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Thursday, April 24, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 24 APR 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - As members of the Pontifical Council for the Laity: Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland; Archbishop Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany; Paola Bignardi, co-ordinator of the international forum of Italian Catholic Action; Matteo Calisi, president of the Catholic Fraternity of "Comunita e Associazioni Carismatiche di Alleanza", Italy; Henrique Elias, procurator of the Christian Life Association, Peru; Katarina Hulmanova, co-ordinator of the forum of Catholic organisations of the Bishops' Conference of Slovakia; Pilar Jensen of the Institute of Families of Schonstatt, Chile; Guy Maginzi, secretary general of the Community of Christian Life, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Josep Miro i Ardevol, founder of "E. Cristians" and animator of the Conventions of Christians for Europe, Barcelona, Spain; Michelle Moran, president of International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services, Great Britain; Norbert Muller, professor of the University of Mainz, Germany; Balazs Schanda, dean of the faculty of law at the Peter Pazmany Catholic University of Budapest, Hungary; Guilherme Vaz, director of Education and Technology, Mumbai, India; Lola Velarde, president of the European Institute for Family Policy, Spain, and Karol Zyczkowski, professor of the Jagellonica University of Krakow, Poland.

 - As consultors of the Pontifical Council for the Laity: Bishop Carlo Mazza of Fidenza, Italy; Msgr. Piero Coda of the diocese of Frascati, Italy; Fr. Julian Carron, president of the Communion and Liberation association, Spain; Helen Alvare, professor at the Catholic University of America, U.S.A.; Edio Costantini, president of the Italian Sporting Centre; Moyses de Azevedo, founder of the Shalom Community, Brazil; Guillermo Leon Escobar-Herran, professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome; Salvatore Martinez, president of Renewal in the Holy Spirit, Italy, and Danuta Piekarz, Poland.

 - Angelika Nussberger, professor of public law and director of the "Institut fur Ostrecht" at the University of Cologne, Germany, as an ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
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VATICAN CITY, 24 APR 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Mario Roberto Cassari, apostolic nuncio to Croatia.

 - Four prelates from the Caucasus on their "ad limina visit:

    - Archbishop Nechan Karakeheyan, apostolic administrator of the ordinariate for Catholics of Armenian rite resident in Greece, and ordinary for Armenian Catholics of Eastern Europe, accompanied by Archbishop Vartan Kechichian C.A.M., coadjutor emeritus of the ordinariate for Armenian Catholics of Eastern Europe.

    - Bishop Giuseppe Pasotto C.S.S., apostolic administrator of the Caucasus of the Latins.

    - Fr. Jan Capla S.D.B., superior of the "sui iuris" mission to Baku, Azerbaijan.

  This afternoon, he is scheduled to receive in audience Giorgio Napolitano, president of the Italian Republic, for the occasion of the concert offered by the president to the Holy Father to mark the third anniversary of his election to the pontifical throne.
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VATICAN CITY, 24 APR 2008 (VIS) - On 17 April, Msgr. Renato Volante, Holy See permanent observer to the Rome-based United Nations Organisation for Food and Agriculture (FAO), participated in the FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, which was held in Brasilia, Brazil, on 17 and 18 April.

  In his talk, the prelate praised the work FAO accomplishes in collaboration with various governments to eliminate hunger and malnutrition. He also reaffirmed the support of the Holy See, "with her essentially ethical perspective, for those political and social options capable of providing a concrete and coherent response to current needs. It is clear that the lack of adequate nutrition not only impedes the full development of the personality of men and women, but also constitutes an evident negation of their rights, beginning with the fundamental right to life, of which nutrition is an indispensable component".

  This conference, said Msgr. Volante, shows how the main requirement is "to transfer to the human dimension those forces ... which technology and new scientific research make it possible apply to agriculture and, hence, to food production".

  Going on to refer to one of the central questions being examined at the Brasilia meeting, that of food security, the permanent observer indicated that this involves "considering not only the difficulties in agricultural production provoked by environmental and territorial factors" but also "those deriving from unfavourable trade policies, ... caused by the absence of progress in multilateral negotiations on trade in agricultural products". In this context, he also recalled how the economy of many countries "depends almost exclusively on the export of a limited number of typical products, while their food security depends on the importation of many food products".

  Agricultural reform continues to be an "open and problematic question", he said, "and its slow evolution in countries of the region confirms the need to adopt land ownership strategies and laws that can be effectively implemented. ... All agricultural reform must take account of the situation of smallholders and of indigenous communities, whose traditions are often far distant from the institutions and from the advantages offered by new production criteria. ... This is a priority objective to which the Catholic Church gives great attention, and in which she remains ready to collaborate using her structures, and through forms of association and co-operation".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 APR 2008 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced three beatification ceremonies due to take place over coming days:

  Candelaria de San Jose (nee Susana Paz Castillo Ramirez), virgin and foundress of the Congregation of the Carmelite Sisters of the Third Regular Order of Venezuela. Her beatification is scheduled for Sunday 27 April in the stadium of the Central University of Caracas, Venezuela.

  Maria Maddalena of the Incarnation (nee Caterina Sordini), virgin and foundress of the Order of Sisters of the Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Her beatification is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday 3 May in the Roman Basilica of St. John Lateran.

  Maria Rosa Flesch (nee Margherita), virgin and foundress of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Mary of the Angels. Her beatification is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday 4 May in the cathedral of Trier, Germany.
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VATICAN CITY, 24 APR 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father received prelates from the southern Caucasus region on their "ad limina" visit.

  "Since the fall of the Soviet Union", said the Pope in his address to them, "your peoples have seen significant social changes along the road to progress. Yet difficult situations persist: many are the poor, the unemployed, and the refugees whom war has forced from their homes". Nonetheless, he noted, "the flame of the Gospel" has not been extinguished in the Caucasus, "despite there having been no lack of violent confrontations, both internal and from outside, which have caused many victims, among whom the Church includes many martyrs of the faith".

  The Holy Father described the Catholic community in the region as "a small flock" in which "Catholics of Armenian, Latin and Chaldean rite coexist with Orthodox, Armenian-Apostolic, Jews and Muslims. In such a multi-religious context", he said, "it is important for Catholics to continue and to intensify their collaboration with other Churches and with the followers of other religions, as already happens in many places".

  Pope Benedict associated himself with the Catholic communities' aspiration to see their juridical status recognised, and expressed the hope that Catholic-Orthodox dialogue may lead to a "growth in the fraternity which must characterise relations between Churches, respectful of one another despite differences that still exist".

  The Pope then encouraged the prelates to support their faithful so as to ensure that "in the face of difficulties, the joy of professing the faith and of belonging to the Catholic Church never diminishes".

  "Pray, and bring others to pray, that workers may never be lacking in the vineyard of the Lord. Continue to promote vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. It is necessary to ensure that future generations in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia have saintly priests who live their vocation with joy and generously dedicate themselves to caring for all the faithful".

  The Holy Father also invited the prelates to support families who, he said, "are facing no small number of difficulties and are affected by those wounds and those attacks on human life which, unfortunately, take place in so many other parts of the world. ... Educate Christian spouses to 'bear witness to the inestimable value of the indissolubility and fidelity of marriage'".

  "I know", said Benedict XVI, "how many efforts you make to spread the Gospel of hope. I am particularly struck by the attention ... you reserve for the needs of the poor and of people in difficulties, thanks also to the precious contribution of religious and laity".

  Finally, the Pope encouraged the prelates of the Caucasus to find time for periodic meetings "to verify the pastoral plans you have drawn up, especially as concerns preparation for the Sacraments. Such plans aim above all at the formation of the consciences of the faithful according to evangelical ethics, with a particular attention for the young".
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