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Wednesday, September 30, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 30 SEP 2009 (VIS) - During his general audience, celebrated this morning in St. Peter's Square, the Pope reminisced about his recent apostolic trip to the Czech Republic, which took place from 26 to 28 September.

  The Holy Father gave thanks to God for his journey which "was a true pilgrimage and, at the same time, a mission into the heart of Europe" on the theme: "The love of Christ is our strength". This strength, he explained, "inspires and animates true revolutions, peaceful and liberating, and upholds us in moments of crisis, enabling us to arise once more when the freedom, so arduously regained, risks losing itself and the truth it contains".

  On the first stage of his journey, in the church of Our Lady Victorious where the famous statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague is venerated, Benedict XVI gave assurances that he had prayed "for all children, for parents, for the future of the family. The true 'victory' we ask of Mary today is the victory of love and life in families and in society", he said.

  The Pope then recalled how, in his address to the political and civil authorities and members of the diplomatic corps, he had mentioned "the indissoluble bond that must always exist between freedom and truth. We must not be afraid of truth, because it is a friend of man and his freedom. Indeed, only by sincerely seeking truth, goodness and beauty can we truly offer a future to the young people of today and to future generations".

  "Leaders in the fields of politics and education must know how to draw from the light of that truth which is the reflection of the eternal wisdom of the Creator. And they are called to bear witness in person to this with their own lives".

  The Holy Father went on: "For the communities of Central and Eastern Europe this a difficult time: to the consequences of the long winter of atheist totalitarianism are being added the harmful effects of a certain form of Western secularisation and consumerism. Hence, I encouraged everyone to draw fresh energy form the risen Lord in order to become evangelical leavening in society and commit themselves, as is already happening, to charitable work and, even more so, to education".

  During the two Eucharistic celebrations of his Czech trip - first in Brno then in Stara Boleslav, site of the martyrdom of St. Wenceslas - the Pope "presented a message of hope founded upon faith in Christ".

  Talking then about the ecumenical meeting he had attended, the Holy Father highlighted how "the struggle to proceed towards ever fuller and more visible unity among believers in Christ makes our shared commitment to rediscovering the Christian roots of Europe stronger and more effective".

  During the encounter with the academic community "I underlined the role of universities, ... as a vital institution for society, a guarantee of freedom and development", said Pope Benedict.

  "Twenty years after the so-called 'Velvet Revolution'", he concluded, "I again presented the idea of integral human formation, based on a unity of knowledge rooted in truth, in order to counter a new dictatorship, that of relativism linked to the dominance of technology. Humanistic and scientific culture cannot be separated, they are two sides of the same coin. The Czech lands themselves remind us of this, being home to great writers like Kafka and to abbot Mendel, pioneer of modern genetics".
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VATICAN CITY, 30 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for October is: "That Sunday may be lived as the day on which Christians gather to celebrate the risen Lord, participating in the Eucharist".

  His mission intention is: "That the entire People of God, to whom Christ entrusted the mandate to go and preach the Gospel to every creature, may eagerly assume their own missionary responsibility and consider it the highest service they can offer humanity".
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VATICAN CITY, 30 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, yesterday addressed the 64th UN General Assembly which, he noted, is focusing on "effective responses to global crises: strengthening multilateralism and dialogue among civilizations for international peace, security and development".

  Speaking English the papal nuncio highlighted how the various G8 and G20 meetings made clear "the necessity to give legitimacy to the political commitments assumed, confronting them with the thought and needs of the entire international community, so that the devised solutions would be able to reflect the points of view and the expectations of the populations of all continents".

  "The more the interdependence of peoples increases", the archbishop went on, "the more the necessity of the United Nations becomes evident", as an organisation "capable of responding to the obstacles and increasing complexity of relations between peoples and nations. ... The United Nations will advance toward the formation of a true family of nations to the extent that it assumes the truth of the inevitable interdependence among peoples, and to the extent that it takes up the truth about the human person, in accordance with its Charter".

  Referring then to "the nature of development and the role of donor and recipient countries", Archbishop Migliore noted that "true development necessarily involves an integral respect for human life which cannot be disconnected from the development of peoples. Unfortunately in some parts of the world today, development aid seems to be tied rather to the recipient countries' willingness to adopt programmes which discourage demographic growth of certain populations by methods and practices disrespectful of human dignity and rights. ...Yet such a practice is by its nature not one of reciprocity but imposition, and to predicate the decision to give development aid on the acceptance of such policies constitutes an abuse of power".

  The Holy See permanent observer also touched on "the equity of the international commercial system and world financial architecture", expressing the hope that "the creation of permanent sources of jobs, stability of work, the just retribution of local production and the availability of public and private credit for production and work, especially in the poorest countries" will prevent "new and more serious global crises".

  Turning then to the principle of the "responsibility to protect", as formulated at the 2005 World Summit, Archbishop Migliore said: "The recognition of the ... dignity of every man and woman, ensures that governments always undertake with every means at their disposal to prevent and combat crimes of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and any other crimes against humanity. Thus, recognizing their interconnected responsibility to protect, States will realise the importance of accepting the collaboration of the international community as a means of fulfilling their role of providing responsible sovereignty".

  The permanent observer specifically mentioned the "suffering, frustration and hardships" of the Honduran people "from the already too long political upheaval", and he called on all parties "to make every effort to find a prompt solution in view of the good of the people of Honduras". Then, with reference to the recently concluded summit on climate change, he concluded by affirming that "the protection of the environment continues to be at the forefront of multilateral activities, because it involves in cohesive form the destiny of all nations and the future of every individual man and woman".


VATICAN CITY, 30 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Jean-Marie Le Mene, president of the "Foundation Jerome Lejeune" of Paris, France, as an ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

 - As members of the presidential committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family: Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, archbishop of Milan, Italy; Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien, archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland; Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston, U.S.A.; Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil; His Beatitude Fouad Twal, patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins; Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, Philippines, and Archbishop Francisco Gil Hellin of Burgos, Spain.

 - As members of the Pontifical Council for the Family: Attila and Julia Gergel, Hungary; Jaime Armando Miguel and Ligia Maria Moniz da Fonseca, India; David E. and Mary Joan Osatohanmwen Osunde, Nigeria; John S. and Claire Grabowski, U.S.A.; Umberto Diaz Victoria and Isabel Botia Aponte, Colombia; Leon Botolo Magoza and Marie Valentine Kisanga Sosawe, Democratic Republic of Congo; Naser and Amira (Simaan) Shakkour, Israel; Tomas Melendo Granados and Lourdes Millan Alba, Spain, and Jose Luis and Veronica Villasenor, Mexico.

 - As consultors of the Pontifical Council for the Family: Msgr. Livio Melina, president of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, Rome; Msgr. Augusto Sarmiento, professor at the faculty of theology of the University of Navarra, Spain; Msgr. Brice de Malherbe, professor at the "Ecole Cathedrale" and at the faculty of Notre Dame of Paris, France; Fr. Edoardo Scognamiglio, O.F.M. Conv., minister provincial of the Friars Minor Conventual in Naples, Italy; Pierpaolo Donati, professor at the department of sociology of the University of Bologna, Italy; Francesco Belletti, member of the national consultancy for family pastoral care of the Italian Episcopal Conference's office for the pastoral care of the family; Stefano Zamagni, professor at the faculty of economics of the University of Bologna, Italy; Rafael Navarro Valls, professor of law at the "Universidad Complutense" of Madrid, Spain; Nicolas Jouve de la Barreda, professor of genetics at the "Universidad de Alcala", Spain; Salvatore Martinez, president of the "Mons. Francesco Di Vincenzo" Institute for human promotion, Italy; Jose de Jesus Hernandez Ramos, counsellor of the Doha International Institute For Family Studies and Development, Mexico; Frank and Julie Laboda, U.S.A.; Germina Namatovu Ssemogerere, consultor of the "Capacity Building Programme for Ministry of Local Government Civil Service Personnel", Uganda; Eugenia Scabini, dean of the faculty of psychology of the Sacred Heart Catholic University of Milan, Italy; Teresa Stanton Collet, professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law of Minneapolis, U.S.A.; Susanne Tiemann, professor of social law at the "Katholische Fachhochschule Nordrhein Westfalen" of Cologne, Germany, and Michaela Heereman Von Zuydtwyck, volunteer of the "Elternverein Nordrhein Westfalen" Association, Germany.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 28 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At 5 p.m. today the Pope travelled by car from the apostolic nunciature in Prague, Czech Republic, to the city's Stara Ruzyne airport. There he bid farewell to the president of the Republic, and to the civil, military and religious authorities, before boarding his return flight to Rome.

  The Holy Father thanked the Czech people for their hospitality and for the success of his visit: "I shall treasure the memory of the moments of prayer that I was able to spend together with the bishops, priests and faithful of this country", he said.

  "The Church", he went on, "has been truly blessed with a remarkable array of missionaries and martyrs, as well as contemplative saints, among whom I would single out St. Agnes of Bohemia, whose canonisation just twenty years ago providentially heralded the liberation of this country from atheist oppression".

  Benedict XVI highlighted then how his meeting with representatives from other Christian communities "brought home to me the importance of ecumenical dialogue in this land which suffered so much from the consequences of religious division at the time of the Thirty Years' War. Much has already been achieved in healing the wounds of the past, and decisive steps have been taken along the path towards reconciliation and true unity in Christ. In building further on these solid foundations, there is an important role for the academic community to play, through its uncompromising search for truth".

  "I was especially delighted to meet the young people, and to encourage them to build on the best traditions of this nation's past, particularly its Christian heritage. According to a saying attributed to Franz Kafka, 'anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old'. If our eyes remain open to the beauty of God's creation and our minds to the beauty of His truth, then we may indeed hope to remain young and to build a world that reflects something of that divine beauty, so as to inspire future generations to do likewise".

  The departure ceremony over, Benedict XVI boarded his plane bound for Rome where he arrived at 7.40 p.m. From Ciampino airport he then travelled by car to the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo.
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VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Made public today were the contents of a video Message from the Pope to participants in an international spiritual retreat for priests at the French shrine of Ars for the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney. The preacher of the retreat, which is taking place from 27 September to 3 October, is Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., archbishop of Vienna, Austria, and the theme of the spiritual exercises is: "The joy of being a priest, consecrated for the salvation of the world".

  "The priest", says the Holy Father in his Message, "is called to serve human beings and to give them life in God. ... He is a man of the divine Word and of all things holy and, today more than ever, he must be a man of joy and hope. To those who cannot conceive that God is pure Love, he will affirm that life is worthy to be lived and that Christ gives it its full meaning because He loves all humankind".

  Benedict XVI then turns to address priests who have to serve a number of parishes and who "commit themselves unreservedly to preserving sacramental life in their various communities. The Church's recognition for you all is immense", he says. "Do not lose heart but continue to pray and to make others pray that many young people may accept the call of Christ, Who always wishes to see the number of His apostles increase".

  The Holy Father also invites priests to consider "the extreme diversity of the ministries" they perform "in the service of the Church", and "the large number of Masses you celebrate or will celebrate, each time making Christ truly present at the altar. Think of the numerous absolutions you have given and will give, freeing sinners from their burdens. Thus you may perceive the infinite fruitfulness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Your hands and lips become, for a single instant, the hands and lips of God".

  "This thought", the Pope added, "should bring you to ensure harmonious relations among the clergy so as to form the priestly community as St. Peter wanted, and so build the body of Christ and consolidate you in love".

  "The priest is the man of the future. ... What he does in this world is part of the order of things directed towards the final Goal. Mass is the only point of union between the means and the Goal because it enables us to contemplate, under the humble appearance of the bread and the wine, the Body and Blood of Him Whom we adore in eternity".

  "Nothing will ever replace the ministry of priests in the heart of the Church", the Pope concluded. "You are the living witnesses of God's power at work in the weakness of human beings, consecrated for the salvation of the world, chosen by Christ Himself to be, thanks to Him, salt of the earth and light of the world".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has announced in a communique that at 9.30 a.m. on Sunday 4 October the Holy Father will concelebrate the Eucharist with Synod Fathers in the Vatican Basilica for the opening of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. The theme of the Synod is: "The Church in Africa, at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. 'You are the salt of the earth, ... you are the light of the world'".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2009 (VIS) - "The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word" is the theme of the Pope's Message for the next World Day of Social Communications which is celebrated every year on 24 January, Feast of St. Francis of Sales, patron saint of journalists.

  A communique made public today explains that the aim of the Message is "to invite priests in particular, during this Year for Priests and in the wake of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to consider the new communications media as a possible resource for their ministry at the service of the Word. Likewise, it aims to encourage them to face the challenges arising from the new digital culture".

  The text continues: "The new communications media, if adequately understood and exploited, can offer priests and all pastoral care workers a wealth of data which was difficult to access before, and facilitate forms of collaboration and increased communion that were previously unthinkable".

  The communique concludes by noting that "if wisely used, with the help of experts in technology and the communications culture, the new media can become - for priests and for all pastoral care workers - a valid and effective instrument for authentic and profound evangelisation and communion".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Constancio Miranda Weckmann of Atlacomulco, Mexico, as metropolitan archbishop of Chihuahua (area 73,956, population 1,351,777, Catholics 1,205,174, priests 136, permanent deacons 10, religious 226), Mexico. The archbishop-elect was born in Las Cruces, Mexico in 1952, he was ordained a priest in 1977 and consecrated a bishop in 1998. He succeeds Archbishop Jose Fernandez Arteaga, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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Monday, September 28, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 27 SEP 2009 (VIS) - This afternoon at the archbishop's palace in Prague the Holy Father met with members of the Ecumenical Council of Churches of the Czech Republic. The Holy Father arrived at 5.15 p.m. to be greeted by Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, archbishop of Prague. Having then been welcomed by the president of the ecumenical council, Benedict XVI pronounced his address.

  "It is hard to believe that only two decades have passed since the collapse of former regimes gave way to a difficult but productive transition towards more participatory political structures", said the Pope. "During this period, Christians joined together with others of good will in helping to rebuild a just political order, and they continue to engage in dialogue today in order to pave new ways towards mutual understanding, co-operation for peace and the advancement of the common good.

  "Nevertheless", he added, "attempts to marginalize the influence of Christianity upon public life - sometimes under the pretext that its teachings are detrimental to the wellbeing of society - are emerging in new forms. ... The artificial separation of the Gospel from intellectual and public life should prompt us to engage in a mutual 'self-critique of modernity' and 'self-critique of modern Christianity', specifically with regard to the hope each of them can offer mankind ... in a period marked by proliferating world views".

  He went on: "Christianity has much to offer on the practical and ethical level". Yet "God offers a deeper reality which is nonetheless inseparable from the 'economy' of charity at work in this world: He offers salvation".

  The term salvation "is replete with connotations", the Pope explained, "yet it expresses something fundamental and universal about the human yearning for wellbeing and wholeness. ... It is the central truth of the Gospel and the goal to which every effort of evangelisation and pastoral care is directed. And it is the criterion to which Christians constantly redirect their focus as they endeavour to heal the wounds of past divisions".

  "The Church's proclamation of salvation in Christ Jesus is ever ancient and ever new. ... As Europe listens to the story of Christianity, she hears her own. Her notions of justice, freedom and social responsibility, together with the cultural and legal institutions established to preserve these ideas and hand them on to future generations, are shaped by her Christian inheritance. Indeed, her memory of the past animates her aspirations for the future".

  Pope Benedict went on to mention Sts. Adalbert and Agnes who spread the Gospel in "the conviction that Christians should not cower in fear of the world but rather confidently share the treasury of truths entrusted to them. Likewise Christians today, opening themselves to present realities and affirming all that is good in society, must have the courage to invite men and women to the radical conversion that ensues upon an encounter with Christ and ushers in a new life of grace.

  "From this perspective", he added, "we understand more clearly why Christians are obliged to join others in reminding Europe of her roots. It is not because these roots have long since withered. On the contrary! It is because they continue - in subtle but nonetheless fruitful ways - to supply the continent with the spiritual and moral sustenance that allows her to enter into meaningful dialogue with people from other cultures and religions. Precisely because the Gospel is not an ideology, it does not presume to lock evolving socio-political realities into rigid schemas. Rather, it transcends the vicissitudes of this world and casts new light on the dignity of the human person in every age".

  "Let us ask the Lord", the Pope concluded, "to implant within us a spirit of courage to share the timeless saving truths which have shaped, and will continue to shape, the social and cultural progress of this continent".

  At the end of the meeting, the Holy Father travelled to Prague Castle to meet with members of the academic community.
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VATICAN CITY, 27 SEP 2009 (VIS) - In Prague Castle at 6 p.m. today, the Pope met with rectors of Czech universities, staff and student representatives, and members of State and Church cultural institutions.

  "While some argue that the questions raised by religion, faith and ethics have no place within the purview of collective reason", said the Pope in his address, "that view is by no means axiomatic. The freedom that underlies the exercise of reason - be it in a university or in the Church - has a purpose: it is directed to the pursuit of truth, and as such gives expression to a tenet of Christianity which in fact gave rise to the university".

  "The great formative tradition, open to the transcendent, which stands at the base of universities across Europe, was in this land, and others, systematically subverted by the reductive ideology of materialism, the repression of religion and the suppression of the human spirit. In 1989, however, the world witnessed in dramatic ways the overthrow of a failed totalitarian ideology and the triumph of the human spirit", said Benedict XVI.

  He highlighted how "the yearning for freedom and truth is inalienably part of our common humanity. It can never be eliminated; and, as history has shown, it is denied at humanity's own peril. It is to this yearning that religious faith, the various arts, philosophy, theology and other scientific disciplines, each with its own method, seek to respond, both on the level of disciplined reflection and on the level of a sound praxis".

  Universities are responsible "for enlightening the minds and hearts of the young men and women of today" said the Pope, indicating that this task is "not merely the accumulation of knowledge or skills, but 'paideia', human formation in the treasures of an intellectual tradition directed to a virtuous life".

  "The idea of an integrated education, based on the unity of knowledge grounded in truth, must be regained", he insisted. "With the massive growth in information and technology there comes the temptation to detach reason from the pursuit of truth. ... The relativism that ensues provides a dense camouflage behind which new threats to the autonomy of academic institutions can lurk.

  "While the period of interference from political totalitarianism has passed", he added, "is it not the case that frequently, across the globe, the exercise of reason and academic research are - subtly and not so subtly - constrained to bow to the pressures of ideological interest groups and the lure of short-term utilitarian or pragmatic goals?"

  "The skills of analysis and those required to generate a hypothesis, combined with the prudent art of discernment, offer an effective antidote to the attitudes of self-absorption, disengagement and even alienation which are sometimes found in our prosperous societies, and which can particularly affect the young".

  "Not only do the proponents of this positivistic exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason negate what is one of the most profound convictions of religious believers, they also thwart the very dialogue of cultures which they themselves propose. An understanding of reason that is deaf to the divine and which relegates religions into the realm of subcultures, is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures that our world so urgently needs".

  "This confidence in the human ability to seek truth, to find truth and to live by the truth led to the foundation of the great European universities. Surely we must reaffirm this today in order to bring courage to the intellectual forces necessary for the development of a future of authentic human flourishing, a future truly worthy of man", the Holy Father concluded.

  At the end of his meeting with scholars, the Pope travelled to the apostolic nunciature where he spent the night.
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VATICAN CITY, 28 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At 8.15 a.m. today the Pope left the apostolic nunciature in Prague and travelled 35 kilometres by car to the church of St. Wenceslas at Stara Boleslav. The church, which stands on the site of the saint's martyrdom, is considered to be the symbolic site of the birth of the Czech nation and is the focus of a national pilgrimage which takes place every year on 28 September.

  Wenceslas was born around the year 907 and ascended the throne in 925. According to tradition he was a highly cultured and religious king, a man of justice and a benefactor to the poor. He was killed for political reasons by his brother Boleslav in 935 and in 938 his remains were translated to Prague cathedral. Ever since the tenth century he has been venerated as a saint.

  Arriving at the church the Holy Father was greeted by the religious and civil authorities. Having paused in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, he descended to the crypt of the Mausoleum of the Czech Nation where the relics of the saint are exposed. Before leaving the building the Pope greeted a group of twenty elderly priests who reside in a house belonging to the episcopal conference. He then travelled by popemobile to the nearby esplanade of Melnik where he celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of St. Wenceslas, feast day of the Czech Republic.

  In his homily Benedict XVI pointed out that St. Wenceslas "is a model of holiness for all people, especially the leaders of communities and peoples. Yet we ask ourselves: in our day, is holiness still relevant? ... Do we not place more value today on worldly success and glory? Yet how long does earthly success last, and what value does it have?

  "The last century - as this land of yours can bear witness - saw the fall of a number of powerful figures who had apparently risen to almost unattainable heights", he added. "Suddenly they found themselves stripped of their power. Those who denied and continue to deny God, and in consequence have no respect for man, appear to have a comfortable life and to be materially successful. Yet one need only scratch the surface to realize how sad and unfulfilled these people are.

  "Only those who maintain in their hearts a holy 'fear of God' can also put their trust in man and spend their lives building a more just and fraternal world. Today there is a need for believers with credibility, who are ready to spread in every area of society the Christian principles and ideals by which their action is inspired. This is holiness, the universal vocation of all the baptised, which motivates people to carry out their duty with fidelity and courage, looking not to their own selfish interests but to the common good, seeking God's will at every moment".

  Quoting then from today's Gospel in which Christ pronounces the words: "What will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?" the Pope reiterated the fact that "the true value of human life is measured not merely in terms of material goods and transient interests, because it is not material goods that quench the profound thirst for meaning and happiness in the heart of every person. This is why Jesus does not hesitate to propose to His disciples the 'narrow' path of holiness".

  "The testimony of the saints assures us that it is possible" to follow this path, the Holy Father went on. "Their example encourages those who call themselves Christian to be credible, that is, consistent with the principles and the faith that they profess. It is not enough to appear good and honest: one must truly be so".

  "This is the lesson we can learn from St. Wenceslas, who had the courage to prefer the kingdom of heaven to the enticement of worldly power", the Holy Father concluded.
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VATICAN CITY, 28 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At the end of today's Eucharistic celebration the Holy Father addressed a Message to the 10,000 young pilgrims gathered on the esplanade of Melnik near the site of St. Wenceslas' martyrdom. Many of them had spent the night in tents to attend the Mass presided by Benedict XVI.

  "Being with you makes the Pope feel young!" the Holy Father told the pilgrims, thanking them for their "enthusiasm" and "generosity". He went on: "In every young person there is an aspiration towards happiness, sometimes tinged with anxiety: an aspiration that is often exploited, however, by present-day consumerist society in false and alienating ways. Instead, that longing for happiness must be taken seriously, it demands a true and comprehensive response. At your age, the first major choices are made, choices that can set your lives on a particular course, for better or worse".

  Benedict XVI reminded his audience of "the experience of St. Augustine, who said that the heart of every person is restless until it finds what it truly seeks. He discovered that Jesus Christ alone is the answer that can satisfy his and every person's desire for a life of happiness, filled with meaning and value.

  "As he did with Augustine", the Pope added, "so the Lord comes to meet each one of you. He knocks at the door of your freedom and asks to be welcomed as a friend. He wants to make you happy, to fill you with humanity and dignity. The Christian faith is this: encounter with Christ, the living Person Who gives life a new horizon and thereby a definitive direction".

  "The Lord calls each of us by name, and entrusts to us a specific mission in the Church and in society". He "constantly renews His invitation to you to be His disciples and His witnesses. Many of you He calls to marriage, and the preparation for this Sacrament constitutes a real vocational journey. Consider seriously the divine call to raise a Christian family, and let your youth be the time in which to build your future with a sense of responsibility. Society needs Christian families, saintly families!"

  Pope Benedict continued his Message: "And if the Lord is calling you to follow Him in the ministerial priesthood or in the consecrated life, do not hesitate to respond to His invitation. In particular, in this Year for Priests, I appeal to you, young men. ... The Church in every country, including this one, needs many holy priests and also persons fully consecrated to the service of Christ, Hope of the world.

  "Hope! This word, to which I often return, sits well with youth. You, my dear young people, are the hope of the Church! She expects you to become messengers of hope".

  The Holy Father then called on his youthful listeners to participate in the next World Youth Day, due to take place in the Spanish capital city of Madrid in August 2011, and he asked them "to live your faith with joy and enthusiasm; to grow in unity among yourselves and with Christ; to pray and to be diligent in frequenting the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession".

  Having then greeted the young people in various languages, Benedict XVI returned to Prague by car, where he dined at the archbishop's palace with bishops of the Czech Republic.
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Sunday, September 27, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 26 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At 4.30 p.m. today Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, greeted the Holy Father at Prague Castle. The castle dates from the ninth century and has been the seat of Holy Roman emperors, kings and governors. Since 1918 it has been a fortified citadel enclosing various monuments and museums. It is the seat of the president of the Republic and is the cultural and historical symbol par excellence of Bohemia.

  Benedict XVI had a private meeting with President Klaus before going on to meet with Jan Fischer, prime minister of the Czech Republic, and with Premysl Sobotka and Miloslav Vlcek, presidents, respectively, of the senate and of the chamber of deputies. Subsequently, accompanied by President Klaus and his wife, the Pope visited the Spanish Hall for a brief concert by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, after which he met the country's political and administrative authorities, the diplomatic corps, university rectors and various representatives from the civil, business and cultural worlds of the Czech Republic.

  In his address to them the Holy Father mentioned the fact that his visit "coincides with the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the totalitarian regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, and the 'Velvet Revolution' which restored democracy to this nation. The euphoria that ensued was expressed in terms of freedom. Two decades after the profound political changes which swept this continent, the process of healing and rebuilding continues, now within the wider context of European unification and an increasingly globalised world.

  "The aspirations of citizens and the expectations placed on governments", he added, "called for new models of civic life and solidarity between nations and peoples without which the long desired future of justice, peace and prosperity would remain elusive. Such desires continue to evolve. Today, especially among the young, the question again emerges as to the nature of the freedom gained".

  "Every generation has the task of engaging anew in the arduous search for the right way to order human affairs, seeking to understand the proper use of human freedom. ... True freedom presupposes the search for truth - for the true good - and hence finds its fulfilment precisely in knowing and doing what is right and just. Truth, in other words, is the guiding norm for freedom, and goodness is freedom's perfection".

  "Indeed, the lofty responsibility to awaken receptivity to truth and goodness falls to all leaders - religious, political and cultural, each in his or her own way", said Pope Benedict. "For Christians, truth has a name: God. And goodness has a face: Jesus Christ. The faith of Christians, from the time of Sts. Cyril and Methodius and the early missionaries, has in fact played a decisive role in shaping the spiritual and cultural heritage of this country. It must do likewise in the present and into the future. The rich patrimony of spiritual and cultural values, each finding expression in the other, has not only given shape to the nation's identity but has also furnished it with the vision necessary to exercise a role of cohesion at the heart of Europe".

  "As we are all aware" the Czech nation "has known painful chapters and carries the scars of tragic events born of misunderstanding, war and persecution. Yet it is also true, that its Christian roots have nourished a remarkable spirit of forgiveness, reconciliation and co-operation which has enabled the people of these lands to find freedom and to usher in a new beginning, a new synthesis, a renewal of hope. Is it not precisely this spirit that contemporary Europe requires?

  "Europe is more than a continent. It is a home! ... With full respect for the distinction between the political realm and that of religion - which indeed preserves the freedom of citizens to express religious belief and live accordingly - I wish to underline the irreplaceable role of Christianity for the formation of the conscience of each generation and the promotion of a basic ethical consensus that serves every person who calls this continent, 'home'".

  The Pope then went on to explain how his presence in this capital city, "which is often spoken of as the heart of Europe", prompts the question: in what does the 'heart' consist? "Surely", he said, "a clue is found in the architectural jewels that adorn this city. ... Their beauty expresses faith; they are epiphanies of God that rightly leave us pondering the glorious marvels to which we creatures can aspire when we give expression to the aesthetic and cognitive aspects of our innermost being. ... The creative encounter of the classical tradition and the Gospel gave birth to a vision of man and society attentive to God's presence among us".

  "At the present crossroads of civilization, so often marked by a disturbing sundering of the unity of goodness, truth and beauty and the consequent difficulty in finding an acceptance of common values, every effort for human progress must draw inspiration from that living heritage. Europe, in fidelity to her Christian roots, has a particular vocation to uphold this transcendent vision in her initiatives to serve the common good of individuals, communities, and nations".

  Having completed his address, the Holy Father went on to the cathedral of St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert for the celebration of Vespers.
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VATICAN CITY, 26 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At 6 p.m. today the Pope presided at the celebration of Vespers with bishops, priests, religious, seminarians and members of lay movements in Prague's cathedral of St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert.

  "Love for Christ and for one's fellow men and women must be the hallmark of every Christian and every community", said the Holy Father, and in this context he encouraged those present to "nourish your love for Christ by prayer and listening to His word; feed on Him in the Eucharist, and by His grace, be builders of unity and peace wherever you go".

  He went on: "Twenty years ago, after the long winter of Communist dictatorship, your Christian communities began once more to express themselves freely. ... Yet you are well aware that even today it is not easy to live and bear witness to the Gospel. Society continues to suffer from the wounds caused by atheist ideology, and it is often seduced by the modern mentality of hedonistic consumerism amid a dangerous crisis of human and religious values and a growing drift towards ethical and cultural relativism. In this context there is an urgent need for renewed effort throughout the Church so as to strengthen spiritual and moral values in present-day society".

  "Your pastoral activity in the field of educating new generations should be undertaken with particular zeal. Catholic schools should foster respect for the human person; attention should also be given to the pastoral care of young people outside the school environment, without neglecting other groups of the faithful. Christ is for everyone! I sincerely hope that there will be a growing accord with other institutions, both public and private. It is always worth repeating that the Church does not seek privileges, but only to be able to work freely in the service of all, in the spirit of the Gospel".

  The Pope told bishops and priests: "it is your task to work tirelessly for the good of those entrusted to your care". To consecrated people he pointed out that, "by professing the evangelical counsels, you recall the primacy that each of us must give to God in our lives. By living in community, you bear witness to the enrichment that comes from practising the commandment of love".

  Finally the Pope turned to young people in seminaries or houses of formation. "Be sure", he told them, "to acquire a solid cultural, spiritual and pastoral preparation". And he concluded: "In this Year of Priests, with which I chose to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of the 'Cure of Ars', may you learn from the example of this pastor who was completely dedicated to God and to the care of souls; he was well aware that it was his ministry, nourished by prayer, that constituted his path to sanctification".

  Following the celebration, the Holy Father travelled to the apostolic nunciature where he spent the night.
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VATICAN CITY, 27 SEP 2009 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father travelled by plane from Prague to Brno, the second largest city of the Czech Republic, where at 10 a.m. he celebrated Mass on the esplanade near the city airport. Among the thousands of people present were faithful from Slovak, Polish, Austrian and German dioceses.

  The readings of the ceremony were focused on the theme of hope. In his homily the Holy Father affirmed that "history has demonstrated the absurdities to which man descends when he excludes God from the horizon of his choices and actions, and how hard it is to build a society inspired by the values of goodness, justice and fraternity, because the human being is free and his freedom remains fragile".

  "In the modern age both faith and hope ... have been relegated to the private and other-worldly sphere", said the Pope, "while in day-to-day public life confidence in scientific and economic progress has been affirmed. We all know that this progress is ambiguous: it opens up possibilities for good as well as evil", yet it is "not enough to guarantee the moral welfare of society.

  "Man needs to be liberated from material oppressions", he added, "but more profoundly, he must be saved from the evils that afflict the spirit. And who can save him if not God, Who is Love and has revealed His face as Almighty and Merciful Father in Jesus Christ? Our firm hope is therefore Christ".

  Pope Benedict went on: "Here, as elsewhere, many people suffered in past centuries for remaining faithful to the Gospel, and they did not lose hope; many people sacrificed themselves in order to restore dignity to man and freedom to peoples, finding in their generous adherence to Christ the strength to build a new humanity.

  "In present-day society, many forms of poverty are born from isolation, from being unloved, from the rejection of God and from a deep-seated tragic closure in man who believes himself to be self-sufficient, or else merely an insignificant and transient datum; in this world of ours which is alienated 'when too much trust is placed in merely human projects', only Christ can be our certain hope. This is the message that we Christians are called to spread every day, through our witness".

  At the end of Mass and before praying the Angelus Benedict XVI noted how Moravia, the region in which Brno is located, "is blessed with a number of Marian shrines that are visited by crowds of pilgrims throughout the year".

  And he called upon the Virgin to "keep the flame of faith alive in all of you, a faith that is nourished by traditions of popular piety with deep roots in the past, which you rightly take care to maintain, so that the warmth of family conviviality in villages and towns may not be lost. At times one cannot help noticing, with a certain nostalgia, that the pace of modern life tends to diminish some elements of a rich heritage of faith. Yet it is important not to lose sight of the ideal expressed by traditional customs, and above all to maintain the spiritual patrimony inherited from your forebears, to guard it and to make it answer to the needs of the present day.
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Saturday, September 26, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 26 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At 9.40 a.m. today Benedict XVI departed by plane from Rome's Ciampino airport. Following a two-hour flight his plane landed at Stara Ruzyne airport of Prague, thus beginning his first apostolic visit to the Czech Republic, the thirteenth foreign trip of his pontificate. On his arrival the Pope was greeted by Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic; Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, archbishop of Prague, and Archbishop Jan Graubner of Olomouc, president of the Czech Bishops' Conference.

  In his address the Holy Father indicated that "while the whole of European culture has been profoundly shaped by its Christian heritage, this is especially true in the Czech lands, since it was through the missionary labours of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in the ninth century that the old Slavonic language first came to be written down. Apostles of the Slavic peoples and founders of their culture, they are rightly venerated as patrons of Europe".

  "This territory", he went on, "has been a meeting-point for different peoples, traditions and cultures. Undeniably this has sometimes led to friction, but in the longer term it has proved to be a fruitful encounter. Hence the significant part played by the Czech lands in Europe's intellectual, cultural and religious history - sometimes as a battleground, more often as a bridge".

  After then recalling how the coming months will see the twentieth anniversary of the revolution "which happily brought a peaceful end to a time of particular hardship for this country", the Pope said: "I join you and your neighbours in giving thanks for your liberation from those oppressive regimes.

  "If the collapse of the Berlin Wall marked a watershed in world history", he added, "it did so all the more for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, enabling them to take their rightful place as sovereign actors in the concert of nations.

  "Nevertheless, the cost of forty years of political repression is not to be underestimated. A particular tragedy for this land was the ruthless attempt by the government of that time to silence the voice of the Church. Throughout your history, from the time of St. Wenceslaus, St. Ludmila and St. Adalbert to the time of St. John Nepomuk, there have been courageous martyrs whose fidelity to Christ spoke far louder and more eloquently than the voice of their executioners".

  The Holy Father went on: "This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the death of Servant of God Cardinal Josef Beran, archbishop of Prague. I wish to pay tribute both to him and to his successor Cardinal Frantisek Tomasek, whom I had the privilege of knowing personally, for their indomitable Christian witness in the face of persecution. They, and countless brave priests, religious and lay men and women kept the flame of faith alive in this country. Now that religious freedom has been restored, I call upon all the citizens of this Republic to rediscover the Christian traditions which have shaped their culture, and I invite the Christian community to continue to make its voice heard as the nation addresses the challenges of the new millennium".

  Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by quoting from his recent Encyclical "Caritas in Veritate" saying: "Without God, man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is". And he added :"The truth of the Gospel is indispensable for a healthy society, since it opens us to hope and enables us to discover our inalienable dignity as God's children".

  The welcome ceremony over, the Pope travelled to the church of Our Lady Victorious in Prague.
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VATICAN CITY, 26 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At 12.30 p.m. today the Pope arrived at the church of Our Lady Victorious in Prague, which was built by German Lutherans between 1611 and 1613 on a site once occupied by a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Trinity. Following the victory of the Counter Reformation in Bohemia, emperor Ferdinand II gave the building to the Order of Discalced Carmelites and it was consecrated to Our Lady Victorious.

  The church houses the famous image of the Infant Jesus of Prague. The statuette, made of wax over a wooden frame, comes from a convent in southern Spain and was given to the Carmelites by princess Polyxena von Lobkowitz in 1628. The cult of the Infant Jesus spread during the Baroque period and is associated with the visions of St. Teresa of Avila, the great reformer of the Carmelite Order.

  Benedict XVI was greeted by the rector as he arrived at the church, which was crowded with families and children. He adored the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel of the Infant Jesus then placed a golden crown on the statuette before moving on to the main altar to greet those present.

  "The image of the Child Jesus calls to mind the mystery of the Incarnation, of the all-powerful God Who became man and Who lived for thirty years in the lowly family of Nazareth", he said. "My thoughts turn to your own families and to all families ... as we call upon the Child Jesus for the gift of unity and harmony. ... We think especially of young families who have to work so hard to offer their children security and a decent future. We pray for families in difficulty, struggling with illness and suffering, for those in crisis, divided or torn apart by strife or infidelity. We entrust them all to the Holy Infant of Prague, knowing how important their stability and harmony is for the true progress of society and for the future of humanity".

  "In the Holy Infant of Prague we contemplate the beauty of childhood and the fondness that Jesus Christ has always shown for little ones. ... Yet how many children are neither loved, nor welcomed nor respected! How many of them suffer violence and every kind of exploitation by the unscrupulous! May children always be accorded the respect and attention that are due to them: they are the future and the hope of humanity!"

  The Holy Father concluded by thanking all the children who had come to greet him and he asked them to pray for their parents, teachers, friends, and for him.

  Having concluded his visit to the church of Our Lady Victorious, the Pope went to the apostolic nunciature where he had lunch.
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VATICAN CITY, 26 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese Antigonish, Canada, presented by Bishop Raymond John Lahey, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
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Friday, September 25, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 25 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The family, "founded on marriage as a conjugal alliance in which man and woman mutually give and receive", was the central theme of the Holy Father's meeting today with prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Northeast 1-4), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  In his remarks the Pope noted how, in their reports to him, the bishops had highlighted the fact that "families are beleaguered and under siege". Yet, he pointed out, "despite all negative influences", the people of north-eastern Brazil "remain open to the Gospel of life".

  "The Church", Benedict XVI went on, "tirelessly teaches that the family has its foundation in marriage and in God's plan". Yet "the secularised world is dominated by profound uncertainty on this matter, especially since western societies legalised divorce. The only recognised foundation seems to be individual subjectivity, expressed in a desire to live together".

  "In this situation the number of marriages is falling because no-one wants to commit themselves on such fragile and unpredictable grounds, the number of 'de facto' unions is increasing and divorces are on the rise. It is in this fragile scenario that the drama of so many children is played out - deprived of the support of their parents, victims of apprehension and abandonment - and social disorder grows".

  "The Church cannot remain indifferent before the separation and divorce of couples", Pope Benedict cried, "before the break-up of homes and the repercussions on children, who need extremely precise points of reference for their instruction and education: in other words determined and confident parents who participate in their upbringing".

  "This is the principle that is being undermined and compromised by the practice of divorce, through the so-called extended and mobile family which increases the number of 'fathers' and 'mothers' and leads to a situation today in which the majority of those who feel orphaned are not children without parents but children with a surplus of parents. This situation, with its inevitable ... crisscross relationships cannot but generate internal conflict and confusion that contributes to giving children a distorted idea of the family".

  "The firm conviction of the Church is that the true solution to the problems which married couples currently face and which weaken their union is a return to the solidity of the Christian family, a place of mutual trust, of reciprocal giving, of respect for freedom and of education to social life".

  "With all the understanding the Church feels towards certain situations, couples in their second marriage are not like those in their first; theirs is an irregular and dangerous situation which must be resolved, in faithfulness to Christ, finding, with the help of the priest, a way possible to rehabilitate everyone involved", the Holy Father said.

  He then invited the prelates to encourage priests and pastoral care centres "to accompany families so as to ensure they are not seduced by the relativist lifestyles promoted by cinema, television and other communications media". And the Pope concluded: "I trust in the witness of families who draw the strength to overcome trials from the Sacrament of Marriage. ... It is on the foundation of families such as these that the social fabric must be recreated".
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VATICAN CITY, 25 SEP 2009 (VIS) - On 22 September Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi C.S., Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations at Geneva, addressed the twelfth ordinary session of the Human Rights Council.

  Speaking English Archbishop Tomasi affirmed that "achieving development is not only a matter of eliminating material poverty, but also of principles and values guiding economies and societies in all countries irrespective of their per-capita income level".

  "My delegation", he went on, "notes with interest the work that is being accomplished by the Task Force aiming at creating a list of right-to-development criteria and operational sub-criteria around three main components: human-centred development, an enabling environment, and social justice and equity".

  The Holy See permanent observer also highlighted how, "in the context of the development process, the human person is not only a receiver of aid but also the real actor of his or her integral development and of the relations among peoples and persons. As restated in the recent Encyclical Caritas in Veritate: 'Man is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life'".

  "The cultural component of the right to development ... cannot be complete without including the ethical and spiritual dimensions of the person", he said. "These qualitative dimensions should be reflected among the human-centred criteria of this right that are being elaborated by the Task Force".

  "States therefore are called to remove obstacles to development due to the violation of human rights, and the international community to support the development process, especially in the poorest countries. In this context the principle of subsidiarity is particularly relevant. Solidarity and subsidiarity can be viewed as complementary".

  Archbishop Tomasi concluded by assuring his delegation's support for "the adoption of criteria of social justice and equity that imply moral imperatives prompting action for the protection of human rights and for an equitable sharing of benefits from development, including, among others, access to food, housing education, health and employment".
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VATICAN CITY, 25 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences five prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Augusto Alves da Rocha of Floriano.

    - Bishop Juarez Sousa da Silva of Oeiras.

    - Bishop Alfredo Schaffler of Parnaiba.

    - Bishop Plinio Jose Luz da Silva of Picos.

    - Bishop Pedro Brito Guimaraes of Sao Raimundo Nonato.
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VATICAN CITY, 25 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Vatican Information Service will issue special bulletins on Saturday 26 September and Sunday 27 September covering the Pope's apostolic trip to the Czech Republic.
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Thursday, September 24, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 24 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was a transcription of the Pope's video message to participants in the UN summit on climate change, which was held in New York on 22 September.

  "I wish to reflect today upon the relationship between the Creator and ourselves as guardians of His creation", says Benedict XVI speaking English. "In so doing I also wish to offer my support to leaders of governments and international agencies who are meeting at the United Nations to discuss the urgent issue of climate change.

  "The Earth is indeed a precious gift of the Creator Who, in designing its intrinsic order, has given us guidelines that assist us as stewards of His creation. Precisely from within this framework, the Church considers that matters concerning the environment and its protection are intimately linked with integral human development. In my recent Encyclical, 'Caritas in Veritate', I referred to such questions recalling the 'pressing moral need for renewed solidarity' not only between countries but also between individuals, since the natural environment is given by God to everyone, and so our use of it entails a personal responsibility towards humanity as a whole, particularly towards the poor and towards future generations.

  "How important it is then, that the international community and individual governments send the right signals to their citizens and succeed in countering harmful ways of treating the environment! The economic and social costs of using up shared resources must be recognised with transparency and borne by those who incur them, and not by other peoples or future generations. The protection of the environment, and the safeguarding of resources and of the climate, oblige all leaders to act jointly, respecting the law and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the world. Together we can build an integral human development beneficial for all peoples, present and future, a development inspired by the values of charity in truth. For this to happen it is essential that the current model of global development be transformed through a greater, and shared, acceptance of responsibility for creation: this is demanded not only by environmental factors, but also by the scandal of hunger and human misery".

  The Holy Father concluded by inviting participants in the UN summit "to enter into their discussions constructively and with generous courage. Indeed, we are all called to exercise responsible stewardship of creation, to use resources in such a way that every individual and community can live with dignity, and to develop 'that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God'".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences six prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Joao Jose da Costa O. Carm. of Iguatu

    - Bishop Antonio Roberto Cavuto O.F.M. Cap. of Itapipoca.

    - Bishop Jose Haring O.F.M. of Limoeiro do Norte.

    - Bishop Angelo Pignoli of Quixada.

    - Bishop Francisco Javier Hernandez Arnedo O.A.R. of Tiangua.

    - Fr. Raimundo Nonato Timbo de Paiva, diocesan administrator of Sobral.

  This evening, the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in separate audiences three prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Sergio da Rocha of Teresina

    - Bishop Ramon Lopez Carrozas O. de M. of Bom Jesus do Gurgeia.

    - Bishop Eduardo Zielski of Campo Maior.
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VATICAN CITY, 24 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Luciano Suriani, apostolic nuncio, as delegate for pontifical deputations.
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 23 SEP 2009 VIS - St. Anselm, one of the most outstanding figures of the Middle Ages, was the subject of the Holy Father's catechesis during his general audience, held this morning in the Paul VI Hall.

  St. Anselm of Canterbury, also known as Anselm of Aosta and Anselm of Bec, was born in the Italian town of Aosta in 1033. The eldest child of a noble family, his mother gave him a careful human and Christian education. During his youth he went through a period of moral dissipation and excess during which he abandoned his studies. He then travelled to France in search of new experiences and eventually reached the abbey of Bec, drawn there by the fame of its prior, Lanfranco of Pavia. There, at the age of 27, he embraced the monastic life.

  Three years later Lanfranco was appointed as abbot of Caen and Anselm became the prior of Bec. In his new role he "revealed gifts as a sophisticated teacher. He did not care for authoritarian methods and, likening young people to saplings which develop best if not closed in a greenhouse, he granted then a 'healthy' measure of freedom. He was very demanding with himself and others in monastic observance, but rather than imposing discipline he sought to make people follow it by persuasion", the Pope explained.

  When Lanfranco of Pavia was appointed as archbishop of Canterbury, England, he asked Anselm to help him in educating the monks and in dealings with the ecclesial community, which was facing difficult circumstances in the wake of the Norman invasions. On Lanfranco's death in 1093, Anselm succeeded him as archbishop immediately entering "into an energetic struggle for the freedom of the Church and courageously supporting the independence of spiritual from temporal power. He defended the Church from undue interference by the political authorities, especially King William Rufus and Henry I". His faithfulness to the Pope caused him to be exiled in 1103.

  Anselm died on 21 April 1109 having dedicated the last years of his life "to the moral formation of the clergy and intellectual research into theological questions", whence Christian tradition has bestowed upon him the title of "Doctor Magnificus", said the Holy Father. He went on: "The clarity and logical rigour of Anselm's ideas always sought 'to raise the mind to the contemplation of God'. He made it clear that anyone who intends to study theology must not rely only upon his own intelligence but must also cultivate a profound experience of faith".

  "In St. Anselm's view, then, a theologian's work is divided into threes stages: faith, God's gratuitous gift to be welcomed with humility; experience, which consists in incarnating the Word of God into daily life; and true knowledge, which is never the fruit of sterile reasoning but of contemplative intuition".

  "May the love for truth and the constant thirst for God which characterized St. Anselm's life be a stimulus for all Christians tirelessly to seek an ever more intimate union with Christ", said the Pope, and he concluded: "May the courageous zeal which distinguished his pastoral work and which sometimes brought misunderstandings, bitterness and even exile, be an encouragement for pastors, consecrated people and all the faithful to love the Church of Christ, ... never abandoning or betraying her".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Commission of Cardinals which oversees the activities of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), chaired by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., has renewed the membership of the Board of Superintendence of the Institute.

  According to an English-language communique made public today, "after accepting the resignations presented by Angelo Caloia, president of the Board of Superintendence, and the other members of the board, the Commission of Cardinals expressed its deep gratitude to them for their generous service and, in accordance with the Statutes, appointed the following as members of the Board of Superintendence of the IOR": Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, U.S.A.; Giovanni De Censi, president of the "Credito Valtellinese", Italy; Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, president of the "Santander Consumer Bank", Italy; Ronaldo Hermann Schmitz, Germany; Manuel Soto Serrano Spain.

  "In addition, in accordance with the statutory norms, the Commission of Cardinals, on the proposal of the Board of Superintendence of the IOR, appointed Ettore Gotti Tedeschi as the new president of the Board of Superintendence and Ronaldo Hermann Schmitz as vice president.

  "Finally, the Commission of Cardinals expressed its best wishes to the new Board of Superintendence, to Msgr. Piero Pioppo, prelate of the Institute, to Paolo Cipriani, director general, and to Massimo Tulli, vice director general, for their work in the service of the IOR".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 SEP 2009 VIS - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences four prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Jose Antonio Aparecido Tosi Marques of Fortaleza, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Jose Luiz Ferreira Salles C.SS.R.

    - Bishop Jacinto Furtado de Brito Sobrinho of Crateus

    - Bishop Fernando Panico M.S.C. of Crato.
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VATICAN CITY, 23 SEP 2009 VIS - The Holy Father has appointed the following persons as participants in the forthcoming Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, due to be held in the Vatican from 4 to 25 October on the theme: "The Church in Africa, at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. 'You are the salt of the earth, ... you are the light of the world'":


- Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals.
- Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, and president of the "Consilium Conferentiarum Episcoporum Europae" (CCEE).
- Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France.
- Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
- Archbishop Henri Teissier, emeritus of Algiers, Algeria.
- Archbishop Jaime Pedro Goncalves of Beira, Mozambique.
- Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo O.M.I. of Cotabato, Philippines, secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC).
- Archbishop Luigi Bressan of Trento, Italy, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference's episcopal commission for the evangelisation of peoples and co-operation among churches.
- Archbishop Jorge Ferreira da Costa Ortiga of Braga, Portugal, president of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference.
- Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg, Germany, president of the "Weltkirche" commission of the "Deutsche Bischofskonferenz".
- Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil, president of the Latin American Episcopal Conference CELAM.
- Archbishop Jorge Enrique Jimenez Carvajal C.I.M. of Cartagena en Colombia, Colombia.
- Archbishop Telesphore George Mpundu of Lusaka, Zambia.
- Archbishop Cornelius Fontem Esua, of Bamenda, Cameroon.
- Archbishop Wilton Daniel Gregory of Atlanta, U.S.A.
- Archbishop-Bishop Henryk Hoser S.A.C. of Warszawa-Praga, Poland.
- Archbishop Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle of Accra, Ghana.
- Archbishop Odon Marie Arsene Razanakolona of Antananarivo, Madagascar.
- Archbishop Michel Christian Cartateguy S.M.A. of Niamey, Niger.
- Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles of Freetown and Bo, Sierra Leone.
- Bishop John Anthony Rawsthorne of Hallam, England, president of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
- Bishop Maurice Piat C.S.Sp. of Port-Louis, Mauritius.
- Bishop Edmond Djitangar of Sarh, Chad.
- Bishop Peter William Ingham of Wollongong Australia, president of the Federation of Catholic Bishops' Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO).
- Bishop Louis Nzala Kianza of Popokabaka, Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Bishop Jean-Pierre Bassene of Kolda, Senegal, president of the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel.
- Bishop Giorgio Bertin O.F.M. of Djibouti, apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Mogadishu, Somalia.
- Bishop Menghisteab Tesfamariam M.C.C.J., eparch of Asmara, Eritrea.
- Bishop Benedito Beni dos Santos of Lorena, Brazil.
- Bishop Maroun Elias Lahham of Tunis, Tunisia.
- Msgr. Obiora Francis Ike, director of the Catholic Institute for Development, Justice and Peace (CIDJAP), Enugu, Nigeria.
- Fr. Raymond Bernard Goudjo, secretary of the "Justitia et Pax" Commission of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (CERAO), Cotonou, Benin.
- Fr. Juvenalis Baitu Rwelamira, director of the Centre for Social Justice and Ethics; professor and director of the Centre for the Social Teaching of the Church at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Nairobi, Kenya.
- Fr. Guillermo Luis Basanes S.D.B., general counsellor of the Salesian Society for the Africa-Madagascar region.
- Fr. Emmanuel Typam C.M., secretary general of the Confederation of the Conferences of Superiors Major of Africa and Madagascar.
- Fr. Zeferino Zeca Martins S.V.D., provincial for Angola of the Society of the Divine Word.


- Fr. Barthelemy Adoukonou, secretary general of the of the Regional Episcopal Conference of Franco-phone West Africa (CERAO), Ivory Coast.
- Fr. Paul Bere S.J., professor of the Old Testament and biblical languages at the "Institut de Theologie de la Compagnie de Jesus, Universite Catholique dell'Afrique de l'Ouest", Abidjan, Ivory Coast and at the Hekima College Jesuit School of Theology, Nairobi, Kenya.
- Fr. Benezet Bujo, professor of moral theology and social ethics at the "Universite de Fribourg" in Switzerland.
- Fr. Belmiro Chissengueti C.S.Sp., secretary of the "Commissao Episcopal Justica e Paz", Luanda, Angola.
- Fr. Gianfrancesco Colzani, professor of missionary theology at the missionary faculty of the Pontifical Urban University, Rome.
- Fr. Michael F. Czerny S.J., director of the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN), Nairobi, Kenya.
- Filomena Jose Elias, member of the pastoral and liturgical council of the cathedral of Maputo, Mozambique.
- Martin Esso Essis, emeritus professor of economics at the University of Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
- Sr. Anne Beatrice Faye C.I.C., general counsellor of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Senegal.
- Deogratias Kasujja, counsellor of the centre run by the Work of Mary - Focolari Movement, in charge of spiritual formation of members, Uganda.
- Mariam Paul Kessy, national co-ordinator of the Christian Professionals of Tanzania, (CPT), assistant secretary of the Justice and Peace commission of the Episcopal Conference of Tanzania.
- Sr. Elisa Kidane S.M.C., general counsellor of the Combonian Missionaries, Eritrea.
- Msgr. Matthew Hassan Kukah, vicar general of Kaduna, Nigeria.
- Br. Jose Sebastiao Manuel O.P., director and co-founder of the "Mosaiko" cultural centre, Luanda, Angola.
- Fr. Aimable Musoni S.D.B., professor of ecclesiology at the Pontifical Salesian University, Rome.
- Sr. Immaculate Nakato S.M.R., general counsellor of the Society of Our Lady of Help, Uganda.
- Yvonne Ndayikeza, national co-ordinator of movements of Catholic Action in Burundi and permanent executive secretary of the commission for the apostolate of the laity, Bujumbura, Burundi.
- Fr. Joseph-Marie Ndi-Okalla, professor of theology at the faculty of theology of the Catholic University of Central Africa (UCAC) in Yaounde, Cameroon; president of the "Association Internationale de Missionologie Catholiques"(AIMC/IACM) for Africa
- Fr. Paulinus Ikechukwu Odozor C.S.Sp., associate professor of Christian ethics and the theology of world church, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame - Indiana, U.S.A.
- Sr. Teresa Okure S.H.C.J., academic dean of the faculty of theology at the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
- Florence Oloo, deputy vice chancellor for Academic Affairs of Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya.
- Fr. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah, vice rector of the Pontifical Urban University, Rome.
- Felicia Onyeabo, national president of the Catholic Women Organisation, Nigeria.
- Fr. Angelo Paleri O.F.M. Conv., postulator general of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, director for the diffusion of "Ecclesia in Africa" in mission lands, Zambia.
- Fr. Samir Khalil Samir S.J., professor of the history of Arab culture and Islamic studies at St. Joseph's University, Beirut, Lebanon.
- Maurice Sandouno, head of the DREAM programme for combating the transfer of the HIV virus from mother to child, Conakry, Guinea.
- Fr. Kinkupu Leonard Santedi, secretary general of the Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo (CENCO), Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Sr. Liliane Sweko Mankiela S.N.D. de N., general counsellor of the Sisters of Our Lady of Namur, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Fr. Anselm Umoren M.S.P., superior general of the Missionary Society of St. Paul, Abuja, Nigeria.


- Sr. Marie-Bernard Alima Mbalula, secretary of the Justice and Peace commission of the "Conference Episcopale Nationale du Congo" (CENCO) and of the "Association des Conferences Episcopales de l'Afrique Centrale" (ACEAC), Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Fr. Joaquin Alliende, international president of the Aid to the Church in Need Association.
- Elard Alumando, country director of the DREAM programme, Malawi.
- Marguerite Barankitse, foundress of the "Maison Shalom", Ruyigi, Burundi.
- Paolo Beccegato, international area director of Caritas Italiana, Rome.
-Emmanuel Habuka Bombande, executive director of the West Africa Network for Peacebulding (WANEP), Ghana.
- Rose Busingye, foundress and president of Meeting Point International, Kampala, Uganda.
- Munshya Chibilo, head of distance adoption projects of the Pope John XXIII Community Association, Zambia.
- Thomas Diarra, instructor at the catechesis formation centre, Kati, Mali.
- Assande Martial Eba, member of the "Fondation Internationale Notre Dame de la Paix", Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast.
- Kpakile Felemou, director of the DREAM centre, Conakry, Guinea.
- Axelle Fischer, secretary general of the Justice and Peace Commission for Franco-phone Belgium, Brussels, Belgium.
- Inmaculada Myriam Garcia Abrisqueta, president of the "Manos Unidas" association, Spain.
- Br. Armand Garin, regional head of the Little Brothers of Jesus for North Africa, (Algeria and Morocco), Annaba, Algeria.
- Elena Giacchi, gynaecologist at the centre for study and research into the natural regulation of fertility at the Sacred Heart Catholic University, Rome, and president of WOOMB-Italia, (national co-ordination of the Billings ovulation method - Italy).
- Sr. Bernadette Guissou S.I.C.O., superior general of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
- Christophe Habiyambere, president of Fidesco, Kigali, Rwanda.
- Sr. Felicia Harry, N.S.A. (O.L.A.), superior general of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Apostles, Ghana.
- Jules Adachédé Hounkponou, secretary general of the international co-ordination of Christian Youth Workers (CIGiOC)
- Marie-Madeleine Kalala Ngoy Mongi, honorary minister for human rights, Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Fr. Speratus Kamanzi A.J., superior general of the Congregation of the Apostles of Jesus, Nairobi, Kenya.
- Josaphat Laurean Kanywanyi associate professor of law at the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
- Sr. Mary Anne Felicitas Katiti L.M.S.I., mother provincial of the Congregation of Little Servants of Mary Immaculate, Zambia.
- Edem Kodjo, secretary general emeritus of the Organisation of the African Union (OUA), prime minister emeritus, professor of patrology at the "Institut St. Paul" of Lome, Togo.
- Gustave Lunjiwire-Ntako-Nnanvume, international secretary of the "Mouvement d'Action Catholique Xaveri" (MAC Xaveri), Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Ngon-Ka-Ningueyo François Madjadoum, director of "Secours Catholique et Développement" (SE.CA.DEV), Chad.
- Sr. Jacqueline Manyi Atabong, assistant to the superior general of the Sisters of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus in the diocese of Buea; co-ordinator for Africa of the International Catholic Commission for Prison Pastoral Care (ICCPPC), Douala, Cameroon.
- Sr. Bernadette Masekamela C.S., superior general of the Sisters of Calvary, Botswana.
- Fr. Richard Menatsi, acting director, co-ordinator of the Justice and Peace Desk / Inter-regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA), Harare, Zimbabwe.
- Sr. Cecilia Mkhonto S.S.B., superior general of the Sisters of St. Bridget, South Africa.
- Ermelindo Rosario Monteiro, secretary general of the episcopal Justice and Peace Commission, Maputo, Mozambique.
- Maged Moussa Yanny, executive director of the Upper Egypt Association for Education and Development, Egypt.
- Aloyse Raymond Ndiaye, president of the "Comite National des Chevaliers de l'Ordre de Malte au Senegal", Dakar, Senegal.
- Laurien Ntezimana, theology graduate of the diocese of Butare, Rwanda.
- Fr. Sean O'Leary M.Afr., director of the Denis Hurley Peace Institute, South Africa.
- Sr. Pauline Odia Bukasa F.M.S., superior general of the Ba-Maria Sisters, Buta Uele, Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Augustine Okafor, expert in governmental administration, Nigeria.
- Orochi Samuel Orach, assistant to the executive secretary of the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau, Kampala, Uganda.
- Barbara Pandolfi, president of the secular institute of the Missionary Sisters of the Kingship of Christ, Italy.
- Alberto Piatti, secretary general of the AVSI foundation, Milan, Italy.
- Raymond Ranjeva, former vice president of the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands, and a member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
- Genevieve Amalia Mathilde Sanze, head of the Work of Mary - Focolari Movement, Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
- Victor M. Scheffers, secretary general of "Justitia et Pax Netherlands", The Hague, Netherlands.
- Br. André Sene O.H., head of health pastoral care in the diocese of Thies, Senegal.
- Sr. Bedour Antoun Irini Shenouda N.D.A., mother provincial of the "Missionaires de Notre Dame des Apotres", Cairo, Egypt.
- Pierre Titi Nwel, social mediator and ex co-ordinator of the National Service for Justice and Peace of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (CENC), Yaounde, Cameroon.
- Elisabeth Twissa, vice president of the World Organisation of Catholic Female Organisations (UMOFC), Tanzania.
- Sr. Maria Ifechukwu Udorah D.D.L., superior general of the Daughters of Divine Love, Enugu, Nigeria.
- Sr. Geneviève Uwamariya of the Institute of Santa Maria of Namur, Rwanda.
NA/.../...                                VIS 20090923 (1980)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2009 (VIS) - For the occasion of Benedict XVI's forthcoming apostolic trip to the Czech Republic, due to take place from 26 to 28 September, statistics concerning the Catholic Church in that country have been published. The information, updated to 31 December 2008, comes from the Central Statistical Office of the Church.

  The Czech Republic, the capital city of which is Prague, has a population of 10,380,000 of whom 3,290,000 (31.7 percent) are Catholic. There are 9 ecclesiastical circumscriptions, 2,576 parishes and 70 pastoral centres of other kinds. Currently there are 20 bishops, 1,956 priests, 1,725 religious, 160 lay members of secular institutes and 1,109 catechists. Minor seminarians number 7 and major seminarians 184.

  A total of 15,977 children and young people attend 79 centres of Catholic education, from kindergartens to universities. Other institutions belonging to the Church, or run by priests or religious in the Czech Republic include 50 hospitals, 98 clinics, 134 homes for the elderly or disabled, 59 orphanages and nurseries, 58 family counselling centres and other pro-life centres, 170 centres for education and social rehabilitation, and 28 institutions of other kinds.
OP/STATISTICS CZECH REPUBLIC/...                    VIS 20090922 (200)


VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses has announced, in a communique made public today, that the next International Eucharistic Congress, the fiftieth of the series, will take place from 10 to 17 June 2012 in Dublin, Ireland, on the theme: "The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another".

  "The choice of theme arises from the fact that the celebration of the congress coincides with the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of Vatican Council II which, as Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has affirmed, was a moment of renewal for the Church's teaching and for her understanding of herself as Body of Christ and Body of God", the communique explains.

  "The theme has its direct inspiration in paragraph 7 of the Constitution 'Lumen gentium' which reads: 'Really partaking of the body of the Lord in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread, we are taken up into communion with Him and with one another. 'Because the bread is one, we though many, are one body, all of us who partake of the one bread'. In this way all of us are made members of His Body, 'but severally members one of another'".

  The communique goes on: "The archbishop of Dublin has also emphasised the possibility of developing the theme of the next International Eucharistic Congress by reflecting on certain important topics such as: communion with Christ as a foundation for Christian life; the Eucharist as a way of life for clergy, Christian families and religious communities; the gesture of 'breaking bread' as a principle of Christian solidarity; the Eucharist, seed of life for the world of suffering and fragility; and ecumenism and the sharing of the one bread".


VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Archbishop Luigi Ventura, apostolic nuncio to Canada, as apostolic nuncio to France.

 - As members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Archbishop Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and Bishop Mario del Valle Mornota Rodriguez of San Cristobal de Venezuela, Venezuela.
NN:NA/.../VENTURA:ELIVEIRA:MORONTA                    VIS 20090922 (70)

Monday, September 21, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 19 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel met on 16 and 17 September to continue negotiations on the "Economic Agreement", according to a communique released yesterday afternoon.

  "The delegations", the text reads, "worked constructively towards furthering their shared goal". The commission is next due to meet on 28 and 29 October and not on 14 and 15 of October as previously announced.


VATICAN CITY, 19 SEP 2009 (VIS) - This morning in Castelgandolfo Benedict XVI received Catholic patriarchs and major archbishops from the Oriental Churches, in response to a request the prelates had made on various occasions in the past.

  Participating in the meeting were Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, alongside the "Heads and Fathers" of all the Eastern Catholic Churches in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

  They are: His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon; Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq; Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine; Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil C.SS.R., Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India; His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt; His Beatitude Gregorios III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek Melkites, Syria; His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon; His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, Lebanon; Archbishop Lucian Muresan of Fagaras and Alba Iulia of the Romanians, Romania; His Beatitude Baselios Moran Mor Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars, India, and His Beatitude Fouad Twal, patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins.

  According to a communique, the representatives of the Eastern Churches spoke to thank the Holy Father for his initiative and highlighted the two facets of the faithfulness that characterises them: "the bond with the Christian East and the bond with Peter's Successor, the universal Pastor, with his charism of unity in truth and in love". They also focused on "a number of more general themes, such as the phenomenon of migration ... and the ecumenical and inter-religious context in which their Churches live".

  In his address to them the Holy Father recalled how, since the start of his pontificate in 2005, he had begun "an 'ideal' pilgrimage into the heart of the Christian East; another stage of this pilgrimage is today's meeting", he said, "and it is my intention to continue".

  He then referred to the request made by the representatives of the Oriental Churches to have "more frequent contact with the Bishop of Rome in order to strengthen the communion of your Churches with Peter's Successor and together examine, as necessary, themes of particular importance".

  "As for me, I feel a primary duty to promote that sinodality which is so dear to Eastern ecclesiology, and which was greeted with appreciation by Vatican Council II", the Pope said. He then went on to refer to the Apostolic Letter "Orientale lumen" in which John Paul II reiterated "the hope that the Eastern Catholic Churches may 'flourish' and with new apostolic vigour execute the task entrusted to them ... to promote the unity of all Christians, especially Eastern Christians, in keeping with the decree on ecumenism".

  "The ecumenical question is often connected to the inter-religious question. In these two areas the Church as a whole needs that experience of coexistence which your Churches have matured since the first Christian millennium".

  Recalling then how today's meeting would serve to examine the problems currently troubling the prelates, the Holy Father said: "In particular, I do not forget the appeal for peace you placed in my hands at the end of last October's assembly of the Synod of Bishops. And, on the subject of peace, our thoughts go out first and foremost to the regions of the Middle East".

  Pope Benedict concluded: "I take, then, this opportunity to announce a Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, which I have called and will take place from 10 to 24 October 2010 on the theme: 'The Catholic Church in the Middle East: communion and witness: The whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul'". At the end of the meeting, the Holy Father lunched with the representatives of the Eastern Churches.
AC/EASTERN CHURCHES/...                    VIS 20090921 (670)


VATICAN CITY, 19 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was the Letter in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the millennium of the archdiocese of Alba Julia, Romania, due to take place there on 29 September. The Letter, written in Latin, is dated 24 August.

  Also made public today were the names of the members of the mission accompanying the cardinal. They are Msgr. Ferenc Potyo, vicar general of the archdiocese of Alba Julia, and Msgr. Gergely Kovacs, bureau chief at the Pontifical Council for Culture.
BXVI-LETTER/SPECIAL ENVOY/RODE                VIS 20090921 (130)

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