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Monday, May 19, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 19 MAY 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Msgr. Miguel Maury Buendia, nunciature counsellor, as apostolic nuncio to Kazakhstan, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Madrid, Spain in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1980.

 - Appointed Bishop Jose Rojas Rojas, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Caceres, Philippines, as bishop-prelate of Libmanan (area 1,862, population 530,000, Catholics 488,000, priests 35, religious 15), Philippines. He succeeds Bishop Prospero N. Arellano, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same territorial prelature the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

  On Saturday, 17 May, it was made public that he appointed Fr. Johannes Maria Trilaksyanta Pujasumarta, vicar general of the archdiocese of Semarang, Indonesia, as bishop of Bandung (area 24,449, population 40,000,000, Catholics 100,000, priests 81, religious 165), Indonesia. The bishop-elect was born in Solo/Surakarta, Indonesia in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1977.
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VATICAN CITY, 19 MAY 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

 - Jean-Pierre Razafy-Andriamihaingo, ambassador of Madagascar, on his farewell visit.
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VATICAN CITY, 19 MAY 2008 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at midday today a press conference was held to present the Holy See's Pavilion in "Expo Zaragoza 2008", an international exposition due to be held in the Spanish city of Zaragoza from 14 June to 14 September on the theme: "Water and sustainable development".

  Among those participating in the press conference were Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president of the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace"; Archbishop Manuel Urena Pastor of Zaragoza; Francisco Vazquez Vazquez, Spanish ambassador to the Holy See; Juan Alberto Belloch Julbe, mayor of Zaragoza, and Emilio Fernandez-Castano commissioner general of the Expo.

  In his remarks, Cardinal Martino expressed the hope that the forthcoming exposition "will provide an opportunity to explore and raise awareness of water in the life of the world. This will be important for two reasons. First, the Social Doctrine of the Church recognises the nature of water as life-giving. ... Satisfying the needs of all, especially of those who live in poverty, must guide the use of water and of the services connected with it", he said.

  "The second reason takes us back to our faith. At our Baptism, water was used as a sign of cleansing and new life. ... Water is life giving - both physical and spiritual; it is through water that we are invited to share in the life of Christ".

  After recalling that one of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals is to halve, by the year 2015, the number of people unable to access safe drinking water, the cardinal concluded by highlighting the fact that "clean water and safe sanitation are acknowledged as essential elements in the lives of every human being".

  The Holy See pavilion, then, aims to invite reflection upon this dual dimension of water: the divine and the human.

  Visitors will follow a guided tour divided into three stages. The first presents water as the source of life; the second contains a collection of works of art associated with water and its role in the history of salvation; and the third is dedicated to the importance of solidarity, recalling that many people have only limited access to this vital element and underlining the need to work together to solve the problem.

  The Holy See will also participate in other activities promoted by Expo Zaragoza 2008, her main contribution being an international ecological congress to be held from 10 to 12 July on the theme: "The ecological question: the life of man in the world". It has been organised by the archdiocese of Zaragoza and the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace", and will be attended by numerous international experts on the subject.
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VATICAN CITY, 17 MAY 2008 (VIS) - At 11 a.m. on Friday 23 May, at the altar of the Cathedra in the Vatican Basilica, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, accompanied by other members of the College, will celebrate Mass for the soul of Cardinal Bernardin Gantin.

  Cardinal Gantin died in Paris, France, on 13 May at the age of 86. He was the former dean of the College of Cardinals and held the title of the suburbicarian church of Palestrina.

  At the end of Friday's Eucharistic celebration, Benedict XVI will pronounce a discourse and impart his apostolic blessing.
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VATICAN CITY, 17 MAY 2008 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received 150 representatives of the Pontifical Missionary Works (POM), a group of organisations at the service of the Pope and bishops "to put into effect the missionary mandate to evangelise people unto the ends of the earth". The POM is currently celebrating its plenary assembly.

  Having greeted Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, the Pope began his remarks by recalling how the POM "was an important tool in the hands of my predecessors, who elevated it to the rank of 'Pontifical' and urged bishops to establish it in their own dioceses". He also reminded his listeners that Vatican Council II "had delved deeply into the nature and mission of particular Churches, recognising their full dignity and missionary responsibility.

  "The mission", the Pope added, "is a task and duty of all Churches, which ... share staff and resources in order to achieve it. ... It is a mission of communion. To counter the seeds of the fragmentation of humanity, which daily experience shows to be so deep-rooted in mankind because of sin, the local Church opposes the unifying power of the Body of Christ".

  "Thanks to the ideas it has developed over these decades, the Pontifical Missionary Works has become part of ... the new paradigms of evangelisation, and of the ecclesiological model of communion between Churches. Clearly the POM is Pontifical but it is, by right, also episcopal, in as much as it is an instrument in the hands of bishops to achieve Christ's missionary mandate".

  As the Church prepares to commemorate the 2000th anniversary of the birth of St. Paul, Benedict XVI affirmed that the Apostle "understood on the road to Damascus, then experienced in the course of his later ministry, that redemption and mission are acts of love. It was love of Christ that impelled him to follow the roads of the Roman empire as a herald ... of the Gospel. ... It is love that must impel us to announce to all mankind, frankly and courageously, the truth that saves. ... Mankind awaits Christ".

  The Holy Father concluded: "Jesus' words: 'go therefore and make disciples of all nations' ... still represent an obligation for the whole Church and for each individual member of Christ's faithful. This apostolic commitment is a duty and an indispensable right, an expression of religious freedom which has its corresponding ethical-social and ethical-political dimensions. The Pontifical Missionary Works is called to make the 'Missio ad Gentes' the model for all pastoral activity".


VATICAN CITY, 17 MAY 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience a group of bishops, participants in a seminar promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Laity to reflect on the question of pastoral solicitude towards ecclesial movements and new communities. The seminar was held from 15 to 17 May at Rocca di Papa near Rome.

  "Ecclesial movements and new communities", said the Pope, "are one of the most important novelties the Holy Spirit has generated in the Church in order to put Vatican Council II into effect. ... Paul VI and John Paul II were able to welcome and discern, to encourage and promote, the unexpected emergence of the new lay groups which, in various and surprising ways, restored vitality, faith and hope to the entire Church".

  Although "no small amount of prejudice, resistance and tension has been overcome", said the Holy Father, "there remains the important task of promoting more mature communion among the components of the Church, so that all charisms, while respecting the specific nature of each, may fully and freely contribute to constructing the one Body of Christ".

  Pope Benedict then turned to consider the theme of the seminar - "I ask you to reach out to the movements with great love" - an exhortation he himself had addressed to a group of German bishops on their "ad limina" visit in 2006. "Reaching our with great love to movements and new communities", he said, "impels us to an adequate knowledge of their situation, avoiding superficial impressions and reductive judgements". This helps us to understand that such movements "are not a problem, ... they are a gift from the Lord, a precious resource to enrich the entire Christian community with their charisms".

  "Difficulties and misunderstandings on particular points do not justify [an attitude] of closure", said the Pope. And he told the prelates that they must "closely accompany" the movements and new communities "with paternal solicitude" so as to put to good use "the many gifts they bear, gifts we have learned to know and appreciate: their missionary drive, their effective courses of Christian formation, their witness of faithfulness and obedience to the Church, their sensitivity to the needs of the poor, and their wealth of vocations.

  "The authenticity of the new charisms is guaranteed by their willingness to submit to the discernment of ecclesiastical authority", the Holy Father added. In this context he indicated that bishops "must examine and test the charims in order to recognise and evaluate that which is good, true and beautiful, that which contributes to increasing the sanctity of individuals and of the community. And when it is necessary to intervene in order to correct", he concluded, "such interventions must also be expressions of 'great love'".
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VATICAN CITY, 18 MAY 2008 (VIS) - At 4.30 p.m. today in Genova's Piazza della Vittoria, the Pope presided at a Eucharistic celebration attended by some 40,000 people.

  Commenting on the readings of the Mass, Benedict XVI affirmed that today's Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity, "invites us to contemplate Him, the Lord, it invites us, in a certain sense, to climb up 'the mountain' as Moses did. Although at first sight this may seem to take us away from the world and its problems, in reality we discover that it is precisely by knowing God more closely that we also receive precious practical guidelines for life".

  "Human beings", he said, "do not achieve fulfilment in absolute autonomy, by fooling themselves that they are God but, on the contrary, by recognising themselves as children, creatures open to and reaching out towards God and towards their fellows, in whose faces they see the image of the common Father.

  "It is clear", he added, "that this concept of God and man lies at the foundations of a corresponding model of human community, and hence of society. As a model it predates any form of normative, juridical or institutional regulation and, I would say, any kind of cultural specification. It is a transversal model of the human family common to all civilisations; something which, from childhood, we Christians are wont to express by affirming that men are all children of God and, hence, brothers".

  "In a society torn between globalisation and individualism, the Church is called to offer her witness of 'koinonia', of communion. This reality does not come 'from the roots' but is a mystery that, so to say, has its 'roots in heaven', in the One and Triune God".

  Benedict XVI encouraged the faithful to take an interest in "spiritual and catechistic formation", which he described as "a 'substantial' formation, more necessary than ever in order to live a Christian vocation well in today's world". Addressing adults and young people, he said: "Cultivate a well-thought-out faith, one capable of engaging in profound dialogue with everyone, with our non-Catholic brethren, with non-Christians, with non-believers".

  "With particular affection, I encourage seminarians and young people following vocational journeys: do not be afraid; rather, feel the attraction of definitive choices, of a serious and demanding formative journey".

  The Pope concluded his homily by calling on the Church in Genoa to remain "united and missionary, so as to announce to everyone the joy of the faith and the beauty of being God's family. ... Look to the future with trust and seek to build it together, avoiding factional disputes".

  Following Mass, the Holy Father travelled to Genoa's Christopher Columbus airport where he boarded his flight for Rome.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 MAY 2008 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today in Genoa's Piazza Matteotti, Benedict XVI went to the city's cathedral of St. Lawrence where he met with the cathedral chapter and a group of consecrated people.

  On his arrival at the cathedral, he was welcomed by Bishop Luigi Ernesto Palletti, auxiliary of Genoa. Msgr. Mario Grone, dean of the cathedral, and Fr. Domenico Rossi O.C.D., diocesan delegate for consecrated life, then addressed a greeting to the Holy Father.

  "This cathedral, surrounded by so many alleyways", said the Holy Father in his address, "seems to be the place of convergence and arrival of all roads, as if from the shade of the narrow lanes men wish to come out into the light of their cathedral, ... into the light of God which welcomes, embraces, illuminates and restores everyone".

  "In past centuries the Church in Genoa has had a rich tradition of holiness and generous service to others. ... And even today, despite the difficulties society is undergoing, evangelising passion remains strong in your communities. In particular, there has been a growing and shared desire to create ever more fraternal understanding in order to collaborate in missionary activity throughout the archdiocese. Indeed, following the guidelines of the Italian Episcopal Conference, you wish to place yourselves in a permanent state of mission, as a form of witness to the joy of the Gospel and an explicit invitation to everyone to meet Jesus Christ".

  In order to cultivate such missionary spirit, the Holy Father proceeded, it is important "to become 'specialists' in listening to God and credible examples of a holiness that translates into faithfulness to the Gospel, without surrender to the spirit of the world". He then went on to quote the late Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, archbishop of Genoa, to the effect that "religious life moves around God ... and hence it becomes a witness of God and a call to God".

  The Pope invited those present to continue their good works, especially their presence near "the poor, the sick, families, children, parishes". All this, he added, "is a precious field of service and of giving, in order to build the Church and serve mankind".

  "Genoa's long spiritual tradition includes six Popes, among whom I particularly mention Benedict XV, ... the Pope of peace. In his 'Humani generis redemptionem' he wrote that 'what makes the human word capable of benefiting souls is the grace of God'. Let us never for get this. ... In order to be witnesses and heralds of the message of salvation we cannot rely only on our human energy. It is the faithfulness of God that stimulates and conforms our own faithfulness to Him. Hence let us allow ourselves to be guided by the Spirit of truth and love".

  After the meeting, Benedict XVI paused for a few moments prayer before the tomb of Cardinal Siri before being taken by car to the archiepiscopal Benedict XV Seminary where he greeted the seminarians and had lunch with local bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 MAY 2008 (VIS) - Following this morning's meeting with young people Benedict XVI prayed the Angelus. In remarks before the prayer he invoked the "maternal assistance" of Our Lady of Guard upon the city of Genoa and the entire region of Liguria, especially upon "the sick and the suffering".

  "Liguria, and especially Genoa", he said, "has always been a land open to the Mediterranean and to the entire world. How many missionaries have left from this port for the Americas and other distant lands! How many people emigrated from here for other countries, perhaps poor in material resources but rich in faith and in human and spiritual values which they transplanted into their countries of destination! May Mary Star of Hope continue to guide the path of the Genoese!"

  After the Angelus, the Pope recalled the fact that a diplomatic conference on cluster bombs is due to begin in Dublin, Ireland, tomorrow, "called to create a treaty that prohibits these lethal devices.

  "I hope", he added, "that it may be possible to arrive at a strong and credible international instrument. It is necessary, indeed, to remedy the errors of the past and prevent their being repeated in the future. With my prayers I accompany the victims of cluster munitions and their families, as well as those who will participate in the conference, and I give my best wishes for its success".
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VATICAN CITY, 18 MAY 2008 (VIS) - Following his visit to Genoa's "Giannina Gaslini" paediatric hospital this morning, the Pope met with a group of young people in the city's Piazza Matteotti.

  "You are the youth of Genoa!" he exclaimed in opening his address. "Youth", he told his audience, "real youth, is not a question of years and physical vigour. ... There are, unfortunately, people young in years but old within. ... Being young means having discovered the things that do not pass with the swift passage of the years. If young people discover the real and great values, they never grow old, despite the fact that the body follows its own laws".

  "Only people who are good and generous are truly young", he said. "I hope you will remain young; not fashionable, for fashions disappear in the winking of an eye, hurtling by in a frenetic career. Youth, on the other hand, the youth of goodness, remains forever. Indeed, it will be perfect and resplendent in heaven with God".

  "Youth still has all its future ahead. ... The future is full of promise. Today however, for many, it is also full of threats, especially the threat of a great void. Hence many people want to hold back time for fear of a future in emptiness". Faced with such a situation, "it is important to choose real promises that open to the future, even by making sacrifices. ... And the first fundamental choice must be God".

  The Holy Father invited the young people "to cultivate spiritual life. ... The life of the soul", he explained, "is meeting with Him, the real Face of God, it is silent and persistent prayer, it is sacramental life, it is meditating upon the Gospel, it is spiritual accompaniment, it is cordial membership of the Church and of your ecclesial communities.

  "Yet how", he added, "can one love what one does not know? ... Hence the need to delve more deeply into the mystery of Jesus, the truth of His thought that resounds in the Gospel and in the Church's Magisterium. Without a solid formation", he went on, "how will it be possible to explain the faith to your peers, so full of questions about life, about themselves, about Christian faith, and the Church?"

  The Holy Father encouraged the young people to announce the Gospel "in the various areas of life, in your parishes, in the most difficult neighbourhoods, in the streets. Announce Christ the Lord, hope of the world. The more man distances himself from God (Who is his Source) the more he loses himself; human coexistence becomes difficult and society crumbles. Remain united to one another, help one another to live and grow in faith and Christian life, in order to become intrepid witness of the Lord".

  "If you remain united to Christ and the Church, you can achieve great things. This is the hope I consign to you" he concluded. "Goodbye until we meet again in Sydney!"
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VATICAN CITY, 17 MAY 2008 (VIS) - This afternoon, the Holy Father began his pastoral visit to the Italian cities of Savona and Genoa, departing from Rome's Ciampino airport at 3.30 p.m. and landing at Christopher Columbus airport in Genoa at 4.20 p.m. From there he travelled by helicopter to Savona and thence to the nearby shrine of Our Lady of Mercy.

  On his arrival at the shrine Benedict XVI was greeted by the religious authorities. He then entered the building, pausing in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and praying before the image of the Virgin, at whose feet he laid a golden rose in memory of his visit. Subsequently he was taken in an open-top car to Savona's Piazza del Popolo where he celebrated Mass and pronounced a homily.

  In his remarks, the Pope commented on the day's readings where, in a passage from Exodus, God reveals His name to Moses. "The Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness", said the Pope quoting the biblical text. "These are human words", he added, "they tell us the truth about God. They were true yesterday, they are true today and they will be true always. They cause us to see the face of the Invisible with the eyes of the mind. They tells us the name of the Ineffable. That name is Mercy, Grace, Faithfulness".

  He then recalled how the Virgin Mary had appeared to a local peasant in the year 1536, and how she is still venerated today with the name of Virgin of Mercy. "This is the essence of Christianity because it is the essence of God Himself", he exclaimed. "God is One in that He is entirely and solely Love, but precisely because He is Love He is openness, acceptance, dialogue. And in His relations with us, sinful mankind, He is mercy, compassion, grace, forgiveness. God created everything for existence, and He always and exclusively wills life".

  "During the history of the Church, the Virgin Mary has always invited her children to return to God, to entrust themselves to Him in prayer, to knock with trusting insistence at the door of His merciful Heart. ... My visit to Savona on the day of the Blessed Trinity is above all a pilgrimage, through Mary, to the font of faith, of hope and of love".

  Benedict XVI then recalled the figure of his predecessor Pius VII. "Two centuries on", he said, "I have come to renew the recognition of the Holy See and of the Church for the faith, the love, and the courage with which your fellow citizens supported the Pope during the exile imposed upon him here by Napoleon Bonaparte".

  "That dark page of European history has, by the power of the Holy Spirit, become a rich source of grace and education, even for our own time. It teaches us the courage to face the challenges of the world (materialism, relativism, laicism), never giving way to compromise but ready to pay in person in order to remain faithful to the Lord and His Church".

  Those events, and the apparition of the Virgin at a tragic moment in the history of Savona, "come together to transmit a message of hope to the Christian generations of our own day. They encourage us to have faith in the instruments of Grace which the Lord places at our disposal in all situations".

  Among these "instruments of Grace", the Holy Father highlighted "individual, family and community prayer". In this context he also recalled how "Sunday needs to be rediscovered in its Christian roots, beginning with the celebration of the Risen Lord", and how "the Sacrament of Penance" represents a "fundamental means of spiritual development".

  "Works of charity are other indispensable means of growth", he continued. "In the modern world, which often makes beauty and physical efficiency an ideal to be pursued in every possible way, we are called as Christians to discover the face of Jesus Christ, 'the most handsome of men', in the suffering and the excluded".

  In this context, the Holy Father then greeted "prisoners and staff in the St. Augustine penitentiary of Savona" and the sick people of the city.

  Turning to address members of the clergy, the Pope invited them "to trust in the effectiveness of your daily priestly service", and to "go out and seek people, as the Lord Jesus did, ... making your presence felt in all areas of work and life". To religious he reiterated the fact that "the world has need of your witness and your prayer".

  Finally, Pope Benedict called upon young people "to put your youth at the service of God and your fellows. ... Give this city the passion and enthusiasm that derive from your living experience of faith, an experience that does not dampen the expectations of human life but exalts them by sharing in Christ's own experience".

  Following the Eucharistic celebration, the Pope travelled by car to the port of Savona whence he was taken by helicopter to Genoa where he spent the night at the shrine of Our Lady of Guard.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 MAY 2008 (VIS) - This morning the Pope visited the shrine of Our Lady of Guard in Genoa. He then travelled to the city's "Giannina Gaslini" paediatric hospital where he greeted sick children and their parents, as well as the directors and medical personnel of the institution.

  In his address to them the Holy Father recalled how the hospital was founded on 15 May 1938 and how, "with understandable pride, the Genoese look upon it as a precious heritage".

  After thanking the hospital staff "for the professionalism and dedication of their service" which "covers almost all areas of paediatric specialisation", the Pope noted that "the hope cultivated here has, then, good foundations. Nonetheless, in order to face the future effectively, it is vital that this hope be upheld by an exalted vision of life, one that enables scientists, doctors, professionals, assistants, parents themselves, to use all their capacities, sparing no effort to obtain the best results that science and technology can offer in both prevention and cure".

  Turning to address the hospital's young patients, Benedict XVI told them: "The Pope loves you. Next to you I see your relatives, who share these moments of trepidation and hope with you. Be sure that God never abandons us. Remain united to Him and you will never lose your serenity, not even in the darkest and most difficult moments".
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