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Wednesday, April 16, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Benedito Goncalves dos Santos of the clergy of the diocese of Paracatu, Brazil, vicar general and pastor of the cathedral, as bishop of Presidente Prudente (area 13,251, population 527,233, Catholics 487,500, priests 49, religious 58), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Paracatu in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1990. He succeeds Bishop Jose Maria Liborio Camino Saracho, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Charles Hammawa of the clergy of Yola, Nigeria, as bishop of Jalingo (area 61,368, population 3,097,000, Catholics 279,147, priests 45, religious 28), Nigeria. The bishop-elect was born in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1987.

 - Appointed Fr. Felix Femi Ajakaye of the clergy of Ekiti, Nigeria, pastor of St. Michael Catholic church in Opopogboro, as coadjutor of Ekiti (area 5,700, population 2,384,000, Catholics 331,275, priests 60, religious 62), Nigeria. The bishop-elect was born in Ibadan, Nigeria in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1987.
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VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2008 (VIS) - This morning the Pope, who celebrates his 81st birthday today, celebrated a private Mass in the chapel of the apostolic nunciature in Washington D.C.

  At 10.10 a.m. local time (4.10 p.m. in Rome) Benedict XVI will travel by car to the White House for the welcome ceremony, during which he is scheduled to deliver an address and, subsequently, to hold a private meeting with U.S. President George Bush.

  The Holy Father will lunch with American cardinals and with the president, vice-president and secretary general of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), respectively Cardinal Francis E. George O.M.I., Bishop Gerald Kicanas and Msgr. David Malloy. At 4.45 p.m. local time (10.45 p.m. in Rome) he will meet with leaders of five charitable organisations: the Knights of Columbus, the Patrons of the Arts, Centesimus Annus Pro Pontefice, the Papal Foundation and the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land.

  At 5.30 p.m. local time (11.30 p.m. in Rome) the Holy Father will go to Washington's National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception where he will preside at the celebration of Vespers with United States bishops.

  Following the ceremony, the Pope will return to the apostolic nunciature in Washington D.C., where he will dine in private and spend the night.


VATICAN CITY, 15 APR 2008 (VIS) - During a meeting with journalists accompanying him on the flight to the U.S.A., where he arrived at 4 p.m. local time (10 p.m. in Rome), the Pope answered a number of questions.

  Referring to the case of paedophile priests that has affected the Catholic Church in America, Benedict XVI said: "I am deeply ashamed. We will do everything possible to ensure it does not happen again".

  "We will rigorously exclude paedophiles from priestly ministry", he said. "The two things are absolutely incompatible and someone who is truly guilty of paedophilia cannot be a priest".

  "Only healthy people, ... only people with a profound personal life in Christ and who also have a profound sacramental life can be admitted to the priesthood ... It is more important to have good priests than to have many priests". We hope, he insisted, "to do everything possible in the future to heal this wound".

  Going on to speak about his forthcoming visit to U.N. headquarters, on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Pope said: "It seems important to me that the foundation of the United Nations should be the idea of human rights, of rights which express non-negotiable values, which come before all institutions and are the foundation of all institutions".

  "It is important", the Pope went on, "to renew the awareness that the United Nations, with its peace-bringing role, can work only if it has a shared basis of values, which are expressed as 'rights' and must be observed by everyone. To confirm this fundamental concept and as far as possible bring it up to date is one aim of my mission".

  Asked whether the public recognition of religion in the United States could be a model for secularised Europe, Benedict XVI recalled how the U.S. "began with a positive concept of laicism", but that the laicism of the State existed "precisely for love of religion in all its authenticity, which can only be lived in freedom. ... Of course", he concluded, "in Europe we cannot just copy the United States. We have our own history. But we must learn from one another".
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