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Thursday, March 6, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 6 MAR 2008 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict received prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  "Your pastors' hearts", the Pope told the bishops, "are filled with concern for the increase in violence and poverty that affects large numbers of the population and causes extensive emigration to other countries, with grave repercussions on personal and family life. This situation is an invitation for you to renew your efforts to show everyone the merciful face of the Lord, of Whom the Church is called to be the image, accompanying and serving with generosity and dedication, especially those who suffer and are most in need".

  The Holy Father then went on to refer to the Guatemalan people's "profound religious sentiment, rich in forms of popular expression which must mature into solid Christian communities". And he reminded bishops that "firmness in the faith and participation in the Sacraments strengthens your faithful against the risk posed by sects or by supposedly charismatic groups, which create disorientation and can even endanger ecclesial communion".

  "The tradition of your cultures sees in the family the basic nucleus of existence and of transmission of faith and values", said the Pope. However, given the "serious pastoral and human challenges" which the institution of the family is facing, "the Church remains dedicated ... to the solid formation of people who are preparing for marriage, constantly infusing faith and hope into homes and praying that, with the necessary help, they may fulfil their responsibilities".

  Benedict XVI also reminded bishops that their priests "need constant encouragement to continue along the path of true priestly sanctity, ... as well as the means necessary to increase their human and theological formation".

  Finally, the Holy Father turned his attention to the impact on evangelisation of the Second American Missionary Congress, held in Guatemala in 2003, and of the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean, celebrated in Brazil in 2007. He invited the bishops "to continue with renewed energy the Church's evangelising mission in the context of modern cultural movements and globalisation, giving fresh vigour to preaching and catechesis, and proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as the foundation and raison d'etre for all believers".

  "The evangelisation of cultures", he concluded, "is a priority task to ensure that the Word of God remains accessible to everyone and, absorbed into the mind and heart, becomes the light that illuminates those cultures and the water that purifies them with the message of the Gospel which brings salvation for all humankind".
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VATICAN CITY, 6 MAR 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Pope received the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. At the end of their meeting, the two men prayed together in the Urban VIII Chapel of the Apostolic Palace.

  This is the third meeting between the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch. They first met when Benedict XVI visited Istanbul for the Feast of St. Andrew in November 2006, then when Bartholomew travelled to Naples in October last year to participate in an International Meeting for Peace.

  This afternoon, Patriarch Bartholomew is scheduled to preside at an academic function at Rome's Pontifical Oriental Institute, where he himself gained his doctorate, for the 90th anniversary of its foundation.

  On 4 March he received a doctorate "honoris causa" in international and diplomatic affairs granted by the University of Trieste in northern Italy.

  Bartholomew I is being accompanied on his visit by His Eminence Gennadios, metropolitan-archbishop of the Greek Orthodox in Italy and Malta, exarch for southern Europe; His Eminence Athanasios of Helioupolis and Thiera; and His Eminence Ioannis of Pergamo, Orthodox president of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
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VATICAN CITY, 6 MAR 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences three prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Rodolfo Valenzuela Nunez of Vera Paz-Coban, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Gerardo Humberto Flores Reyes.

    - Msgr. Rodrigo Humberto Garza Vela, diocesan administrator of Zacapa y Santo Cristo de Esquipulas.
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VATICAN CITY, 6 MAR 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Vienna, Austria, presented by Bishop Helmut Kratzl, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Stephan Turnovszky of the clergy of Vienna, Austria, pastor at Baden San Giuseppe, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 9,100, population 2,519,795, Catholics 1,337,062, priests 1,141, permanent deacons 171, religious 2,399). The bishop-elect was born in Lucerne, Switzerland in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1998.

 - Appointed Carlos Augusto de Oliveira Camargo as a consultor of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".

 - Appointed Msgr. Pascal Ide, official of the Congregation for Catholic Education as bureau chief in the same congregation.
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