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Monday, July 14, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 12 JUL 2008 (VIS) - As has become traditional on his apostolic trips abroad, during his flight to Australia Holy Father answered questions from the journalists accompanying him on the papal aircraft. The central themes of the interview were the forthcoming 23rd World Youth Day (WYD) and the situation of the Church in Australia where the event is being hosted.

  The Pope answered five questions, the first of which concerned the significance of WYD and the message he wishes to transmit to young people. Benedict XVI replied by recalling the theme of the event - "You will receive the power of the Holy Spirit" - and indicating that it is the Spirit that converts young people into Christ's witnesses. Thus his hope is that WYD may be a stimulus to participants to live their faith maturely, shouldering all the responsibilities the faith brings with it, towards Creation, towards society and in all aspects of life.

  The second question dealt with the problem of secularisation, and the Pope was asked about his optimism or pessimism concerning the future of the Church in Australia. Benedict XVI replied by highlighting the enduring importance of religious experience. "God is in the human heart and can never disappear", he said. All the same Australia is - in its historical makeup - part of the Western world which over the last 50 years has seen great scientific and economic progress, with religion being left to one side. Hence it is necessary to find a way to excite a desire for the experience of God and to make this known to human beings of today, even in a secularised society.

  Sexual abuse by members of the clergy was the focus of the third question. Benedict XVI reaffirmed what he had said during his recent apostolic trip to the United States, that the Church in no way accepts such abuses. He underlined the need for clarity in the Church's Magisterium and for commitment in the formation of the clergy to prevent abuses happening again. The Pope also reiterated the importance of undertaking pastoral activities to heal victims' wounds, and of remaining close to their families.

  The fourth question concerned climate change, a topic of great concern in Australian society. The Holy Father indicated that he would be dealing with the subject during his meeting with young people, focusing on people's moral responsibility towards the Creation. He also made it clear that it is not his role to take technical measures - which is rather the responsibility of governments and scientists - but that the question of human responsibility towards Creation is of great interest to him.

  The final question to be put to the Holy Father concerned the Anglican Communion and his views on the forthcoming Lambeth Conference, in the wake of the General Synod of the Church of England's vote in favour of the episcopal ordination of women. Benedict XVI affirmed that he will pray for the participants in the Lambeth Conference that they may, in the best possible way, tackle the great question of faithfulness to the Gospel in today's world, which is the challenge facing all Christians.
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VATICAN CITY, 13 JUL 2008 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Pope to the people of Australia and to young pilgrims taking part in World Youth Day.

  In the English-language Message, the Pope explains how in a few days time, on 17 July, his apostolic trip to Australia to celebrate the 23rd World Youth Day will begin.

  "First of all", he writes, "I want to express my appreciation to all those who have offered so much of their time, their resources and their prayers in support of this celebration".

  After then recalling the theme of the forthcoming event - "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you will be my witnesses" - the Pope says: "How much our world needs a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit! There are still many who have not heard the Good News of Jesus Christ, while many others, for whatever reason, have not recognised in this Good News the saving truth that alone can satisfy the deepest longings of their hearts".

  "Many young people today lack hope. They are perplexed by the questions that present themselves ... and they are often uncertain which way to turn for answers. They see poverty and injustice and they long to find solutions. They are challenged by the arguments of those who deny the existence of God and they wonder how to respond. They see great damage done to the natural environment through human greed and they struggle to find ways to live in greater harmony with nature and with one another.

  "Where", the Pope asks, "can we look for answers? The Spirit points us towards the way that leads to life, to love and to truth. The Spirit points us towards Jesus Christ. ... In Him we find the answers that we are seeking, ... we find the strength to pursue the path that will bring about a better world".

  The Holy Father concludes his Message by saying: "My prayer is that the hearts of the young people who gather in Sydney for the celebration of World Youth Day will truly find rest in the Lord, and that they will be filled with joy and fervour for spreading the Good News among their friends, their families, and all whom they meet".
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VATICAN CITY, 12 JUL 2008 (VIS) - Made public today was the text of the Holy Father's Message for the 82nd World Mission Day, which is due to be celebrated on Sunday 19 October on the theme: "Servants and Apostles of Jesus Christ".

  In the Message, which is dated 11 May, Solemnity of Pentecost, the Pope invites people "to reflect on the urgent need to announce the Gospel, also in our own times", and he identifies the Pauline Year as "an opportunity to propagate the announcement of the Gospel unto the ends of the earth".

  "Humanity is suffering, it awaits true liberty, it awaits a new and better world, it awaits 'redemption'", writes Pope Benedict, recalling that the current international situation gives rise to "deep concerns regarding the very future of mankind". In this context he mentions violence, poverty "which oppresses millions of people, discrimination and sometimes even persecution for racial, cultural and religious reasons, ... a constant threat in the relationship between man and the environment, ... and attacks on human life, that take on various forms and methods".

  "Is there", the Pope asks, "hope for the future? Or rather, is there a future for humanity? ... For we believers, the answer to these questions comes from the Gospel. Christ is our future. ... St. Paul understood that only in Christ can humanity find redemption and hope".

  The Pope highlights how "for love of Christ" the Apostle of the Gentiles "tramped the roads of the Roman empire as herald, apostle, announcer and master of the Gospel, of which he proclaimed himself to be 'an ambassador in chains'".

  "Only from this source can we draw the concentration, the tenderness, the compassion, the openness, the readiness, the concern for the problems of people, and those other virtues that messengers of the Gospel need in order to leave everything and devote themselves completely and unconditionally to spreading the perfume of Christ's charity in the world".

  Despite such difficulties as a shortage of priests and a lack of vocations, "Christ's mandate to evangelise all people remains a priority" Pope Benedict writes.

  "Let us cast out our nets without fear, trusting in His constant help", says the Pope. Bishops, "like the Apostle Paul, are called to reach out to those who are far off and who do not yet know Christ", he writes, noting that prelates have the duty of "willingly contributing, each according to his capacities, in sending priests and lay people to other Churches for the service of evangelisation".

  The Holy Father encourages priests "to be generous pastors and enthusiastic evangelisers", expressing the hope that "this missionary commitment in local Churches does not diminish despite the lack of priests".

  The Pope calls on religious to carry "the announcement of the Gospel to everyone, especially to those furthest away, by a coherent witness in Christ and a radical adherence to the Gospel.

  "You too, dear lay people", he adds, "are called to play an ever more important role in spreading the Gospel".

  Benedict XVI concludes his Message with an expression of appreciation for "the contribution of the Pontifical Missionary Works to the evangelising activities of the Church. ... May the collection gathered in all parishes on World Mission Day be a sign of reciprocal communion and solicitude between Churches. Finally, may Christians intensify their prayers, the indispensable spiritual means for spreading the light of Christ among all peoples, 'the true light' that illuminates 'all the shadows of history'".
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VATICAN CITY, 14 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. John LeVoir of the clergy of the archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, U.S.A., pastor of the parish of St. Michael and Mary in Stillwater as bishop of New Ulm (area 25,535, population 284,793, Catholics 66,785, priests 58, permanent deacons 3, religious 60), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Minneapolis in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1981.

  On Sunday 13 July, it was made public that he erected the new diocese of Anse-a-Veau et Miragoane (area 1,100, population 370,000, Catholics 221,000, priests 13, religious 54) Haiti, with territory taken from the diocese of Les Cayes, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Port-au-Prince. He appointed Bishop Pierre-Andre Dumas, auxiliary of Port-au-Prince, as first bishop of the new diocese.
  On Saturday 12 July, it was made public that he appointed:

 - Cardinal Godfried Danneels, archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the millennium of the pilgrimage in honour of "Notre-Dame du Saint-Cordon", due to take place in Valenciennes, France, on 14 September.

 - Archbishop Miguel Maury Buendia, apostolic nuncio to Kazakhstan, as apostolic nuncio to Kyrgyzstan.

 - As members of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and itinerant peoples: Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako, archbishop of Khartoum, Sudan; Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France; His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt; Archbishop Paul R. Ruzoka of Tabora, Tanzania, and Bishop Paul Hinder O.F.M. Cap., apostolic vicar of Arabia, United Arab Emirates.
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