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Thursday, November 13, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 13 NOV 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Pope received the Letters of Credence of Sante Canducci, the new ambassador of the Republic of San Marino to the Holy See.

  In his address to the diplomat, the Holy Father pointed out that "the Christian faith has impregnated the life and history of the people and institutions of San Marino", and he expressed the hope that "today's civil and religious community in San Marino proves able to come together to write a chapter of progress and civilisation, recognising the indispensable role each family (as a place of education in peace) is called to play in forming the new generations".

  Benedict XVI affirmed that, despite "the changed environmental and social conditions in which we live today, the final aim of all our daily efforts, both as individuals and as a community, remains unaltered: the search for the true wellbeing of the person and the creation of an open and welcoming society attentive to the real needs of everyone.

  "The values and laws, the shared spiritual 'alphabet', that has made it possible for our peoples to write noble chapters of civil and religious history over the centuries, is a precious heritage that must not be squandered", the Pope added. "A heritage to be augmented with the contribution of modern discoveries in the fields of science technology and communication, which must be placed at the service of the real good of mankind".

  The Holy Father highlighted the fact that "a total separation of public life from any form of value or tradition would, in fact, mean starting down blind alley. This is why it is necessary to redefine the meaning of secularism, a secularism that highlights the real difference and autonomy between the various elements of society but that also protects their specific competencies, in a context of shared responsibility.

  "Certainly this 'healthy' secularism of the State means that all temporal situations must be governed by their own norms; these, nonetheless, must never ignore fundamental ethical requirements the basis of which lies in man's very nature and which, precisely for this reason, lead back in the final analysis to the Creator".

  The Holy Father concluded by recalling that "when the Church, through her legitimate pastors, appeals to the value that certain ethical principles rooted in the Christian heritage of Europe, have for private life, and even more so for public life, she is moved exclusively by the desire to guarantee and promote the inviolable dignity of the person and the authentic good of society".
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VATICAN CITY, 13 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today released the following declaration:

  "This morning Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, president of the Federative Republic of Brazil, was received in audience by His Holiness Benedict XVI. The president subsequently went on the meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "The cordial meeting provided an opportunity for a fruitful exchange of opinions on matters concerning the current situation in the region and in the world.

  "Attention then turned to certain aspects of the situation in Brazil, and in particular to social policies that seek to improve the living conditions of the many people who live in circumstances of distress and marginalisation, and to favour the fundamental role of the family in the struggle against violence and social decay. The discussions also emphasised collaboration between Church and State with a view to promoting moral values and the common good, not only in the country but particularly in favour of Africa. In this context, having recalled the Holy Father's visit to Brazil in May 2007 for the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean in Aparecida, satisfaction was expressed at the conclusion of an agreement between the Holy See and Brazil. The agreement was later signed in the course of same visit".

  A second communique explains that the new agreement, "which further consolidates the traditional bonds of friendship and collaboration between the two parties, consists of a preamble followed by 20 articles regulating various areas including the juridical status of the Catholic Church in Brazil, the recognition of qualifications, religious teaching in State schools, canonical marriage and the fiscal system".
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VATICAN CITY, 13 NOV 2008 (VIS) - Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, yesterday participated in the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, with an address dedicated to the theme of the "Culture of Peace".

  "By its nature and mission the United Nations should be a school of peace", he began. Here we must "learn to think and act while always bearing in mind the legitimate interests of all sides". Member States, "in striving to overcome the simplistic logic of the power of force and replace it with the power of law and the wisdom of peoples, become 'builders of peace'", he said.

  The cardinal highlighted how "in this demanding task, individual believers and communities of believers have their place and their role to play. Religions, despite the weaknesses and contradictions of their members, carry a message of reconciliation and peace".

  Cardinal Tauran stressed that believers must be "coherent and credible", pointing out that "they cannot use religion to attack freedom of conscience, justify violence, spread hatred and fanaticism or undermine political and religious authority".

  He went on: "Believers, in contributing to public debate and participating in the societies to which they belong, feel themselves called to co-operate in promoting the common good, which rests on a platform of values shared by everyone, believers and non-believers alike: the sacredness of life and the dignity of human beings, respect for liberty of conscience and of religion, practice of responsible freedom, acceptance of different opinions, correct use of reason, appreciation for democratic life and care for natural resources, to mention but a few".

  "May all of us together - without renouncing our cultural and religious identity - find the path to a safer and more united world", he concluded. "Let us not rest content with mere tolerance and vague commitments, let us make fraternity more than an ideal, a reality!"
.../PEACE CULTURE/U.N.:TAURAN                VIS 20081113 (330)


VATICAN CITY, 13 NOV 2008 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, presented the programme of events planned to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The initiatives, organised by his dicastery, are due to be held in the Vatican on 10 December.

  Cardinal Martino explained that the aim of the initiatives is, "on the one hand, to celebrate that famous United Nations document and, on the other, to highlight its perennial value, underlining once again its importance as an educational tool and a guide for building a more just and united world.

  "The Church", he added, "holds that human rights express the transcendent dignity of human beings, the only creatures to be loved by God for themselves, the end and never the means; and she believes that the 1948 Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man was a moment of fundamental importance in mankind's development of a moral conscience that accords with human dignity".

  The cardinal reiterated the fact that "the Church has made her own contributions, both through reflections on human rights in the light of the Word of God and of human reason (such as the treatment of the subject by Blessed John XXIII in his 'Pacem in Terris'), and though her commitment to announce and denounce which has made her such a tireless paladin of the dignity of mankind and human rights in the sixty years since the 1948 Declaration".

  He continued: "The latest powerful testimony to the value of the Universal Declaration was that of the Holy Father Benedict XVI on 18 April this year when he visited the Untied Nations and declared: ... 'The merit of the Universal Declaration is that it has enabled different cultures, juridical expressions and institutional models to converge around a fundamental nucleus of values, and hence of rights'.

  "On this basis, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, together with the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, will organise a celebration to take place in the Paul VI Hall on 10 December. The initiative will be divided into two phases. The first, at 4 p.m., will consist in a commemorative meeting dedicated to reflection and study, attended by heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia and by members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. Contributions on the value and importance of the Declaration will be forthcoming from Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.; Juan Somavia, director general of the World Labour Organisation, and Jacques Diouf, director general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.

  At 6 p.m. that evening, Benedict XVI will attend a public concert by the Brandenburrgisches Staatsorchester of Frankfurt, led by the Spanish conductor, Inma Shara.

  Shortly before the concert, the St. Matthew Foundation's annual prizes in memory of Cardinal Van Thuan will be presented. Among this year's winners is Cornelio Sommaruga, former president of the International Red Cross.


VATICAN CITY, 13 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences five prelates from the Bolivian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Jesus Perez Rodriguez O.F.M. of Sucre.

    - Bishop Walter Perez Villamonte of Potosi, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Ricardo Ernesto Centellas Guzman.

    - Bishop Francisco Javier del Rio Sendino of Tarija, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Adhemar Esquivel Kohenque.
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VATICAN CITY, 13 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Bishop Juan Jose Asenjo Pegrina of Cordoba, Spain, as coadjutor archbishop of Seville (area 14,042, population 1,835,077, Catholics 1,825,505, priests 685, permanent deacons 37, religious 2,928), Spain. The archbishop-elect was born in Siguenza, Spain in 1945, he was ordained a priest in 1969 and consecrated a bishop in 1997.

 - Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer S.J., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as consultor to the Congregation for Bishops.
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