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Monday, June 9, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 9 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Manuel A. Cruz of the clergy of the archdiocese of Newark, U.S.A., archdiocesan director for health pastoral care, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 1,328, population 2,914,000, Catholics 1,357,000, priests 834, permanent deacons 196, religious 1,146). The bishop-elect was born in Havana, Cuba in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1980.

  On Saturday 7 June, it was made public that he appointed:

 - Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, archbishop of Florence, Italy, as president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

 - Msgr. Aldo Giordano, secretary general of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), as special envoy and permanent observer of the Holy See to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

 - Massimo Bufacchi as director of the Labour Office of the Apostolic See.
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VATICAN CITY, 9 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla, apostolic nuncio to Korea and Mongolia.

 - Five prelates from the Catholic Bishop's Conference of Bangladesh, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Paulinus Costa of Dhaka, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Theotonius Gomes C.S.C.

    - Bishop Patrick D'Rozario C.S.C. of Chittagong.

    - Bishop Moses Costa C.S.C. of Dinajpur.

    - Bishop Bejoy Nicephorus D'Cruze O.M.I. of Khulna.

  On Saturday 7 June, he received in separate audiences:

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

    - Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing S.J. of Melaka-Johor, Malaysia, accompanied by Bishop emeritus James Chan Soon Cheong.

    - Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom of Sandakan, Malaysia.

    - Bishop Cornelius Sim, apostolic vicar of Brunei, Brunei Darussalam.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, 9 JUN 2008 (VIS) - Made public today was the programme of Benedict XVI's forthcoming pastoral visit to the Italian towns of Santa Maria di Leuca and Brindisi, due to take place on 14 and 15 June.

  At 3.30 p.m. on Saturday 14 June the Holy Father will depart from Rome's Ciampino airport, landing an hour later at the Fortunato Cesari military airfield in Galatina. From there he will travel by helicopter to the heliport of Punta Ristola at Santa Maria di Leuca and thence by car to the shrine of Santa Maria 'de finibus terrae".

  At 5.30 p.m. he will celebrate Mass at the shrine and pronounce a homily. He will then return to Punta Ristola to board a helicopter for Brindisi where at 8.30 p.m. he is scheduled to meet with young people. The Holy Father will spend that night at the residence of the archbishop of Brindisi-Ostuni.

  At 9.15 a.m. on Sunday 15 June, the Pope will meet with local Benedictine and Carmelite cloistered nuns in the chapel of the archbishopric. At 10 a.m. he will celebrate Mass and pronounce a homily on the Sant'Apollinare quay of the port of Brindisi. After praying the Angelus, he will return to the archbishop's residence for lunch with bishops of the Puglia region. At 4.45 p.m. he is scheduled to meet with priests in the city cathedral.

  The Pope will begin his return journey to Rome from the airport of Brindisi-Casale at 5.45 p.m. He is scheduled to land at Ciampino an hour later, and from there to travel to the Vatican by car.
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VATICAN CITY, 9 JUN 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Pope received students from the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the institution which trains candidates for the Holy See diplomatic service. They were accompanied by Archbishop Beniamino Stella, president of the academy.

  "Apart from the necessary juridical, theological and diplomatic training", the Pope told them, "what is most important is that your lives and activities should reflect a faithful love for Christ and for the Church which arouses in you a friendly pastoral concern towards everyone".

  "Unity with Christ is the secret of authentic success for the ministry of each priest. Whatever work you undertake in the Church, ensure that you always remain His true friends, faithful friends who have met Him and have learned to love Him above all else. Communion with Him, the divine Master of our souls, will ensure you serenity and peace even in the most complex and difficult moments".

  Faced with the danger "of losing the meaning of life", and of "a certain contemporary culture that casts doubt upon any kind of absolute value, even the possibility of recognising truth and goodness", said Pope Benedict, "we must bear witness to the presence of God, a God Who understands man and knows how to speak to his heart".

"You must proclaim - with your lives even before than with your words - the joyful and consoling announcement of the Gospel of love, in places sometimes very far removed from the Christian experience", the Holy Father told his audience. "Announce the Truth that is Christ! May prayer, meditation and listening to the Word of God be your daily bread".

  He went on: "May the celebration of the Eucharist be the core and the focus of your every day and of your entire ministry. ... It is not possible to approach the Lord every day, to pronounce these tremendous moving words, 'this is my Body, this is my Blood', ... to take the Body and Blood of the Lord in our hands, without allowing ourselves to be seized by Him, ... without allowing His infinite love to change us within. May the Eucharist become a school of life for you, in which Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross teaches you to give yourselves totally to your fellow man.

  "In undertaking their mission, pontifical representatives are called to offer to others this testimony of welcome, fruit of their constant union with Christ", he concluded.


VATICAN CITY, 8 JUN 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square, in order to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered there.

  Quoting a phrase of the Prophet Hosea - "I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings" - the Pope said "this is a keyword, one of the words that introduces us into the heart of Holy Scripture".

  "The context in which Jesus makes this phrase His own", the Pope continued, "is the calling of Matthew, who by profession was a publican, in other words a tax collector for the Roman imperial authorities and for that reason considered by the Jews as a public sinner". When Jesus, accompanied by His disciples, went to sit at dinner with Matthew, the Pharisees were scandalised but He told them: 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. ... I have come to call not the righteous but sinners'".

  "At this point, Matthew the Evangelist, ever attentive to the link between the Old and New Testaments, puts Hosea's prophecy on Jesus' lips: 'Go and learn what this means, I desire mercy not sacrifice'. The importance of this expression of the prophet is such that the Lord later uses it again in a different context, concerning the observation of the Sabbath. On this occasion too He takes it upon Himself to interpret the precept, revealing Himself as the 'Lord' of legal institutions. Turning to the Pharisees, He adds: 'If you had known what this means - I desire mercy not sacrifice - you would not have condemned the guiltless'".

  "Thus", the Holy Father added, "Jesus, the Word made flesh, has, so to say, 'identified' Himself in this oracle of Hosea. He made it His own with all His heart and carried it out with His actions, even at the cost of upsetting the sensibilities of the leaders of His people. This word of God has come to us, through the Gospels, as one of the summaries of the entire Christian message: true religion consists in loving God and neighbour. This is what gives value to worship and to the practice of precepts".

  After praying the Angelus, the Pope recalled the Polish miners who lost their lives in a recent accident at a mine in Borynia. "I pray for the grace of eternal rest for them", he said, "spiritual comfort for their families, and a speedy recovery for the injured. May merciful God protect us from sudden death!"
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VATICAN CITY, 7 JUN 2008 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter, written in Latin and dated 9 April, in which Benedict XVI appoints Cardinal Josef Tomko, president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Eucharistic Congresses, as pontifical legate to the celebration of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress, due to take place in Quebec, Canada, from 15 to 22 June.

  The cardinal will be accompanied by Bishop Pierre-Andre Fournier, auxiliary of Quebec; Msgr. Jean Pelletier, chancellor of the diocesan Curia; Fr. Alain Pouliot, head of human resources for pastoral care; and Msgr. Luca Lorusso, counsellor at the apostolic nunciature to Canada.


VATICAN CITY, 7 JUN 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received participants in the sixth European Symposium of University Professors, which is being held in Rome from 4 to 7 June on the theme: "Broadening the Horizons of Reason. Prospects for Philosophy".

  The symposium has been promoted by university professors in Rome and organised by the Office for Pastoral Care in Universities of the Vicariate of Rome, in collaboration with regional and provincial institutions and the local city authorities.

  In opening his address to them the Pope mentioned the fact that this year marks the tenth anniversary of John Paul II's Encyclical "Fides et ratio", and he recalled how when that document was published "fifty professors of philosophy in Roman universities ... expressed their gratitude to the Pope with a declaration underlining the importance of re-launching the study of philosophy in universities and schools".

  "The events of the years that have passed since the publication of the Encyclical have", said the Holy Father, "delineated more clearly the historical and cultural stage onto which philosophical research is called to enter. Indeed, the crisis of modernity is not a symptom of the decline of philosophy; on the contrary, philosophy must embark upon new lines of research in order to understand the true nature of that crisis".

  "Modernity is not simply a historically-datable cultural phenomenon; in reality it requires a new focus, a more exact understanding of the nature of man".

  Benedict XVI indicated that since the beginning of his pontificate he had received various suggestions "from men and women of our time", and that "in the light of these I have decided to offer a research proposal which I feel may arouse interest in a relaunch of philosophy and of its unique role within the modern academic and cultural world".

  Quoting his own book, "Introduction to Christianity", he said: "The Christian faith has made a clear choice: against the gods of religion for the God of the philosophers, in other words against the myth of custom and for the truth of being". And he went on: "This affirmation ... is still fully relevant in the historical-cultural context in which we now live. Indeed, only on the basis of this premise - which is historical and theological at one and the same time - is it possible to respond to the new expectations of philosophy. The risk that religion, even the Christian religion, be surreptitiously manipulated, is very real even today".

  "The proposal to 'Broaden the Horizons of Reason' should" he proceeded, "be understood as a request for a new openness towards the reality to which human beings in their uni-totality are called, overcoming old prejudices and reductive viewpoints in order to open the way to a new understanding of modernity".

  "The new dialogue between faith and reason which is needed today cannot come about in the terms and the ways it did in the past", said the Pope. "If it does not want to see itself reduced to the status of sterile intellectual exercise, it must start from the current real situation of mankind, and upon that build a reflection that embraces man's ontological and metaphysical truth".

  In closing, Benedict XVI referred to the need to "promote high-profile academic centres in which philosophy can enter into dialogue with other disciplines, in particular with theology, to favour new cultural syntheses capable of guiding society". In this context, he expressed the hope that "Catholic academic institutions may be ready to create true cultural laboratories" and he invited the professors to encourage young people "to commit themselves to philosophical studies by facilitating appropriate initiatives" to guide them in that direction.
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VATICAN CITY, 7 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received sixty participants in the tenth plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, which is presided by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran. The theme of the assembly has been: "Dialogue 'in veritate et caritate'. Pastoral orientations".

  Addressing them in English, the Holy Father said: "I am happy to learn that during these days you have sought to arrive at a deeper understanding of the Catholic Church's approach to people of other religious traditions. You have considered the broader purpose of dialogue - to discover the truth - and the motivation for it, which is charity, in obedience to the divine mission entrusted to the Church by our Lord Jesus Christ".

  "The Church continues to reach out to followers of different religions", he explained. "In this way she gives expression to that desire for encounter and collaboration in truth and freedom. In the words of my venerable predecessor, Pope Paul VI, the Church's principal responsibility is service to the Truth - 'truth about God, truth about man and his hidden destiny, truth about the world, truth which we discover in the Word of God'".

  "It is the love of Christ which impels the Church to reach out to every human being without distinction, beyond the borders of the visible Church. The source of the Church's mission is Divine Love. ... Thus, it is love that urges every believer to listen to the other and seek areas of collaboration".

  Love "encourages Christian partners in dialogue with the followers of other religions to propose, but not impose, faith in Christ Who is 'the way, the truth, and the life'. ... The Christian faith has shown us that 'truth, justice and love are not simply ideals, but enormously weighty realities'. For the Church, 'charity is not a kind of welfare activity which could equally well be left to others, but is a part of her nature, an indispensable expression of her very being'".

  The Holy Father pointed out that "the great proliferation of inter-religious meetings around the world today calls for discernment. ... Since Vatican Council II, attention has been focused on the spiritual elements which different religious traditions have in common. In many ways, this has helped to build bridges of understanding across religious boundaries".

  He then went on to consider "some of the issues of practical concern in inter-religious relations" examined during the plenary assembly, such as: "the identity of the partners in dialogue, religious education in schools, conversion, proselytism, reciprocity, religious freedom, and the role of religious leaders in society. These are important issues", he said, "to which religious leaders living and working in pluralistic societies must pay close attention".

  Benedict XVI also underlined the need for the promoters of inter-religious dialogue "to be well formed in their own beliefs and well informed about those of others", highlighting how "inter-religious collaboration provides opportunities to express the highest ideals of each religious tradition".

  He concluded: " Helping the sick, bringing relief to the victims of natural disasters or violence, caring for the aged and the poor: these are some of the areas in which people of different religions collaborate. I encourage all those who are inspired by the teaching of their religions to help the suffering members of society".

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