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Thursday, July 17, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 17 JUL 2008 (VIS) - After celebrating Mass in private at Sydney's Cathedral House, the Pope travelled to Government House, an elegant neo-Gothic structure built between 1837 and 1845, where the welcome ceremony took place.

  The Holy Father was welcomed in the gardens by Michael Jeffery, governor general of Australia, and by Kevin Rudd, prime minister. Also present were political and civil authorities, and a number of prelates of the Church in Australia.

  In his address the Holy Father asked what it is that motivates so many young people to undertake such a long journey in order to participate in World Youth Day. "They are", he explained, "eager to take part in an event which brings into focus the high ideals that inspire them, and they return home filled with hope and renewed in their resolve to contribute to the building of a better world. For me it is a joy to be with them, to pray with them and to celebrate the Eucharist with them. World Youth Day fills me with confidence for the future of the Church and the future of our world".

  "For thousands of years before the arrival of Western settlers, the sole inhabitants of this land were indigenous peoples, the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders", the Holy Father remarked. "Thanks to the Australian Government's courageous decision to acknowledge the injustices committed against the indigenous peoples in the past, concrete steps are now being taken to achieve reconciliation based on mutual respect. Rightly, you are seeking to close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians regarding life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity! This example of reconciliation offers hope to peoples all over the world who long to see their rights affirmed and their contribution to society acknowledged and promoted".

  The Pope went on to highlight the contribution made by Catholics to building the nation, "particularly in the fields of education and healthcare". In this context he mentioned Blessed Mary MacKillop, "one of the most outstanding figures in this country's history".

  Referring then to the "the wonder of God's creation" in Australia, the Holy Father pointed out that the country "is making a serious commitment to address its responsibility to care for the natural environment". Likewise it "has generously supported international peace-keeping operations, contributing to conflict resolution in the Pacific, in Southeast Asia and elsewhere".

  After recalling how the theme of this World Youth Day is inspired by the third Person of the Blessed Trinity, Benedict XVI expressed the hope that "the Holy Spirit will bring spiritual renewal to this land, to the Australian people, to the Church throughout Oceania and indeed to the ends of the earth".

  "Through the Spirit's action, may the young people gathered here for World Youth Day have the courage to become saints! This is what the world needs more than anything else", he concluded.

  Following the welcome ceremony, the Pope visited the Mary MacKillop Memorial, site of the tomb of the first Australian blessed who also co-founded the Sisters of St. Joseph. He then went on to Admiralty House where he paid a courtesy visit to Governor General Michael Jeffery and held a meeting with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.


VATICAN CITY, 17 JUL 2008 (VIS) - At 2.35 p.m. Australian time today, the Holy Father travelled to Rose Bay Quay in Sydney where he was greeted by elders of Australia's Aboriginal peoples. During the ceremony, songs were sung in the local Aboriginal dialect and in other languages of the indigenous peoples of Oceania.

  The Pope then boarded the ship "Sydney 2000" to cover the six nautical miles separating him from Bangaroo East Darling Harbour where he would be welcomed by thousands of young participants in World Youth Day. Benedict XVI, accompanied by Cardinals Tarcisio Bertone, George Pell and Stanislaw Rylko, stood at the prow of the vessel on the second deck, while the first and third decks were occupied by young people waving WYD flags.

  A fleet of smaller boats, also carrying young people, accompanied the papal vessel to the quay at Bangaroo which, in tribute to the origins of the city, takes its name from the wife of a local Aborigine chief. On his arrival, the Pope was greeted by a group of young Australian Aborigines and a group of young people from the Pacific area, who sang indigenous songs and "Tu es Petrus".

  In his address, the Pope thanked the Aboriginal elders who had welcomed him, asking them to transmit his "heartfelt greetings to your peoples". He went on: "I am deeply moved to stand on your land, knowing the suffering and injustices it has borne, but aware too of the healing and hope that are now at work, rightly bringing pride to all Australian citizens".

  "Standing before me I see a vibrant image of the Universal Church. The variety of nations and cultures from which you hail shows that indeed Christ's Good News is for everyone; it has reached the ends of the earth. Yet I know too that a good number of you are still seeking a spiritual homeland. Some of you, most welcome among us, are not Catholic or Christian. Others of you perhaps hover at the edge of parish and Church life. To you I wish to offer encouragement: step forward into Christ's loving embrace; recognise the Church as your home. No one need remain on the outside, for from the day of Pentecost the Church has been one and universal".

  Benedict XVI praised "the majestic splendour of Australia's natural beauty" which evokes "a profound sense of awe. It is as though one catches glimpses of the Genesis creation story: light and darkness, the sun and the moon, the waters, the earth, and living creatures; all of which are 'good' in God's eyes".

  Yet "there are also scars which mark the surface of our earth, erosion, deforestation, the squandering of the world's mineral and ocean resources in order to fuel an insatiable consumption. .... And we discover that not only the natural but also the social environment - the habitat we fashion for ourselves - has its scars; wounds indicating that something is amiss; ... a poison which threatens to corrode what is good, reshape who we are, and distort the purpose for which we have been created. Examples abound, as you yourselves know. Among the more prevalent are alcohol and drug abuse, and the exaltation of violence and sexual degradation, often presented through television and the internet as entertainment.

  "I ask myself", the Pope added, "could anyone standing face to face with people who actually do suffer violence and sexual exploitation 'explain' that these tragedies, portrayed in virtual form, are considered merely 'entertainment'? There is also something sinister which stems from the fact that freedom and tolerance are so often separated from truth. This is fuelled by the notion, widely held today, that there are no absolute truths to guide our lives. Relativism, by indiscriminately giving value to practically everything, has made 'experience' all-important".

  "Life is not governed by chance; it is not random. Your very existence has been willed by God, blessed and given a purpose! Life is not just a succession of events or experiences. ... It is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this - in truth, in goodness, and in beauty - that we find happiness and joy. Do not be fooled by those who see you as just another consumer in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth.

  "Christ offers more! Indeed He offers everything! Only He Who is the Truth can be the Way and hence also the Life". But "the task of witness is not easy. There are many today who claim that God should be left on the sidelines, and that religion and faith, while fine for individuals, should either be excluded from the public forum altogether or included only in the pursuit of limited pragmatic goals. This secularist vision seeks to explain human life and shape society with little or no reference to the Creator. It presents itself as neutral, impartial and inclusive of everyone. But in reality, like every ideology, secularism imposes a world-view. If God is irrelevant to public life, then society will be shaped in a godless image, and debate and policy concerning the public good will be driven more by consequences than by principles grounded in truth".

  "Experience shows", said Pope Benedict, "that turning our back on the Creator's plan provokes a disorder which has inevitable repercussions on the rest of the created order. When God is eclipsed, our ability to recognise the natural order, purpose, and the 'good' begins to wane".

  The Holy Father invited young people to be "alert to the signs of turning our back on the moral structure with which God has endowed humanity" and to "recognise that the innate dignity of every individual rests on his or her deepest identity - as image of the Creator - and therefore that human rights are universal, based on the natural law, and not something dependent upon negotiation or patronage, let alone compromise. And so we are led to reflect on what place the poor and the elderly, immigrants and the voiceless, have in our societies. How can it be that domestic violence torments so many mothers and children? How can it be that the most wondrous and sacred human space - the womb - has become a place of unutterable violence?"

  "God's creation is one and it is good", Pope Benedict concluded. "The concerns for non-violence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for our environment are of vital importance for humanity. They cannot, however, be understood apart from a profound reflection upon the innate dignity of every human life from conception to natural death: a dignity conferred by God Himself and thus inviolable.

  "Our world has grown weary of greed, exploitation and division, of the tedium of false idols and piecemeal responses, and the pain of false promises. Our hearts and minds are yearning for a vision of life where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. This is the work of the Holy Spirit! This is the hope held out by the Gospel of Jesus Christ".

  Following the ceremony, the Holy Father travelled by popemobile to Cathedral House, where he spent the night. Along his route he was greeted by many people gathered around Sydney Opera House, symbol of the city and, since 2007, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
PV-AUSTRALIA/WELCOME/SYDNEY                            VIS 20080717 (1270)


VATICAN CITY, 17 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Mbanza Congo, Angola, presented by Bishop Serafim Shyngo-Ya-Hombo O.F.M. Cap., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Fr. Ignatius Chama of the clergy of Mansa, Zambia, director of the diocesan development office and chaplain of the diocesan congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, as bishop of Mpika (area 120,000, population 480,000, Catholics 118,000, priests 39, religious 67), Zambia. The bishop-elect was born in Mutomo-Kawambwa, Zambia in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1984.
RE:NER/.../SHYNGO:CHAMA                            VIS 20080717 (110)


VATICAN CITY, 17 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

- Archbishop Rafael Bello Ruiz, emeritus of Acapulco, Mexico, on 6 July at the age of 82.

- Bishop Jose Carlos de Lima Vaz S.J., emeritus of Petropolis, Brazil, on 9 July at the age of 79.

- Archbishop Eladio Vicuna Aranguiz, emeritus of Puerto Montt, Chile, on 29 June at the age of 97.
.../DEATHS/...                                    VIS 20080717 (80)

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