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Monday, September 29, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences five prelates from the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Kazakhstan, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Tomash Peta of Maria Santissima in Astana.

    - Archbishop-Bishop Jan Pawel Lenga M.I.C. of Karaganda, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider O.R.C.

    - Bishop Henry Theophilus Howaniec O.F.M. of Santissima Trinita in Almaty.

    - Bishop Janusz Kaleta, apostolic administrator of Atyrau.

  On Saturday 27 September, he received in audience Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2008 (VIS) - Today in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI made his farewells to Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano (the diocese in which Castelgandolfo is located), local religious communities, the civil authorities and the personnel in charge of security during his stay in the summer residence.

  Recalling that today marks the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, the Holy Father said: "let us trustingly invoke their help, and the protection of the Guardian Angels, whose feast we will celebrate in a few day's time, on 2 October".

  "The invisible presence of these blessed spirits", he said, "brings us great help and consolation: they walk at our side and protect us in all circumstances, they defend us from danger, and to them we can turn at any moment. Many saints established bonds of real friendship with the angels, and numerous episodes testify to their assistance on particular occasions. Angels are sent by God 'to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation' as the Letter to the Hebrews says, hence they are a real help to us on the pilgrimage towards the heavenly homeland".

  This afternoon, the Pope is due to bid farewell to the staff of the Pontifical Villas at Castelgandolfo, before returning to the Vatican tomorrow.
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VATICAN CITY, 28 SEP 2008 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Pope announced that he will return to the Vatican on 30 September, thus concluding his period of summer residence in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo.

  "I thank the Lord", said Benedict XVI, "for all the gifts He has given me during this time. I am thinking in particular of World Youth Day in Sydney, of the period of rest I spent in Bressanone, of the visit to Sardinia and of the apostolic trip to Paris and Lourdes.

  "I am also thinking", he added, "of the chance I have had to stay in this house where I am able to relax and work during the hottest months. I send a particular greeting to the community of Castelgandolfo with a heartfelt thank-you to the bishop, the mayor and the forces of law and order".

  The Holy Father also addressed some words to Polish pilgrims, and in particular to faithful gathered in the city of Bialystok, Poland, for the beatification of Servant of God Michael Sopocko, "confessor and spiritual father of St. Faustina Kowalska.

  "At his suggestion, the saint described her mystical experiences and the apparitions of Merciful Jesus in her famous 'Diary'. Thanks also to his efforts, the image of 'Jesus, in You I trust' was painted and made known throughout the world".

  Fr. Sopocko was "a zealous pastor, educator and propagator of the cult of Divine Mercy", said the Pope, going on to note that "in the house of the Father my beloved predecessor John Paul II will joy at his beatification. He it was who entrusted the world to Divine Mercy and hence I repeat his words: 'May God rich in Mercy bless you all!'"
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VATICAN CITY, 28 SEP 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the balcony of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo in order to pray the Angelus with faithful and pilgrims gathered below.

  The Pope commented upon the Gospel reading of the two sons sent to work in their father's vineyard: one refuses but then changes his mind and goes, the other agrees to go but then fails to do so. "With this parable", the Holy Father said, "Jesus underlines His predilection for converted sinners, and teaches us that we need humility to welcome the gift of salvation".

  "Humility", he went on, "may be considered the spiritual legacy" of John Paul I, who died thirty years ago and whose episcopal motto "was the same as that of St. Charles Borromeo, 'Humilitas'. A single word that encapsulates the essential core of Christian life and indicates the indispensable virtue for people who are called to a service of authority within the Church".

  "Thanks to this virtue, 33 days were enough for Pope John Paul I to enter into peoples' hearts. In his discourses he used examples taken from real life, from his family memories and from popular wisdom. His simplicity was the vehicle for a solid and rich teaching which - thanks to the gift of an exceptional memory and a vast culture - he supplemented with many quotes from ecclesiastical and lay writers. He was a peerless catechist, following the footsteps of St. Pius X, his compatriot and predecessor first in the cathedra of St. Mark and then in that of St. Peter".

  Remarking upon one of the four general audiences celebrated by John Paul I, Benedict XVI recalled how the Pontiff had used the phrase: "We must feel small before God", and had then added: "I am not ashamed to feel like a child before its mother: we believe our mothers, I believe in the Lord and what He revealed to me".

  "These words", Pope Benedict concluded, "reveal the depth of his faith. As we thank the Lord for having given him to the Church and the world, we treasure his example, undertaking to cultivate the humility that was his and that made him capable of speaking to everyone, especially the smallest and those 'furthest away'".
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VATICAN CITY, 27 SEP 2008 (VIS) - In the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo today, for the occasion of World Tourism Day 2008, Benedict XVI received 300 participants in a meeting promoted by the Centre for Youth Tourism and by the International Office for Social Tourism. They were accompanied by Cardinal Renato Martino and Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

  Referring to the theme of the Day this year - "Tourism: Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change" - the Pope pointed out that humanity has the duty to protect the resources of creation and "to commit itself against the indiscriminate use of the goods of the earth", because "without adequate ethical and moral limits, human behaviour can become a threat and a challenge.

  "Experience shows that the responsible administration of creation is part, or should be part, of a healthy and sustainable tourist economy", Pope Benedict added, going on to mention John Paul II's 1991 Encyclical "Centesimus Annus" in which the late Pontiff "criticised the excessive and arbitrary consumption of resources, recalling that man is God's helper in the work of creation and cannot take His place. ... 'Humanity today must be conscious of its duties and obligations towards future generations'".

  Benedict XVI went on: "It is therefore necessary, especially in the field of tourism which depends so heavily on nature, that everyone should seek a well-balanced management of our habitat, in what is our common home. ... Environmental degradation can be stopped only by spreading an appropriate culture which includes more sober lifestyles. ... Hence the importance of educating people to an 'ethic of responsibility'".

  The Holy Father told his audience that the Church shared their commitment "to what is known as social tourism, which promotes the participation of the weaker sectors of society and thus can be an important tool in the fight against poverty, ... creating work, protecting resources and promoting equality". Social tourism "represents a reason for hope in a world where differences between those who have everything and those who suffer hunger, want and drought have become more accentuated".

  Finally, the Pope called on young people "to support and practice ways of behaviour that help to appreciate and defend nature from a correct ecological perspective, as I highlighted on a number of occasions during World Youth Day in Sydney in July".
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VATICAN CITY, 27 SEP 2008 (VIS) - Today in the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, the Pope received the Letters of Credence of Pavel Vosalik, the new ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Holy See.

  In his English-language address the Holy Father expressed his appreciation for the ambassador's mention in his speech of "the influence of Christianity on the rich cultural heritage of your nation, and particularly the role that the Gospel played in bringing hope to the Czech people in times of oppression".

  "Your nation", he said, "bolstered by the sense of solidarity that enabled her to emerge courageously from the collapse of totalitarianism, also desires to contribute to the welfare of the human family by enhancing international co-operation in the struggle against violence, hunger, poverty and other social ills". In this context he mentioned the forthcoming Czech presidency of the Council of the European Union, noting how it will enable the country "to exercise strong leadership in the shared endeavour of combining unity and diversity, national sovereignty and joint activity, and economic progress and social justice across the continent.

  "The Church", the Pope added, "is well aware of the many challenges facing Europe precisely at a time when its nations aspire to build a more stable international community for future generations. To move forward, its leaders are called to recognise that human happiness and well-being cannot be achieved through structures alone. ... The realisation of a genuine culture worthy of man's noble vocation requires the harmonious co-operation of families, ecclesial communities, schools, businesses, community organisations and governmental institutions", entities which are "intended for the service of all".

  "For this reason, all of society benefits when the Church is afforded the right to exercise stewardship over the material and spiritual goods required for her ministry", said Benedict XVI, expressing the hope that "outstanding issues regarding ecclesiastical property" will be resolved and that there be "a genuine recognition of the Church's ability to contribute to the welfare of the Republic. In particular", he went on, "I hope that such considerations will be kept in clear view while a solution is sought concerning the future of the cathedral in Prague, which stands as a living witness to the rich cultural and religious heritage of your land, and testifies to the harmonious coexistence of Church and State".

  The Holy Father continued his address: "By its very nature, the Gospel urges people of faith to offer themselves in loving service to their brothers and sisters without distinction and without counting the cost". And he emphasised "the enormous formative potential" young people gain from participating in charitable initiatives, recalling "the many Czech citizens already serving abroad in long-term development and aid projects under the auspices of Caritas and other humanitarian organisations".

  In closing his remarks, the Holy Father expressed his condolences to the ambassador for the death of the Czech Republic representative to Pakistan in a recent terrorist attack in Islamabad, in which more than 50 people lost their lives. "I pray daily", he said, "for an end to such acts of aggression, and I encourage all those engaged in diplomatic service to dedicate themselves ever more keenly to facilitating peace and ensuring security throughout the world".

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