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Monday, November 3, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 1 NOV 2008 (VIS) - In remarks he made to pilgrims before praying the Angelus on today's Solemnity of All Saints, Benedict XVI invited them to consider "the panorama of saintliness. The world", he said, "appears to us as a 'garden', where the Spirit of God, with marvellous ingenuity, created a multitude of male and female saints, from every age and social condition, of every language, people and culture.

  "Each is different from the others in the uniqueness of his or her own human personality and spiritual charism. All, however, are marked by the 'seal' of Jesus, the imprint of His love".

  The Pope explained how the Solemnity of All Saints "came into being during the course of the first Christian millennium as a collective celebration of the martyrs. ... We can, in fact, interpret such martyrdom in a broader sense, that of unreserved love for Christ, a love expressed in the total gift of self to God and to one's brothers and sisters. This spiritual goal, to which all the baptised are called, is achieved by following the path of the evangelical beatitudes. ... This is the same path traced by Jesus and that the saints strove to follow, always aware of their human limits. In their earthly existence, in fact, they were poor in spirit, pained by their sins, mild, starved of and thirsting for justice, merciful, pure of heart, peacemakers, persecuted for righteousness' sake. And God himself gave them a share in His own happiness. ... Now they are consoled. ... They see the God Whose children they are. In a word: 'theirs is the Kingdom of heaven'.

  "On this day", the Holy Father concluded, "We feel our hearts aflame with the desire for everlasting union with the family of saints, of which we already have the grace to be a part. ... May this beautiful aspiration burn in all Christians and help them to overcome all difficulties, fears and tribulations".
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VATICAN CITY, 2 NOV 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope appeared at the window of his private study overlooking St. Peter's Square, to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered below.

  On the day in which the Church commemorates the departed faithful, the Holy Father highlighted the importance of Christians living "our relationship with the dead in the truth of faith, and looking to death and the afterlife in the light of Revelation".

  "Today too it is necessary to spread the message of the reality of death and eternal life - a reality particularly subject to superstition and syncretism - so that Christian truth does not risk being confused with mythologies of various kinds", he said.

  After recalling the words of St. Augustine to the effect that "everyone seeks 'blessed life' and happiness", Benedict XVI affirmed that "we don't know what this is or what it is like, but we feel ourselves attracted to it. It is a universal hope, shared by people of all times and places. The expression 'eternal life' is an attempt to give a name to this unquenchable hope: not an endless succession, but an immersion in the ocean of infinite love, where time, before and after, exist no more. Fullness of life and of joy is what we hope and expect from being with Christ.

  "Today we renew our hope in eternal life, a hope truly founded in the death and resurrection of Christ", the Pope added. "Christian hope is never something merely individual, it is always a hope for others. Our lives are deeply linked to one another, and the good and bad each of us does always touches other people".

  The Holy Father concluded: "The prayer of a pilgrim soul in the world can help another soul that continues purifying itself after death. This is why today the Church invites us to pray for our deceased loved ones and to spend time at their tombs in cemeteries"

  This afternoon, as is traditional on All Souls Day, the Holy Father went down to the Vatican Grottoes to pray privately for the Popes buried there, and for all the deceased.
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VATICAN CITY, 3 NOV 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Basilica, the Pope presided at the traditional November Mass for the souls of cardinals and bishops who died over the course of the year. Members of the College of Cardinals concelebrated with the Holy Father.

  At the beginning of his homily, Benedict XVI recalled the names of the ten cardinals who passed away during the last 12 months: Stephen Fumio Hamao, Alfons Maria Stickler S.D.B., Aloísio Lorscheider O.F.M., Peter Porekuu Dery, Adolfo Antonio Suarez Rivera, Ernesto Corripio Ahumada, Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, Bernardin Gantin, Antonio Innocenti and Antonio Jose Gonzalez Zumarraga.

  "God", he said continuing his homily, "is the true wisdom that never ages, He is the authentic wealth that does not decay, He is the joy to which the depth of each human heart aspires. This truth, which runs through the Books of Wisdom and re-emerges in the New Testament, reaches fulfilment in the life and teaching of Jesus. From the perspective of evangelical wisdom, death itself brings beneficial guidance because it forces us to look reality in the face, it compels us to recognise the transience of what appears so great and strong to the eyes of the world. In the face of death all reasons for human pride fall away, and what is really worthwhile emerges".

  "All of us in this world are passing through, because all of us are creatures. In a word, none of us is God. To recognise this difference between us and Him is the primary condition for being with Him and in Him. It is also a condition for becoming like Him, but only by welcoming the grace of His free gift".

  "If God", the Holy Father went on, "loved us freely, we too can (and therefore must) allow ourselves to be involved in this oblatory movement, and make of ourselves a free gift for others. In this way we know God as we are known by Him, ... and we pass from death to life like Jesus Christ, Who defeated death with His resurrection thanks to the heavenly Father's glorious power of love".

  "This Word of life and hope is of great comfort to us as we face the mystery of death, especially when it strikes people who are dear to us. The Lord today assures us that our lamented brethren, for whom we are praying in a special way in this Mass, passed from death to life because they chose Christ ... and consecrated themselves to the service of others. And therefore, even if they have to accept their share of redress due to human frailty - which marks us all, helping to keep us humble - their faithfulness to Christ allows them to enter into the freedom of the children of God".

  "Let us pray that we, pilgrims upon the earth, always keep our hearts and eyes turned towards the final goal to which we all aspire, the House of the Father, Heaven".
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VATICAN CITY, 3 NOV 2008 (VIS) - Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant peoples, participated in the Second Global Forum on Migration and Development, which was held in Manila, Philippines, from 27 to 30 October.

  In his English-language address, delivered on 29 October and made public today, the head of the Holy See delegation affirmed that "any form of temporary and circular migration should never be taken as a pretext for avoiding full respect of migrants' rights, and specifically their right to family reunification, their right to the recognition of their contribution to development both by their work and by means of their savings sent home. Failings in this area would point to a lack of integration and co-operation policies in host countries, as well as of national development policies in the countries of origin".

  "Governments should continue to create conditions where migration will never be the only option left to persons in order to find a job and a safe and dignified life. More opportunities for work should be created at home and all migration policies that undermine the foundations of society, especially the family which is its basic nucleus, should be avoided. The possible advantages of emigration are defeated by the problems that emerge, notable in families at risk of disintegration".

  Archbishop Marchetto indicated that "in host countries family reunification is the best way to promote the integration of immigrants and to eliminate many problems, especially those related to security and public order.

  "Migrants", he concluded, "are not only a problem, but also a gift for our societies. They help us in our work, oblige us to open our minds, economies and policies and stimulate us in the search for new models. Only together we can win this challenge and open our present world to the future which we all wish to enjoy".
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