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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...[]

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Friday, November 28, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present a new album of songs inspired by the poetry of John Paul II - Karol Wojtyla. The songs on the album - which is entitled "Amore infinito" (Infinite Love) and has been produced by "Deutsche Grammophon" - were recorded by Placido Domingo.

  Participating in today's press conference were Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Placido Domingo; Msgr. Giuseppe A. Scotti, president of the management board of the Vatican Publishing House; Michael Lang, president of "Deutsche Grammophon"; Fernando Marin, president of "Tredici S.p.A.", and Adrian Berwick, executive producer of the "Amore infinito" project.

  Bishop Crepaldi indicated that "this unique initiative brings together two art forms, poetry and music which, brilliantly combined, have produced an album entitled 'Amore infinito'".

  "Listening to these songs, so magnificently interpreted by Placido Domingo and the London Symphony Orchestra, brings back the memory of John Paul II and of an entire life, frequently marked by dramatic episodes, lived with a passion for God and for man. What is the secret of this 'Wojtylian' poetic, which he translated into so many poetical texts?" asked the bishop. "For John Paul II everything begins with God's 'yes' to man, everything arises from God's plan of 'infinite love'. God's 'yes' to man means 'yes' to his dignity, to his authentic needs. It means 'yes' to the world ... and to everything that is beautiful, good and just in life".

  The secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace went on to highlight how, "with His 'yes', it is as if God takes man by the hand and raises him above all other creatures. He assigns him an eternal destiny. The light of God's 'yes' to man illuminates all of existence, it gives us a better understanding of who man is and what is his destiny. It also gives us a better understanding of the authentic value of relations among men. Referring to our shared status of 'children' and of 'brothers' helps the 'grammar' of human relations, conforming them to the dignity of human beings and their true good.

  "God's original 'yes'", he added, "tells us that He calls man because He loves him, He calls him sacrificing Himself and this is something unheard of among religions, save for Christianity. At the root of Christianity there is not a 'yes' of man to God, but the opposite".

  Bishop Crepaldi concluded by noting that the texts of the songs "cover many subjects: family affections, work, war, homeland, etc, but all of them", he said, "are inspired by God's 'yes' to man, by the Infinite Love of God".

  Msgr. Scotti then explained that the "Amore infinito" album "draws respectfully from the words of Karol Wojtyla's poetry to exalt them and make them flow through music and song. ... Yet", he noted, "at the core is an encounter. The encounter of Placido Domingo with a man, a believer, a Pope, who showed him a certain outlook on life. Here, hence, is an artist, a person accustomed to scrutinising men and things through the spectrum of art, who could not but be attracted and fascinated by a great man, a Pope, who showed his a point of view that was true and worthy of attention".

  "In echoing Karol Wojtyla, Placido Domingo can tell us all, with the overwhelming power ... of his song, that 'the world is full of hidden powers which courageously I identify and name', ... that 'this love has explained all things, this love is everything for me' and then, fearlessly, to affirm with the same pride as John Paul II that 'Jesus came into the world to show us all the love of God'.

  "In a certain sense", Msgr. Scotti added, "Placido Domingo has achieved in this album what Benedict XVI wrote on 24 November for the 13th public session of the Pontifical Academies: 'we must regain an understanding of the intimate link binding the search for beauty to the search for truth and goodness'".

  "This work by Placido Domingo makes us aware that we have not yet fully delved into the rich human, cultural and spiritual heritage which Wojtyla showed us glimpses of. This heritage can help us to better understand ... that the world and history are entrusted to us, and that it is up to us, now, to become architects and builders of a future in which mankind and nature are reconciled with one another and with God, as has been made even more clear by the dramatic events we are seeing over these days".


VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Seven prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Chile, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Carlos Eduardo Pellegrin Barrera S.V.D. of Chillan.

    - Bishop Pedro Felipe Bacarreza Rodriguez of Los Angeles.

    - Bishop Manuel Camilo Vial Risopatron of Temuco.

    - Bishop Ignacio Francisco Ducasse Medina of Valdiviva.

    - Archbishop Manuel Gerardo Donso Donoso SS.CC. of La Serena, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Luis Gleisner Wobbe.

    - Bishop Gaspar Francisco Quintana Jorquera C.M.F. of Copiapo.

 - Archbishop Martin Krebs, apostolic nuncio to Guinea and Mali, accompanied by members of his family.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in separate audiences three prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Chile, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Cristian Caro Cordero of Puerto Montt.

    - Bishop Rene Osvaldo Rebolledo Salinas of Osorno.

    - Bishop Bernardo Miguel Bastres Florence S.D.B. of Punta Arenas.
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VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Bishop Marcel Utembi Tapa of Mahagi-Nioka, Democratic Republic of Congo, as archbishop of Kisangani (area 150,123, population 1,265,000, Catholics 575,020, priests 91, religious 193), Democratic Republic of Congo. The archbishop-elect was born in Luma, Democratic Republic of Congo in 1959, he was ordained a priest in 1984 and consecrated a bishop in 2002.

 - Fr. Jean-Pierre Batut of the clergy of the archdiocese of Paris, France, pastor of "Saint-Eugene et Sainte-Cecile", as auxiliary of Lyon (area 5,087, population 1,745,000, Catholics 1,207,000, priests 523, permanent deacons 59, religious 2,201), France. The bishop-elect was born in Paris in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1984.

 - Fr. William Avenya of the clergy of Makurdi, Nigeria, secretary general of AECWA, as auxiliary of the same diocese (area 24,461, population 3,288,000, Catholics 1,483,180, priests 157, religious 163). The bishop-elect was born in Ishangev Tiev, Nigeria in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1981.

 - Fr. Nicholas Souchu of the clergy of the diocese of Orleans, France, vicar general, as auxiliary of Rennes (area 6,775, population 930,000, Catholics 817,000, priests 410, permanent deacons 26, religious 1,352), France. The bishop-elect was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1986.
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Thursday, November 27, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 27 NOV 2008 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a telegram sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., in the Holy Father's name, to Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India, for the recent terrorist attacks in the city which have left more than 100 people dead and 300 injured:

  "Deeply concerned about the outbreak of violence in Mumbai, the Holy Father asks you kindly to convey his heartfelt condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in these brutal attacks, and to assure the public authorities, citizens, and all those affected of his spiritual closeness. His Holiness urgently appeals for an end to all acts of terrorism, which gravely offend the human family and severely destabilise the peace and solidarity needed to build a civilisation worthy of mankind's noble vocation to love God and neighbour. The Holy Father prays for the repose of the souls of the victims and implores God's gift of strength and comfort for those who are injured and in mourning".


VATICAN CITY, 27 NOV 2008 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. released the following declaration at midday today:

  "More than a fortnight has passed since the two Italian nuns, Sr. Maria Teresa Olivero and Sr. Caterina Giraudo, were abducted in Kenya, where they are well-known for their generous dedication to the very poor. The Holy Father is following the protraction of their kidnapping with concern and remains close in prayer to the suffering, not only of the two kidnapped nuns, but also to that of their families and of the "Contemplative Missionary Movement of Fr. de Foucauld", of which they are members. The hope is that this painful and gravely unjust situation, of which entirely innocent and praiseworthy people are victims, may be resolved as soon as possible".
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VATICAN CITY, 27 NOV 2008 (VIS) - In response to an article that appeared in an Israeli newspaper concerning a forthcoming trip by the Pope to the Holy Land, Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. made the following declaration:

  "I can confirm that contacts exist at a diplomatic level between the Holy See and Israel to study the possibility of a trip by the Pope to the Holy Land next year".
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VATICAN CITY, 27 NOV 2008 (VIS) - Made public today was an address by Msgr. Renato Volante, head of the Holy See delegation to the 35th special session of the Conference of the Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The meeting was called to examine the results of an evaluation into the management of the FAO and to analyse proposals to make the organisation better able to deal with problems related to the rural world.

  "The delegation of the Holy See does not want to offer technical solutions", said Msgr. Volante speaking English, "but rather to suggest an ideal orientation which may help in making concrete choices, focusing on the needs of each human person, especially when they are limited by conditions which compromise a dignified human life.

  "If we consider the data regarding FAO activities", he added, "it shows a constant and active engagement ... responding to the needs of the member States, in particular of those whose economic system requires new paths for the development of the agricultural sector and to satisfy the growing needs for food".

  "At the same time, looking at the future of FAO, it becomes clear that there are 'new' situations involving the agricultural sector which demand efforts by the organisation and its member States".

  "To bring about a reform of FAO, it is necessary to recognise that fighting against hunger is conditioned by multiple factors and by the motives inspiring it. But too often strategies are adopted which pursue particular goals rather then a holistic vision which ranks human needs first. Such an attitude produces negative effects in the rural sector, especially where poverty, underdevelopment, malnutrition and environmental degradation are more evident".

  "The delegation of the Holy See is firmly convinced that the FAO structure and its activities must underline the essential importance of agriculture in the development processes, not promoting mere management skills, but those far-sighted administrative criteria and interventions which will really respond to the needs".

  "This means that research aimed at improving agricultural production so as to meet the growing demand for food, must not overlook food security - which is the health of consumers - nor crop sustainability, i.e. environmental protection. For these objectives, invoked in different ways by every State as a 'priority', it is necessary that FAO must continue to enjoy the resources and the necessary trust of the international community as a whole".

  The head of the Holy See delegation concluded by saying that, "the Holy See, for its part, wants to reaffirm the availability of the Catholic Church, its structure and organisational bodies, to contribute to this effort so that everybody can receive his 'daily bread', as the motto of FAO itself reminds us: Fiat panis!'"
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VATICAN CITY, 27 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

    - Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, apostolic nuncio to Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway.

    - Six prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Chile, on their ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Pablo Lizama Riquelme of Antofagasta

    - Bishop Hector Eduardo Vargas Bastidas S.D.B. of Arica.

    - Bishop Marco Antonio Ordenes Fernandwez of Iquique.

    - Bishop Guillermo Patricio Vera Soto, prelate of Calama.

    - Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello S.D.B. of Concepcion, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop elect Pedro Ossandon Buljevic.
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VATICAN CITY, 27 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Florencio Armando Colin Cruz, canon of the cathedral chapter of "Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe" and pastor of the parish of "Capucinas", as auxiliary of Mexico (area 1,479, population 8,699,000, Catholics 7,580,684, priests 1,672, permanent deacons 130, religious 7,024), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Toluca, Mexico in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1982.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 26 NOV 2008 (VIS) - Continuing his series of catecheses on St. Paul, in this morning's general audience, held in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope spoke of the consequences deriving from justification by the faith and by the action of the Spirit in Christian life.

  In his Letter to the Galatians, the Apostle of the Gentiles "gives radical emphasis to the gratuitousness of justification" and "highlights the relationship between faith and works", said the Pope.

  In the same Letter, St, Paul says that "by bearing one another's burdens, believers fulfil the commandment of love. Justified by the gift of faith in Christ, we are called to live in Christ's love for others, because it is on this criterion that we will be judged at the end of our lives".

  "Christ's love for us ... claims us, welcomes us, embraces us, sustains us; it even torments us because it forces us not to live for ourselves alone, closed in our own selfishness, by for 'Him Who died and has risen for us'. The love of Christ makes us become, in Him, the 'new creation' that is part of his mystical Body which is the Church.

  "Seen in this light", the Holy Father added, "the central importance of justification without works, the main object of Paul's preaching, presents no contradiction to faith working through love, on the contrary it requires that our own faith be expressed in a life in accordance with the Spirit".

  Going on then to refer to "the unfounded conflict" some people have seen "between the theology of St. Paul and that of St. James", the Pope pointed out that while the former "is primarily concerned with showing that faith in Christ is necessary and sufficient, James stresses the consequent relationship between faith and works. Hence, for both Paul and James, faith working through love bears witness to the free gift of justification in Christ".

  The Pope noted how "we often fall into the same misunderstandings that characterised the community of Corinth. Those Christians thought that having been gratuitously justified in Christ by faith, 'all things are lawful for them'. Often, we too think it is lawful to create divisions within the Church, Body of Christ, celebrating the Eucharist without caring for our brethren in need, or aspiring to the most exalted charisms unaware that we are limbs of one another, etc. The consequences of a faith not incarnated in love are disastrous because it is reduced to the arbitrariness of subjectivism, harmful to us and to our fellow men and women".

  "What we must do", he went on, "is gain a renewed awareness that, precisely because we have been justified in Christ, we are no longer our own but have become temples of the Spirit and hence are called to glorify God in our bodies. We would undervalue the priceless value of justification if, bought at a high price by the blood of Christ, we did not glorify it with our body, with all our lives".

  "If the ethics which St. Paul proposes to believers do not deteriorate into forms of moralism but retain their importance for us today, this is because ... they are rooted in the individual and community relationship with Christ, to then take concrete form in a life lived according to the Spirit. The essential point is that Christian ethics do not arise from a system of commandments", the Pope concluded, "they are a consequence of our friendship with Christ. This friendship influences our lives, if it is real it is incarnated and fulfilled in love for others. That is why any form of ethical decline is not limited to the individual sphere but is, at the same time, a devaluation of individual and community faith, from which it derives and upon which it has an incisive effect".

  Having concluded his catechises, the Pope greeted Spanish-speaking pilgrims, mentioning the forthcoming "march to demand the release of hostages, which will take place this Friday in Colombia. I raise fervent prayers to God that this scourge may come to an end and that harmony and peace may soon be achieved in that beloved nation", he said.
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VATICAN CITY, 26 NOV 2008 (VIS) - Before delivering the catechesis at his general audience this morning, Benedict XVI addressed some words to His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia of the Armenians, who was attending the audience at the head of a delegation of Armenian bishops and lay faithful.

  "This fraternal visit", said the Pope speaking English, "is a significant occasion for strengthening the bonds of unity already existing between us, as we journey towards that full communion which is both the goal set before all Christ's followers and a gift to be implored daily from the Lord.

  "For this reason", he added, "I invoke the grace of the Holy Spirit on your pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, and I invite all present to pray fervently to the Lord that your visit, and our meetings, will mark a further step along the path towards full unity".

  The Holy Father told the patriarch of his "particular gratitude for your constant personal involvement in the field of ecumenism, especially in the International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, and in the World Council of Churches".

  The Pope continued: "On the exterior facade of the Vatican Basilica is a statue of St. Gregory the Illuminator, founder of the Armenian Church, whom one of your historians has called 'our progenitor and father in the Gospel'. The presence of this statue evokes the sufferings he endured in bringing the Armenian people to Christianity, but it also recalls the many martyrs and confessors of the faith whose witness bore rich fruit in the history of your people. Armenian culture and spirituality are pervaded by pride in this witness of their forefathers, who suffered with fidelity and courage in communion with the Lamb slain for the salvation of the world"

  "Together let us invoke the intercession of St. Gregory the Illuminator and above all of the Virgin Mother of God, so that they will enlighten our way and guide it towards the fullness of that unity which we all desire", he concluded.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 25 NOV 2008 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has sent a Message to Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, to mark the annual public session of the Pontifical Academies. The Pontifical Academy of Fine Arts and Literature "dei Virtuosi al Pantheon", which is organising the event this year, has chosen the theme: "The universality of beauty: a comparison between aesthetics and ethics".

  "We are reminded of the urgent need for a renewed dialogue between aesthetics and ethics, between beauty, truth and goodness", the Pope writes, "not only by contemporary cultural and artistic debate, but also by daily reality. In fact, at various levels, there is a dramatically-evident split ... between the two dimensions: that of the search for beauty - understood however in reductive terms as exterior form, as an appearance to be pursued at all costs - and that of the truth and goodness of actions undertaken to achieve certain ends.

  "Indeed", he adds, "searching for a beauty that is foreign to or separate from the human search for truth and goodness would become (as unfortunately happens) mere asceticism and, especially for the very young, a path leading to ephemeral values and to banal and superficial appearances, even a flight into an artificial paradise that masks inner emptiness".

  The Holy Father goes on to recall how he has on various occasions underlined the need "for a broadening of the horizons of reason" in order "to regain an understanding of the intimate link binding the search for beauty to the search for truth and goodness. ... And it such a commitment applies to everyone, it applies even more to believers, to the disciples of Christ, who are called by the Lord to 'give reasons' for all the beauty and truth of their faith".

  The beauty of the works undertaken by believers "to render glory unto the Father", in accordance with Christ's mandate, "demonstrates and expresses ... the goodness and profound truth of such gestures, as it does the coherence and the sanctity of those who accomplish them. ... Our witness must, then, draw nourishment from this beauty, ... and to this end we must know how to communicate with the language of images and symbols ... in order effectively to reach our contemporaries".

  Benedict XVI also mentions the recent Synod, during which bishops "emphasised the perennial importance 'beautiful witness' has for the announcement of the Gospel, and underlined how important it is to know how to read and scrutinise the beauty of works of art inspired by the faith ... in order to discover a unique path that brings us close to God and His Word".

  Finally, the Holy Father mentions John Paul II's Letter to Artists, "which invites us", writes Pope Benedict "to reflect upon ... the fruitful dialogue between Holy Scripture and various forms of art, whence countless masterpieces have emerged". Finally, the Pope launches an appeal to academics and artists, reminding them that their mission is "to arouse wonder at and desire for beauty, to form people's sensitivity and to nourish a passion for everything that is a genuine expression of human genius and a reflection of divine beauty".


VATICAN CITY, 25 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father erected the new diocese of Gomez Palacio (area 27,405, population 531,465, Catholics 475,129, priests 49, religious 70) Mexico, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Durango, making it a suffragan of the same metropolitan church. He appointed Bishop Jose Guadalupe Torres Campos, auxiliary of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, as first bishop of the new diocese.
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Monday, November 24, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 22 NOV 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received pilgrims from the Italian archdiocese of Amalfi - Cava de' Tirreni, who have come to Rome in the company of their pastor, Archbishop Orazio Soricelli. Their pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter bearing the relics of St. Andrew, patron of the archdiocese, is intended to mark the eighth centenary of the translation of that saint's body from Constantinople to Amalfi.

  The Pope pointed out that on 30 November, to mark the end of the Jubilee Year of the archdiocese of Amalfi - Cava de' Tirreni, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. will celebrate Mass in Amalfi cathedral. He also recalled how the culminating moment of the jubilee celebrations came on 8 May with a solemn commemoration presided by Cardinal Walter Kapser, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

  Throughout the Jubilee Year, he told the faithful from the archdiocese, "you have sought to give fresh impulse to your apostolic and missionary vocation, opening your hearts to the hopes for peace among people, and intensifying your prayers for the unity of all Christians. Vocation, mission and ecumenism are, then, the three keywords that have guided you through this spiritual and pastoral enterprise".

  On Sunday 23 November, Feast of Christ the King, "the Word of God will also remind us that the face of Christ, universal King, is that of a judge, because God is at one and the same time the good and merciful Shepherd and the righteous Judge", said Pope Benedict.

  "The criterion with which judgement is applied", he went on, "is of great importance. This criterion is love, real charity towards others, especially the 'little ones', people in greater need. ... Christ identifies Himself with the 'smallest of His brothers and sisters', and the final judgement will be a settling of accounts of what happened in earthly life".

  God "is not concerned with historical kingship, He wishes to reign in people's hearts and from there over the world. He is the King of the entire universe, yet ... the area in which His reign is at risk is in our own hearts because there God encounters our freedom. We, and we alone, can ... hinder His kingship over the world, over families, over society and over history".

  "Jesus wishes to associate us with His royalty. That is why He invites us to collaborate in the advent of His Kingdom of love, justice and peace. It is up to us to respond to Him, not with words but with deeds. By choosing the path of effective and generous love towards others, we allow Him to extend His lordship over time and space".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 NOV 2008 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square below.

  This Sunday, the last of the liturgical year and Solemnity of Christ the King, "the Gospel highlights the universal kingship of Christ the Judge with the stupendous parable of the Last Judgement", said the Pope. "The message it contains is extremely important: it is the truth of our final destiny and of the criteria with which we will be judged: 'I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me'".

  This episode "is part of our civilisation. It has marked the history of Christian peoples: their hierarchy of values, their institutions, their many charitable and social activities. Indeed, the Kingdom of Christ is not of this world, but accomplishes all the good that, thanks to God, exists in man and in history. If we put our love for neighbour into practice, in keeping with the Gospel message, then we make room for the lordship of God, and His Kingdom is realised among us. If, on the other hand, each thinks only of his or her own interests, the world cannot but fall to ruin".

  "The Kingdom of God is not a matter of honours and appearances", said the Holy Father. "The Lord has our good at heart; in other words, that each human being should have life and that especially the 'smallest' of His children may participate in the banquet He has prepared for everyone. This is why He has no time for the hypocritical expressions of those who say 'Lord, Lord', then ignore His commandments. In his eternal Kingdom, God welcomes those who struggle day after day to put His Word into effect".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 NOV 2008 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus, the Pope recalled the fact that tomorrow, 24 November, "the beatification will take place of 188 Japanese martyrs, both men and women, killed during the first half of the seventeenth century. On this occasion, so important for the Catholic community of Japan, I give assurances", he said, "of my spiritual closeness".

  Benedict XVI then went on to mention the fact that, on 29 November, Br. Jose Olallo Valdes of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God will be proclaimed a blessed in Cuba. "To his celestial protection", he said, "I entrust the Cuban people, especially the sick and healthcare workers". Speaking Spanish, the Pope directed a special greeting to Cuban pastors and faithful who will participate in the beatification ceremony at Camaguey, expressing the hope that "the intercession of the new blessed may help the Church in her evangelising mission, and bring renewed apostolic vitality to all Cubans who glory in being disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ".

  The Holy Father also directed particular greetings to Ukrainian pilgrims. "Over these days", he said, "we are commemorating the 75th anniversary of the 'Holodomor' - the great famine - which between 1932 and 1933 caused millions of deaths in Ukraine and in other regions of the Soviet Union during communist rule.

  "In the fervent hope that no political system may ever again, in the name of an ideology, deny human beings their rights, freedom and dignity", he added, "I give assurances of my prayers for all the innocent victims of that immense tragedy and call upon the Holy Mother of God to help nations continue along the path of reconciliation, and build the present and the future in mutual respect and in the sincere search for peace".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 NOV 2008 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia of the Armenians, presided at an ecumenical celebration held in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace. A delegation from the Catholicosate of Cilicia of the Armenians also participated in the event.

  In his English language greetings, the Pope recalled how the Catholicos is due to visit the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls where, with the monastic community of the basilica, he will be united in prayer "to the great host of Armenian saints and martyrs". In this context he mentioned "St. Nerses Shnorkhali and St. Nerses of Lambon who, as bishop of Tarsus, was known as 'the second Paul of Tarsus'". The testimony of these saints "culminated in the twentieth century, which proved a time of unspeakable suffering for your people", he said.

  "The faith and devotion of the Armenian people have been constantly sustained by the memory of the many martyrs who have borne witness to the Gospel down the centuries. May the grace of that witness continue to shape the culture of your nation and inspire in Christ's followers an ever greater trust in the saving and life-giving power of the Cross".

  Going on to refer to the dialogue between the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church, which "has benefited significantly" from the presence of Armenian delegates, the Holy Father expressed the hope that such dialogue will "clarify theological issues which have divided us in the past but now appear open to greater consensus. I am confident that the current work of the International Commission - devoted to the theme: 'The Nature, Constitution and Mission of the Church' - will enable many of the specific issues of our theological dialogue to find their proper context and resolution".

  "An increased understanding and appreciation of the apostolic tradition which we share will contribute to an ever more effective common witness to the spiritual and moral values without which a truly just and humane social order cannot exist. For this reason, I trust that new and practical means will be found to give expression to the common declarations we have already signed".

  Closing his remarks the Holy Father gave assurances of his "daily prayers and deep concern for the people of Lebanon and the Middle East. How can we not be grieved by the tensions and conflicts which continue to frustrate all efforts to foster reconciliation and peace at every level of civil and political life in the region?

  "Most recently we have all been saddened by the escalation of persecution and violence against Christians in parts of the Middle East and elsewhere. Only when the countries involved can determine their own destiny, and the various ethnic groups and religious communities accept and respect each other fully, will peace be built on the solid foundations of solidarity, justice and respect for the legitimate rights of individuals and peoples".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Four prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Chile, on their ad limina" visit:

    - Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop of Santiago de Chile, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Cristian Contreras Villarroel, Andres Artega Manieu and Fernando Natalio Chomali Garib.

 - Konji Sebati, ambassador of South Africa, on her farewell visit.

 - His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia of the Armenians.

  On Saturday 22 November, he received in audience Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, for the presentation of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal.
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VATICAN CITY, 24 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Paul Mandla Khumalo C.M.M. of Witbank, South Africa, as metropolitan archbishop of Pretoria (area 16,580, population 4,994,000, Catholics 192,510, priests 113, permanent deacons 11, religious 302), South Africa and as military ordinary for South Africa. The archbishop-elect was born in Saint Wendelin, South Africa in 1947, he was ordained a priest in 1973 and consecrated a bishop in 2002. He succeeds Archbishop Geroge Francis Daniel, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese and from the same office of military ordinary, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Desire Tsarahazana of Fenoarivo Atsinanana, Madagascar, as bishop of Toamasina (area 23,690, population 1,957,000, Catholics 771,000, priests 41, religious 138), Madagascar. He succeeds Bishop Rene Rakontondrabe, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Georges Varkey Puthiyakulangara M.E.P., diocesan director for Catholic education in the diocese of Mahajanga, Madagascar, as coadjutor of Port-Berge (area 23,367, population 579,000, Catholics 16,161, priests 16, religious 47), Madagascar. The bishop-elect was born in Endoor, India in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1982.

 - Appointed Fr. Jose Luis Gerardo Ponce de Leon I.M.C., secretary general and procurator general of the Consolata Missionaries, as apostolic vicar of Ingwavuma (area 12,309, population 617,923, Catholics 24,029, priests 7, religious 14), South Africa. The bishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1986.

  On Saturday 22 November it was made public that he appointed:

 - Cardinal Julian Herranz, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the 1,750th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Fructuosus and of the deacons St. Augurius and St. Eulogius, known as the proto-martyrs of Tarragona, due to be held in that Spanish city on 25 January 2009.

 - Bishop Joseph Ake Yapo of Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, as archbishop of Gagnoa (area 21,951, population 1,320,000, Catholics 132,000, priests 122, religious 129), Ivory Coast. The archbishop-elect was born in Memni, Ivory Coast in 1951, he was ordained a priest in 1978 and consecrated a bishop in 2001.

 - Fr. Silvester San of the clergy of Ende, Indonesia, rector of the major seminary of Ritapiret, Maumere, as bishop of Denpasar (area 25,756, population 8,171,781, Catholics 32,083, priests 36, religious 96), Indonesia. The bishop-elect was born in Maupongo, in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1988.

 - Fr. Ariel Edgardo Torrado Mosconi, pastor of the parish of "San Isidro Labrador", as auxiliary of Santiago del Estero (area 81,969, population 653,000, Catholics 587,000, priests 71, permanent deacons 13, religious 109), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in 25 de Mayo, Argentina in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1990.

 - Thomas Han Hong-soon as international auditor of the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.
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Friday, November 21, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 21 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today published the calendar of celebrations to be presided over by the Holy Father between the end of November 2008 and January 2009:


 - Saturday 29: At 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, First Vespers for the first Sunday of Advent.

 - Sunday 30: First Sunday of Advent. Pastoral visit to the Roman basilica of San Lorenzo for the 1,750th anniversary of the martyrdom of the deacon saint. Mass at 9.45 a.m.


 - Monday 8: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At 4 p.m. in Rome's Piazza di Spagna, homage to Mary Immaculate.

 - Wednesday 24: Vigil of the Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord. Midnight Mass in the Vatican Basilica.

 - Thursday 25: Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord. At midday from the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica, "Urbi et Orbi" blessing.

 - Wednesday 31: At 6 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, First Vespers of thanksgiving for the past year.


 - Thursday 1: Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and 42nd World Day of Peace. Mass in the Vatican Basilica at 10 a.m.

 - Tuesday 6: Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Mass in the Vatican Basilica at 10 a.m.

 - Sunday, 11: Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. Mass in the Sistine Chapel at 10 a.m., conferment of the Sacrament of Baptism upon a number of children.

 - Sunday 25: Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle. At 5.30 p.m. in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, celebration of Vespers.
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VATICAN CITY, 21 NOV 2008 (VIS) - His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia of the Armenians, whose See is located in the Lebanese town of Antelias, is scheduled to make an official visit to the Pope and the Church of Rome from 23 to 27 November.

  The Catholicosate was founded in Sis, capital of Cilicia, in the year 1441 following the move of the Catholicosate of All Armenians back to its original See of Etchmiadzin in Armenia. The Catholicosate of Cilicia enjoyed local jurisdiction, though spiritually subject to the authority of Etchmiadzin. In 1921 the See was transferred to Aleppo in Syria, and in 1930 to Antelias. Its jurisdiction currently extends to Syria, Cyprus, Iran and Greece.

  A communique made public yesterday afternoon announces that the Catholicos will visit St. Peter's Basilica on the morning of Monday 24 November. There he will pray at the tomb of John Paul II before moving on to the Patio of St. Gregory the Illuminator to pay homage to the saint considered to be the apostle of the Armenian Apostolic Church. He will subsequently be received in audience by Benedict XVI.

  On Wednesday 26 November, the Catholicos, his entourage, and a group of around 50 Armenian lay people who have come to Rome for the visit will attend the weekly general audience.

  The programme of the Catholicos' visit includes two other celebrations. On 24 November, in the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, he will attend a liturgy with Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, archpriest of the basilica, and some members of the cathedral chapter.

  On Tuesday 25 November, he will attend Vespers in the basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Isola Tiberina in Rome, where he will offer a relic of Armenian martyrs. Later the same day he will participate in a prayer meeting at the basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.

  The Catholicos of Cilicia of the Armenians will also participate in an academic ceremony to be held in his honour at the Pontifical Urban University, and meet with Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and other officials of that dicastery.


VATICAN CITY, 21 NOV 2008 (VIS) - At 11.30 a.m. on Wednesday 26 November, in the Casina Pio IV, which is located in the Vatican Gardens and is the headquarters of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, an inauguration ceremony will be held for the new installation of photoelectric panels on the roof of the Paul VI Hall.

  Participating in the event will be Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State; Pier Carlo Cuscianna, director of technical services of the Governorate of Vatican City State; Livio De Santoli of Rome's "La Sapienza" University; Frank Asbeck, president of Solar World AG, and Carlo Rubbia, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics.

  The photovoltaic array on the Paul VI Hall is one of the "concrete and tangible initiatives" with which Vatican City State is promoting the protection of the environment, reads a communique released by the Holy See Press Office.

  The 2,400 modules of the installation replace the concrete roof panels, reproducing the dimensions of the original tiles in the project of the building's architect, Pier Luigi Nervi. They have a dual function: "passively" protecting the building from the elements and "actively" converting solar energy into electricity.

  This initiative is part of the "green culture characterised by ethical values", promoted by Benedict XVI.
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VATICAN CITY, 21 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

 - Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer S.J., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

 - Bishop Nicolas Djomo Lola of Tshumbe, president of the Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 - Renato Schifani, president of the Senate of the Italian Republic, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.
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VATICAN CITY, 21 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Giambattista Diquattro, apostolic nuncio to Panama, as apostolic nuncio to Bolivia.

 - Appointed Fr. Paul Desfarges S.J., superior of the Jesuit community of Algiers, Algeria, and director of the "Ben Smen" centre for spiritual retreats, as bishop of Constantine (area 110,522, population 11,372,000, Catholics 300, priests 18, religious 34), Algeria. The bishop-elect was born in Saint-Etienne, France in 1944 and ordained a priest in 1975. He succeeds Bishop Gabriel Piroird, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Yves Le Saux of the clergy of Autun, France, director of seminarians, deacons and priests of the "Communaute de l'Emmanuel", as bishop of Le Mans (area 6,244, population 530,000, Catholics 349,000, priests 166, permanent deacons 28, religious 580), France. The bishop-elect was born in Hennebont, France in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1986.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 19 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Mauricio Grotto de Camargo of Assis, Brazil, as archbishop of Botucatu (area 10,348, population 501,000, Catholics 425,000, priests 54, permanent deacons 12, religious 156), Brazil. The archbishop-elect was born in Presidente Prudente, Brazil in 1957, he was ordained a priest in 1981 and consecrated a bishop in 2000. He succeeds Archbishop Aloysio Jose Leal Penna S.J., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, 20 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Pope today received participants in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, which is celebrating its hundredth anniversary this year. The assembly was held from 18 to 20 November.

  Having recalled the theme of the meeting - "Monastic life and its significance in the Church and the world today" - the Holy Father indicated that "consecrated persons are a special part of the People of God. Supporting and protecting their faithfulness to the divine call is the fundamental role you play", he told the members of the dicastery.

  Benedict XVI expressed the view that the work of these days, "which focused particularly on female monastic life, may provide useful guidance to monks and nuns who 'seek God", practising their vocation for the good of the whole Church". In this context he recalled how during his address last September to the world of culture in Paris, France, he had "highlighted the exemplary nature of monastic life in history, and underlined how its aim is both simple and essential: 'quaerere Deum', seeking God and seeking Him through Jesus Christ Who revealed Him, seeking Him by fixing one's gaze on the invisible truths that are eternal, in the expectation of the glorious manifestation of the Saviour".

  "When consecrated people live the Gospel radically, when people dedicated to an entirely contemplative life profoundly cultivate the nuptial bond with Christ, ... then monasticism can, for all forms of religious and consecrated life, become a reminder of what is of essential and primary importance for all the baptised: seeking Christ and placing nothing before His love.

  "The way indicated by God for this search and this love is His own Word", the Pope added, "abundantly present in the books of Sacred Scripture for mankind to reflect upon".

  The recent Synod on the Word of God "renewed its appeal to all Christians to root their lives in listening to the Word of God as contained in Sacred Scripture, and invited religious communities in particular, and all consecrated men and women, to make the Word of God their daily sustenance, especially through the practice of 'lectio divina'".

  The Holy Father concluded by expressing the hope that "monasteries may increasingly become oases of ascetic life, where the allure of the nuptial union with Christ is felt, and where the choice of the Absolute ... is immersed in a climate of constant silence and contemplation".
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VATICAN CITY, 20 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced two beatification ceremonies due to take place over coming days:

  Servant of God Peter Kibe Kasui, Japanese priest of the Company of Jesus, and 187 companions, killed in Japan between 1603 and 1639; at midday on Monday 24 November in the Nagasaki Big N. Stadium, Japan.

  Servant of God Jose Olallo Valdes, Cuban professed religious of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God (1820-1889); at 8 a.m. on Saturday 29 November in the Plaza de la Caridad of Camaguey, Cuba.
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VATICAN CITY, 20 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

 - Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, archbishop of Toledo, Spain.
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VATICAN CITY, 20 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Msgr. Rosolino Bianchetti Boffelli of the clergy of the diocese of Quiche, Guatemala, vicar general and pastor of the parish of "San Antonio Ilotenango", as bishop of Zacapa (area 5,066, population 525,000, Catholics 420,000, priests 32, permanent deacons 1, religious 63), Guatemala, and prelate of Santo Cristo de Esquipulas (area 532, population 52,700, Catholics 42,000, religious 39), Guatemala. The bishop-elect was born in Camisano, Italy in 1945 and ordained a priest in 1974.

 - Bishop Laszlo Biro, auxiliary of Kalocsa-Kecskemet, Hungary, as military ordinary for Hungary.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 19 NOV 2008 (VIS) - Continuing his series of lessons on St. Paul, Benedict XVI dedicated his general audience, held in St. Peter's Square this morning, to the "question of justification. How do human beings make themselves just in the eyes of God?" This question that occupies a central place in the Apostle's Letters.

  When Paul met the Risen One on the road to Damascus, said the Pope, "he was a successful man: blameless as to righteousness under the Law". Yet "the conversion of Damascus radically changed his life, and he began to consider all the gains of his irreprehensible religious career as 'rubbish' in the face of the sublimity of his knowledge of Jesus Christ.

  "The Letter to the Philippians", he added, "provides moving testimony of Paul's shift from a justice founded on the Law and achieved by observing certain prescribed actions, to a justice based upon faith in Jesus Christ. ... It is because of this personal experience of the relationship with Jesus Christ that Paul focuses his Gospel on a steadfast contrast between two alternative paths to justice: one based on the works of the Law, the other founded on the grace of faith in Christ".

  Thus St. Paul "reaffirms to the Christians of Rome that 'all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by His grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus', and the Apostle adds that 'we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the Law'".

  "Luther", said the Pope, "translated this as 'justified by faith alone', ... yet before returning to this point it is necessary to clarify which is the 'Law' from which we have been freed and what are the works that do not justify us. In the community of Corinth there already existed an opinion, that crops up again throughout history, to the effect that it is the moral law, and that hence Christian freedom means freedom from ethics. ... Obviously this is an incorrect interpretation. Christian freedom is not debauchery, ... it is not freedom from doing good".

  "For St. Paul, as for his contemporaries, the word Law meant the Torah in its entirety, ... which imposed ... a series of actions ranging from an ethical core to ritual observances ... and substantially defined the identity of the just man, ... such as circumcision, dietary laws, etc. ... All these precepts - expressive of a social, cultural and religious identity - were very important" in the Hellenistic age when polytheism was rife and Israel felt threatened in its identity and feared "the loss of faith in the One God and in His promises".

  For this reason it was necessary counteract Greek pressure with "a wall that protected the precious heritage of the faith. This wall was represented by the Jewish precepts". Yet Paul, after his encounter with Christ, understood that "the God of Israel, the only true God, has become the God of all peoples and the wall ... between Israel and the pagans is no longer necessary. Christ protects us from polytheism and its deviations. Christ guarantees our identity within the diversity of cultures, ... it is He Who makes us just".

  "Being just simply means being with Christ, being in Christ, that is all. The other precepts are no longer necessary. ... For this reason Luther's 'sola fide' is true if it is not placed in opposition to charity, to love. Faith is looking at Christ, trusting in Christ ... conforming to Christ. And the form of Christ's life was love. ... We become just in communion with Christ Who is love. ... Justice is defined in charity".

  "We can only pray to the Lord to help us believe", Benedict XVI concluded. "Thus belief becomes life, unity with Christ, transformation. ... And transformed by His love, by love for God and mankind, we will truly be just in the eyes of God".
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Barry C. Knestout of the clergy of the archdiocese of Washington, U.S.A., moderator of the Curia and vicar for administration, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 5,447, population 2,647,492, Catholics 582,488, priests 1,000, permanent deacons 182, religious 1,505). The bishop-elect was born in Cheverly, U.S.A. in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1989.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Bishop Jose Bezerra Coutinho, emeritus of Estancia, Brazil, on 7 November at the age of 98.

 - Bishop Sofron Dmyterko O.S.B.M., emeritus of Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, on 5 November at the age of 91.

 - Bishop Carmelo Echenagusia Uribe, auxiliary of Bilbao, Spain, on 6 November at the age of 76.

 - Michael Ugwu Eneja, emeritus of Enugu, Nigeria, on 14 November at the age of 89.

 - Bishop Alessandro Maggiolini, emeritus of Como, Italy, on 11 November at the age of 77.

 - Bishop Vladas Michelevicius, former auxiliary of Kaunas, Lithuania, on 12 November at the age of 84.

 - Bishop Marian Kazimierz Zimalek, former auxiliary of Sandomierz, Poland, on 12 November at the age of 77.
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Monday, November 17, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 15 NOV 2008 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received participants in the 23rd plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, who have been meeting to examine the theme: "Twenty years after 'Christifideles laici': memory, development, new challenges and tasks".

  The Pope began by explaining how the Apostolic Exhortation "Christifideles laici" represents "an organic reassessment of Vatican Council II's teaching on the laity: their dignity as baptised persons, their vocation to sanctity, their membership of the ecclesial communion, their involvement in building Christian communities and in the mission of the Church, their witness in all areas of social life and their commitment to serve the integral growth of the individual and the common good of society".

  The Exhortation serves as a guide "for discernment and for the intensification of the Church's lay commitment in the face of the social changes of recent years", said Benedict XVI. It also "indicates the 'criteria of ecclesiality' which are necessary, on the one hand, for pastors' own discernment and, on the other, for the development of associations of faithful, ecclesial movements and new communities".

  "The current cultural and social situation makes this kind of apostolic activity even more urgently necessary, so as fully to share the treasure of grace and sanctity, of charity, doctrine, culture and works of which ... Catholic tradition is composed. The new generations are not only the chief recipients of such transmission, ... but also those whose hearts await proposals of truth and happiness to which to render Christian witness, as already happens in such a marvellous way. I myself was able to observe as much during the recent World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia".

  Benedict XVI then went on to praise the Pontifical Council for the Laity for the importance it gives to "the dignity and participation of women in the life of the Church and of society" because "men and women, equal in their dignity, are called to enrich one another in communion and collaboration, not only in marriage and the family, but in all dimensions of society".

  Finally, the Pope exhorted the pontifical council "to continue to show diligent pastoral care for the formation, witness and collaboration of the lay faithful in all those situations in which the authentic quality of human life in society is implicated".

  He concluded: "I particularly reiterate the urgent need for evangelical formation and pastoral accompaniment of the new generation of Catholics involved in political life, that they may remain coherent to the faith they profess, uphold their moral rigour, capacity for cultural judgement, professional competency and passion for service of the common good".
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VATICAN CITY, 15 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Pope today received participants in the Twenty-third International Conference of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care. The meeting, which had as its theme this year "Pastoral Care in the Treatment of Sick Children", was held in the Vatican from 13 to 15 November.

  The Holy Father indicated how the meeting had thrown light on the difficult conditions experienced by "large numbers of children in vast regions of the earth" and how, despite the fact that medical advances have considerably reduced infant mortality, "much remains to be done in this field. Suffice it to recall", he said, "that four million newborn infants under the age of 26 days die every year".

  "Today's challenge is to prevent the emergence of many illnesses once typical of childhood and, overall, to favour the growth, development and maintenance of a correct state of health for all children".

  After highlighting the difficulty in achieving "a proper balance between the continuation and abandonment of treatment so as to ensure adequate care for the young patients without giving way to the temptation of experimentalism", the Pope recalled how the focus of all medical activity "must always be the authentic good of the child, considered in his or her dignity as a human being with full rights. Children must, then, always be cared for with love, to help them face suffering and sickness, even before birth, in a way appropriate to their situation.

  "Bearing in mind the emotional impact of the sickness the child must undergo, and of the treatment, which at times can be particularly invasive, it is important to ensure constant communication with the relatives",  Benedict XVI added.

  "The sick, and especially children, have a particular understanding of the language of tenderness and love as expressed though sensitive, patient and generous service, which in believers is animated by the desire to show the same predilection that Jesus showed for children", he said.

  The Holy Father highlighted how "all human beings have an inherent value because created in the image of God, to Whose gaze they appear even more precious the weaker they seem in the eyes of man. With how much love, then, must we welcome a child not yet born and already affected with sickness". In this context he also mentioned "the orphaned or abandoned children of poverty and family disintegration, ... the innocent child victims of AIDS or war, ... and children who die through poverty drought or hunger.

  "The Church", he added, "does not forget these the smallest of her children and if, on the one hand, she applauds the initiatives of the richer nations to improve the conditions for their development, on the other she feels the compelling duty to call for greater attention to be paid to these brothers and sisters, so that, thanks to our joint solidarity they may look upon life with trust and hope".

  Benedict XVI concluded by thanking people "who commit their energies and material resources" to helping children. And he expressed particular appreciation "for our own 'Bambino Gesu' Hospital and the many Catholic social-healthcare associations and institutions which, following the example of Jesus Christ the Good Samaritan and animated by charity, bring human, moral and spiritual support and relief to so many suffering children, who are the objects of God's special love".
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VATICAN CITY, 15 NOV 2008 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Pope, written in Latin and dated 30 October, in which he appoints Cardinal Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as his special envoy to the closing celebrations of the Jubilee year of the Cistercian abbey of Waldsassen, Germany, due to be held on 23 November 2008, the 875th anniversary of its foundation.

  The cardinal will be accompanied on his mission by Fr. Thomas Denter O. Cist., former abbot of Marienstatt, and Fr. Gabriel K. Lobendanz O. Cist., spiritual assistant to the abbey of Waldsassen.


VATICAN CITY, 15 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. as pontifical legate to celebrations marking the Sixth World Meeting of Families, scheduled to take place in Mexico City, Mexico from 13 to 18 January 2009.
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VATICAN CITY, 16 NOV 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, the penultimate Sunday of the liturgical year, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his private study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  The Pope explained how today's Gospel reading of the parable of the talents, "invites us to be vigilant and industrious while awaiting the return of the Lord Jesus at the end of time".

  The talents in the parable "represent the wealth the Lord left to us in inheritance, in order that we may might make it grow: His Word deposited in the Holy Gospel", said the Pope. "Today's parable stresses the attitude with which we must welcome and appreciate this gift.

  "The wrong attitude is that of fear", he added. "This happens, for example, to those who, having received Baptism, Communion and Confirmation, bury these gifts under a layer of prejudice, under a false image of God that paralyses faith and works. ... Yet the parable also highlights the good fruits brought by the disciples who ... did not hide the gift ... but made if fructify by sharing it with others. What Christ has given us is multiplied when we give it to others".

  "This evangelical teaching" he concluded "has also had a socio-historical effect, promoting an active and enterprising mentality among Christian peoples. But its central message concerns the spirit of responsibility with which we must welcome the Kingdom of God: responsibility toward God and towards humankind".
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VATICAN CITY, 16 NOV 2008 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus this morning, the Pope recalled the fact that 21 November, the liturgical feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple, also marks "por orantibus" Day, an initiative dedicated to cloistered religious communities.

  "Let us thank the Lord", he said, "for the sisters and brothers who have embraced this mission dedicating themselves completely to prayer, and who live off what they receive from divine Providence. Let us in our turn pray for them and for new vocations, and undertake to support the material needs of monasteries, Dear sisters and brothers, yours is an indispensable presence in the Church and in the world. I remain close to you and I bless you with great affection".

  Benedict XVI then went on to mention "in a special way all those who have died as a result of traffic accidents. We pray for their eternal rest and for the consolation of their families who grieve their loss. ... I implore everyone - drivers, passengers and pedestrians - to heed carefully the words of St. Paul in the liturgy of the Word today: 'stay sober and alert'. Our behaviour on the roads should be characterised by responsibility, consideration and a respect for others. May the Virgin Mary lead us safely along streets and highways throughout the world", he concluded.
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VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Georges Chakib El Khoury, the new ambassador of Lebanon to the Holy See, to whom he expressed the hope that the Lebanese people "may courageously continue their efforts to build a united and solidary society".

  "The millennial history of the country, and the place it occupies at the centre of a complex region, give it a fundamental mission to contribute to peace and harmony among everyone", said the Holy Father.

  After highlighting how "because of its experience of life and of inter-community and inter-cultural collaboration, Lebanon is a 'treasure' that has been entrusted to all the Lebanese people", the Pope expressed the hope that "the international community may protect and value the country and, through real commitment, may contribute to preventing it becoming a land in which regional and global conflicts are played out. Lebanon must, then, be a laboratory in which to seek effective solutions to the conflicts that  have long troubled the Middle East".

  "The election of the president of the Republic, the formation of a government of national unity and the approval of a new electoral law", he said, "will favour national cohesion and contribute to the true coexistence of the various components of the nation. ... I hope that, leaving particular interests to one side and healing the wounds of the past, everyone will make an effective commitment to the path of dialogue and reconciliation so that the country may progress in stability".

  "The tensions that still exist demonstrate the need to continue down the path opened some months ago with the Doha Agreement, in order to build Lebanese institutions together", Pope Benedict noted. "In this commitment to the common good, people must be guided by an unshakeable certainty: each member of the Lebanese people must feel Lebanon as their home and know that their own concerns and legitimate expectations are effectively taken into consideration, while showing reciprocal respect for the rights of others".

  "To this end", the Holy Father went on, "it is necessary to promote and develop true education for peace, reconciliation and dialogue, directed above all at the young generations. ... Lasting peace, which is the profound aspiration of all Lebanese, is possible only if everyone gives fundamental importance to the will to live together in the same land, and considers justice, reconciliation and dialogue as the appropriate context in which to resolve the problems of individuals and groups".

  On this subject, Benedict XVI underlined how building a society "which ensures all its members a free and dignified life" calls for "increasingly tight co-operation between all sides of the nation, based on trusting relationships between individuals and communities".

  "The Holy See", he said, "always follows events in Lebanon very closely and pays particular attention to the efforts made to find a definitive solution to the problems facing the country. Particularly sensitive to the sufferings undergone for so long by the people of the Middle East, the Holy See continues with determination its commitment to peace and reconciliation in Lebanon and throughout that region so beloved to all believers".

  Finally the Holy Father, recalling the recent beatification of Fr. Jacques Ghazir Haddad, "apostle of mercy", greeted the Catholic community in Lebanon, inviting its members to become "architects of unity and fraternity".


VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

 - Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".

 - Cardinal Carlos Amigo Vallejo O.F.M., archbishop of Seville, Spain.

  On Saturday, 15 November he received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Georges Marie Martin Cottier, O.P. pro-theologian emeritus of the Pontifical Household.

 - Archbishop Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany.
AP/.../...                                VIS 20081117 (90)

Friday, November 14, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 14 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

 - Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

 - Archbishop George Panikulam, apostolic nuncio to Ethiopia and apostolic delegate to Somalia.
AP/.../...                            VIS 20081114 (60)

Thursday, November 13, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 13 NOV 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Pope received the Letters of Credence of Sante Canducci, the new ambassador of the Republic of San Marino to the Holy See.

  In his address to the diplomat, the Holy Father pointed out that "the Christian faith has impregnated the life and history of the people and institutions of San Marino", and he expressed the hope that "today's civil and religious community in San Marino proves able to come together to write a chapter of progress and civilisation, recognising the indispensable role each family (as a place of education in peace) is called to play in forming the new generations".

  Benedict XVI affirmed that, despite "the changed environmental and social conditions in which we live today, the final aim of all our daily efforts, both as individuals and as a community, remains unaltered: the search for the true wellbeing of the person and the creation of an open and welcoming society attentive to the real needs of everyone.

  "The values and laws, the shared spiritual 'alphabet', that has made it possible for our peoples to write noble chapters of civil and religious history over the centuries, is a precious heritage that must not be squandered", the Pope added. "A heritage to be augmented with the contribution of modern discoveries in the fields of science technology and communication, which must be placed at the service of the real good of mankind".

  The Holy Father highlighted the fact that "a total separation of public life from any form of value or tradition would, in fact, mean starting down blind alley. This is why it is necessary to redefine the meaning of secularism, a secularism that highlights the real difference and autonomy between the various elements of society but that also protects their specific competencies, in a context of shared responsibility.

  "Certainly this 'healthy' secularism of the State means that all temporal situations must be governed by their own norms; these, nonetheless, must never ignore fundamental ethical requirements the basis of which lies in man's very nature and which, precisely for this reason, lead back in the final analysis to the Creator".

  The Holy Father concluded by recalling that "when the Church, through her legitimate pastors, appeals to the value that certain ethical principles rooted in the Christian heritage of Europe, have for private life, and even more so for public life, she is moved exclusively by the desire to guarantee and promote the inviolable dignity of the person and the authentic good of society".
CD/LETTERS OF CREDENCE/SAN MARINO:CANDUCCI                    VIS 20081113 (440)


VATICAN CITY, 13 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today released the following declaration:

  "This morning Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, president of the Federative Republic of Brazil, was received in audience by His Holiness Benedict XVI. The president subsequently went on the meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "The cordial meeting provided an opportunity for a fruitful exchange of opinions on matters concerning the current situation in the region and in the world.

  "Attention then turned to certain aspects of the situation in Brazil, and in particular to social policies that seek to improve the living conditions of the many people who live in circumstances of distress and marginalisation, and to favour the fundamental role of the family in the struggle against violence and social decay. The discussions also emphasised collaboration between Church and State with a view to promoting moral values and the common good, not only in the country but particularly in favour of Africa. In this context, having recalled the Holy Father's visit to Brazil in May 2007 for the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean in Aparecida, satisfaction was expressed at the conclusion of an agreement between the Holy See and Brazil. The agreement was later signed in the course of same visit".

  A second communique explains that the new agreement, "which further consolidates the traditional bonds of friendship and collaboration between the two parties, consists of a preamble followed by 20 articles regulating various areas including the juridical status of the Catholic Church in Brazil, the recognition of qualifications, religious teaching in State schools, canonical marriage and the fiscal system".
OP/BRAZIL/LULA                            VIS 20081113 (300)


VATICAN CITY, 13 NOV 2008 (VIS) - Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, yesterday participated in the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, with an address dedicated to the theme of the "Culture of Peace".

  "By its nature and mission the United Nations should be a school of peace", he began. Here we must "learn to think and act while always bearing in mind the legitimate interests of all sides". Member States, "in striving to overcome the simplistic logic of the power of force and replace it with the power of law and the wisdom of peoples, become 'builders of peace'", he said.

  The cardinal highlighted how "in this demanding task, individual believers and communities of believers have their place and their role to play. Religions, despite the weaknesses and contradictions of their members, carry a message of reconciliation and peace".

  Cardinal Tauran stressed that believers must be "coherent and credible", pointing out that "they cannot use religion to attack freedom of conscience, justify violence, spread hatred and fanaticism or undermine political and religious authority".

  He went on: "Believers, in contributing to public debate and participating in the societies to which they belong, feel themselves called to co-operate in promoting the common good, which rests on a platform of values shared by everyone, believers and non-believers alike: the sacredness of life and the dignity of human beings, respect for liberty of conscience and of religion, practice of responsible freedom, acceptance of different opinions, correct use of reason, appreciation for democratic life and care for natural resources, to mention but a few".

  "May all of us together - without renouncing our cultural and religious identity - find the path to a safer and more united world", he concluded. "Let us not rest content with mere tolerance and vague commitments, let us make fraternity more than an ideal, a reality!"
.../PEACE CULTURE/U.N.:TAURAN                VIS 20081113 (330)


VATICAN CITY, 13 NOV 2008 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, presented the programme of events planned to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The initiatives, organised by his dicastery, are due to be held in the Vatican on 10 December.

  Cardinal Martino explained that the aim of the initiatives is, "on the one hand, to celebrate that famous United Nations document and, on the other, to highlight its perennial value, underlining once again its importance as an educational tool and a guide for building a more just and united world.

  "The Church", he added, "holds that human rights express the transcendent dignity of human beings, the only creatures to be loved by God for themselves, the end and never the means; and she believes that the 1948 Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man was a moment of fundamental importance in mankind's development of a moral conscience that accords with human dignity".

  The cardinal reiterated the fact that "the Church has made her own contributions, both through reflections on human rights in the light of the Word of God and of human reason (such as the treatment of the subject by Blessed John XXIII in his 'Pacem in Terris'), and though her commitment to announce and denounce which has made her such a tireless paladin of the dignity of mankind and human rights in the sixty years since the 1948 Declaration".

  He continued: "The latest powerful testimony to the value of the Universal Declaration was that of the Holy Father Benedict XVI on 18 April this year when he visited the Untied Nations and declared: ... 'The merit of the Universal Declaration is that it has enabled different cultures, juridical expressions and institutional models to converge around a fundamental nucleus of values, and hence of rights'.

  "On this basis, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, together with the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, will organise a celebration to take place in the Paul VI Hall on 10 December. The initiative will be divided into two phases. The first, at 4 p.m., will consist in a commemorative meeting dedicated to reflection and study, attended by heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia and by members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. Contributions on the value and importance of the Declaration will be forthcoming from Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.; Juan Somavia, director general of the World Labour Organisation, and Jacques Diouf, director general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.

  At 6 p.m. that evening, Benedict XVI will attend a public concert by the Brandenburrgisches Staatsorchester of Frankfurt, led by the Spanish conductor, Inma Shara.

  Shortly before the concert, the St. Matthew Foundation's annual prizes in memory of Cardinal Van Thuan will be presented. Among this year's winners is Cornelio Sommaruga, former president of the International Red Cross.


VATICAN CITY, 13 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences five prelates from the Bolivian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Jesus Perez Rodriguez O.F.M. of Sucre.

    - Bishop Walter Perez Villamonte of Potosi, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Ricardo Ernesto Centellas Guzman.

    - Bishop Francisco Javier del Rio Sendino of Tarija, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Adhemar Esquivel Kohenque.
AL/.../...                                VIS 20081113 (70)


VATICAN CITY, 13 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Bishop Juan Jose Asenjo Pegrina of Cordoba, Spain, as coadjutor archbishop of Seville (area 14,042, population 1,835,077, Catholics 1,825,505, priests 685, permanent deacons 37, religious 2,928), Spain. The archbishop-elect was born in Siguenza, Spain in 1945, he was ordained a priest in 1969 and consecrated a bishop in 1997.

 - Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer S.J., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as consultor to the Congregation for Bishops.
NEC:NA/.../ASENJO:LADARIA                    VIS 20081113 (90)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 12 NOV 2008 (VIS) - In his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square, the Pope turned his attention to St. Paul's eschatological teaching.

  In his First Letter to the Thessalonians, said the Holy Father, "St. Paul speaks of the return of Jesus, an event known as the 'parusia' or advent". The saint describes this vividly "using symbolic images that nonetheless transmit a simple and profound message: 'In the end we will be with the Lord forever'. ... Our future is 'to be with the Lord'".

  Benedict XVI pointed out how in his Second Letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle "changes perspective and speaks of the negative events that will precede the end. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived, he says, as if the Day of the Lord were truly imminent by some chronological calculation. ... The continuation of the Pauline text makes it clear that the coming of the Lord will be preceded by apostasy and by the appearance of a person identified only as 'the lawless one', the 'one destined for destruction', whom tradition came to identify as the Antichrist".

  The Pope examined the fundamental attitudes a Christian must adopt in the face of the ultimate realities of death and the end of the world: "The first attitude", he said, "must be the certainty that Jesus rose and that, with the Father, He remains with us forever. ... Secondly, the certainty that Christ is with me; and since the future world has already begun in Christ, this gives us the certainty of hope. The future is not an area of darkness in which no-one can find their way. ... Without Christ, the future is dark even today. ... Christians know that the light of Christ is stronger and hence they experience a hope that is not vain, a hope that gives certainty and courage to face the future".

  The third attitude, the Pope went on, "is responsibility before Christ for the world and for our fellow man and, at the same time, the certainty of His mercy. ... We have to work to ensure this world opens to Christ, that it is renewed. ...We know that God is the true Judge, we are sure He is good, we know His face, the face of the risen Christ. ... For this reason we can be sure of His goodness and live our lives courageously".

  At the end of his First Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul "repeats a prayer of the early Christian communities of Palestine, putting it into the mouths of the Corinthians themselves: 'Marana tha! Our Lord, come!' ... which is also how the Book of the Apocalypse ends. ... Can we pray like this today? In our lives, in our world, it is difficult to pray sincerely for this world to perish, for the coming of the New Jerusalem, the Final Judgement, Christ the Judge. ... Nonetheless, like the first Christian community we can say: Come Jesus! Of course we do not want the end of the world to come now. On the other hand, we do want the world of injustice to end, we do want the world to change, the civilisation of love to begin, a world of justice and peace to come, a world without violence and hunger. ... But without the presence of Christ a truly just and renewed world will never come".

  "We can and must cry out urgently in the circumstances of our own time: Come, Lord! Come in Your way, in the ways that You know. Come where there is injustice and violence. Come into the refuge camps of Darfur and North Kivu, in so many parts of the world. Come where drugs dominate. Come also among the rich who have forgotten You and who live for themselves alone. Come where You are known. Come in Your way and renew today's world. Come also into our hearts ... that we too may become light of God, Your presence".
AG/ST. PAUL/...                            VIS 20081112 (680)


VATICAN CITY, 12 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Jose Moreira da Silva of the clergy of the diocese of Porto Nacional, Brazil, pastor of the parish of "Nossa Senhora de Abadia" in Taguatinga, as bishop of Januaria (area 38,187, population 300,000, Catholics 270,000, priests 18, permanent deacons 2, religious 40), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Ponte Alta, Brazil in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1982. He succeeds Bishop Anselmo Muller M.S.F., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Neri Jose Tondello of the clergy of the diocese of Caxias do Sul, Brazil, "fidei donum" priest in the diocese of Juina and rector of the major seminary of Cuiaba, as bishop of Juina (area 129,078, population 140,800, Catholics 127,963, priests 17, religious 48), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Antonio Prado, Brazil in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1993.
NER:RE/.../MOREIRA:MULLER:TONDELLO                VIS 20081112 (170)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 11 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the diocese of Bathurst, Australia, presented by Bishop Patrick Dougherty, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Daniel Nlandu Mayi, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, as coadjutor of Matadi (area 31,000, population 2,100,000, Catholics 995,000, priests 127, religious 183), Democratic Republic of Congo.

 - Appointed as ordinary members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences: Govind Swarup, professor of astrophysics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics of Mumbai, India, and Stanislas Dehaene, professor of cognitive experimental psychology at the College de France in Paris and director of the INSERM-CEA Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit in Orsay, France.
RE:NEC:NA/.../...                            VIS 20081111 (130)

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