalls how evangelising culture and inculturating the Gospel "is an old yet ever new mission", and he calls on the prelates to find "new and effective ways to present the immutable truth of the Gospel and, especially, the values of the joy of life and of respect for the unborn child, the important role of the family, and a profound sense of communion and solidarity which are present in African cultures".

  The meeting, which is scheduled to last four days, began yesterday with a Mass presided by Cardinal Polycarp Pengo, archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. After the Pope's Message, a speech entitled "Cultural Challenges of Secularism, Propagated through Globalisation" - due to have been delivered by Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, who was unable to be present - was read our by Fr, Bernard Ardura, secretary of the pontifical council. Among the challenges Archbishop Ravasi mentions are "oblivion to the common good, social behaviour guided by the logic of the market, the destruction of models of life transmitted by family, school and parish, and the exaltation of individualism".

  The poorest countries, observes the president of the pontifical council, are those most exposed to the dangers of a poorly-understood globalisation which leads to "the destruction of the values handed down by ancestral cultural traditions, the undermining of consciences, and the cultural uprooting of entire generations which are drawn into a spiral that leads to poverty and misery".

  Yet, the archbishop continues, in a context of globalised secularisation the Church has the chance to make "Christian humanism" flower, "re-proposing the great moral values" and proclaiming "the Word of God, which is capable of making deserts of indifference and superficiality bear fruit".

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 23 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Antonio Emidio Vilar S.D.B., pastor and director of the Salesian community of Bom Retiro, Brazil, as bishop of Sao Luiz de Caceres (area 100,000, population 416,000, Catholics 326,000, priests 41, religious 96), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Guardinha, Brazil in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1986. He succeeds Bishop Jose Vieira de Lima T.O.R., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
NER:RE/.../VILAR:VIEIRA                            VIS 20080723 (100)


VATICAN CITY, 23 JUL 2008 (VIS) - In the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo on Friday 25 July, Benedict XVI is scheduled to receive in audience Nouri Al-Maliki, prime minister of Iraq.

  The Iraqi prime minister, who is visiting a number of other European countries, will also meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. The largest Christian community in Iraq is that of the Chaldeans, Catholics of oriental rite and one of the oldest Christian Churches in the world.
.../.../AL-MALIKI                                VIS 20080723 (90)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 22 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Mexico, Mexico, presented by Bishop Abelardo Alvarado Alcantara, upon having reached the age limit.
RE/.../ALVARADO                                VIS 20080722 (40)


VATICAN CITY, 22 JUL 2008 (VIS) - "Pastoral Prospects for the New Evangelisation in the Context of Globalisation and its Effects on African Cultures" is the theme of a meeting due to be held from 23 to 26 July in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, under the presidency of Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

  The meeting, which according to a communique on the event "forms part of a series of initiatives which intend to promote the pastoral approach to culture in different parts of the world", will be attended by the African members and consultors of the pontifical council and by bishops in charge of the pastoral care of culture in their respective episcopal conferences.

  After recalling that the last meeting of this kind took place in 2004 in Johannesburg, South Africa, the communique indicates that the focus this time will be on the evangelisation of cultures, with particular emphasis on matters related to secularisation.

  "In the current context, with the cultural environment and lifestyles intensely affected by the effects of globalisation, the Church strives to promote the inculturation of the faith along with a new Christian humanism which will allow men and women in Africa to be fully African and fully Christian", reads the note.

  Cardinal Polycarp Pengo, who is a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture and president of SECAM, will close the meeting with a talk on: "The Church, Family of God, Responding to the Challenges posed by Globalisation's Diffusion of Cultural Models Foreign to African Cultures".

  The Catholic Cultural Centre 'Bagamoyo' run by the Spiritan Fathers is the venue for the meeting. Bagamoyo was one of the major ports of the slave trade, where slaves were brought from Central and East Africa to be sent to the markets of Zanzibar. Hundreds of thousands of persons would be captured in the inner zones of the continent and then embarked from this port. A mission was opened in 1868 for those who had escaped from the slave traders or had been ransomed by the missionaries. "While choosing the theme", says the communique, "the organisers have not overlooked the fact that secularisation involves a modern form of slavery, neither less oppressive nor less damaging to the dignity of the human person.

 "The Church", the communique adds in conclusion, "is conscious of the fundamental cultural dimension of sustained development, indispensable for the future of the African continent. Therefore, particular weight will be given to the cultural values present in Africa which are at the service of the dignity of the human person".
CON-C/NEW EVANGELISATION/TANZANIA                    VIS 20080722 (440)

Monday, July 21, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 21 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Durango, Mexico, presented by Bishop Juan de Dios Caballero Reyes, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Enrique Sanchez Martinez of the clergy of the archdiocese of Durango, Mexico, pastor of the parish of St. Helena and regional vicar for pastoral care, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 109,422, population 1,824,000, Catholics 1,407,000, priests 225, religious 478). The bishop-elect was born in Cuencame, Mexico in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1986.
RE:NEA/.../CABALLERO:SANCHEZ                        VIS 20080721 (110)


VATICAN CITY, 21 JUL 2008 (VIS) - Following his meeting with World Youth Day volunteers at The Domain in Sydney, the Holy Father travelled by car to the city's international airport where the departure ceremony took place.

  On his arrival at the airport, the Pope was welcomed by Michael Jeffery, governor general of Australia, by Kevin Rudd, prime minister, and by civic leaders of New South Wales society. Among the religious authorities present were Archbishop Philip Edward Wilson of Adelaide, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, and Bishop Anthony Fisher, the World Youth Day co-ordinator.

  In his remarks, the Pope thanked those present for the hospitality he had been shown during his time in Australia, "In characteristic Australian style", he said, "you have extended a warm welcome to me and to countless young pilgrims who have flocked here from every corner of the globe".

  "The principal actors on the stage over these last few days, of course, have been the young people themselves. World Youth Day is their day. It is they who have made this a global ecclesial event, a great celebration of youth and a great celebration of what it is to be the Church, the people of God throughout the world, united in faith and love and empowered by the Spirit to bear witness to the risen Christ to the ends of the earth".

  Recalling the events of the previous days, the Pope said he had been "deeply moved" by his visit to the Mary MacKillop Memorial, and he thanked the Sisters of St. Joseph "for the opportunity to pray at the Shrine of their co-foundress. The stations of the Cross in the streets of Sydney", he went on, "were a powerful reminder that Christ loved us 'to the end' and shared our sufferings so that we could share His glory.

  "The meeting with the young people at Darlinghurst", Pope Benedict added, "was a moment of joy and great hope, a sign that Christ can lift us out of the most difficult situations, restoring our dignity and enabling us to look forward to a brighter future. The meeting with ecumenical and inter-religious leaders was marked by a spirit of genuine fraternity and a deep desire for greater collaboration in building a more just and peaceful world.

  "And without doubt, the gatherings at Barangaroo and Southern Cross were high-points of my visit. Those experiences of prayer, and our joyful celebration of the Eucharist, were an eloquent testimony to the life-giving work of the Holy Spirit, present and active in the hearts of our young people. World Youth Day has shown us that the Church can rejoice in the young people of today and be filled with hope for the world of tomorrow", he concluded.

  The ceremony over, the Pope boarded his aircraft which flew to the Australian city of Darwin for a refuelling stop before continuing the journey to Rome, where his flight is due to arrive at Ciampino airport at 11 p.m. From there the Holy Father will be taken by car to the pontifical residence of Castelgandolfo.
PV-AUSTRALIA/DEPARTURE/SYDNEY                    VIS 20080721 (530)


VATICAN CITY, 21 JUL 2008 (VIS) - This morning, having left Cathedral House, the Holy Father travelled to The Domain, a park in Sydney, to greet the 12,000 volunteers who had helped to organise and run the 23rd World Youth Day.

  "During these days", he told them in his address, "we have been able to witness at first hand the joy that so many thousands of young people find in their faith, and we have been able to offer praise and thanksgiving to God for His goodness to us. We have had a taste of the warmth and generosity of Australian hospitality, and we have glimpsed something of the glorious scenery of this beautiful continent. It has truly been a week to remember".

  "I want to thank all of you for the generous commitment of time and energy you have made, in order to ensure the smooth running of each of the events we have celebrated together. ... Your efforts have prepared the ground for the Spirit to come down in power, forging bonds of unity and friendship among young people from widely differing backgrounds, and rekindling their love for Jesus Christ and His Church. In the crowds that have assembled here in Sydney we have seen a vivid expression of the unity-in-diversity of the universal Church, a vision in microcosm of the united human family that we long to see. In the power of the Spirit, may these young people make that vision a reality in the world of tomorrow".

  "As I set off on my journey back to Rome", the Pope continued, "I shall treasure the memory of the many grace-filled events we have experienced together".

  "I pray that you too will take many precious memories and spiritual insights away with you, and will return to your homes and families with fresh zeal to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the power of the Spirit, go forth now to renew the face of the earth!"

  Having concluded his brief remarks, the Holy Father was taken by car to the international airport of Sydney where political, civil and religious authorities were waiting to greet him before his return journey to Rome.
PV-AUSTRALIA/VOLUNTEERS/SYDNEY                    VIS 20080721 (380)


VATICAN CITY, 21 JUL 2008 (VIS) - Made public today were a communique and a note from Holy See Press Office Director Federico Lombardi S.J., concerning the Pope's meeting this morning with victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.

  "As an expression of his ongoing pastoral concern for those who have been abused by members of the clergy, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI today celebrated Mass with a representative group of victims. He listened to their stories and offered them consolation. Assuring them of his spiritual closeness, he promised to continue to pray for them, their families and all victims. Through this paternal gesture, the Holy Father wished to demonstrate again his deep concern for all those who have suffered sexual abuse".

  In a note accompanying the communique, Fr. Lombardi specifies that "the meeting took place at the celebration of Mass in the little chapel of Sydney's Cathedral House, where the Pope has been staying over these days. The celebration began at 7 a.m.

  "Four people were present, two men and two women, with their attendants and a priest responsible for pastoral care and accompaniment.

  "Concelebrating with the Holy Father were Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Archbishop Fernando Filoni, substitute of the Secretariat of State, and the Pope's two private secretaries.

  "At the end of the Mass, the guests had the chance to speak individually to the Pope, who addressed to them affectionate words of concern and comfort.

  "The meeting ended shortly before 8 a.m., everything took place in an atmosphere of respect, spirituality and intense emotion.

  "As happened in the United States, the Pope wished to meet a number of victims as a concrete way of conveying sentiments he has previously expressed on various occasions concerning the drama of sexual abuse.

  "In Australia, he wished to do so after the events of World Youth Day, because that was the specific reason for his trip".
OP/ABUSE VICTIMS/SYDNEY/LOMBARDI                    VIS 20080721 (330)

Sunday, July 20, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 20 JUL 2008 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father was taken by helicopter from the heliport of Victoria Barracks to Centennial Park, a public park in Sydney founded in the year 1888. From the park he travelled by popemobile to Randwick Racecourse, making a circuit of the area as he greeted and blessed the 350,000 young people from all over the world who were gathered there to attend the closing Mass of 23rd World Youth Day. During the Eucharistic celebration, the Holy Father administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to 24 catechumens.

  Referring in his homily to the theme of this World Youth Day - "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses" - the Holy Father affirmed that "as the source of our new life in Christ, the Holy Spirit is also, in a very real way, the soul of the Church, the love which binds us to the Lord and one another, and the light which opens our eyes to see all around us the wonders of God's grace".

  Benedict XVI indicated that "the power of the Spirit never ceases to fill the Church with life", explaining that "this power, the grace of the Spirit, is not something we can merit or achieve, but only receive as pure gift".

  "God's love can only unleash its power when it is allowed to change us from within. We have to let it break through the hard crust of our indifference, our spiritual weariness, our blind conformity to the spirit of this age. Only then can we let it ignite our imagination and shape our deepest desires. That is why prayer is so important: daily prayer, private prayer in the quiet of our hearts and before the Blessed Sacrament, and liturgical prayer in the heart of the Church".

  The Pope gave thanks to the Lord for the gift of faith, "which has come down to us like a treasure passed on from generation to generation", and especially for "all those heroic missionaries, dedicated priests and religious, Christian parents and grandparents, teachers and catechists who built up the Church in these lands". In this context he mentioned the names of Blessed Mary MacKillop, St. Peter Chanel and Blessed Peter To Rot.

  "Dear young people, let me now ask you a question. What will you leave to the next generation? Are you building your lives on firm foundations, building something that will endure? Are you living your lives in a way that opens up space for the Spirit in the midst of a world that wants to forget God, or even rejects Him in the name of a falsely-conceived freedom? How are you using the gifts you have been given, the 'power' which the Holy Spirit is even now prepared to release within you?"

  "Empowered by the Spirit, and drawing upon faith's rich vision, a new generation of Christians is being called to help build a world in which God's gift of life is welcomed, respected and cherished - not rejected, feared as a threat and destroyed. A new age in which love is not greedy or self-seeking, but pure, faithful and genuinely free, open to others, respectful of their dignity, seeking their good, radiating joy and beauty. A new age in which hope liberates us from the shallowness, apathy and self-absorption which deaden our souls and poison our relationships. Dear young friends, the Lord is asking you to be prophets of this new age, messengers of His love, drawing people to the Father and building a future of hope for all humanity.

  "The world", he added, "needs this renewal! In so many of our societies, side by side with material prosperity, a spiritual desert is spreading: an interior emptiness, an unnamed fear, a quiet sense of despair. How many of our contemporaries have built broken and empty cisterns in a desperate search for meaning, the ultimate meaning that only love can give?"

  "The Church also needs this renewal!" the Holy Father exclaimed. "She needs your faith, your idealism and your generosity, so that she can always be young in the Spirit!"

  Pope Benedict encouraged the young people to open their hearts to the power of the Holy Spirit. "I address this plea in a special way", he said, "to those of you whom the Lord is calling to the priesthood and the consecrated life. Do not be afraid to say 'yes' to Jesus, to find your joy in doing His will, giving yourself completely to the pursuit of holiness, and using all your talents in the service of others!"

  Referring then to the Sacrament of Confirmation which he was about to impart upon a number of young people, he asked those present to reflect upon the significance of receiving the "seal" of the Holy Spirit. "It means", he explained, "being indelibly marked, inalterably changed, a new creation". It means "not being afraid to stand up for Christ, letting the truth of the Gospel permeate the way we see, think and act, as we work for the triumph of the civilisation of love".
PV-AUSTRALIA/WYD MASS/SYDNEY                            VIS 20080720 (870)


VATICAN CITY, 20 JUL 2008 (VIS) - In the Angelus prayer following this morning's Mass, Benedict XVI presented young people with certain reflections upon the Virgin Mary, a young woman who received "the Lord's summons to dedicate her life to Him in a very particular way, a way that would involve the generous gift of herself, her womanhood, her motherhood.

  "Imagine how she must have felt", he added. "She was filled with apprehension, utterly overwhelmed at the prospect that lay before her. The angel understood her anxiety and immediately sought to reassure her. 'Do not be afraid, Mary. The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you'. It was the Spirit Who gave her the strength and courage to respond to the Lord's call, ... Who helped her to understand the great mystery that was to be accomplished through her".

  The Pope went on: "This scene is perhaps the pivotal moment in the history of God's relationship with His people. During the Old Testament, God revealed Himself partially, gradually, as we all do in our personal relationships. ... The Covenant with Israel was like ... a long engagement. Then came the definitive moment, the moment of marriage, the establishment of a new and everlasting covenant. As Mary stood before the Lord, she represented the whole of humanity. In the angel's message, it was as if God made a marriage proposal to the human race. And in our name, Mary said yes.

  "In fairy tales, the story ends there, and all 'live happily ever after'. In real life it is not so simple. For Mary there were many struggles ahead, as she lived out the consequences of the 'yes' that she had given to the Lord. Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce her heart. When Jesus was twelve years old, she experienced every parent's worst nightmare when, for three days, the child went missing. And after His public ministry, she suffered the agony of witnessing His crucifixion and death. Throughout her trials she remained faithful to her promise, sustained by the Spirit of fortitude. And she was gloriously rewarded".

  "We too must remain faithful to the 'yes' that we have given to the Lord's offer of friendship. We know that He will never abandon us, ... that He will always sustain us through the gifts of the Spirit. Mary accepted the Lord's 'proposal' in our name. So let us turn to her and ask her to guide us as we struggle to remain faithful to the life-giving relationship that God has established with each one of us".

  After the Angelus, the Holy Father pronounced greetings in Italian, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese. He then bid farewell to the young people with these words: "The time has come for me to say good-bye - or rather, to say arrivederci! I thank you all for your participation in World Youth Day 2008, here in Sydney, and I look forward to seeing you again in three years' time. World Youth Day 2011 will take place in Madrid, Spain. Until then, let us continue to pray for one another, and let us joyfully bear witness to Christ before the world".
PV-AUSTRALIA/ANGELUS/SYDNEY                            VIS 20080720 (550)


VATICAN CITY, 20 JUL 2008 (VIS) - At 6 p.m. today, Benedict XVI met with organisers and benefactors of World Youth Day in a two-stage encounter that took place first in the reception hall and then in the chapter house of Cathedral House in Sydney.

  "I thank you personally", said the Pope, "not only for those sacrifices, but even more for the confidence you have shown in our young people and your trust in God's grace at work in their hearts. Let us pray that the investment which so many of you have made in them will bear fruit in their own lives, for the life of Christ's Church and for the future of our world!"

  "St. Paul, who devoted his entire life to the service of the Gospel, reminds us that 'it is more blessed to give than to receive'. Your generosity and sacrifice have been an essential, yet often hidden, ingredient in the success of this World Youth Day. May the spiritual joy, the satisfaction and the fulfilment that we have all experienced in these days, be an unfailing source of blessings in your own lives. May you never doubt the truth of our Lord's promise that, whenever we give our creativity, energy, resources, and our very selves to Him, we will gain them back abundantly".

  Following the meeting, the Holy Father dined in private and spent the night in Cathedral House.
PV-AUSTRALIA/ORGANISERS/SYDNEY                        VIS 20080720 (250)

Saturday, July 19, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 19 JUL 2008 (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. today, the Pope celebrated Mass for bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians and religious at St. Mary's Cathedral in Sydney. The cathedral is dedicated to Our Lady Help of Christians, patroness of Australia.

  In his homily the Pope made reference to the new altar, which he dedicated during the ceremony, pointing out that "in today's liturgy the Church reminds us that, like this altar, we too have been consecrated, set 'apart' for the service of God and the building up of His Kingdom. All too often, however, we find ourselves immersed in a world that would set God 'aside'. In the name of human freedom and autonomy, God's name is passed over in silence, religion is reduced to private devotion, and faith is shunned in the public square. At times this mentality, so completely at odds with the core of the Gospel, can even cloud our own understanding of the Church and her mission.

  "We too", he added, "can be tempted to make the life of faith a matter of mere sentiment, thus blunting its power to inspire a consistent vision of the world and a rigorous dialogue with the many other visions competing for the minds and hearts of our contemporaries.

  "Yet history", he continued, "shows that the question of God will never be silenced, and that indifference to the religious dimension of human existence ultimately diminishes and betrays man himself. Is that not the message which is proclaimed by the magnificent architecture of this cathedral? Is that not the mystery of faith which will be proclaimed from this altar at every celebration of the Eucharist?"

  "Wherever man is diminished, the world around us is also diminished; it loses its ultimate meaning and strays from its goal. What emerges is a culture, not of life, but of death. How could this be considered 'progress'? It is a backward step, a form of regression which ultimately dries up the very sources of life for individuals and all of society".

  After indicating that "today's liturgy offers an eloquent symbol of that progressive spiritual transformation to which each of us is called", the Pope expressed the hope that "this celebration, in the presence of the Successor of Peter, may be a moment of rededication and renewal for the whole Church in Australia".

  He went on: "Here I would like to pause to acknowledge the shame which we have all felt as a result of the sexual abuse of minors by some clergy and religious in this country. Indeed, I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering the victims have endured, and I assure them that, as their pastor, I too share in their suffering. These misdeeds, which constitute so grave a betrayal of trust, deserve unequivocal condemnation. They have caused great pain and have damaged the Church's witness. I ask all of you to support and assist your bishops, and to work together with them in combating this evil. Victims should receive compassion and care, and those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice. It is an urgent priority to promote a safer and more wholesome environment, especially for young people".

  Turning then to address young religious and seminarians, the Pope encouraged them to "enter sincerely and deeply into the discipline and spirit of your programmes of formation. Walk in Christ's light daily through fidelity to personal and liturgical prayer, nourished by meditation on the inspired word of God. ... Make the daily celebration of the Eucharist the centre of your life".

  "Model your lives daily", he told them, "on the Lord's own loving self-oblation in obedience to the will of the Father. You will then discover the freedom and joy which can draw others to the Love which lies beyond all other loves as their source and their ultimate fulfilment.

  "Never forget that celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom means embracing a life completely devoted to love, a love that enables you to commit yourselves fully to God's service and to be totally present to your brothers and sisters, especially those in need. The greatest treasures that you share with other young people - your idealism, your generosity, your time and energy - these are the very sacrifices which you are placing upon the Lord's altar. May you always cherish this beautiful charism which God has given you for His glory and the building up of the Church!"

  Following Mass, Benedict XVI returned to Cathedral House where he had lunch with Australian bishops and his entourage.
PV-AUSTRALIA/MASS ST. MARY'S/SYDNEY                    VIS 20080719 (770)


VATICAN CITY, 19 JUL 2008 (VIS) - Shortly before 7 p.m. today, Benedict XVI arrived at Randwick Racecourse, the largest in Australia, where he presided at the World Youth Day prayer vigil with thousands of young people. The site, which has capacity for 300,000 people, has also hosted events with Paul VI (in 1970) and John Paul II (in 1986). The beatification ceremony Sr. Mary MacKillop, presided by John Paul II, was also held here in 1995.

  The prayer vigil began with the racecourse in darkness, gradually illuminated by torches borne by dancers on the podium, representing the opening to the Holy Spirit. Subsequently, the World Youth Day cross and flag were positioned on the stage in anticipation of the Pope's arrival, who entered accompanied by 12 pilgrims while the assembly sang the hymn "Our Lady of the Southern Cross".

  An indigenous woman lit the candles carried by the 12 pilgrims, who in their turn lit those of the assembly and of the bishops. Seven young people then invoked the Holy Spirit through the intercession of the patrons of WYD.

  "Tonight we focus our attention on how to become witnesses", the Pope told the young people in his address. "You are already well aware that our Christian witness is offered to a world which in many ways is fragile. The unity of God's creation is weakened by wounds which run particularly deep when social relations break apart, or when the human spirit is all but crushed through the exploitation and abuse of persons. Indeed, society today is being fragmented by a way of thinking that is inherently short-sighted, because it disregards the full horizon of truth, the truth about God and about us. By its nature, relativism fails to see the whole picture. It ignores the very principles which enable us to live and flourish in unity, order and harmony".

  "Unity and reconciliation cannot be achieved through our efforts alone. God has made us for one another and only in God and His Church can we find the unity we seek. Yet, in the face of imperfections and disappointments - both individual and institutional - we are sometimes tempted to construct artificially a 'perfect' community. That temptation is not new. The history of the Church includes many examples of attempts to bypass or override human weaknesses or failures in order to create a perfect unity, a spiritual utopia".

  Yet, the Pope went on, "such attempts to construct unity in fact undermine it. To separate the Holy Spirit from Christ present in the Church's institutional structure would compromise the unity of the Christian community, which is precisely the Spirit's gift! ... Unfortunately the temptation to 'go it alone' persists. Some today portray their local community as somehow separate from the so-called institutional Church, by speaking of the former as flexible and open to the Spirit and the latter as rigid and devoid of the Spirit.

  "Unity is of the essence of the Church", he added, "it is a gift we must recognise and cherish. Tonight, let us pray for the resolve to nurture unity: contribute to it! resist any temptation to walk away! For it is precisely the comprehensiveness, the vast vision, of our faith - solid yet open, consistent yet dynamic, true yet constantly growing in insight - that we can offer our world".

  "Be watchful! Listen!" the Holy Father told his audience. "Through the dissonance and division of our world, can you hear the concordant voice of humanity?" he asked them. What emerges, he said, is "the same human cry for recognition, for belonging, for unity. Who satisfies that essential human yearning to be one, to be immersed in communion, ... to be led to truth? The Holy Spirit! This is the Spirit's role: to bring Christ's work to fulfilment. Enriched with the Spirit's gifts, you will have the power to move beyond the piecemeal, the hollow utopia, the fleeting, to offer the consistency and certainty of Christian witness!"

  "The Holy Spirit has been in some ways the neglected person of the Blessed Trinity. A clear understanding of the Spirit almost seems beyond our reach", said Pope Benedict, going on to explain, however, that St. Augustine comes to our aid with his three "particular insights" about the Holy Spirit "as the bond of unity within the Blessed Trinity: unity as communion, unity as abiding love, and unity as giving and gift".

  St. Augustine affirms, Benedict XVI recalled, "that the two words 'Holy' and 'Spirit' refer to what is divine about God; in other words what is shared by the Father and the Son: their communion. So, if the distinguishing characteristic of the Holy Spirit is to be what is shared by the Father and the Son, Augustine concluded that the Spirit's particular quality is unity".

  "True unity could never be founded upon relationships which deny the equal dignity of other persons. Nor is unity simply the sum total of the groups through which we sometimes attempt to 'define' ourselves. In fact, only in the life of communion is unity sustained and human identity fulfilled: we recognise the common need for God, we respond to the unifying presence of the Holy Spirit, and we give ourselves to one another in service".

  Augustine's second insight concerns love, the Pope explained. "Ideas or voices which lack love - even if they seem sophisticated or knowledgeable - cannot be 'of the Spirit'", he said. "Furthermore, love has a particular trait: ... to abide. By its nature love is enduring". Thus "we catch a further glimpse of how much the Holy Spirit offers our world: love which dispels uncertainty; love which overcomes the fear of betrayal; love which carries eternity within; the true love which draws us into a unity that abides!"

  As for the third insight, "the Holy Spirit as gift", Benedict XVI said: "The Holy Spirit is God eternally giving Himself; like a never-ending spring He pours forth nothing less than Himself. In view of this ceaseless gift, we come to see the limitations of all that perishes, the folly of the consumerist mindset. We begin to understand why the quest for novelty leaves us unsatisfied and wanting. Are we not looking for an eternal gift? The spring that will never run dry?"

  "Dear young people, we have seen that it is the Holy Spirit Who brings about the wonderful communion of believers in Jesus Christ. True to His nature as giver and gift alike, He is even now working through you. Inspired by the insights of St. Augustine: let unifying love be your measure; abiding love your challenge; self-giving love your mission!"

  "Let us invoke the Holy Spirit: He is the artisan of God's works", the Pope concluded. "Let His gifts shape you! Just as the Church travels the same journey with all humanity, so too you are called to exercise the Spirit's gifts amidst the ups and downs of your daily life. Let your faith mature through your studies, work, sport, music and art. Let it be sustained by prayer and nurtured by the Sacraments. ... In the end, life is not about accumulation. It is much more than success. To be truly alive is to be transformed from within, open to the energy of God's love. In accepting the power of the Holy Spirit you too can transform your families, communities and nations. Set free the gifts! Let wisdom, courage, awe and reverence be the marks of greatness!"

  Having concluded his remarks, 24 catechumens was presented to the Holy Father, upon whom he will impart the Sacrament of Confirmation tomorrow. The prayer vigil will continue through the night, with the Eucharist adoration alternating with moments of silence in preparation for tomorrow's Mass.
PV-AUSTRALIA/VIGIL/RANDWICK SYDNEY                        VIS 20080719 (1300)

Friday, July 18, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 18 JUL 2008 (VIS) - This morning, after celebrating Mass in the chapel of Cathedral House in Sydney, the Holy Father received in private audiences Marie Bashir, governor of New South Wales; Morris Iemma, premier of New South Wales, and Clover Moore, mayor of Sydney, each accompanied by members of their family.

  Shortly before 10.30 a.m., Benedict XVI went to the crypt of St. Mary's Cathedral where he presided at an ecumenical meeting with 40 representatives of other Churches and Christian confessions, and with members of the New South Wales Ecumenical Council. Following introductory greetings from Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, and Anglican Bishop Robert Forsyth of Sydney, the Pope pronounced an address:

  "Australia is a country marked by much ethnic and religious diversity", he said, "a nation which recognises the importance of religious freedom. This is a fundamental right which ... allows citizens to act upon values which are rooted in their deepest beliefs, contributing thus to the well-being of society".

  Benedict XVI mentioned the second millennium of the birth of St. Paul which the Church is celebrating this year, recalling how the Apostle of the Gentiles affirmed that through Baptism we become members of the Body of Christ. "This Sacrament, entryway to the Church and 'bond of unity'", said the Pope, "is the point of departure for the entire ecumenical movement. Yet it is not the final destination. The road of ecumenism ultimately points towards a common celebration of the Eucharist, which Christ entrusted to His Apostles as the Sacrament of the Church's unity par excellence".

  "For this reason, a candid dialogue concerning the place of the Eucharist - stimulated by a renewed and attentive study of scripture, patristic writings, and documents from across the two millennia of Christian history - will undoubtedly help to advance the ecumenical movement and unify our witness to the world".

  The ecumenical movement has, the Pope observed, "reached a critical juncture. To move forward, we must continually ask God to renew our minds with the Holy Spirit, Who speaks to us through the scriptures and guides us into all truth. We must guard against any temptation to view doctrine as divisive and hence an impediment to the seemingly more pressing and immediate task of improving the world in which we live".

  "The more closely we strive for a deeper understanding of the divine mysteries, the more eloquently our works of charity will speak of God's bountiful goodness and love towards all. ... Ecumenical dialogue advances not only through an exchange of ideas but by a sharing in mutually enriching gifts. An 'idea' aims at truth; a 'gift' expresses love. Both are essential to dialogue. Opening ourselves to accept spiritual gifts from other Christians quickens our ability to perceive the light of truth which comes from the Holy Spirit.

  "St. Paul", Pope Benedict added, "teaches that it is within the 'koinonia' of the Church that we have access to and the means of safeguarding the truth of the Gospel, for the Church is 'built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets' with Jesus Himself as the cornerstone".

  "Every element of the Church's structure is important, yet all of them would falter and crumble without the cornerstone Who is Christ. As 'fellow citizens' of the 'household of God', Christians must work together to ensure that the edifice stands strong so that others will be attracted to enter and discover the abundant treasures of grace within. As we promote Christian values, we must not neglect to proclaim their source by giving a common witness to Jesus Christ the Lord".

  Following the ceremony, Benedict XVI went to the chapter house of the cathedral where he met with 40 representatives of other religions.
PV-AUSTRALIA/ECUMENICAL MEETING/SYDNEY                    VIS 20080718 (630)


VATICAN CITY, 18 JUL 2008 (VIS) - Following today's ecumenical meeting, the Pope met with representatives of other religions in the chapter house of St. Mary's Cathedral in Sydney.

  Having been greeted by a representative from the Jewish community, and another from the Muslim community, the Pope began his talk by reiterating once again that Australia "is a nation that holds freedom of religion in high regard".

  "A harmonious relationship between religion and public life is all the more important at a time when some people have come to consider religion as a cause of division rather than a force for unity. In a world threatened by sinister and indiscriminate forms of violence, the unified voice of religious people urges nations and communities to resolve conflicts through peaceful means and with full regard for human dignity".

  "Religious sense", he said, "leads us to meet the needs of others and to search for concrete ways to contribute to the common good. Religions have a special role in this regard, for they teach people that authentic service requires sacrifice and self-discipline, which in turn must be cultivated through self-denial, temperance and a moderate use of the world's goods".

  "These values, I am sure you will agree, are particularly important to the adequate formation of young people, who are so often tempted to view life itself as a commodity", said Benedict XVI.

  After indicating that "the world's religions draw constant attention to the wonder of human existence", the Pope explained how "men and women are endowed with the ability not only to imagine how things might be better, but to invest their energies to make them better. ... Yet religion, by reminding us of human finitude and weakness, also enjoins us not to place our ultimate hope in this passing world".

  The Church, said Pope Benedict, "approaches dialogue believing that the true source of freedom is found in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Christians believe it is He Who fully discloses the human potential for virtue and goodness, and He Who liberates us from sin and darkness. The universality of human experience, which transcends all geographical boundaries and cultural limitations, makes it possible for followers of religions to engage in dialogue so as to grapple with the mystery of life's joys and sufferings".

  "My dear friends, I have come to Australia as an ambassador of peace. ... Our effort to bring about reconciliation between peoples springs from, and is directed to, that truth which gives purpose to life. Religion offers peace, but more importantly, it arouses within the human spirit a thirst for truth and a hunger for virtue. May we encourage everyone - especially the young - to marvel at the beauty of life, to seek its ultimate meaning, and to strive to realise its sublime potential!"

  Following the meeting, the Holy Father returned to Cathedral House where he had lunch with Cardinal George Pell and twelve young people from various countries: a young man and young woman from each of the continents, and a young man and young woman from Australia.


VATICAN CITY, 18 JUL 2008 (VIS) - At 3 p.m. local time today on the square in front of St. Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, Benedict XVI led the first station of the Way of the Cross, which is traditionally celebrated by young people during World Youth Days. At the end of his prayer, the Pope descended into the crypt of the cathedral to follow a televised transmission of the remaining stations of the Cross through the streets of Sydney. The event was also shown on giant screens set up along the route.

  At the end of the Way of the Cross, the Pope travelled by car to the University of Notre Dame Australia, which was founded by an Act of the Parliament of Western Australia in 1989 and enrolled its first students in 1992. The institution's various faculties focus on Catholic pastoral concern for ethical and humanistic values.

  On his arrival, the Pope was greeted by the chancellor of the university who accompanied him to the Sacred Heart chapel. There the pontiff met young people with histories of drug addiction and other problems, who are following the "Alive" rehabilitation programme.

  The name of the rehabilitation programme was the central focus of the Holy Father's remarks. He recalled Moses' words in the Old Testament: "'I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live in the love of the Lord your God, ... for in this your life consists'.

  "It was clear what they had to do", the Pope explained, "they had to turn away from other gods and worship the true God Who had revealed himself to Moses - and they had to obey His commandments. You might think that in today's world, people are unlikely to start worshipping other gods. But sometimes people worship 'other gods' without realising it. False 'gods' ... are nearly always associated with the worship of three things: material possessions, possessive love, or power".

  "Material possessions, in themselves, are good. We would not survive for long without money, clothing and shelter. ... Yet if we are greedy, if we refuse to share what we have with the hungry and the poor, then we make our possessions into a false god. How many voices in our materialist society tell us that happiness is to be found by acquiring as many possessions and luxuries as we can! But this is to make possessions into a false god. Instead of bringing life, they bring death.

  "Authentic love is obviously something good", the Pope continued. "When we love, we become most fully ourselves, most fully human. But ... people often think they are being loving when actually they are being possessive or manipulative. People sometimes treat others as objects to satisfy their own needs. ... How easy it is to be deceived by the many voices in our society that advocate a permissive approach to sexuality, without regard for modesty, self-respect or the moral values that bring quality to human relationships!"

  "The power God has given us to shape the world around us is obviously something good. Used properly and responsibly, it enables us to transform people's lives. ... Yet how tempting it can be to grasp at power for its own sake, to seek to dominate others or to exploit the natural environment for selfish purposes!"

  "The cult of material possessions, the cult of possessive love and the cult of power often lead people to attempt to 'play God': to try to seize total control, with no regard for the wisdom or the commandments that God has made known to us. This is the path that leads towards death. By contrast, worship of the one true God means recognising in Him the source of all goodness, ... that is the way to choose life".

  Benedict XVI then referred to the personal life stories of many members of the community, who made "choices that led you down a path which, however attractive it appeared at the time, only led you deeper into misery and abandonment". And he acknowledged their "courage in choosing to turn back onto the path of life".

  "Dear friends", he concluded, "I see you as ambassadors of hope to others in similar situations. You can convince them of the need to choose the path of life and shun the path of death, because you speak from experience. All through the Gospels, it was those who had taken wrong turnings who were particularly loved by Jesus, because once they recognised their mistake, they were all the more open to His healing message. ... It was those who were willing to rebuild their lives who were most ready to listen to Jesus and become His disciples. You can follow in their footsteps, you too can grow particularly close to Jesus because you have chosen to turn back towards Him".
PV-AUSTRALIA/DISADVANTAGED YOUTH/SYDNEY                    VIS 20080718 (820)


VATICAN CITY, 18 JUL 2008 (VIS) - On Saturday and Sunday 19 and 20 July, the Vatican Information Service will offer its readers two special editions on the prayer vigil and Mass to be presided by the Pope in Sydney, Australia, for 23rd World Youth Day.
.../.../...                                    VIS 20080718 (60)

Thursday, July 17, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 17 JUL 2008 (VIS) - After celebrating Mass in private at Sydney's Cathedral House, the Pope travelled to Government House, an elegant neo-Gothic structure built between 1837 and 1845, where the welcome ceremony took place.

  The Holy Father was welcomed in the gardens by Michael Jeffery, governor general of Australia, and by Kevin Rudd, prime minister. Also present were political and civil authorities, and a number of prelates of the Church in Australia.

  In his address the Holy Father asked what it is that motivates so many young people to undertake such a long journey in order to participate in World Youth Day. "They are", he explained, "eager to take part in an event which brings into focus the high ideals that inspire them, and they return home filled with hope and renewed in their resolve to contribute to the building of a better world. For me it is a joy to be with them, to pray with them and to celebrate the Eucharist with them. World Youth Day fills me with confidence for the future of the Church and the future of our world".

  "For thousands of years before the arrival of Western settlers, the sole inhabitants of this land were indigenous peoples, the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders", the Holy Father remarked. "Thanks to the Australian Government's courageous decision to acknowledge the injustices committed against the indigenous peoples in the past, concrete steps are now being taken to achieve reconciliation based on mutual respect. Rightly, you are seeking to close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians regarding life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity! This example of reconciliation offers hope to peoples all over the world who long to see their rights affirmed and their contribution to society acknowledged and promoted".

  The Pope went on to highlight the contribution made by Catholics to building the nation, "particularly in the fields of education and healthcare". In this context he mentioned Blessed Mary MacKillop, "one of the most outstanding figures in this country's history".

  Referring then to the "the wonder of God's creation" in Australia, the Holy Father pointed out that the country "is making a serious commitment to address its responsibility to care for the natural environment". Likewise it "has generously supported international peace-keeping operations, contributing to conflict resolution in the Pacific, in Southeast Asia and elsewhere".

  After recalling how the theme of this World Youth Day is inspired by the third Person of the Blessed Trinity, Benedict XVI expressed the hope that "the Holy Spirit will bring spiritual renewal to this land, to the Australian people, to the Church throughout Oceania and indeed to the ends of the earth".

  "Through the Spirit's action, may the young people gathered here for World Youth Day have the courage to become saints! This is what the world needs more than anything else", he concluded.

  Following the welcome ceremony, the Pope visited the Mary MacKillop Memorial, site of the tomb of the first Australian blessed who also co-founded the Sisters of St. Joseph. He then went on to Admiralty House where he paid a courtesy visit to Governor General Michael Jeffery and held a meeting with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.


VATICAN CITY, 17 JUL 2008 (VIS) - At 2.35 p.m. Australian time today, the Holy Father travelled to Rose Bay Quay in Sydney where he was greeted by elders of Australia's Aboriginal peoples. During the ceremony, songs were sung in the local Aboriginal dialect and in other languages of the indigenous peoples of Oceania.

  The Pope then boarded the ship "Sydney 2000" to cover the six nautical miles separating him from Bangaroo East Darling Harbour where he would be welcomed by thousands of young participants in World Youth Day. Benedict XVI, accompanied by Cardinals Tarcisio Bertone, George Pell and Stanislaw Rylko, stood at the prow of the vessel on the second deck, while the first and third decks were occupied by young people waving WYD flags.

  A fleet of smaller boats, also carrying young people, accompanied the papal vessel to the quay at Bangaroo which, in tribute to the origins of the city, takes its name from the wife of a local Aborigine chief. On his arrival, the Pope was greeted by a group of young Australian Aborigines and a group of young people from the Pacific area, who sang indigenous songs and "Tu es Petrus".

  In his address, the Pope thanked the Aboriginal elders who had welcomed him, asking them to transmit his "heartfelt greetings to your peoples". He went on: "I am deeply moved to stand on your land, knowing the suffering and injustices it has borne, but aware too of the healing and hope that are now at work, rightly bringing pride to all Australian citizens".

  "Standing before me I see a vibrant image of the Universal Church. The variety of nations and cultures from which you hail shows that indeed Christ's Good News is for everyone; it has reached the ends of the earth. Yet I know too that a good number of you are still seeking a spiritual homeland. Some of you, most welcome among us, are not Catholic or Christian. Others of you perhaps hover at the edge of parish and Church life. To you I wish to offer encouragement: step forward into Christ's loving embrace; recognise the Church as your home. No one need remain on the outside, for from the day of Pentecost the Church has been one and universal".

  Benedict XVI praised "the majestic splendour of Australia's natural beauty" which evokes "a profound sense of awe. It is as though one catches glimpses of the Genesis creation story: light and darkness, the sun and the moon, the waters, the earth, and living creatures; all of which are 'good' in God's eyes".

  Yet "there are also scars which mark the surface of our earth, erosion, deforestation, the squandering of the world's mineral and ocean resources in order to fuel an insatiable consumption. .... And we discover that not only the natural but also the social environment - the habitat we fashion for ourselves - has its scars; wounds indicating that something is amiss; ... a poison which threatens to corrode what is good, reshape who we are, and distort the purpose for which we have been created. Examples abound, as you yourselves know. Among the more prevalent are alcohol and drug abuse, and the exaltation of violence and sexual degradation, often presented through television and the internet as entertainment.

  "I ask myself", the Pope added, "could anyone standing face to face with people who actually do suffer violence and sexual exploitation 'explain' that these tragedies, portrayed in virtual form, are considered merely 'entertainment'? There is also something sinister which stems from the fact that freedom and tolerance are so often separated from truth. This is fuelled by the notion, widely held today, that there are no absolute truths to guide our lives. Relativism, by indiscriminately giving value to practically everything, has made 'experience' all-important".

  "Life is not governed by chance; it is not random. Your very existence has been willed by God, blessed and given a purpose! Life is not just a succession of events or experiences. ... It is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this - in truth, in goodness, and in beauty - that we find happiness and joy. Do not be fooled by those who see you as just another consumer in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth.

  "Christ offers more! Indeed He offers everything! Only He Who is the Truth can be the Way and hence also the Life". But "the task of witness is not easy. There are many today who claim that God should be left on the sidelines, and that religion and faith, while fine for individuals, should either be excluded from the public forum altogether or included only in the pursuit of limited pragmatic goals. This secularist vision seeks to explain human life and shape society with little or no reference to the Creator. It presents itself as neutral, impartial and inclusive of everyone. But in reality, like every ideology, secularism imposes a world-view. If God is irrelevant to public life, then society will be shaped in a godless image, and debate and policy concerning the public good will be driven more by consequences than by principles grounded in truth".

  "Experience shows", said Pope Benedict, "that turning our back on the Creator's plan provokes a disorder which has inevitable repercussions on the rest of the created order. When God is eclipsed, our ability to recognise the natural order, purpose, and the 'good' begins to wane".

  The Holy Father invited young people to be "alert to the signs of turning our back on the moral structure with which God has endowed humanity" and to "recognise that the innate dignity of every individual rests on his or her deepest identity - as image of the Creator - and therefore that human rights are universal, based on the natural law, and not something dependent upon negotiation or patronage, let alone compromise. And so we are led to reflect on what place the poor and the elderly, immigrants and the voiceless, have in our societies. How can it be that domestic violence torments so many mothers and children? How can it be that the most wondrous and sacred human space - the womb - has become a place of unutterable violence?"

  "God's creation is one and it is good", Pope Benedict concluded. "The concerns for non-violence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for our environment are of vital importance for humanity. They cannot, however, be understood apart from a profound reflection upon the innate dignity of every human life from conception to natural death: a dignity conferred by God Himself and thus inviolable.

  "Our world has grown weary of greed, exploitation and division, of the tedium of false idols and piecemeal responses, and the pain of false promises. Our hearts and minds are yearning for a vision of life where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. This is the work of the Holy Spirit! This is the hope held out by the Gospel of Jesus Christ".

  Following the ceremony, the Holy Father travelled by popemobile to Cathedral House, where he spent the night. Along his route he was greeted by many people gathered around Sydney Opera House, symbol of the city and, since 2007, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
PV-AUSTRALIA/WELCOME/SYDNEY                            VIS 20080717 (1270)


VATICAN CITY, 17 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Mbanza Congo, Angola, presented by Bishop Serafim Shyngo-Ya-Hombo O.F.M. Cap., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Fr. Ignatius Chama of the clergy of Mansa, Zambia, director of the diocesan development office and chaplain of the diocesan congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, as bishop of Mpika (area 120,000, population 480,000, Catholics 118,000, priests 39, religious 67), Zambia. The bishop-elect was born in Mutomo-Kawambwa, Zambia in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1984.
RE:NER/.../SHYNGO:CHAMA                            VIS 20080717 (110)


VATICAN CITY, 17 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

- Archbishop Rafael Bello Ruiz, emeritus of Acapulco, Mexico, on 6 July at the age of 82.

- Bishop Jose Carlos de Lima Vaz S.J., emeritus of Petropolis, Brazil, on 9 July at the age of 79.

- Archbishop Eladio Vicuna Aranguiz, emeritus of Puerto Montt, Chile, on 29 June at the age of 97.
.../DEATHS/...                                    VIS 20080717 (80)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 16 JUL 2008 (VIS) - At 6 p.m. local time today (10 a.m. in Rome), the Holy Father left the Kenthurst Study Centre in Sydney where he has spent the first days of his trip to Australia resting. From the centre he was taken by car to Cathedral House in Sydney, his residence until the end of his apostolic visit which officially begins tomorrow with the welcome ceremony at Government House.
PV-AUSTRALIA/DEPARTURE KENTHURST/SYDNEY                    VIS 20080716 (90)

Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service