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Wednesday, October 29, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 29 OCT 2008 (VIS) - To mark the 50th anniversary of the election to the pontifical throne of Blessed John XXIII, Benedict XVI spoke of the "Papa buono" in remarks he made at the end of a Mass celebrated yesterday afternoon in St. Peter's Basilica. The Mass, presided by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., was attended by around 3,000 pilgrims from the late Pope's home diocese of Bergamo, Italy.

  Benedict XVI recalled how at the time John XXIII was elected "the grace of God was preparing a period of commitment and promise for the Church and for society, and it found in the docility to the Holy Spirit which marked the entire life of John XXIII a fertile soil in which to sow harmony, hope, unity and peace, for the good of all humanity.

  "Pope John", the Holy Father added, "identified faith in Christ and membership of the Church ... as a guarantee of fruitful Christian witness in the world. And thus, amid the sharp contrasts of his time, the Pope remained a man and pastor of peace, who opened unexpected horizons of fraternity among Christians and of dialogue with everyone, in both East and West".

  Pope Benedict highlighted how Vatican Council II, "called, prepared and begun" by John XXIII, was "a truly special gift for the Church. ... We are all committed to accepting that gift in appropriate ways, continuing to reflect upon its teachings and to translate its practical guidelines into everyday life".

  Going on, then, to refer to Bergamo's recent diocesan synod which focused on the theme of the parish, the Pope affirmed: "It is in the parish that we learn to live our own faith solidly. This enables us to keep the rich tradition of the past alive and to re-propose its values in a secularised social environment which is often hostile and indifferent".

  Benedict XVI also dwelt on the importance John XXIII gave to the family, "where we learn to apply the fundamental Christian precept of love in daily life", he said. "The late Pope trustingly gave the parish - a family of families - the task of nourishing the sentiments of communion and fraternity among the faithful.

  "Moulded by the Eucharist", Benedict XVI concluded, quoting the words of his predecessor, "the parish will become a beneficial ferment amidst the widespread consumerism and individualism of our time, reawakening solidarity and opening, in faith, the eye of the heart to recognise the Father, Who is gratuitous love and Who wishes to share his own joy with His children".
AC/JOHN XXIII/...                            VIS 20081029 (440)


VATICAN CITY, 29 OCT 2008 (VIS) - In today's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square in the presence of 20,000 faithful, the Pope spoke of St. Paul's theology of the Cross.

  The Holy Father recalled how the Apostle of the Gentiles, following his experience on the road to Damascus, changed his life completely. Paul remained deeply marked by "the central significance of the Cross: he understood that Jesus died and rose for everyone. The Cross, then, demonstrated the gratuitous and merciful love of God", he said.

  "For St. Paul the Cross had a fundamental primacy in the history of humanity. It is the focal point of his theology because 'Cross' means salvation as grace for all creatures. The theme of the Cross became an essential and principal element of the Apostle's preaching".

  Benedict XVI then went on to highlight how "the 'stumbling block' and 'foolishness' of the Cross", of which St. Paul, speaks are to be found "in the fact that where there seemed to be only failure, suffering and defeat, there, in reality, is all the power of God's limitless Love".

  "If for the Jews the reason for rejecting the Cross was in the Revelation, in other words in the God of the Fathers, for the Greeks - that is, the pagans - the criterion for opposing the Cross lay in reason. For them, in fact, the Cross was death, foolishness. ... It was clearly inconceivable to imagine that a God could end up on a Cross! And we see how this Greek logic has also become the common logic of our own time".

  "Why", the Pope asked, "did St. Paul make the word Cross such a fundamental part of his preaching? The answer", he said, "is not difficult: the Cross reveals 'the power of God' which is different from human power; it reveals, in fact, His love".

  For the Apostle "the crucified Christ is wisdom because He truly shows Who God is: the power of love which goes even unto the Cross to save man. God uses means and instruments that to human beings seem to be mere weakness. The crucified Christ reveals, on the one hand, the weakness of man and, on the other, the true power of God, in other words the gratuitousness of love; and precisely this complete gratuitousness of love is true wisdom".

  The Holy Father explained how St. Paul, in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, makes "two fundamental affirmations: the one, that Christ, Whom God made to be sin for our sake, died for everyone; and the other, that God reconciled us to Him not counting our trespasses against us. It is from this 'ministry of reconciliation' that all slaves are ransomed".

  "St. Paul renounced his own life and committed himself totally to the ministry of reconciliation, of the Cross which is salvation for us all. This is something we must also do. We can find our strength in the humility of love and our wisdom in the weakness to renounce, thus to enter into the strength of God. ... We have to mould our lives on this true wisdom, not living for ourselves, but living in faith in the God of Whom we can all say: 'He loved me and gave Himself for me'".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of apostolic vicar of Alexandria, Egypt, presented by Bishop Giuseppe Bausardo S.D.B. in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He appointed Msgr. Gennaro De Martino, vicar delegate of the same apostolic vicariate, as apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" thereof.

 - Gave his assent to the canonical election, by the Synod of Bishops of the Maronite Church, of Fr. Joseph Soueif, "sincellus" for pastoral care and the implementation of synodal acts of the archieparchy of Tripoli, Lebanon, as archbishop of Cyprus of the Maronites (area 9,351, population 785,000, Catholics 10,000, priests 7, religious 8), Cyprus. The archbishop-elect was born in Chekka, Lebanon in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1987.
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