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Monday, June 2, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 2 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.

 - Three prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    - Archbishop Nicholas Chia Yeck Joo of Singapore.

    - Bishop Antony Selvanayagam of Penang, Malaysia.

  On Saturday 31 May, he received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

 - Archbishop Timothy Broglio, military ordinary for the United States of America.

 - Bishop Justin Saw Min Thide, auxiliary of Yangon, Myanmar, on his "ad limina" visit.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, 2 JUN 2008 (VIS) - At midday today in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, the Pope received 7,000 faithful from the archdiocese of Turin, Italy. Prior to the audience, Cardinal Severino Poletto, archbishop of that city, had celebrated Mass for the pilgrims in St. Peter's Basilica.

  The Holy Father opened his address to the group by assuring them of his "special prayers to the Lord" for the victims of recent flooding in Pinerolo and Cuneo near Turin, and he asked the Lord "so support those who are struggling to face the grave natural calamity".

  Over the last ten years, he said, the archdiocesan community has undertaken "wide-ranging apostolic and missionary activities, based on intense spiritual movement which focuses above all on the Sunday Eucharist, on weekly Eucharistic adoration and on the rediscovery of the importance of the Sacrament of Penance".

  Furthermore, the Pope told his audience, "you have sought to draw close to those who are 'furthest away'. ... This missionary commitment has become even more deeply shared in the current pastoral year, the year of 'Redditio fidei', and has its culmination in the solemn profession of faith you proclaimed together this morning at the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles".

  The Holy Father noted how the next pastoral year will be dedicated to the Word of God, while the one after that "will see you oriented towards a more attentive contemplation of the Passion of Christ". In this context, he announced that he had accepted the wishes of the archbishop of Turin and that "in the spring of 2010 there will be another 'Solemn Exposition of the Shroud'". In an off-the-cuff addition to his prepared text he then added: "If the Lord gives me life and health, I too hope to come". The exposition, he went on, "will provide an appropriate moment to contemplate that mysterious Face which silently speaks to the hearts of men, inviting them to recognise therein the face of God".

  "May no difficulty or obstacle hinder your love for the Gospel of Christ!" cried the Pope. "If Jesus is the centre of your families, of your parishes and of all communities, you will feel His living presence, and unity and communion will grow among the various elements of the diocese.

  "Constantly nourish, then", he added, "your union with the Lord, in prayer and with the frequent practice of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession. ... Ensure continuous Christian formation for young people and for adults", and distinguish yourselves "for works of charity and for your joint efforts to face the great 'educational challenge' of the new generations".

  Benedict XVI concluded by asking the Virgin "to protect priests and pastoral care workers, to ensure your communities have numerous holy vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, to arouse in young people the desire to follow the exalted ideal of sanctity, and to be a comfort and support especially for the elderly, the sick, the suffering and for people alone and abandoned".
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VATICAN CITY, 1 JUN 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus with faithful and pilgrims gathered there.

  The Pope explained how the month of June is traditionally dedicated to the Heart of Jesus, "a symbol of the Christian faith that is especially dear, to ordinary people as well as to mystics and theologians, because it expresses the 'good news' of love in a simple and authentic way, encapsulating the mystery of Incarnation and Redemption".

  The sequence of feasts following the period of Easter (Blessed Trinity, Corpus Christi, Sacred Heart of Jesus) bring to mind, said the Pope, "a movement towards the centre; a movement of the spirit which God Himself guides. From the boundless horizon of His love, God entered the limitations of history and of the human condition. He took a body and a heart so that we can contemplate and encounter the infinite in the finite, the invisible and ineffable Mystery in the human Heart of Jesus of Nazareth. ... This is the core of faith, and the source of the hope in which we have been saved".

  "We all need a 'centre' to our lives, a source of truth and goodness from which to draw in the various situations and exertions of daily life. Each of us, when we pause in silence, needs to feel not only the beating of our own heart but, deeper down, the pulsing of a reliable presence, perceptible with the senses of faith, yet real: the presence of Christ, heart of the world.

  "I call upon everyone to renew, in this month of June, their devotion to the Heart of Jesus, also making use of the traditional prayer of this day and bearing in mind the prayer intentions I proposed to the entire Church", the Holy Father added.

  In closing, Pope Benedict invoked the maternal intercession of the Virgin "for the people of China and Myanmar who have been affected by natural calamities, and for those suffering in the situations of pain, illness, and material and spiritual poverty which mark humanity's journey".
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VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Fr. Francis Antonysamy of the clergy of Tanjore, India, pastor of the basilica of Vailankanni, as bishop of Kumbakonam (area 7,823, population 5,095,798, Catholics 210,313, priests 207, religious 457), India. The bishop-elect was born in Iluppur, India in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1974.

 - Msgr. Barthelemy Yaouda Hourgo of the clergy of Maoura-Mokolo, Cameroon, apostolic administrator of that diocese, as bishop of Yagoua (area 22,062, population 1,234,862, Catholics 86,850, priests 43, religious 90), Cameroon. The bishop-elect was born in Mayo-Ouldeme, Cameroon in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1996.

 - Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, as a member of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State.

 - Claudio Ceresa as a consultor of Vatican City State.
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VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2008 (VIS) - At 8 p.m. today in St. Peter's Square, a celebration was held to mark the end of the month of May. Cardinal Angelo Comatri, archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, presided at the recitation of the Rosary during which the statue of the Virgin was carried around the square in procession. Following the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI pronounced an address.

  The Pope began by recalling how today marks the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin and that of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and he noted how "during the month of May many Christian communities have the beautiful custom of solemnly reciting the Rosary in families and in parishes".

  "May this habit not cease, rather may it be continued with greater commitment so that, at the school of May, the lamp of faith may shine ever more brightly in the hearts of Christians and in their homes".

  Following the Annunciation of the Archangel, "Mary found herself with a great mystery closed in her womb; she knew that something unique had happened; she was aware that the last chapter in the history of the salvation of the world had begun".

  The Virgin went to the house of Elizabeth who, "illuminated from on high, exclaimed: 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord!"

  The Holy Father explained how Elizabeth's words "awoke in Mary's soul a hymn of praise which is a real and profound 'theological' reading of history: a reading that we must learn continually from the Woman whose faith was unshadowed and unbroken. 'My soul magnifies the Lord'. Mary recognised God's greatness. This is the first and indispensable sentiment of the faith, the sentient that gives human beings security and frees them from fear, despite the storms of history".

  "Her faith enabled her to see that the thrones of the powerful of this world are all transitory, while the throne of God is the only rock that does not change and does not fall. After centuries and millennia, her Magnificat remains the truest and most profound interpretation of history, while the theories of so many wise men of this world have been disproved by the facts over the course of the centuries".

  "Let us return home with the Magnificat in our hearts", Benedict XVI concluded. "Let us carry Mary's same feelings of praise and gratitude towards the Lord, her faith and her hope, her meek abandonment in the hands of Divine Providence. Let us imitate her example of readiness and generosity in serving our fellow man. Indeed, only by welcoming God's love and making our existence a form of disinterested and generous service to others, will we be able to raise a joyful hymn of praise to the Lord. May we receive this grace through the Blessed Virgin, who this evening invites us to find refuge in her Immaculate Heart".
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VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father received members of the "Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice", who have just concluded their annual meeting, which this year has focused on the theme: "Social Capital and Human Development".

  In his remarks to the group, the Pope noted how they have been reflecting on the need "to promote a form of global development that remains attentive to the integral promotion of mankind, while highlighting the contribution that can be made by volunteer associations, non-profit organisations and other community groups that have come into being with the aim of making the social fabric ever more cohesive.

  "Harmonious development is possible", he added, "if political and economic choices ... take into account the fundamental principles which make [such development] accessible to everyone: ... subsidiarity and solidarity". The Pope also highlighted the importance of keeping humankind "as the focus of all economic planning", and pointed out that, "only a shared culture of responsible and active participation will enable human beings to consider themselves nor just as users or passive witnesses, but active participants in world development".

  "It is necessary to prevent profit becoming purely individual, and to guard against forms of collectivism that oppress personal freedom. Economic and commercial interests must never become exclusive, because this would be an effective affront to human dignity".

  He went on: "The great challenge of today is to 'globalise', not just economic and commercial interests, but also the call for solidarity, while respecting and taking advantage of the contribution of all components of society".

  The Pope thanked the members of the foundation for "the generous support you tirelessly give to the Church's charitable activities and works of human promotion", and he invited them also to reflect "on the creation of a just world economic order".

  "On the last day, on the Day of Judgement, we will be asked whether we used what God placed at out disposal to meet legitimate requirements, to help our fellow man, especially the smallest and those most in need", he concluded.
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VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Acisclo Valladares Molina, the new ambassador of Guatemala to the Holy See.

  In his remarks to the diplomat, the Holy Father recalled the fact that this year marks the 25th anniversary of John Paul II's first pastoral visit to that land "of eternal spring", and he praised the faithfulness to the Bishop of Rome with which the Guatemalans have always responded to the Holy See's concern for their country.

  "The Church", said the Pope, "shares the concern of the Guatemalan authorities over factors that afflict a large part of the population, such as poverty and emigration. Her rich ecclesial experience, accumulated over the course of history, may be of help in finding the means to face these problems from a humanitarian perspective, and to strengthen solidarity which is indispensable in order to find effective and lasting solutions".

  "In this way", he continued, "crucial technical and economic programmes must be supplemented by other factors that foment the dignity of the person, the stability of the family and an education that takes the most important human and Christian values into account". Nor must "those people who have had to abandon their land, though not forgetting it in their hearts" be overlooked. "This is a duty of gratitude and justice towards those who are, in effect, also an important source of income for the country in which they were born".

  Another challenge facing Guatemala is that of "remedying the malnutrition of many children", said Benedict XVI, observing how "eradicating hunger and, at the same time, ensuring healthy and sufficient nourishment, requires specific methods and actions that enable resources to be exploited while respecting the heritage of creation", making use not only "of the results of science, research and technology", but also taking into account "the cycles and rhythms of nature, as understood by people in rural areas" and protecting "the traditional uses of indigenous communities, laying aside selfish and exclusively economic concerns".

  This primary right to food, said the Pope, "is intrinsically linked to the protection and defence of human life, the firm and unbreakable rock upon which the entire edifice of human rights rests. We can never, then, show enough ... concern for mothers, especially those suffering serious difficulties, so that they can bring their children into the world with dignity and thus avoid the unjustifiable recourse to abortion. In this sense, safeguarding human life, especially that of the unborn, ... is an ever present task which, by its nature, is linked to facilitating the adoption of the children" with all the guarantees of the law.

  In closing his remarks, the Holy Father mentioned "the blight of social violence" which is often exacerbated by "a lack of dialogue and of cohesion in families, by profound economic inequalities, by grave negligence and shortcomings in the field of healthcare, by drug consumption and trafficking, and by the plague of corruption". In this context, he expressed his satisfaction at the progress Guatemala has made in combating these difficulties, progress "which must continue, promoting co-operation among everyone to put an end to such problems by cultivating moral values and combating illegality, impunity and corruption".

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