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Thursday, December 4, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Christophe Zoa, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Yaounde, Cameroon, as bishop of Sangmelima (area 20,254, population 160,000, Catholics 87,800, priests 23, religious 36), Cameroon. He succeeds Bishop Raphael Marie Ze, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences five prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Chile, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Horacio del Carmen Valenzuela Abarca of Talca.

    - Bishop Gonzalo Duarte Garcia de Cortazar SS.CC. of Valparaiso, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Santiago Jaime Silva Retamales.

    - Bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid, military ordinary.

    - Bishop Luigi Infanti Della Mora O.S.M., apostolic vicar of Aysen.
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VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2008 (VIS) - Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States yesterday participated in a ceremony, held in Oslo, Norway, to sign a Convention prohibiting the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions, the text of which was approved on 30 May in Dublin, Ireland.

  In his address, Archbishop Mamberti stated that "in order to send out a powerful political signal, the Holy See is ratifying this Convention on the same day as the signing. In the first place we wish to express to victims the human proximity of the Holy See and its institutions. We also wish to launch an appeal to States - especially to the producers, exporters and potential consumers of cluster munitions - to join the current signatories, so as to assure victims, and all countries gravely affected by these arms, that their message has been understood.

  "Credible security is not only possible, but actually more effective, when it is based on co-operation, on trust and on a just international order", while "order founded on the balance of power is fragile, unstable and a source of conflict", the archbishop added.

  The head of the Holy See delegation to the Oslo ceremony then indicated that "through contributions on everyone's part, the house of peace is now stronger, yet perseverance and patience are indispensable for its consolidation".

  An English-language declaration accompanying Archbishop Mamberti's speech states that "in ratifying the Convention ... the Holy See desires to encourage the entire international community to be resolute in promoting effective disarmament and arms control negotiations and in strengthening international humanitarian law by reaffirming the pre-eminent and inherent value of human dignity, the centrality of the human person, and the 'elementary considerations of humanity', all of which are elements that constitute the basis of international humanitarian law.

  "The Holy See considers the Convention on cluster munitions an important step in the protection of civilians during and after conflicts, from the indiscriminate effects of this inhumane type of weapon", the text adds.

  "The Holy See", the document concludes, "considers the implementation of the Convention as a legal and humanitarian challenge for the near future. An effective implementation should be based on constructive co-operation of all governmental and non governmental actors and should reinforce the link between disarmament and development. This can be done by directing human and material resources towards development, justice and peace, which are the most effective means to promote international security and a peaceful international order".


VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Chile, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  The Pope spoke of his happiness at the meeting which, he said, "gives me the chance to share the apostolic labours in the beloved land of Chile". He invited the bishops "to cultivate intense interior life and profound faith so that, through the intimate relationship with the Master in prayer, may arise the pastoral initiatives that best respond to the spiritual needs of the faithful".

  Referring then to the pastoral guidelines developed by Chilean bishops since the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean, the Holy Father pointed out that "this great evangelising mission ... requires particular efforts of purification and charity from everyone. You are well aware that mankind today feels the urgent need for examples of truly evangelical and coherent life. For this reason the saintliness of all members of the Church, and especially of her pastors, is one of the most precious gifts you can offer your brothers and sisters".

  On the subject of priests and seminarians, the Holy Father told the bishops "to remain close to them in their difficulties and help them so that, among the many activities that fill their day, they can give primacy to prayer and the celebration of the Eucharist, which conforms them to Christ the Supreme and Eternal Priest".

  "I am also aware", he went on, "of the great efforts you have made to ensure that lay people shoulder the requirements of their Baptism with responsibility and maturity, participating, in keeping with their lay vocation, in the mission of the whole Church. ... They have received the specific vocation of sanctifying the world, transforming it from within in accordance with God's plan".

  "All sectors of life can be illuminated with the light of the faith. I am thinking, among other areas, of the world of culture, science and politics; of the promotion of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman; of the creation of more just working conditions and the assistance of the disadvantaged; of concern for the environment; of defence of human life at every stage of existence, and of the right and obligation of parents to the spiritual and moral education of their children".

  Benedict XVI encouraged the prelates to undertake "charitable activity in favour of the poor", and he highlighted how, "following the example of the first community of disciples, we must attempt to make the Church, like the family of God, a place of mutual assistance".

  Finally the Pope told them "to continue to cultivate the spirit of communion with the Roman Pontiff and with brother bishops, especially with the episcopal conference and ecclesiastical provinces. ... For everyone, be true models and instruments of communion".
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