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Friday, December 19, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 18 DEC 2008 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

- Cardinal Peter Erdo, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, President of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences, with vice presidents: Cardinal Josip Bozanic, Archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia and Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux, France, with General Secretary Fr. Duarte da Cunha and Assistant General Secretary Fr. Ferenc Janka.

- Archbishop Giuseppe Betori of Florence, Italy.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 DEC 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father named:

- Monsignor Berislav Grgic, parish administrator of Oberhaching and Deisenhofen in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, Germany, as Bishop of Tromso (area 175,618, population 462,320, Catholics 1,881, priests 10, religious 31) in Norway. The bishop-elect was born in Novo Selo, Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1986.

- Archbishop George Panikulam, Apostolic Nuncio to Ethiopia and Apostolic Delegate to Somalia, as Apostolic Nuncio to Djibouti.
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VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Graziano Luigi Triboldi, the new ambassador of the Seychelles to the Holy See.

  "When speaking of your country", the Pope said, "its beauty and the many resources it possesses are always to be recalled. To increase your potentials you have made important efforts to reduce the lack of education. In an often difficult world context, I am pleased to note your initiatives, which should count on the support of international institutions".

  In this context the Holy Father referred to the responsibility toward future generations and emphasized that it would be "unjust if the human beings of our age were to shirk their obligations and thus bring the weight of their decisions or their inaction onto the generations to come. This is not just in regard to stabilizing the economy, therefore, but above all means facing the questions of social justice. On the other hand, stabilizing national finances also offers a safer setting for economic activity and therefore protects the poorest and most vulnerable populations".

  "This commendable objective", he continued, "requires the cooperation of all and the duty of solidarity is elemental in achieving it. We recognize that social stability is tied not only to a just form of legislation but also to the moral quality of each individual". The Holy Father insisted that "educating the youth is the best path to ensure a lasting sense of solidarity" and once more praised "the efforts of your country to establish an educational system of quality" inviting all, "whatever their level of responsibility, to follow this path and to sow generously for the future".

  "Nevertheless", he added, "this interest for education would be useless if the institution of the family were too fragile. Families constantly need the help and support of political powers. There is a profound harmony between the duties of the family and those of the State. Encouraging synergy between the two means to work effectively for a future of peace and prosperity".

  "The local Church spares no effort to help families, supporting them with the light of the Gospel that brings out all the grandeur and beauty of the 'mystery' of the family, and helping them to assume their educational responsibilities".

  Finally, Benedict XVI greeted the Catholics of the Seychelles, inviting them to "build, together with your fellow citizens, a society in which each can find the path of personal and collective growth".
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VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2008 (VIS) - At noon today the Pope received members of the Labor Office of the Apostolic See (ULSA), which will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its establishment by John Paul II this coming 1 January.

  The Holy Father highlighted "the unique task that this office is called to carry out in the formation of personnel, so that the activity of the community of workers in the Holy See might be ever more effective and supportive. Another important service of your office is to foresee all possible discord regarding the workers of the Holy See and to seek, if necessary, solutions through sincere and objective dialogue, putting into practice the procedures necessitated by conciliation and arbitration".

  "Those who work in the different offices and departments of the Holy See", said Benedict XVI, "form a unique 'family', whose members are united not only functionally but also by the same mission, that of helping the Successor of Peter in his ministry at the service of the universal Church. The professional labor that is carried out here thus constitutes a 'vocation' that must be cultivated with care and an evangelic spirit, seeing in it a concrete path to holiness".

  "This demands", the Pope emphasized, "that the love for Christ and for one's brothers and sisters, together with a shared sense of Church, animate and inspire competency, commitment, professionalism, and an honest and proper dedication as well as an attentive and mature responsibility, in this way transforming the work itself, whatever it be, into a prayer. All of this can be considered a permanent formative and spiritual task to which all can give their support: cardinals, bishops, priests, religious, and lay persons".

  The Holy Father affirmed that the nearness of Christmas brought to his mind, "almost naturally, the labor crisis that currently worries all of humanity. ... The Christ Child, who was born on that Holy Night of Bethlehem to draw near us in our difficulties", he concluded, "looks with kindness on those who are sorely affected by this world crisis, awakening in them feelings of true solidarity".
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VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2008 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon was made public the declaration of the delegation of the Holy See to the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly on the theme: "Human Rights Questions, Including Alternative Approaches for Improving the Effective Enjoyment of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms".

  Archbishop Celestino Migliore affirmed that "the Holy See appreciates the attempts made in the 'Declaration on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity' - presented at the UN General Assembly on 18 December 2008 - to condemn all forms of violence against homosexual persons as well as urge States to take necessary measures to put an end to all criminal penalties against them".

  "At the same time, the Holy See notes that the wording of this Declaration goes well beyond the above-mentioned and shared intent".

  "In particular, the categories 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity', used in the text, find no recognition or clear and agreed definition in international law. If they had to be taken into consideration in the proclaiming and implementing of fundamental rights, these would create serious uncertainty in the law as well as undermine the ability of States to enter into and enforce new and existing human rights conventions and standards".

  "Despite the Declaration's rightful condemnation of and protection from all forms of violence against homosexual persons, the document, when considered in its entirety, goes beyond this goal and instead gives rise to uncertainty in the law and challenges existing human rights norms", the declaration emphasized.

  "The Holy See continues to advocate that every sign of unjust discrimination towards homosexual persons should be avoided and urges States to do away with criminal penalties against them".
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VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2008 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

- Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

- Archbishop Rino Passigato, Apostolic Nuncio to Portugal.
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VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2008 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father appointed:

- Msgr. Jorge Anibal Quintero Chacon, previously vicar general of the diocese of San Cristobal, Venezuela, as Bishop of Margarita (area 1,150, population 415,000, Catholics 351,000, priests 33, religious 37), Venezuela. The bishop-elect was born in Queniquea, Venezuela in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1981.

- Bishop Felix Genn of Essen, Germany as Bishop of Munster (area 15,265, population 4,335,631, Catholics 2,042,889, priests 1,245, permanent deacons 254, religious 2,888), Germany.
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