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Monday, September 8, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 8 SEP 2008, VIS - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the apostolic vicariate of Pucallpa, Peru, presented by Bishop Juan Luis Martin Bisson P.M.E., upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Gaetano Galbusera Fumagalli S.D.B.

 - Appointed Bishop Giuseppe Betori, secretary general of the Italian Episcopal Conference, as archbishop of Florence (area 2,205, population 835,374, Catholics 812,000, priests 708, permanent deacons 55, religious 2,019), Italy. The archbishop-elect was born in Foligno, Italy in 1947, he was ordained a priest in 1970 and consecrated a bishop in 2001.

 - Appointed Bishop Antonino Eugenio Fernandes Dias, auxiliary of Braga, Portugal, as bishop of Portalegre - Castelo Branco (area 9,149, population 244,615, Catholics 240,997, priests 100, permanent deacons 13, religious 186), Portugal.

 - Appointed Msgr. Martin Krebs, nunciature counsellor in the United States of America, as apostolic nuncio to Guinea and Mali, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Essen, Germany in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1983.

  On Saturday 6 September it was made public that the Holy Father appointed the following persons as participants in the forthcoming Twelfth General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, due to be held in the Vatican from 5 to 26 October on the theme "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church":


- Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals.
- Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany.
- Cardinal Polycarp Pengo, archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, and president of the "Symposium des Conferences Episcopales d'Afrique et de Madagascar" (SCEAM).
- Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., archbishop of Tegucigalpa Honduras.
- Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana, and president of the Association of West African Episcopal Conferences (ACEAO).
- Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.
- Cardinal Josip Bozanic, archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia.
- Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, and president of the "Consilium Conferentiarum Episcoporum Europae" (CCEE).
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., archbishop of Quebec, Canada.
- Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland.
- Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, S.D.B., bishop of Hong Kong, China.
- Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France.
- Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
- Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome.
- Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza of Montezemolo, archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, Rome.
- Cardinal Albert Vanhoye, S.J., rector emeritus of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome.
- Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State.
- Cardinal Raffaele Farina, S.D.B., archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church.
- Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo O.M.I. of Cotabato, Philippines, secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC).
- Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria.
- Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil S.D.B. of Guwahati, India.
- Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil, president of the "Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano" (CELAM).
- Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life and rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome.
- Bishop Peter William Ingham of Wollongong, Australia, president of the Federation of Catholic Bishops' Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO).
- Bishop Javier Echevarría Rodriguez, prelate of the personal prelature of Opus Dei, Rome.
- Bishop Michael Ernest Putney of Townsville, Australia.
- Bishop Filippo Santoro of Petropolis, Brazil.
- Bishop Vincenzo Paglia of Terni-Narni-Amelia, Italy, president of the Catholic Biblical Federation.
- Bishop Jose Lai Hung-Seng of Macao, China.
- Bishop Kidane Yebio of Keren, Eritrea.
- Fr. Adolfo Nicolas S.J., superior general of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).
- Fr. Julian Carron, president of "Comunione e Liberazione".


- Mauro Agosto, professor of Latin at the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome.
- Fr. Peter Damian Akpunonu, professor of biblical exegesis at the University of Our Lady of The Lake, Chicago, U.S.A., and member of the International Theological Commission.
- Fr. Nicolas Antiba, archimandrite of the Greek-Melkite Catholic "Eglise Saint Julien-Le-Pauvre", Paris, France.
- Fr. Enzo Bianchi, prior of the monastic community of Bose, Italy.
- Fr. Cesare Bissoli S.D.B., professor emeritus of biblical studies and catechesis at the Pontifical Salesian University, Rome.
- Fr. Joseph Bou Raad O.A.M., professor of Holy Scripture at the "Antonine Hadath" University of Baabda, Lebanon.
- Sr. Sara Butler M.S.B.T., professor of dogmatic theology at St. Joseph's Seminary, New York, U.S.A.
- Sr. Nuria Calduch Benages M.H.S.F.N., professor of the biblical theology of the Old Testament at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.
- Fr. Waldemar Chrostowski, professor at the "Cardinal Wyszynski" State University, Warsaw, Poland.
- Fr. Fidel Onoro Consuegra C.I.M., director of the Biblical Pastoral Centre for Latin America (CEBIPAL), Colombia.
- Bruna Costacurta, professor of the biblical theology of the Old Testament at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.
- Fr. Luis Henrique da Silva, co-ordinator of biblical revision and assessor of the Episcopal Pastoral Commission for the Doctrine of the Faith of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil.
- Fr. Luc Devillers O.P., professor at the "Ecole Biblique De Jerusalem" and editor for the New Testament of the "Revue Biblique", Israel.
- Fr. Raul Duarte Castillo, rector of the diocesan seminary of Zamora, Mexico.
- Fr. Jorge Juan Fernandez Sangrador, director of the Library of Christian Authors (BAC), Spain.
- Fr. Juan Javier Flores Arcas O.S.B., director of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of St. Anselm, Rome.
- Fr. Marc Girard, professor of biblical exegesis at the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi, Canada, and member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.
- Msgr. Pedro Hidalgo Diaz, rector of the "Facultad De Teologia Pontificia y Civil" of Lima, Peru.
- Fr. Johan Maria Herman Konings S.J., professor of Holy Scripture at the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
- Marguerite Lena, professor of philosophy at the Madelaine Danielou Centres, and director for the theological formation of young people at the Saint-Francois-Xavier Community of Paris, France.
 - Msgr. Ermenegildo Manicardi, rector of the "Almo Collegio Capranica" and professor at the Pontifical Biblical Instiute, Rome.
- Fr. Frederic Manns O.F.M., professor of New Testament exegesis and of ancient Hebrew literature at the "Studium Biblicum Franciscanum", Israel.
- Fr. Paolo Martinelli O.F.M. Cap., president of the Franciscan institute of spirituality at the Antonianum Pontifical Athenaeum, and professor of fundamental theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.
- Fr. Fiorello Mascarenhas S.J., president of the Catholic Bible Institute, Mumbai, India.
- Fr. Jean-Bosco Matand Bulembat, rector of the Catholic Faculties of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Fr. Vincent Nguyen-Van-Ban, professor of Holy Scripture and director of the formation of seminarians at the major seminary of Sao Bien in Nha Trang, Vietnam.
- Sr. Mary Jerome Obiorah I.H.M., professor of Holy Scripture at the University of Nigeria and at the major seminary of the archdiocese of Onitsha, Nigeria.
- Fr. Godfrey Onah, professor of philosophy at the Pontifical Urban University, Rome.
- Fr. Salvador Pie Ninot, professor of fundamental and ecclesial theology at the Faculty of Theology of Catalonia, Barcelona, and professor of fundamental theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.
- Fr. Stephen F. Pisano S.J., rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome.
- Fr. Marko Rupnik S.J., director of the Ezio Aletti Study and Research Centre, Rome.
- Alexander Schweitzer, secretary general of the Catholic Bible Federation, Germany.
- Thomas Soding, professor of biblical theology at the "Bergische" University of Wuppertal, Germany, and a member of the International Theological Commission.
- Fr. Klemens Stock S.J., secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and professor emeritus of New Testament exegesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome.
- Sr. Germana Strola O.C.S.O., nun of the Trappist convent of Vitorchiano, Italy.
- Fr. Zeljko Tanjic, professor of fundamental theology at the faculty of theology in the University of Zagreb, Croatia.
- Fr. Cyril Vasil, S.J., rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute and dean of the faculty of Eastern Canon Law, Rome.
- Msgr. Timothy Verdon, professor of sacred art at the Theological Faculty of Central Italy, Florence, Italy.
- Michael Waldstein, professor of New Testament studies at the International Theological Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, Gaming, Austria.
- Fr. Giorgio Zevini S.D.B., dean of the faculty of theology and professor of biblical studies at the Pontifical Salesian University, Rome.
- Fr. Victor Zinkuratire S.S.S., professor of biblical theology at the Catholic University of East Africa (CUEA), Nairobi, Kenya.


- Carl Albert Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, U.S.A.
- Rigoberto Angarita, professor at the St. Joseph Institute of the Salesian Fathers in San Cristobal, Venezuela.
- Ponpuzhakotayil Cherian Aniyankunju, spokesperson of the archdiocese of Changanacherry of the Syro-Malabars, India.
- Sr. M. Viviana Ballarin O.P., superior general of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, and president of the Union of Superiors Major of Italy (USMI).
- Sr. Euphrasie Beya, president of the "Union Des Superieurs Majeures" (USUMA), Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Daniele Boscaro, head of the Association of Italian Catholic Guides and Scouts (AGESCI), Padua, Italy.
- Sr. Maria Antonietta Bruscato F.S.P., superior general of the Pious Society of the Daughters of St. Paul, Italy.
- Rafael Chainarong Monthienvichienchai, vice chancellor of St. John's University, Bangkok, Thailand.
- Moyses Lauro de Azevedo Filho, founder and moderator general of the "Shalom" Catholic community, Brazil.
- Fr. Ari Luis Do Valle Ribeiro, professor of theology at the diocesan seminary of Santo Amaro, Brazil.
- Natalja Fedorova Borovskaja, professor at the Russian State University for the Humanities and at the Russian Academy for Fine Arts, Russia.
- Luis Fernando Figari, superior general of the "Sodalitium Vitae Christianae", Peru.
- Sr. Evelyne Franc F.D.C., superior general of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, France.
- Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkowitz, professor of the philosophy of religion and of the comparative history of religions at the Technical University of Dresden, Germany.
- Elvira Go, assistant for biblical pastoral care, Philippines.
- Francisco Jose Gomez Arguello Wirtz, co-founder of the Neo-Catechumenal Way, Spain.
- Ricardo Grzona, president of the "Fundacion Ramon Pane" of Honduras, and Catholic consultor of the United Bible Societies of the Americas, U.S.A.
- Thomas Hong-Soon Han, professor of economics at the College of Business and Economics, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, and president of the Apostolate of Lay Catholics, Korea.
- Sr. Jocelyne Huot S.F.A., president of the movement "Les Brebis de Jesus", Quebec, Canada.
- Fr. Michel Jorrot O.S.B., abbot of the Benedictine abbey of Clervaux, Luxembourg.
- Fr. Daniel Pablo Kerber Mas, professor of biblical theology at the Faculty of Theology of Uruguay, director of the Pastoral Institute for Catechesis of the archdiocese of Montevideo, and pastor of St. Alexander and St. Peter Claver, Uruguay.
- Sr. Marija Ana Kustura S.M.I., superior general of the Handmaidens of the Child Jesus, president of the Union of Superiors Major of Croatia.
- Ewa Kusz, president of the World Conference of Secular Institutes (CMIS), Poland.
- Nikolaus Lobkowicz, rector emeritus of the University of Munich and first rector of the Catholic University of Eichstatt, director of the Centre for Studies on Eastern and Central Europe, Germany.
- Fidele Mabegle, director of the School of Theology for the Laity of the archdiocese of Yaounde, Cameroon.
- Sr. Louise Madore F.D.L.S., president of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG).
- Sr. M. Clare Millea A.S.C.J., superior general of the Sisters Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Rome.
- Michelle Moran, president of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS), Great Britain.
- Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Sant'Egidio Community, Italy.
- Silvia Sanchini, national female president of the Italian Catholic University Federation (FUCI), Italy.
 - Armel Diockel Sarr, catechist of the archdiocese of Dakar, Senegal.
- Sr. Apollinaris Shimura Yuriko C.S.M., superior general of the Sisters of Charity of Miyazaki, Japan.
- Agnes Shun-Ling Lam, president of the Catholic Biblical Association of Hong Kong, and associate professor at the English Centre of the University of Hong Kong, China.

- Sr. Janice Soluk S.A.M.I., superior general of the Handmaidens of the Blessed Virgin Mary Immaculate, Rome.
- Maria Voce, president of the "Focolari" movement, Italy.
- Fr. Kamil William, director of the Higher Institute for Social Sciences and professor of Holy Scripture, Cairo, Egypt.
- Teresa Maria Wilsnagh, regional director of the Catholic Bible Foundation (CBF) of Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, South Africa.
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VATICAN CITY, 8 SEP 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences four prelates from the Paraguayan Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Eustaquio Pastor Cuquejo Verga C.SS.R. of Asuncion.

    - Bishop Candido Cardenas Villalba of Benjamin Aceval.

    - Bishop Catalino Claudio Gimenez Medina of Caacupe.

    - Bishop Celso Yegros Estigarribia of Carapegua.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in separate audiences three prelates from the Paraguayan Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano of Ciudad del Este.

    - Bishop Zacarias Ortiz Rolon S.D.B. of Concepcion.

    - Bishop Juan Bautista Gavilan Velasquez of Coronel Oviedo.

  On Saturday 6 September, he received in separate audiences four prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Cesar Bosco Vivas Robelo of Leon en Nicaragua.

    - Bishop Jorge Solorzano Perez of Matagalpa.

    - Bishop Paul Ervin Schmitz Simon O.F.M. Cap., apostolic vicar of Bluefields, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar Delegate David Albin Zywiec O.F.M. Cap.
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VATICAN CITY, 8 SEP 2008 (VIS) - Following the death of Cardinal Antonio Innocenti, the Pope has sent a telegram to Maria Antonietta Baggiani, sister of the deceased. The cardinal, who died on 6 September at the age of 93, was prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, and president emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church and of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

  In his telegram, the Pope mentions "the witness of fervent priestly zeal and of faithfulness to the Gospel" shown by the Italian cardinal during his long service of the Church.

  For its part, the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has released a communique announcing that Mass for the eternal repose of Cardinal Innocenti will be presided by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, in the Vatican Basilica at 9 a.m. on 10 September.

  Following the Eucharistic celebration, the Holy Father will address some words to those present and preside over the rites of "Ultima Commendatio" and "Valedictio".
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VATICAN CITY, 6 SEP 2008 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning at the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Traian Basescu, president of Romania, who subsequently went on the meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "The cordial discussions provided an opportunity to examine the situation in the country, with particular reference to its entry into the European Union; in this context allusion was made to the historical, cultural and spiritual identity of Europe, also highlighting the affinity of views between the Holy See and Romania on various international issues.

  "Various questions concerning relations between the Catholic Church and the Romanian State were also considered, as were relations with the Orthodox Church, and the hope was expressed that an increase in mutual understanding and collaboration may contribute to the good of all the inhabitants of the country, and to their spiritual and material development.

  "Finally, attention turned to the subject of Romanian communities abroad, for the integration of which Catholic Church institutions offer generous and effective assistance, something which President Basescu expressly recognised and for which he voiced his appreciation".


VATICAN CITY, 6 SEP 2008 (VIS) - Made public today was Letter from the Pope, written in Latin and dated 3 July, in which he appoints Cardinal Godfried Danneels, archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium, as his special envoy to celebrations due to take place in Valenciennes, France, on 14 September, marking the millennium of the pilgrimage in honour of "Notre-Dame du Saint-Cordon".

  The cardinal will be accompanied on his mission by Fr. Bruno Feillet, rector of the basilica of "Notre-Dame du Saint-Cordon" and pastor "in solidum" of the parish of "Saint-Jean Baptiste de l'Escaut", and by Fr. Dominique Foyer, director of diocesan pilgrimage services, professor of theology in the Faculty of Lille and defender of the bond.

  Also made public today was a Letter from the Pope, likewise written in Latin and dated 3 July, in which he appoints Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany, as his special papal envoy to celebrations making the fourth centenary of the apparition of Blessed Virgin Mary at Siluva, Lithuania, due to take place on 13 and 14 September.

  The mission accompanying Cardinal Meisner will be made up of Fr. Robertas Grigas, national director of Lithuanian Caritas, and by Fr. Lionginas Virbalas S.J., under-secretary of the Lithuanian Episcopal Conference.


VATICAN CITY, 6 SEP 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received prelates of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  The Holy Father praised the bishops' efforts "to bring the message of the Gospel to all areas of Nicaragua, with the selfless collaboration of your priests and of the religious institutes present in Nicaragua". He also highlighted the "valuable help" offered in this field by catechists and delegates of the Word.

  "It is vital that these generous servants and helpers of the evangelising mission of the Church receive the encouragement of their pastors, obtain profound and continuous religious formation, and maintain perfect faithfulness to the doctrine of the Church", the Pope said.

  Benedict XVI noted how "the need for a clergy well-prepared in spiritual, intellectual and human terms" had recently brought the Nicaraguan prelates "to revise the structure of the country's seminaries, in the hope of giving the seminarians of your dioceses a better formation, something that is always necessary and that requires great closeness and attention on the part of each bishop, yielding no ground in the careful discernment of candidates, or in the rigorous conditions necessary to become exemplary priests full of love for Christ and for the Church. ... It is also to be hoped that due religious assistance may improve in hospitals, prisons and other institutions".

  Going on then to refer to the question of popular religiosity, "a great treasure ... so deeply-rooted among your people", the Pope called for it to become "something more than a passively-received tradition", and for it to be continually revitalised "through pastoral activity that highlights the profundity of gestures and signs and indicates the unfathomable mystery of salvation and hope that they express".

  "One of the great challenges you are facing" he told the prelates, "is that of the solid religious formation of your faithful, ensuring the Gospel remains deeply inscribed in their minds, their lives and their work. ... This is particularly important in a situation in which poverty and emigration are accompanied by deep social inequalities and political radicalisation, especially in recent years".

  The Holy Father expressed his satisfaction at the bishops' efforts "to create a climate of dialogue and openness", yet without abandoning their "defence of the fundamental rights of man, denouncing situations of injustice and fomenting a concept of politics as being (rather than ambition for power and control) generous and humble service for the common good". In this context he exhorted them "to promote and accompany numerous initiatives of charity and solidarity with the most needy who are present your Churches, so as to ensure there is no lack of aid for families in difficulty, or of that generous spirit shown by so many lay people who, sometimes anonymously, strive to obtain daily bread for their poorer brethren".

  Speaking of educational institutions, and in particular of Catholic schools, Benedict XVI recalled how they perform "an essential mission of the Church and a priceless service to society". And he concluded by calling on bishops to encourage educators in their task and to make every effort "to preserve parents' rights to educate their children according to their own convictions and beliefs".
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VATICAN CITY, 7 SEP 2008 (VIS) - At 6.15 p.m. today, Benedict XVI arrived at Piazza Yenne in the Italian city of Cagliari where he met with young people from the island of Sardinia, to whom he pronounced an address.

  "Dear young people", said the Pope, "you are the hope-filled future of this region, despite the difficulties of which we are all aware. I know your enthusiasm, the desires you nourish and the commitment you show in order to realise them. And I am not unaware of the difficulties and problems you face" such as "the blight of unemployment and precariousness, which puts your projects at risk, ... emigration, the exodus of the most original and enterprising forces, ... and the consequent displacement from one's environment which sometimes leads to psychological and moral damage, even more than social problems.

  "And what can we say", he added, "of the fact that in modern consumer society earnings and success have become the new idols before which so many prostrate themselves? The consequence of this is that people are led to give value only to those who ... 'have found fortune' or who are 'notorious', and not to those who must struggle with life every day".

  "There is a risk of becoming superficial, of taking dangerous shortcuts in search of success, thus giving life up to experiences that bring immediate satisfaction but that are in themselves precarious and deceptive. There is a growing tendency to individualism, and when we concentrate only on ourselves we inevitably become fragile; we lose the patience to listen which is an indispensable part of understanding others and working together".

  Benedict XVI reaffirmed the three values presented by John Paul II during his visit to Sardinia 23 years ago, values that "are still important today". The first is "the value of the family, which must be safeguarded as an ancient and sacred heritage. ... In the past traditional society was more helpful in forming and protecting a family" while today "other forms of cohabitation are admitted, and sometimes the term 'family' is used for unions that are not, in fact, families at all".

  "Dear young people", cried the Holy Father, "re-appropriate the value of the family, love it nor just for the sake of tradition but as a mature and conscious choice". He also recalled how Vatican Council II had described the family as a "small Church" because "marriage is a Sacrament, in other words a holy and effective sign of the love God gives us in Christ through the Church".

  The second value is "serious intellectual and moral formation", said Pope Benedict. "The crisis of a society begins", he said, "when it no longer knows how to transmit its cultural heritage and its fundamental values to the new generations. I am not only referring to the system of education. The question is a broader one. ... Jesus said : 'The truth will make you free', yet modern nihilism preaches the opposite: that freedom will make you true. There are, indeed, those who maintain that there is no truth, thus opening the way to rendering the concepts of good and evil meaningless, even making them interchangeable".

  The third value identified by the Pope was "sincere and profound faith". He said: "When a sense of the presence and reality of God is lost, everything becomes 'flat' and is reduced to a single dimension. Everything is 'squashed' into the material plane. ... The mystery of existence also disappears: things and people interest me not for themselves but in the degree to which they satisfy my needs. Faith, in this sense, before being a religious belief, is a way of experiencing reality, a way of thinking, an interior sensibility which enriches human beings. ... Being with Jesus, frequenting Him as a friend in the Gospel and in the Sacraments, you may learn ... that which society is often no longer capable of giving you: a religious sense".

  "May each of you rediscover God as meaning and foundation for all creatures, light of truth, flame of charity, bond of unity", he concluded. "You will no longer be afraid to lose your liberty, because you will experience it fully by giving it for love. You will no longer be attached to material goods, because in yourselves you will feel the joy of sharing them. You will no longer be sad at the sadness of the world, but will experience pain for evil and joy for good, especially for mercy and forgiveness. ... If you really discover God in the face of Christ, you will no longer think of the Church as an institution external to yourselves, but as your spiritual family".

  The meeting with young people over, Benedict XVI travelled to the airport of Cagliari where he bid farewell to the authorities before boarding his flight for Rome. He landed at Ciampino airport at 8.30 p.m. whence he travelled to his residence in Castelgandolfo.
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VATICAN CITY, 7 SEP 2008 (VIS) - Following this morning's Mass and before praying the Angelus, the Holy Father recalled other Pontiffs who have paid homage to Our Lady of Bonaria.
  He mentioned Blessed Pius IX who ordered her coronation, St. Pius X who proclaimed her Patroness of Sardinia, Servant of God Paul VI who on 24 April 1970 became the first Pope to touch Sardinian soil in more than 1650 years, and "the beloved John Paul II" who prayed before the image on 20 October 1985.

  "May the Holy Virgin continue to watch over each and everyone", said Pope Benedict, "so that the heritage of evangelical values may be transmitted intact to the new generations, and that Christ may reign in families, in communities and in all areas of society. In particular, may the Virgin protect those who at this moment most need her maternal intervention: children and young people, the elderly and families, the sick and all those who suffer".

  Then, recalling the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, he called on "Mary Mother of the Word incarnate and our Mother, to protect all earthly mothers: those who, together with their husbands, educate children in a harmonious family atmosphere, and those who, for so many reasons, find themselves facing such an arduous task alone. May all of them devotedly and faithfully undertake their daily service in the family, in the Church and in society. May the Virgin Mary be a support, comfort and hope to them all.

 "Under Mary's gaze", the Holy Father added in conclusion, "I wish to recall the dear people of Haiti, who have been so sorely tried over recent days with the passage of three separate hurricanes. I pray for the victims, who are unfortunately numerous, and for the homeless. I remain close to the entire nation and hope it will soon receive the aid it needs".

  Having prayed the Angelus, the Pope travelled by car to the regional seminary where, having visited the chapel, he had lunch with Sardinian bishops. Later Benedict XVI went to the diocesan seminary where he greeted seminarians and members of the organising committee of his visit".
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VATICAN CITY, 7 SEP 2008 (VIS) - At 8.30 a.m. today, Benedict XVI departed from Rome's Ciampino airport, landing at the airport of Cagliari-Elmas on the Italian island of Sardinia at 9.30 a.m. Having greeted the political, civil and ecclesiastical authorities, he travelled to the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria, which he visited briefly.

  At 10.30 a.m., the Pope celebrated Mass in the presence of 100,000 people on the esplanade in front of the Marian shrine. The wooden statue of Our Lady of Bonaria - the centenary of whose proclamation as patroness of Sardinia falls this year - stood next to the altar during the ceremony.

  In his homily, the Holy Father highlighted how "Christianity arrived in Sardinia not with the sword of the conquerors or through external imposition, but by growing from the blood of the martyrs who here gave their lives in an act of love towards God and mankind".

  "Sardinia", he went on, "has never been a land of heresies; her people have always demonstrated filial faithfulness to Christ and to the See of Peter. ... Through the sequence of invasions and domination, faith in Christ has remained in the soul of your people as a constitutive element of your Sardinian identity. ... This simple and courageous faith continues to live in your communities and in your families, where one may inhale the evangelical fragrance of the virtues that distinguish your land: loyalty, dignity, reserve, sobriety and a sense of duty".

  Going on to refer to the hundredth anniversary of the proclamation of the Virgin as patroness of the island, the Pope called on the faithful "to give thanks to Mary for her protection and to reiterate our faith in her, recognising her as the 'Star of the new evangelisation'".

  The Holy Father asked the Virgin to help the people of Sardinia "to bring Christ to families, small domestic Churches and cells of society, which today more than ever need trust and support at both a spiritual and social level".

  May Mary, he said, "help you to discover appropriate pastoral strategies to ensure that young people encounter Christ", young people who "by their nature are bearers of fresh energy but are often victims of a widespread nihilism, thirsty for truth and for ideals precisely when they seem to deny them. May she help you evangelise the world of work, of the economy and of politics, which needs a new generation of committed lay Christians, capable of seeking solutions of sustainable development with competency and moral rigour".

  At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, Benedict XVI performed an act of consecration to Mary which concluded with the consignment of a golden rose to Our Lady of Bonaria.
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