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Thursday, October 2, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 2 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Bishop Jerzy Maculewicz O.F.M. Conv., apostolic administrator of Uzbekistan, on his "ad limina" visit.

 - Bishop Nikolaus Messmer S.J., apostolic administrator of Kyrgyzstan, on his "ad limina" visit.

 - Fr. Carlos Avila V.I., superior of the "sui iuris" mission of Tajikistan, on his "ad limina" visit.

 - Fr. Andrzej Madej O.M.T., superior of the "sui iuris" mission of Turkmenistan, on his "ad limina" visit.

 - Fr. Vasil Hovera, delegate of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches for the Greek-Catholic faithful in Kazakhstan and in Central Asia, on his "ad limina" visit.

 - Naji Abi Assi, ambassador of Lebanon, on his farewell visit.
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VATICAN CITY, 2 OCT 2008 (VIS) - On 29 September, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, addressed the 52nd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is being held in Vienna, Austria, from 29 September to 3 October.

  Speaking in English, he recalled how the IAEA works "to protect and promote life in a most crucial area of human endeavour: the peaceful use of nuclear energy". The agency's more than 50-year history "bears testimony to the pressing need we have in today's world to work together for the one human family", he said.

  The archbishop expressed the view that "the first obligation we share is the obligation of working together, of sharing our expertise, of building up a common consensus through common effort and commitment. Thus, the overriding characteristic that must pervade the work the IAEA undertakes in the three areas of its mandate, namely, technology, safety and verification, should always be to unite and associate, not to divide and oppose".

  "The Holy See desires to see all States work together to ... promote nuclear safety and security, ensure the non-diversion of nuclear materials and the absence of undeclared nuclear activities. These instruments will not only contribute to the fight against nuclear terrorism, but also to the concrete realisation of a culture of life and peace capable of promoting in an effective way the integral development of peoples".

  "A second level of the 'working together obligation' is working together for the use of peaceful and safe nuclear technology respecting the environment and ever mindful of the most disadvantaged populations", said Archbishop Mamberti, going on to point out that globalisation imposes upon the IAEA the obligation of "working together to contribute not only to a specific project or to a certain government or agency, but above all to the good of all the people of the world. Thus, the worth of a project will be measured by the impact it will have on cultural and other human values, as well as on the economic and social well-being of a people or nation".

  The third obligation identified by the Holy See secretary for Relations with States was that of "working together for nuclear disarmament". The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, "the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, ... must not be allowed to be weakened", he said.

  "The Holy See entreats and encourages those in authority to come together in order to resume with greater determination a progressive and mutually agreed dismantling of existing nuclear weapons", said the archbishop in conclusion. "Global security must not rely on nuclear weapons. The Holy See considers the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty an important tool to achieve this aim".


VATICAN CITY, 2 OCT 2008 (VIS) - This morning the Pope received bishops and ordinaries of Kazakhstan and Central Asia, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  The Holy Father began his remarks by inviting the prelates to give thanks to God because, "despite the severe pressures suffered during the years of the atheist communist regime, the flame of faith remained alight in believers' hearts thanks to the zealous sacrifice of priests, religious and lay people".

  After encouraging the bishops not to lose heart even though the Catholic community is "a small flock", Benedict XVI called on them to allow themselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit and "to keep the flame of faith alight among Christian people. Conserve and draw vantage from the important pastoral and apostolic experiences of the past", he told them. "Continue to educate everyone in listening to the Word of God and arouse, especially in the young, Marian devotion and love for the Eucharist. Spread the practice of the Rosary among families. Patiently and courageously, seek new forms and methods of apostolate, making it your concern to modernise them in accordance with today's needs, bearing in mind the language and culture of the faithful entrusted to you care".

  The Pope explained that "such a commitment will prove more incisive and effective" with the collaboration of priests, religious and laity, and he invited the prelates "to support them in moments of difficulty" and of "human and spiritual solitude. Everything should be founded", he said, "on constant recourse to God in prayer and in the constant search for unity among yourselves, and within each of your ... communities".

  Referring then to "the blight of violence and terrorism, the spread of extremism and fundamentalism" in the world, Pope Benedict highlighted the need to "contrast this scourge with legislative means. However the force of law must never itself become iniquity, nor can the free exercise of religion be limited, because freely to profess one's faith is a fundamental and universally-recognised human right".

  Benedict XVI highlighted how "the Church does not impose but freely proposes the Catholic faith, well aware that conversion is the mysterious fruit of the action of the Holy Spirit. Faith is a gift and a work of God, and hence excludes any form of proselytism that forces, allures or entices people by trickery to embrace it. A person may open to the faith after mature and responsible reflection, and must be able freely to realise that intimate aspiration. This benefits not only the individual, but all society, because the faithful observance of divine precepts helps to build a more just and united form of coexistence".

  The Pope concluded his address with an expression of thanks to the priests and religious who work in the various ecclesiastical circumscriptions: Almaty, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
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