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Wednesday, April 30, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Gallup, U.S.A. presented by Bishop Donald E. Pelotte S.S.S., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2008 (VIS) - Following today's general audience, Benedict XVI received participants in the sixth meeting of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and the Islamic Culture and Relations Organisation of Tehran, Iran. They have been meeting to study the theme of: "Faith and Reason in Christianity and Islam".

  The participants in the meeting, led by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, and by Mahdi Mostafavi, president of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organisation, agreed upon the following points:

  "Faith and reason are both gifts of God to mankind.

  "Faith and reason do not contradict each other, but faith might in some cases be above reason, but never against it.

  "Faith and reason are intrinsically non-violent. Neither reason nor faith should be used for violence; unfortunately, both of them have been sometimes misused to perpetrate violence. In any case, these events cannot question either reason or faith.

  "Both sides agreed to further co-operate in order to promote genuine religiosity, in particular spirituality, to encourage respect for symbols considered to be sacred and to promote moral values.

  "Christians and Muslims should go beyond tolerance, accepting differences, while remaining aware of commonalties and thanking God for them. They are called to mutual respect, thereby condemning derision of religious beliefs.

  "Generalisation should be avoided when speaking of religions. Differences of confessions with Christianity and Islam, diversity of historical contexts are important factors to be considered.

  "Religious traditions cannot be judged on the basis of a single verse or a passage present in their respective holy Books. A holistic vision as well as an adequate hermeneutical method is necessary for a fair understanding of them".


VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2008 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for May is: "That Christians may use literature, art and the mass media to greater advantage in order to favour a culture which defends and promotes the values of the human person".

  His mission intention is: "That the Virgin Mary, Star of evangelisation and Queen of the Apostles, may still guide today with maternal affection the missionaries, both men and women, throughout the world, just as she accompanied the Apostles in the early stages of the Church".
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VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2008 (VIS) - Given below is the calendar of liturgical celebrations due to be presided over by the Holy Father between the months of May and August.


 - Saturday 3: At 6 p.m. in the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major, recitation of the Rosary

 - Sunday 11: Pentecost Sunday. Mass at 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica.

 - Saturday 17 and Sunday 18: Pastoral visit to Savona and Genoa, Italy.

 - Thursday 22: Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Mass at 7 p.m. in the basilica of St. John Lateran, followed by a procession to the basilica of St. Mary Major for Eucharistic blessing.


 - Saturday 14 and Sunday 15: Pastoral visit to Santa Maria di Leuca and Brindisi, Italy.

 -Saturday 28: At 6 p.m. in the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, First Vespers for the solemn opening of the Pauline Year

 - Sunday 29: Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles. Mass at 9.30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica. Blessing and imposition of the pallium on metropolitan archbishops


 - Saturday 12 to Monday 21: Apostolic trip to Australia for World Youth Day in Sydney.


 - Friday 15: Solemnity of the Assumption, Mass at 8 a.m. in the parish church of St. Thomas of Villanova in Castelgandolfo.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2008 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter, written in Latin and dated 4 April, in which Benedict XVI appoints Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the eighth centenary of the translation of the relics of the Apostle Andrew to Amalfi, Italy. The event is due to be held on 8 May.

  The mission accompanying the cardinal will be made up of Msgr. Carlo Papa, vicar general of the archdiocese of Amalfi - Cava de' Tirreni, and Msgr. Riccardo Arpino, president of the cathedral chapter and chancellor of the Curia.


VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2008 (VIS) - In today's general audience, which was held in St. Peter's Square, the Pope dedicated his remarks to his recent apostolic trip to the U.S.A. and the headquarters of the United Nations, from 15 to 21 April.

  After recalling how the motive for his U.S. visit was the bi-centenary of the elevation of the country's first diocese, Baltimore, to the status of metropolitan archdiocese, and the foundation of the sees of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville, the Holy Father affirmed that his aim had been "to announce to everyone the message that 'Christ is our Hope', the phrase which was the theme of my visit".

  During the meeting with President George Bush in the White House, said the Pope, "I had the opportunity to pay homage to that great country, which from its beginnings was built on the foundation of a harmonious union between religious, ethical and political principles, and which still constitutes a valid example of healthy laicism, where the religious dimension, in the diversity of its expressions, is not only tolerated but turned to advantage as the 'soul' of the nation and the fundamental guarantee of the rights and duties of human beings".

  The Holy Father then went on to explain that he had supported his "brother bishops in their difficult task of spreading the Gospel in a society marked by no small number of contradictions, which also threaten the coherence of Catholics and even of the clergy. I encouraged them to make their voices heard on the moral and social questions of the day, and to form the lay faithful so they become good 'leavening' in the civil community on the base of that fundamental cell which is the family. In this context, I exhorted them to re-present the Sacrament of Marriage as a gift and an indissoluble commitment between a man and a woman, the natural environment in which to welcome and educate children.

  "The Church and the family, as well as schools", the Pope added, "must co-operate in offering young people a solid moral education. ... Reflecting upon the painful question of sexual abuse of minors by ordained ministers, I told the bishops of my closeness, and encouraged them in the task of binding wounds and strengthening their relationships with their priests".

  During the Eucharistic celebration held in the Nationals Stadium in Washington, said Pope Benedict, "we evoked the Holy Spirit" upon the Church in America that she "may face current and future challenges with courage and hope". And when meeting with representatives of other religions "in what may be considered as the homeland of religious freedom, I recalled how such freedom must be defended with congruous efforts to avoid all forms of discrimination and prejudice. I also highlighted the great responsibility religious leaders have, both in teaching respect and non-violence and in upholding the deepest questions of the human conscience".

  On the subject of his visit to U.N. headquarters in New York, the Pope pointed out that "providence gave me the opportunity to confirm" - on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - "the importance of that Charter, recalling its universal foundation, in other words the dignity of the person who was created by God in His image and likeness in order to co-operate in ... His great plan of life and peace".

  In St. Patrick's Cathedral the Pope had celebrated Mass for priests and consecrated people. "I will never forget", he said, "with how much warmth they congratulated me for the third anniversary of my election to the See of Peter. It was a moving moment, in which I particularly felt the support of all the Church for my ministry. And I could say the same about my meeting with young people and seminarians".

  At Ground Zero "I lit a candle and prayed for all the victims of the terrible tragedy" of 11 September 2001, said the Pope. And he concluded his reminiscences of his U.S. visit with the Eucharistic celebration in New York's Yankee Stadium which he described as "a feast of faith and of brotherhood. ... To that Church which now faces the challenges of the present time, I had the joy of announcing "Christ our Hope', yesterday, today and forever".

  Prior to the audience, the Pope blessed a statue of St. John Leonardi (1541-1609), founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God, which has been placed in a niche on the exterior wall of the Vatican Basilica. On 8 august 2006, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, by virtue of the powers granted by Benedict XVI, proclaimed him patron saint of pharmacists.
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