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Wednesday, September 10, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2008 (VIS) - This evening, the Holy Father is due to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, accompanied by Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer S.J., secretary of the same congregation.
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VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2008 (VIS) - Benedict XVI spoke of the life of Cardinal Antonio Innocenti in a homily he pronounced this morning in the Vatican Basilica, at the end of a Eucharistic celebration for the soul of that prelate, who died on 6 September at the age of 93.

  The Mass began at 9 a.m., concelebrated by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, and other member of the college.

  In his homily, the Pope sketched a brief biography of the late cardinal, who was a native of the Italian diocese of Fiesole. He was ordained priest in 1938, after which he taught at the diocesan seminary, "helping the bishop on his pastoral visits during World War II. In that dramatic period he stood out for his selflessness and generosity in helping people and saving those destined for deportation. For this he was arrested and condemned to be shot, but the order was reversed as he stood before of the firing squad".

  The Holy Father then recalled how Cardinal Innocenti entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See, being "appointed as pontifical representative to Paraguay and receiving episcopal ordination in 1968. He was later recalled to Rome to assume the role of secretary of the Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship. Later, in 1980, he was sent as apostolic nuncio to Spain where he twice welcomed my venerated predecessor John Paul II on pastoral visits". John Paul II made him a cardinal in 1985.

  This Italian cardinal, the Pope went on, "continued to provide his valuable services to the Supreme Pontiff, as prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church and of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

  Referring to Cardinal Innocenti's episcopal motto, "Lucem spero fide", Benedict XVI concluded his homily by expressing the hope that "faith and hope may give way to the greatest of all truths, the charity which will never end".
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VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2008 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has written a Message to the French for his first pastoral visit to that country, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Lourdes.

  "On the eve of my arrival", writes the Holy Father, "I send cordial greetings to the French people and to all the inhabitants of that beloved nation. I am coming as a messenger of peace and fraternity. I know your country well. On various occasions I have had the pleasure of visiting it and of appreciating its generous tradition of welcome and tolerance, as well as the solidity of its Christian faith and of its exalted human and spiritual culture.

  "On this occasion the reason for my trip is to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes", he adds. "After visiting Paris, the capital of your country, it will be my immense joy to join the multitude of pilgrims as they follow the stages of the Jubilee journey, in the footsteps of St. Bernadette, to the grotto of Massabielle. At the feet of Our Lady, I will pray intensely for the intentions of the entire Church, particularly the sick and the needy, as well as for peace in the world".

  "For all of you, and especially for the young, may Mary be a mother ever-ready to meet the needs of her children, a light of hope that illuminates and guides you on your way".

  The Pope concludes by inviting everyone to pray for the success of his journey, and by invoking the maternal protection of the Virgin.
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VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2008 (VIS) - At his general audience this morning, celebrated in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope dedicated his catechesis to St. Paul's view of the meaning of apostolate.

  The Pauline concept of apostleship went "beyond that of the group of Twelve" explained the Holy Father. "It was characterised by three elements: the first was the fact of having seen the Lord, in other words of having encountered Him in a way that marked his life. ... Definitively then, it is the Lord Who confers the apostolate, not individual presumption. Apostles do not make themselves but are created so by the Lord".

  The second characteristic is that of "having been sent. In fact, the Greek term 'apostolos' means envoy, ... the representative of a principal. ... Once again the idea emerges of an initiative arising from someone else, from God in Jesus Christ, to Whom one is duty-bound", of "a mission to be accomplished in His name, putting all personal interests aside".

  "Announcing the Gospel and the consequent founding of Churches" is the third requisite. "The tile of apostle", said Pope Benedict, "is not and cannot be a merely honorary title. It truly, even dramatically, involves the entire existence of the person concerned".

  St. Paul also defined apostles as "servants of God, Whose grace acts in them", said the Pope. "A typical element of the true apostle ... is a form of identification between the Gospel and the evangeliser, both share the same destiny. Indeed no-one so much as Paul highlighted how announcing the cross of Christ is a 'stumbling block and foolishness' to which many react with misunderstanding and refusal. That happened then and it should be no surprise that the same thing happens today".

  "With the stoical philosophy of his time, Paul shared the idea of tenacious perseverance in all the difficulties he had to face; but he went beyond the merely human perspective by recalling ... God's love and Christ's. ... This is the certainty, the profound joy that guided the Apostle though all those events: nothing can separate us from the love of God, and this love is the real treasure of human life".

  "As we may see, St. Paul gave himself to the Gospel with all his life", said the Holy Father in conclusion. "He undertook his ministry with faithfulness and joy that he 'might by all means save some'. And though aware of his own relationship of paternity - even, indeed, of maternity - towards the Churches, his attitude to them was one of complete service, declaring: "I do not mean to imply that we lord it over your faith; rather, we are workers with you for your joy'. This remains the mission of all the apostles of Christ in all times: to be collaborators of true joy".
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