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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

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Monday, November 10, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 8 NOV 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Wang Larry Yu-yuan, the new ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the Holy See.

  "The Government in Taipei", said the Pope in his English-language remarks to the diplomat, "has a keen sense of belonging to a world community, a global human family. This is expressed in many ways, not least in the generosity with which aid and emergency relief is supplied to poorer nations. In this regard, your country makes a valuable contribution to the building of a more secure and stable world. The Holy See is pleased to work together with all those who seek to promote peace, prosperity and development, and appreciates the Republic of China's commitment to that noble cause".

  Benedict XVI recalled that although Catholics in the country "represent little more than one per cent of the population, they are eager to play their part in building up a society that is humane, just, and marked by genuine concern for the welfare of the weaker members of the community. .... Your government's firm commitment to freedom of religion has made it possible for the Church to carry out her mission of love and service, and to express herself openly through worship and the proclamation of the Gospel".

  "Thanks to their 'innate spiritual insight and moral wisdom', there is great religious vitality and capacity for renewal among the peoples of Asia. Hence the ground is particularly fertile for inter-religious dialogue to take root and grow", he said.

  "How important it is in today's world for different peoples to be able to listen to one another in an atmosphere of respect and dignity, conscious that their shared humanity is a bond far deeper than the cultural variations that seem to divide them!" the Pontiff exclaimed.

  "Frank and constructive dialogue is also the key to the resolution of the conflicts that threaten the stability of our world. In this regard, the Holy See welcomes the recent positive developments in relations between Taiwan and mainland China. Indeed the Catholic Church is eager to promote peaceful solutions to disputes of whatever kind, 'giving attention and encouragement to even the faintest sign of dialogue or desire for reconciliation'. In this way, she wishes to support the efforts of governments to become 'staunch champions of human dignity and courageous builders of peace'".
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VATICAN CITY, 8 NOV 2008 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received participants in a congress entitled: "The Heritage of Pius XII's Magisterium and Vatican Council II". The event, held from 6 to 8 November, was organised by the Pontifical Gregorian and Lateran Universities.

  The Pope highlighted how the Magisterium of Servant of God Pius XII, the fiftieth anniversary of whose death falls this year, is "a valuable heritage to which the Church has always given, and continues to give, great importance".

  Benedict XVI mentioned the fact that the late Pontiff published more than 40 Encyclicals, "among them 'Mystici Corpis' in which he examined the question of the true and intimate nature of the Church, ... 'Divino afflante Spiritu' on Sacred Scripture, and 'Mediator Dei' on sacred liturgy".

  "Many were the occasions", he said, "on which Pius XII turned his attention to the responsibility of the laity within the Church" and to "the great importance of the modern communications media, ... highlighting journalists' duty to provide factual information respectful of moral norms".

  The Holy Father explained how his predecessor, while admiring the progress of science and technology, did not fail to "caution against the risks that research could bring if inattentive to moral values", and "warned of the need to prevent at all costs the possibility of brilliant scientific advances being used to build deadly arms which could cause immense catastrophes and even the complete destruction of mankind".

  "Equally worthy of mention is Pius XII's Mariological teaching", the Pope continued, "which reached its culmination in the proclamation of the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, by which the Holy Father intended to highlight the eschatological dimension of our lives, and to exalt the dignity of women".

  After underlining how Pius XII "was a realist, ... immune to the risk of that pessimism which is inappropriate to believers", the Holy Father pointed out how Pope Pius also "abhorred sterile polemics and was profoundly diffident towards fanaticism and sentimentalism".

  Benedict XVI also dwelt upon Pius XII's "continuous efforts and firm desire to give all of himself to God, holding nothing back and unconcerned for his own delicate health. ... Everything in him arose from love for his Lord Jesus Christ, and love for the Church and humanity. He was, in fact, a priest in constant and intimate union with God. ... It was from here that his Magisterium, indeed all his activities, were rooted and drew their strength".

  "His fruitful Magisterium remains priceless for Christians today. ... The heritage of Pius XII's Magisterium was taken up by Vatican Council II and has been re-presented to succeeding Christian generations".

  Benedict XVI concluded by affirming that "in the person of the Supreme Pontiff Pius XII, the Lord gave His Church an exceptional gift for which we must all be grateful".
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VATICAN CITY, 8 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Rino Passigato, apostolic nuncio to Peru, as apostolic nuncio to Portugal. He succeeds Archbishop Alfio Rapisarda, whose resignation from the same office the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, 9 NOV 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  The Pope recalled how today's liturgy marks the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, known as "mother and head of all the churches of the City and the World". The basilica was the first to be built following the emperor Constantine's 313 Edict of Milan which granted Christians the freedom to practice their religion. It was consecrated by Pope Sylvester around the year 324. Originally dedicated to the Blessed Saviour, only in the sixth century did it acquire the tiles of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist.

  "Honouring this sacred building in this way", the Pope explained, "the intention is to express love and veneration for the Roman church which, as St. Ignatius of Antioch says, 'presides over the charity' of the entire Catholic communion.

  "On this solemnity", he added, "the word of God reminds us of an essential truth: the temple of bricks and mortar is a symbol of the living Church, the Christian community. In their Letters the Apostles Peter and Paul understood this as being a 'spiritual edifice' built by God with 'living stones', which are Christians, upon the one foundation which is Jesus Christ, Who in His turn is described as the 'cornerstone'".

  "The beauty and harmony of the churches, which are intended to give praise unto God, also invites us, as limited and sinful human beings, to convert ourselves to form a 'cosmos', a well-ordered construction in close communion with Jesus, Who is the true Saint of saints. This process reaches its culmination in the Eucharistic liturgy in which the 'ecclesia', in other words the community of the baptised, comes together to hear the Word of God and to draw nourishment from the Body and Blood of Christ. Around this dual banquet the Church of living stones is built in truth and charity, and moulded within by the Holy Spirit".

  Today's festivity, the Pope concluded, "celebrates an ever-relevant mystery: the fact that God wants to build Himself a spiritual temple in the world". It also reminds us "of the importance of the real buildings in which the community gathers to celebrate the praises of God. Each community, in fact, has the duty to protect its own sacred buildings, which constitute a precious religious and historical heritage".
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VATICAN CITY, 9 NOV 2008 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus this morning, the Pope recalled the fact that today marks the 70th anniversary "of those sad events which befell on the night of 9 to 10 November 1938, when Nazi fury was unleashed against the Jews in Germany.

  "Shops, offices, houses and synagogues were attacked and destroyed", he added, "and many people were killed, thus beginning that violent and systematic persecution of the German Jews which concluded with the Shoah. Even today I still suffer for what happened in those tragic circumstances, the memory of which must serve to ensure that such horrors never happen again and that, at all levels, we undertake to oppose all forms of anti-Semitism and discrimination, educating, especially the young generations, in respect and mutual acceptance. Moreover, I invite people to pray for the victims of that time and to join me in expressing profound solidarity with the Jewish world".

  The Holy Father then went on to launch an appeal for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo: "Unsettling news continues to arrive from the region of North Kivu", he said. "Bloody armed clashes and systematic atrocities have reaped and are continuing to reap numerous victims among innocent civilians. Destruction, sacking and violence of all kinds have forced further tens of thousands of people to abandon what little they had to survive. It is calculated that the refugees currently number more than one and a half million. I wish to express my special closeness to each and every one of them; at the same time I encourage and bless those who are striving to alleviate their sufferings, among whom I would particularly like to mention the pastoral workers of the local Church. To families deprived of their loved ones I send my condolences and assurances of my prayers. Finally, I renew my fervent appeal for everyone to collaborate in restoring peace to that long-martyred land, while respecting legality and, above all, the dignity of each individual".

  Benedict XVI then went on to refer to today's celebration in Italy of Thanksgiving Day, which has as its theme this year: "I was hungry and you gave me food".

  "I unite my voice", he said, "to that of Italian bishops who, on the basis of these words of Jesus, draw attention to the serious and complex problem of hunger, made even more dramatic by price increases in certain basic foodstuffs. The Church, while reiterating the fundamental ethical principle of the universal destination of goods, puts this into practice following the Lord Jesus' example, with many charitable initiatives. I pray for the rural world, especially for smallholders in developing countries. I encourage and bless those who undertake to unsure that no-one lacks healthy and adequate nourishment: those who help the poor help Christ Himself".
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VATICAN CITY, 10 NOV 2008 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received prelates from the Bolivian Episcopal Conference, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  At the beginning of his address to them, the Pope referred to "the difficult circumstances affecting the faithful and citizens" of the country, "which at the current time seem to be becoming even more marked. These certainly cause concern and call for the special pastoral solicitude of the entire Church, which has closely followed Bolivians through difficult situations with the single intention of keeping hope alive, reviving faith, fomenting unity, exhorting reconciliation and safeguarding peace".

  "Nor is there a lack of challenges in your pastoral duties, because the faith sown in Bolivian soil always needs to be nourished and fortified, especially when signs emerge of a certain weakness in Christian life". Such weakness can be "caused by factors of various origins, by incoherence between professed faith and the conduct of personal and social life, or by a superficial formation which leaves the baptised exposed to the influence of dazzling but empty promises".

  In order to face these challenges, said the Holy Father, "the Church in Bolivia has one powerful means at her disposal in the form of popular devotion, a valuable treasure accumulated over the centuries thanks to the work of intrepid missionaries, and upheld with great faithfulness by generations of Bolivian families. It is a gift which certainly has to be safeguarded and promoted today, ... so that its significance may penetrate into the depths of people's hearts, remain illuminated by the Word of God, and transform itself into firm convictions of faith, consolidated by the Sacraments and by faithfulness to moral values".

  To this end, the Pope went on, "systematic, widespread and incisive catechesis is needed, catechesis that teaches the Catholic faith clearly and completely. ... Quality general education, which includes the spiritual and religious dimension of the person, also helps to lay firm foundations for the development of the faith". In this context he recalled how the Church in Bolivia runs many educational institutions, "some highly prestigious, which must continue to enjoy the attention of pastors so as to maintain respect for their particular identity".

  Benedict XVI expressed his appreciation for the prelates' efforts "to offer seminarians a solid human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation, ensuring them the attentions of priests able to accompany them in their vocational discernment and to guarantee their suitability and competency. ... It is also necessary", he went on, "to ensure a permanent formation of the clergy and other pastoral workers, in order to nourish their spiritual life and to ensure their work does not become routine or superficial".

  Referring then to the importance of listening to and meditating upon Scripture, the Pope highlighted how "docile listening to the divine Word gives rise to love for others and ... disinterested service to mankind. This is something that occupies a very important position in pastoral activity in Bolivia, in the face of the poverty, marginalisation and helplessness of a large part of the population".

  The Holy Father concluded by encouraging bishops in their mission "as guides of the Church in Bolivia, and in the spirit of communion and harmony they share". This communion is "enriched with special bonds of close fraternity with other particular Churches, some of which are in distant lands but wish to share with you the joys and hopes of evangelisation in your country".
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VATICAN CITY, 10 NOV 2008 (VIS) - On 6 November Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues O.P., secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, participated as Holy See representative to the Council of Europe's fourth seminar of ministers of education of States signatories to the European Cultural Convention. The meeting had as its theme "teaching memory: living in a Europe of freedom and law" and took place in the German city of Nuremberg-Dachau from 5 to 7 November.

  The archbishop indicated how the site chosen for the meeting is replete with memories that have marked European history: "the great Nazi rallies, but also the trials of those who committed serious crimes against humanity. The events this city witnessed speak to us of the drama of an age in which freedom and justice were denied and the dignity of man was trampled underfoot.

  "Recalling the drama of the victims and paying homage to their memory", he added, "invites everyone to become aware that those dark events are a call to construct the present and future of our continent so that such tragedies are never repeated, either in Europe or anywhere in the world. On this subject, the Holy See appreciates the commitment of States signatories to the European Cultural Convention to ensure that, by teaching memory, a contribution may be made not only to knowledge of the past, but also to mutual understanding, to dialogue, to prevention of crimes against humanity, and to consolidating a Europe of freedom and law

  "Law and freedom are essential if we are to avoid relapses into totalitarianism". Law, however, must be "based on an exalted sense of dignity and justice. ... We risk falling once again into barbarism if we do not have a passion for justice and freedom and if we do not undertake, each in accordance with his or her abilities, to ensure that evil does not prevail over good, as happened for millions of children of the Jewish people".

  Archbishop Brugues went on to say that "we must redouble our efforts to free mankind from the spectres of racism, exclusion, marginalisation, subjection and xenophobia, also extirpating the roots of these evils which insinuate themselves into modern society and undermine the foundations of peaceful human coexistence".

  "The duty of memory must thus continue to move our hearts and minds, bringing reason to recognise evil and reject it, to arouse in us the courage of goodness and of resistance to evil . ... Passing time brings the progressive loss of firsthand witnesses of that tragedy. This must incite us to greater efforts in order to conserve the memory and transmit it to new generations. We must, then, encourage such initiatives as the 'Day of memory and of the prevention of crimes against humanity', which contribute to keeping the memory of those tragic events alive".
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VATICAN CITY, 10 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences nine prelates from the Bolivian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval, archbishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Sergio Alfredo Gualberti Calandrina, Stanislaw Dowlaszewicz Billman O.F.M. Conv. and Braulio Saez Garcia O.C.D.

    - Archbishop Tito Solari Capellari S.D.B. of Cochabamba, accompanied by Auxiliary Archbishop Luis Sainz Hinojosa O.F.M.

    - Bishop Jorge Herbas Baderrama O.F.M., coadjutor prelate of Aiquile.

    - Bishop Jesus Juarez Parraga S.D.B. of El Alto.

    - Bishop Carlos Stetter of San Ignacio de Velsaco.

  On Saturday 8 November, he received in separate audiences

 - Archbishop Vernon James Weisgerber of Winnipeg, Bishop Pierre Morissette of Saint-Jerome and Msgr. Mario Paquette P.H., respectively president, vice-president and secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

 - Five prelates from the Bolivian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Gonzalo Ramiro del Castillo Crespo O.C.D., military ordinary.

    - Bishop Julio Maria Elias Montoya O.F.M., apostolic vicar of El Beni, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Francisco Focardi O.F.M. and former Auxiliary Bishop Manuel Eguiguren Galarraga O.F.M.

    - Bishop Antonio Bonifacio Reimann Panic O.F.M., apostolic vicar of Nuflo de Chavez.

 - Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki of Lviv of the Latins, Ukraine.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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