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Monday, November 24, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 22 NOV 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received pilgrims from the Italian archdiocese of Amalfi - Cava de' Tirreni, who have come to Rome in the company of their pastor, Archbishop Orazio Soricelli. Their pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter bearing the relics of St. Andrew, patron of the archdiocese, is intended to mark the eighth centenary of the translation of that saint's body from Constantinople to Amalfi.

  The Pope pointed out that on 30 November, to mark the end of the Jubilee Year of the archdiocese of Amalfi - Cava de' Tirreni, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. will celebrate Mass in Amalfi cathedral. He also recalled how the culminating moment of the jubilee celebrations came on 8 May with a solemn commemoration presided by Cardinal Walter Kapser, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

  Throughout the Jubilee Year, he told the faithful from the archdiocese, "you have sought to give fresh impulse to your apostolic and missionary vocation, opening your hearts to the hopes for peace among people, and intensifying your prayers for the unity of all Christians. Vocation, mission and ecumenism are, then, the three keywords that have guided you through this spiritual and pastoral enterprise".

  On Sunday 23 November, Feast of Christ the King, "the Word of God will also remind us that the face of Christ, universal King, is that of a judge, because God is at one and the same time the good and merciful Shepherd and the righteous Judge", said Pope Benedict.

  "The criterion with which judgement is applied", he went on, "is of great importance. This criterion is love, real charity towards others, especially the 'little ones', people in greater need. ... Christ identifies Himself with the 'smallest of His brothers and sisters', and the final judgement will be a settling of accounts of what happened in earthly life".

  God "is not concerned with historical kingship, He wishes to reign in people's hearts and from there over the world. He is the King of the entire universe, yet ... the area in which His reign is at risk is in our own hearts because there God encounters our freedom. We, and we alone, can ... hinder His kingship over the world, over families, over society and over history".

  "Jesus wishes to associate us with His royalty. That is why He invites us to collaborate in the advent of His Kingdom of love, justice and peace. It is up to us to respond to Him, not with words but with deeds. By choosing the path of effective and generous love towards others, we allow Him to extend His lordship over time and space".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 NOV 2008 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square below.

  This Sunday, the last of the liturgical year and Solemnity of Christ the King, "the Gospel highlights the universal kingship of Christ the Judge with the stupendous parable of the Last Judgement", said the Pope. "The message it contains is extremely important: it is the truth of our final destiny and of the criteria with which we will be judged: 'I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me'".

  This episode "is part of our civilisation. It has marked the history of Christian peoples: their hierarchy of values, their institutions, their many charitable and social activities. Indeed, the Kingdom of Christ is not of this world, but accomplishes all the good that, thanks to God, exists in man and in history. If we put our love for neighbour into practice, in keeping with the Gospel message, then we make room for the lordship of God, and His Kingdom is realised among us. If, on the other hand, each thinks only of his or her own interests, the world cannot but fall to ruin".

  "The Kingdom of God is not a matter of honours and appearances", said the Holy Father. "The Lord has our good at heart; in other words, that each human being should have life and that especially the 'smallest' of His children may participate in the banquet He has prepared for everyone. This is why He has no time for the hypocritical expressions of those who say 'Lord, Lord', then ignore His commandments. In his eternal Kingdom, God welcomes those who struggle day after day to put His Word into effect".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 NOV 2008 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus, the Pope recalled the fact that tomorrow, 24 November, "the beatification will take place of 188 Japanese martyrs, both men and women, killed during the first half of the seventeenth century. On this occasion, so important for the Catholic community of Japan, I give assurances", he said, "of my spiritual closeness".

  Benedict XVI then went on to mention the fact that, on 29 November, Br. Jose Olallo Valdes of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God will be proclaimed a blessed in Cuba. "To his celestial protection", he said, "I entrust the Cuban people, especially the sick and healthcare workers". Speaking Spanish, the Pope directed a special greeting to Cuban pastors and faithful who will participate in the beatification ceremony at Camaguey, expressing the hope that "the intercession of the new blessed may help the Church in her evangelising mission, and bring renewed apostolic vitality to all Cubans who glory in being disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ".

  The Holy Father also directed particular greetings to Ukrainian pilgrims. "Over these days", he said, "we are commemorating the 75th anniversary of the 'Holodomor' - the great famine - which between 1932 and 1933 caused millions of deaths in Ukraine and in other regions of the Soviet Union during communist rule.

  "In the fervent hope that no political system may ever again, in the name of an ideology, deny human beings their rights, freedom and dignity", he added, "I give assurances of my prayers for all the innocent victims of that immense tragedy and call upon the Holy Mother of God to help nations continue along the path of reconciliation, and build the present and the future in mutual respect and in the sincere search for peace".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 NOV 2008 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia of the Armenians, presided at an ecumenical celebration held in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace. A delegation from the Catholicosate of Cilicia of the Armenians also participated in the event.

  In his English language greetings, the Pope recalled how the Catholicos is due to visit the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls where, with the monastic community of the basilica, he will be united in prayer "to the great host of Armenian saints and martyrs". In this context he mentioned "St. Nerses Shnorkhali and St. Nerses of Lambon who, as bishop of Tarsus, was known as 'the second Paul of Tarsus'". The testimony of these saints "culminated in the twentieth century, which proved a time of unspeakable suffering for your people", he said.

  "The faith and devotion of the Armenian people have been constantly sustained by the memory of the many martyrs who have borne witness to the Gospel down the centuries. May the grace of that witness continue to shape the culture of your nation and inspire in Christ's followers an ever greater trust in the saving and life-giving power of the Cross".

  Going on to refer to the dialogue between the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church, which "has benefited significantly" from the presence of Armenian delegates, the Holy Father expressed the hope that such dialogue will "clarify theological issues which have divided us in the past but now appear open to greater consensus. I am confident that the current work of the International Commission - devoted to the theme: 'The Nature, Constitution and Mission of the Church' - will enable many of the specific issues of our theological dialogue to find their proper context and resolution".

  "An increased understanding and appreciation of the apostolic tradition which we share will contribute to an ever more effective common witness to the spiritual and moral values without which a truly just and humane social order cannot exist. For this reason, I trust that new and practical means will be found to give expression to the common declarations we have already signed".

  Closing his remarks the Holy Father gave assurances of his "daily prayers and deep concern for the people of Lebanon and the Middle East. How can we not be grieved by the tensions and conflicts which continue to frustrate all efforts to foster reconciliation and peace at every level of civil and political life in the region?

  "Most recently we have all been saddened by the escalation of persecution and violence against Christians in parts of the Middle East and elsewhere. Only when the countries involved can determine their own destiny, and the various ethnic groups and religious communities accept and respect each other fully, will peace be built on the solid foundations of solidarity, justice and respect for the legitimate rights of individuals and peoples".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Four prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Chile, on their ad limina" visit:

    - Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop of Santiago de Chile, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Cristian Contreras Villarroel, Andres Artega Manieu and Fernando Natalio Chomali Garib.

 - Konji Sebati, ambassador of South Africa, on her farewell visit.

 - His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia of the Armenians.

  On Saturday 22 November, he received in audience Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, for the presentation of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal.
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VATICAN CITY, 24 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Paul Mandla Khumalo C.M.M. of Witbank, South Africa, as metropolitan archbishop of Pretoria (area 16,580, population 4,994,000, Catholics 192,510, priests 113, permanent deacons 11, religious 302), South Africa and as military ordinary for South Africa. The archbishop-elect was born in Saint Wendelin, South Africa in 1947, he was ordained a priest in 1973 and consecrated a bishop in 2002. He succeeds Archbishop Geroge Francis Daniel, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese and from the same office of military ordinary, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Desire Tsarahazana of Fenoarivo Atsinanana, Madagascar, as bishop of Toamasina (area 23,690, population 1,957,000, Catholics 771,000, priests 41, religious 138), Madagascar. He succeeds Bishop Rene Rakontondrabe, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Georges Varkey Puthiyakulangara M.E.P., diocesan director for Catholic education in the diocese of Mahajanga, Madagascar, as coadjutor of Port-Berge (area 23,367, population 579,000, Catholics 16,161, priests 16, religious 47), Madagascar. The bishop-elect was born in Endoor, India in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1982.

 - Appointed Fr. Jose Luis Gerardo Ponce de Leon I.M.C., secretary general and procurator general of the Consolata Missionaries, as apostolic vicar of Ingwavuma (area 12,309, population 617,923, Catholics 24,029, priests 7, religious 14), South Africa. The bishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1986.

  On Saturday 22 November it was made public that he appointed:

 - Cardinal Julian Herranz, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the 1,750th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Fructuosus and of the deacons St. Augurius and St. Eulogius, known as the proto-martyrs of Tarragona, due to be held in that Spanish city on 25 January 2009.

 - Bishop Joseph Ake Yapo of Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, as archbishop of Gagnoa (area 21,951, population 1,320,000, Catholics 132,000, priests 122, religious 129), Ivory Coast. The archbishop-elect was born in Memni, Ivory Coast in 1951, he was ordained a priest in 1978 and consecrated a bishop in 2001.

 - Fr. Silvester San of the clergy of Ende, Indonesia, rector of the major seminary of Ritapiret, Maumere, as bishop of Denpasar (area 25,756, population 8,171,781, Catholics 32,083, priests 36, religious 96), Indonesia. The bishop-elect was born in Maupongo, in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1988.

 - Fr. Ariel Edgardo Torrado Mosconi, pastor of the parish of "San Isidro Labrador", as auxiliary of Santiago del Estero (area 81,969, population 653,000, Catholics 587,000, priests 71, permanent deacons 13, religious 109), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in 25 de Mayo, Argentina in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1990.

 - Thomas Han Hong-soon as international auditor of the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.
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