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Wednesday, June 18, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 18 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Gerard Johannes Nicolaus de Korte, auxiliary of Utrecht, Netherlands, as bishop of Groningen-Leeuwarden (area 9,205, population 1,704,000, Catholics 120,300, priests 51, permanent deacons 3, religious 47), Netherlands.

 - Re-established the diocese of Srijem, Serbia, previously united "in persona Episcopi" to the diocese of Djakovo, Croatia. He appointed Bishop Djuro Gasparovic, auxiliary of Djakovo with special responsibility for Srijem, as bishop of Srijem. He also decreed that the ordinary of Srijem become a member of the International Episcopal Conference of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.

 - Erected the ecclesiastical province of Djakovo-Osijek, elevating the diocese of Djakovo-Osijek to the status of metropolitan Church (its previous name of Djakovo-Bosna being changed to that of Djakovo-Osijek) and assigning it as suffragans the dioceses of Pozega, Croatia, and Srijem, Serbia, which until now have been part of the ecclesiastical province of Zagreb-Croatia-Slavonia. He appointed Bishop Marin Srakic of Djakovo and Srijem, as the first archbishop of the new archdiocese. The archbishop-elect was born in Ivanonci, Croatia in 1937, he was ordained a priest in 1960 and consecrated a bishop in 1990.

 - Changed the name of the ecclesiastical province of Zagreb-Croatia-Slavonia to the ecclesiastical province of Zagreb, with Zagreb as its metropolitan see and having the suffragans of Varazdin and Krizevci.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 JUN 2008 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, which was celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope addressed some remarks to participants in the International Eucharistic Congress being held in Quebec, Canada, from 15 to 22 June on the theme: "The Eucharist: gift of God for the life of the world".

  "I am spiritually present at this most solemn ecclesial meeting", he said, "and I trust it will be a time rich in prayer, reflection and contemplation of the mystery of the Blessed Eucharist, for the Christian communities of Canada and for the Universal Church. May it also be a propitious moment in which to reaffirm the Church's faith in the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament".

  Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by expressing the hope that the congress "may revive in believers - not just in Canada but in many other nations in the world - an awareness of the evangelical and spiritual values that have forged their identity".
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VATICAN CITY, 18 JUN 2008 (VIS) - Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis during this morning's general audience to St. Isidore of Seville, who lived from 560 to 636 and whom the Council of Toledo in 653 defined as the "Glory of the Catholic Church". The audience, held in St. Peter's Square, was attended by 11,000 people.

  Isidore was a friend of Pope Gregory the Great and younger brother to St. Leander, bishop of Seville, whom he succeeded in that episcopal see, the Pope explained, recalling how during that period "the Visigoths, barbarians and followers of Arianism, had invaded the Iberian peninsula and occupied territories once part of the Roman empire. These lands had to be won over to Catholicism".

  The saint, under his brother's guidance, became disciplined and studious. Their house had a large library of pagan and Christian works, and hence Isidore's writings "reveal an encyclopaedic knowledge of classical pagan culture as well as a profound understanding of Christian culture".

  "In his personal life Isidore experienced a permanent interior conflict ... between a desire for solitude to dedicate himself exclusively to meditating upon the Word of God, and the need to show charity towards his fellow man for whose salvation, as bishop, he felt responsible".

  This Doctor of the Church, who as a young man also suffered exile, "was pervaded with great apostolic zeal: he experienced the exhilaration of contributing to the formation of a people that had finally found its unity, both politically and religiously, with the providential conversion from Arianism to Catholicism of the heir to the Visigoth throne, Hermenegild.

  "However we must not undervalue", the Holy Father added, "the enormous difficulties in responding adequately to such serious problems as relations with heretics and with the Jews; an entire series of problems that seem very real even today, especially if we consider events in certain regions, in which we almost seem to see the re-emergence of situations very similar to those on the Iberian peninsula in the sixth century".

  In St. Isidore, said Pope Benedict, "we have to admire ... his concern not to neglect the fruits that human experience had produced, in the history of his homeland and of the entire world. Isidore would not have wanted to lose anything of mankind's achievements in ancient times, pagan, Jewish or Christian". At the same time the saint, "in discussing theological problems, showed he understood their complexity and often proposed solutions that encapsulated and expressed the complete Christian truth".

  With the "realism of a true pastor", Isidore of Seville proposed a fusion of contemplative and active life, inspired by the example of Christ Who "offered us an example of the active life when, during the day, He ... performed miracles in the city, but showed us the contemplative life when He retired to the mountain and spent the night there in prayer. ... Just as we must love God through contemplation, so we must love others through action".

  "This, I believe, is the summary of a life that sought contemplation of God, dialogue with God in prayer and the reading of Holy Scripture, and action in the service of the human community. This", the Holy Father concluded, "is the lesson that the great bishop of Seville leaves to us, Christians of today who are called to bear witness to Christ at the beginning of a new millennium".
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