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Monday, July 7, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 5 JUL 2008 (VIS) - This morning in Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father received a group of pilgrims from Regensburg, Germany.

  In brief remarks to them, the Pope recalled the "marvellous day" in September 2006 when he blessed the new organ - the "Benedikt-Orgel" - in the "Alte Kapelle" of Regensburg, of which his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, was once director.

  "I have an indelible memory", said the Holy Father, "of how - in the harmony of that wonderful organ, of the choir conducted by Mr Kohlhaufel, and the luminous beauty of the church - we experienced the joy that comes from God. Not just the 'spark of the Gods' of which Schiller speaks, but truly the flame of the Holy Spirit which brought us to feel in our innermost being what we also know from the Gospel of St. John: that He Himself is joy. And this joy was communicated to us".

  Benedict XVI spoke of his contentment "that this organ continues to play and so helps people to perceive something of the splendour of our faith; a splendour ignited by the Holy Spirit Himself. Thus the organ has an evangelising role, in its own way it announces the Gospel".
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VATICAN CITY, 5 JUL 2008 (VIS) - According to a decree made public today and signed by Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv., respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Benedict XVI will grant the faithful Plenary Indulgence to faithful who "gather at Sydney, Australia, in the spirit of pilgrimage" to participate in celebrations for 23rd World Youth Day, and Partial Indulgence to "all those who, wherever they are, will pray for the spiritual goals of this meeting and for its happy outcome".

  The English-language decree reads: "The youth meeting held in the year 2005 in Cologne, offered the Apostolic Penitentiary an opportune occasion, with the authority of the Supreme Pontiff, to open wide to youth the spiritual treasures of the Church, with the aim of gathering singular fruits of sanctification.

  "Hence, this year, from 15 to 20 July, in Sydney, 'in the great southern land of the Holy Spirit' (according to the expression of John Paul II), will celebrate the 23rd World Youth Day, with the theme: 'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses'.

  "Indeed", the decree adds, "young people gathered around the Vicar of Christ will participate in the sacred functions and above all have recourse to the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. In the Sacraments received with a sincere and humble heart, they will earnestly desire to strengthen themselves in the Spirit, and, confirmed by the Chrism of salvation, will openly witness the faith before others even to the ends of the earth. May God grant that the very presence of the Supreme Pontiff among the young people gathered in Sydney express and render it such".

  The indulgences may be gained in the following ways:

  "The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful who will devotedly participate at some sacred function or pious exercise taking place during the 23rd World Youth Day, including its solemn conclusion, so that, having received the Sacrament of Reconciliation and being truly repentant, they receive Holy Communion and devoutly pray according to the intentions of His Holiness.

  "The Partial Indulgence is granted to the faithful, wherever they are during the above-mentioned meeting, if, at least with a contrite spirit, they will raise their prayer to God the Holy Spirit, so that young people are drawn to charity and given the strength to proclaim the Gospel with their life.

  "So that all the faithful may more easily obtain these heavenly gifts, priests who have received legitimate approval to hear sacramental confessions, should welcome them with a ready and generous spirit and suggest public prayers to the faithful, for the success of the same World Youth Day".
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VATICAN CITY, 5 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The members of the administrative council of the "Populorum Progressio" Foundation are due to meet in Guadalajara, Mexico, from 9 to 12 July to consider the financing of development projects in support of poor indigenous mixed race and Afro-American rural communities of Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a communique published today by the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".

  This year more than 230 projects have been presented, covering 17 countries and various different sectors including: manufacturing, healthcare, professional training, creation of community centres, school education, construction of rural dwellings, and integral human formation.

  Among the countries that have presented the greatest number of projects are Colombia (44), Peru (30), Brazil (40), Mexico (11) and Ecuador (21). They are followed by Bolivia (11), Haiti (13), Guatemala (5), Nicaragua (5), Chile (11), El Salvador (11), Paraguay (4), Costa Rica (12), Panama (3), Dominican Republic (2), Argentina (6) and Cuba (1).

  "Populorum Progressio", says the communique, "was instituted by Pope John Paul II on 22 February 1992 to mark the fifth centenary of the beginning of evangelisation in Latin America, in keeping with the intentions of Pope Paul VI who, following the conference of Puebla, Mexico, established a fund that was later transformed into the foundation. Populorum Progressio was entrusted to the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum', presided by Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes. In a meeting with the administrative council in June 2007, the Holy Father Benedict XVI gave renewed encouragement to the foundation's activities".

  The administrative council is currently led by the following Latin American prelates: Archbishop Fabio Betancur Tirado of Manizales, Colombia (president) and Archbishop Alberto Taveira Correa of Palmas, Brazil (vice-president), and has the following members: Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico; Archbishop Edmundo Luis Flavio Abastoflor Montero of La Paz, Bolivia; Archbishop Antonio Arregui Yarza of Guayaquil, Ecuador; Bishop Jose Luis Astigarraga Lizarralde C.P., apostolic vicar of Yurimaguas, Peru, and Msgr. Segundo Tejado Munoz, representative of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. Also participating in the meeting will be a delegation from the Italian Episcopal Conference's committee for charitable initiatives in favour of the Third World, which is the main supporter of the foundation.
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VATICAN CITY, 5 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
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VATICAN CITY, 6 JUL 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the balcony overlooking the inner courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, where he is currently spending a few days rest, in order to pray the Angelus with pilgrims gathered there.

  Before the Marian prayer, the Pope spoke of his forthcoming trip to Sydney, Australia, for the 23rd World Youth Day, recalling how "over past months the 'Cross of Youth' has been carried across all Oceania, and in Sydney it will once more stand as silent witness to the covenant between the Lord Jesus Christ and the new generations. ... I invite the Church to participate in this latest stage of the great youth pilgrimage across the world, which was begun in 1985 by Servant of God John Paul II".

  The Holy Father described 23rd World Youth Day as "a renewed Pentecost", because "for a year Christian communities have been preparing themselves in accordance with the indications I gave in my Message on the theme: 'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses'".

  This promise of Jesus to His disciples following the Resurrection "always retains its validity and importance for the Church", said the Pope. "The Holy Spirit, which we hope for and welcome in prayer, infuses believers with the capacity to be witnesses to Jesus and to His Gospel. Blowing into the sails of the Church, the divine Spirit encourages her 'to put out into the deep', ever and anew, generation after generation, so as to carry to everyone the good news of God's love, fully revealed in Jesus Christ".

  "I am certain that Catholics from all corners of the earth will join me and the young people gathered, as in a Cenacle, in Sydney, calling upon the Holy Spirit to inundate hearts with inner light, with love for God and for neighbour, with the courage to introduce Jesus' eternal message into the various languages and cultures".

  The Pope concluded his reflections by invoking Mary's intercession, especially in this season "that the summer may offer everyone the chance for a period of rest and of physical and spiritual renewal".
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VATICAN CITY, 6 JUL 2008 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Pope recalled that tomorrow, 7 July, heads of State of the G8 nations, accompanied by other world leaders, will meet in Japan for their annual summit.

  "Over recent days", said the Holy Father, "many voices have been raised - among them those of the presidents of episcopal conferences in the countries concerned - to call for the implementation of commitments assumed at earlier G8 meetings, and for the courageous adoption of all measures necessary to defeat the scourges of extreme poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy which still affect such a large part of humankind.

  "I too add my voice to this urgent appeal for solidarity!" Pope Benedict cried. "I address myself, then, to participants in the meeting in Hokkaido-Tokyo, that they may focus their deliberations on the needs of the weakest and poorest peoples, whose vulnerability is greater today because of speculation and financial turbulence and their perverse effects on the cost of food and energy. I hope that generosity and farsightedness may help make decisions aimed at re-launching a just process of integral development, in order to safeguard human dignity".

  Turning then to address a group of children participating in the 2008 International Festival of Child Artists organised by the Soong Ching Ling Foundation of Italy, the Holy Father said: "Love, harmony and solidarity are the values you wish to promote in China and in other countries of the would. Art and culture can unite peoples. Children represent the future of the human family and, for that reason, are called to build a more beautiful and more humane world. Your presence gives me the chance to send my hopes for peace and joy to all your contemporaries in China and in the world".
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VATICAN CITY, 7 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Msgr. Herbert A. Bevard of the clergy of the archdiocese of Philadelphia, U.S.A., pastor of St. Athanasius parish, as bishop of Saint Thomas (area 352, population 108,612, Catholics 30,000, priests 15, permanent deacons 27, religious 27), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Baltimore, U.S.A. in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1972.

 - Appointed Bishop William Francis Malooly, auxiliary of Baltimore, U.S.A., as bishop of Wilmington (area 13,916, population 1,270,734, Catholics 230,000, priests 214, permanent deacons 94, religious 380), U.S.A. He succeeds Bishop Michael A. Saltarelli, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

  On Saturday 5 July it was made public that he appointed Cardinal Paul Poupard, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Culture, as his special envoy to preside at the International Mariological Marian Congress due to be held in Lourdes, France from 4 to 8 September.
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