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Monday, June 23, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 23 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Fra' Matthew Festing, prince and grand master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

 - Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

 - Archbishop Francesco Monterisi, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops.

 - Archbishop Anselmo Guido Pecorari, apostolic nuncio to Uruguay.

  On Saturday 21 June, he received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal James Francis Stafford, penitentiary major of the Apostolic Penitentiary, accompanied by Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv., regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

 - Cardinal Agostino Vallini, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
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VATICAN CITY, 23 JUN 2008 (VIS) - On 29 May, at the Philippine Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Manila, Archbishop Edward J. Adams, apostolic nuncio to that country, and Albert G. Romulo, foreign minister of the Republic of the Philippines, exchanged the instruments of ratification of the Agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of the Philippines concurring the cultural patrimony of the Catholic Church. The agreement itself was signed on 17 April 2007.

  The signing ceremony was attended, on behalf of the Church, by Cardinal Gaudencio B. Rosales, archbishop of Manila, and by Bishop Julito B. Cortes, auxiliary of Cebu and president of the Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.

  For the Philippine State, the event was attended by Carmen Padilla, head of the national commission for UNESCO; Emelita V. Almosara, counsellor of the National Historical Institute, and Angel Bautista, head curator of the cultural property section of the National Museum.

  The agreement come into force on the day of the exchange of the instruments of ratification.


VATICAN CITY, 23 JUN 2008 (VIS) - A communique released today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announces that in the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls at 6 p.m. on Saturday 28 June, eve of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, Benedict XVI will preside at first Vespers for the inauguration of the Pauline Year. The ceremony will be attended by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and by representatives of other Churches and Christian communities.
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VATICAN CITY, 22 JUN 2008 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Pope recalled victims of the typhoon Fengshen in the Philippines, and mentioned the beatification of the Lebanese friar Fr. Yaaqub (ne Khalil Haddad).

  "It was with great anguish that this morning I learnt of the wreck of a ferry in the Philippines, struck by the typhoon Fengshen which has swept across that area", he said. "As I give assurances of my spiritual closeness to the people of the islands struck by the typhoon, I raise a special prayer to the Lord for the victims of this latest maritime tragedy, in which so many children were also involved".

  The Holy Father then went on to recall that "today in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, Yaaqub (ne Khalil Haddad), priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins and founder of the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters of the Cross in Lebanon, was proclaimed a blessed. In expressing my congratulations to his spiritual daughters, I trust with all my heart that the intercession of Blessed Abuna Yaaqub, together with that of the other Lebanese saints, may enable that beloved and martyred country, which has undergone too much suffering, to finally progress towards a stable peace".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 JUN 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  "In today's Gospel", he said, "we find two invitations from Jesus: on the one hand, 'to have no fear' of men, and on the other 'to fear' God. Thus we are stimulated to reflect on the difference that exists between human fears and fear of God. Fear is a natural aspect of life. From childhood we experience forms of fear that then reveal themselves as imaginary and disappear; later other fears emerge which have specific roots in reality, these must be faced and overcome with human commitment and trust in God.

  "But", the Pope added, "there exists - and above all today - a deeper form of fear, an existential fear, which sometimes spills over into anguish. It is born of a sense of emptiness, associated with a certain culture that is permeated with widespread theoretical and practical nihilism. Faced with the broad ... panorama of human fears, the Word of God is clear: those who 'fear' God 'are not afraid'. Fear of God, which Scripture defines as 'the beginning of true hope', means to have faith in Him, and sacred respect for His authority over life and over the world".

  "Those who fear God are serene even amidst the storms because God, as Jesus revealed to us, is a Father full of mercy and goodness. Those who love Him are not afraid. ... Believers, then, are afraid of nothing, because they know they are in the hands of God, they know that evil and the irrational will not have the last word, but that the one Lord of the world and of life is Christ, the Word of God incarnate".

  Finally, the Pope turned his attention to St. Paul who, "strong in the presence of Christ and comforted by His love, did not even fear martyrdom". Then, recalling that on 28 June he will inaugurate a Jubilee Year commemorating the two-thousandth anniversary of the birth of the Apostle of the Gentiles, the Holy Father concluded: "May this great spiritual and pastoral event also arouse in us a renewed faith in Jesus Christ Who calls us to announce and bear witness to His Gospel, without fear".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 JUN 2008 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today announced that the next International Eucharistic Congress will take place in 2012 in Dublin, capital of Ireland.

  The Pope made the announcement during his homily, transmitted by satellite from the Vatican to thousands of faithful gathered on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec, for the closing Mass of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress, held in that Canadian city from 15 to 22 June. The Eucharistic celebration was presided by Cardinal Jozef Tomko, pontifical legate and president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.

  Commenting on the theme of the congress - "The Eucharist: gift of God for the life of the world" - the Holy Father said: "The Eucharist is our most precious treasure. ... It is the Sacrament par excellence ... It contains all the mystery of our salvation, it is the source and the summit of the activity and the life of the Church".

  "It is, then", he continued, "particularly important that pastors and faithful should always seek a more profound understanding of this great Sacrament. Each will thus be able to strengthen his faith and better achieve his mission in the Church and in the world, recalling the fecundity of the Eucharist for his personal life, and for the life of the Church and the world".

  "Participation in the Eucharist", said Pope Benedict, "does not distance us from our fellow man; quite the contrary, being the most exalted expression of God's love, it calls us to commit ourselves alongside our brothers and sisters to facing the challenges of the present and to making the planet a pleasant place to live. To this end, we must struggle tirelessly so that all people may be respected from conception to natural death, that our rich societies may welcome the poorest and restore their dignity, that everyone may feed themselves and their family, and that peace and justice may shine out on all continents".

  The Pope, who had been speaking French, then pronounced a few words in English: "I sincerely hope that this Congress will serve as an appeal to all the faithful to make a similar commitment to a renewal of Eucharistic catechesis, so that they themselves will gain a genuine Eucharistic awareness and will in turn teach children and young people to recognise the central mystery of faith and build their lives around it".

  After encouraging pastors and faithful "to renew their concern for their preparation for receiving the Eucharist", the Pope said that "despite our weakness and our sin, Christ wishes to dwell within us. ... For this reason we must do everything possible to receive Him with a pure heart, ever seeking to regain - through the Sacrament of Confession - the purity that sin has blemished".

  Benedict XVI pointed out that "sin, and especially grave sin, opposes the action of Eucharistic grace in us. ... People who because of their situation cannot take communion, will find strength and salvific effectiveness in a unity of desire and in participation in Mass", he said.

  "The Eucharist is not a meal among friends. It is a mystery of alliance", said the Pope. "We are called to enter this mystery of alliance, conforming our everyday lives to the gift received in the Eucharist".

  The Pope called on people to ask God for new priests for the Church, and to pass this invitation on to the young, "that they may joyfully and fearlessly respond to Christ. They will not be disillusioned. May families be the birthplace and the cradle of vocations".

  Before concluding his remarks, the Holy Father called on everyone "to join me in praying for the success of the next International Eucharistic Congress, which will take place in 2012 in the city of Dublin".


VATICAN CITY, 21 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem of the Latins, presented by His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Fouad Twal.

 - Appointed Msgr. Andrew Thanya-anan Vissanu, nunciature counsellor to the apostolic nunciature in Indonesia, as under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.
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VATICAN CITY, 21 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father has written a Letter to Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, to mark the 25th anniversary of his consecration as bishop. The Letter was read out during a solemn Eucharistic concelebration presided by Cardinal Ruini in the Roman basilica of St. John Lateran.

  In his Letter, which is dated 19 June, the Pope thanks the cardinal for his "commitment to serving the Church of Rome" since January 1991 when he was appointed vicar general of the diocese.

  Benedict XVI recalls certain episodes during "these years of episcopate in the direct service of the Bishop of Rome", such as "the planning and celebration of the Citizens' Mission in preparation for the Great Jubilee 2000", the culminating moment of which "was the 20th World Youth Day".

  "Over the years", the Pope continues in his Letter to the cardinal, "you have accompanied 484 diocesan priests to ordination and have supported, through various initiatives, the building of 57 new parish churches".

  The Holy Father thanks Cardinal Ruini "for all you have done for priests, deacons, religious, seminarians, lay groups and all the people of God in the diocese of Rome", and he notes how the diocese "has grown in communion and in an awareness of the urgency of the mission". In this context the Pope adds: "I must express my personal recognition for the dedication with which, over these years, you introduced me into the complex realities of this beloved Church".

  "Thank you for having backed my call for a serious commit to education and for having, on numerous occasions, brought so many faithful to St. Peter's Square to listen to, support and encourage the ministry of the Roman Pontiff".

  Benedict XVI concludes his Letter by telling Cardinal Ruini - who from 1991 to 2007 was also president of the Italian Episcopal Conference - that "in all these circumstances you have shown exemplary faithfulness to your episcopal motto 'Veritas liberabit nos'. In name of this Truth, which is Christ Himself, you continually dedicated your energies for the sake of the People of God who are in Rome".

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