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Thursday, March 13, 2008


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

 - Msgr. Camille Perl, secretary of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", as vice-president of the same commission.

 - Msgr. Mario Marini, adjunct secretary of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", as secretary of the same commission.
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VATICAN CITY, 13 MAR 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Angelo Scola, patriarch of Venice, Italy.

 - Eight prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Haiti on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Chibly Langlois of Fort-Liberte.

    - Bishop Yves-Marie Pean C.S.C. of Les Gonaives accompanied by Bishop emeritus Emmanuel Constant.

    - Bishop Pierre-Antoine Paulo O.M.I. of Port-de-Paix.

    - Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot of Port-au-Prince, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Joseph Lafontant, Pierre-Andre Dumas and Simon Saint-Hillien C.S.C.
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VATICAN CITY, 13 MAR 2008 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today released the following communique:

  "The Commission established by Pope Benedict XVI to study the most important questions concerning the life of the Church in China met in the Vatican from 10 to 12 March.

  "The meeting had as its theme the Letter which the Holy Father sent to Chinese Catholics on 27 May 2007. Participants first examined the reaction to the pontifical document both inside and outside China. They reflected on the theological principles that inspired the Letter in order to comprehend the future prospects they bring for the Catholic community in China. In concrete terms, in the light of the papal text consideration was given to certain important aspects regarding the Church's mission as 'instrument of salvation' for the Chinese people: evangelisation in a world experiencing globalisation; the application, in China's current situation, of the Vatican Council II doctrine on the nature and structure of the Church; forgiveness and reconciliation within the Catholic community; the requirements of truth and charity; the government of dioceses, which has great relevance for pastoral activity and for the formation of priests, seminarians, religious and lay faithful. In line with the indications expressed by the Pope in His Letter, the will for a respectful and constructive dialogue with the authorities was reiterated. Finally, and still in the light of the pontifical document, the participants exchanged information and experiences concerning the life and activity of the Church in China.

  "The meeting concluded with a meeting with the Holy Father. He listened to a brief report of the work accomplished over the three days and encouraged the participants to continue their commitment in favour of the Catholic community in China. He also mentioned the forthcoming event of 24 May, the Universal Day of Prayer for the Church in China".
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VATICAN CITY, 13 MAR 2008 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has sent a telegram 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.

  In his telegram the Pope expresses his closeness "to the Chaldean Church and to the entire Christian community", reaffirming his "condemnation for an act of inhuman violence which offends the dignity of human beings and seriously damages the cause of the fraternal coexistence of the beloved Iraqi people".

  Benedict XVI gives assurances of his prayers for the archbishop "who was kidnapped just after he had completed the Way of the Cross" and invokes the Lord's mercy "that this tragic event may serve to build a future of peace in the martyred land of Iraq".

  Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. also released the following declaration today:

  "We had all continued to hope and pray for his release, something the Pope had requested on a number of occasions in his appeals.

  "Unfortunately the most senseless and unjustified violence continues to be inflicted on the Iraqi people, and especially on the small Christian community to which the Pope and all of us are particularly close in prayer and solidarity at this moment of great suffering.

  "It is to be hoped that this tragic event may once more - and more powerfully - underline the responsibility of everyone, and especially of the international community, for the pacification of so troubled a country".


VATICAN CITY, 13 MAR 2008 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has sent a telegram of condolence to Bishop Giuseppe Andrich of Belluno Feltre, Italy, for the death on Tuesday 11 March at the age of 91 of Edoardo Luciani, brother of Servant of God John Paul I.

  In the telegram, the Pope recalls his "cordial meeting" with Edoardo in Lorenzago di Cadore in July last year, and dwells on the deceased's "great human and Christian qualities, particularly his exemplary dedication to his family, his generous service to the Church, and his intense social commitment.

  "I pray fervently", the Holy Father adds, "that the deceased may - alongside his wife and his brother Pontiff whom he loved dearly - share in endless peace and joy with the Risen Lord".


VATICAN CITY, 13 MAR 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Haiti. They have just completed their "ad limina" visit during which, said the Pope, they have been able to share with the Roman Curia "the joy and hope, as well as the concerns, being experienced by the people of God entrusted to your pastoral care".

  The Holy Father mentioned John Paul II's visit to Haiti 25 years ago for the country's national Eucharistic congress entitled "Something has to change here". But, Pope Benedict asked, "have things changed?" And he recalled how the country has known "painful moments: ... divisions, injustice, poverty, unemployment, factors that are a source of profound concern to people".

  "I ask the Lord to give all Haitians, especially those who bear social responsibility, the courage to promote change and reconciliation so that all the inhabitants of the country may enjoy dignified living conditions, and benefit from the fruits of their land in an ever-increasing solidarity".

  "I cannot forget those people who find themselves obliged to travel to the neighbouring State in order to satisfy their needs", said Pope Benedict, and he called upon the international community "to continue and to intensify its aid to the Haitian people so that they can take the reins of their own future and development".

  Referring to the concerns expressed by the prelates in their individual meetings with him, the Pope mentioned "the instability of the family structure" which is "due to the crisis the country is experiencing, but also to the evolution of behaviour and to the progressive loss of a sense of marriage and the family" which comes about "when other forms of union are placed on the same level".

  Because "society and the Church largely develop from the family" Benedict XVI told the prelates, attention to this area of pastoral activity is "vital because it is the primordial place for the education of the young. I encourage you, then, to support married couples and young families with adequate formation, also teaching them respect for life".

  The Holy Father then turned his attention to priests, encouraging the bishops "to look to their permanent formation and to maintain fraternal relations with them" in order "to help them exercise a fruitful ministry". Bishops should also invite priests "to avoid political compromise" and "to base their apostolate on a relationship with Christ, and on the Eucharistic mystery which reminds us how He gave Himself for the salvation of the world".

  On the subject of seminarians, Benedict XVI called on the prelates "to work with the episcopates of other countries to identify experienced formators, who lead exemplary priestly lives and may accompany over the various stages of their formation ... the future priests needed for the dioceses in your country. Upon this the future of the Church in Haiti depends. May the local Churches", he exclaimed, "hear this call and undertake to send you priests to help you in the formation of seminarians!"

  "Despite their limited means, Catholic schools play an important role and are appreciated by the authorities and by the people" said the Pope, noting that "the personality matures through education, just as it does through the recognition of essential values and the practice of virtue. Also in this way, a concept of the human being and of society is handed down", he said.

  Finally, the Holy Father praised the work of religious and volunteers "who work with the poorest, the disinherited of society, demonstrating that, by fighting poverty, we also fight the numerous social problems that depend upon it".
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