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Friday, January 9, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 9 JAN 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Seamus Cunningham of the clergy of the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, England, diocesan administrator, as bishop of the same diocese (area 8,438, population 2,241,451, Catholics 200,361, priests 219, permanent deacons 11, religious 415). The bishop-elect was born in Knock, Ireland in 1942 and ordained a priest in 1966.
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VATICAN CITY, 9 JAN 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

 - Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.

 - Gabor Erdody, ambassador of Hungary, on his farewell visit.

 - Geoffrey Kenyon Ward, ambassador of New Zealand, on his farewell visit.

 - Vera Barrouin Machado, ambassador of Brazil, on her farewell visit.

 - Giovanni Maria Flick, president of the Italian Constitutional Court, accompanied by his family.
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VATICAN CITY, 9 JAN 2009 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, presented the Sixth World Meeting of Families, which is to due to take place in Mexico City, Mexico, from 14 to 18 January.

  "The Holy Father will be 'especially present' at these events" with two video messages, said the president of the pontifical council: a recorded message on the evening of Saturday 17 January, and a live message, via satellite, on Sunday 18 January at the end of the final Mass.

  The meeting, which has as its theme "The family, teacher of human and Christian values", will be attended by cardinals, bishops and delegations of families from all continents. Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. will also be present in the capacity of pontifical legate.

  As is the tradition in these world meetings - the last was held in Valencia, Spain, in July 2006 - the main celebrations will be preceded by a theological-pastoral congress.

  This year's theological congress, to be attended by 8,000 people and held from 14 to 16 January, will focus on three main points: family relations and family values; the family and sexuality, and the educational vocation of the family. Lectures and workshops are also scheduled to take place on such subjects as: family relations and family values according to the Bible; values to be discovered and rediscovered; the family and the value of human life; organisations that help the family in the formation of values; family and the communications media, and the challenge of policymaking in support of life and the family.

  The celebrations scheduled for 17 and 18 January, at which more than a million people are expected to attend, will take place at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. On Saturday 17 January, the praying of the Rosary will take place and families from Africa, Asia, America, Europe and Oceania will present their testimonies. On Sunday 18 January, Cardinal Bertone will preside at a solemn Eucharistic celebration.

  Cardinal Antonelli also mentioned the "Family Mosaic" which has been prepared for the meeting, formed of thousands of photographs of families from all over the world arranged to create the image of Benedict XVI. A national competition entitled "A letter to my child" has also been organised, open to single mothers resident in the Republic of Mexico who wish to write a letter to their son or daughter. "The best letters will be collected in a commemorative book which will be presented to Benedict XVI as evidence of the profound values and dignity of Mexican mothers", the cardinal explained.

  On the subject of families in Mexico, Cardinal Antonelli pointed out how, "as in other parts of the world, they are currently experiencing a crisis. Nonetheless", he added, "the family remains the principal institution of aid and solidarity".

  He went on: "Abortion, divorce, euthanasia, questions associated with bioethics, though far removed from popular culture and practices, are also penetrating the mentality of Mexicans. Families today have to face ... the challenge of an individualist and market culture, founded on production and consumption. Unfortunately we have a mistaken concept of freedom, which is understood as self-sufficient autonomy. ... With this misguided mentality, laws often are passed - without broad social consensus and under the influence of small but active pressure groups, highly ideological and with large economic resources - that enable and facilitate abortion, rapid divorce and euthanasia".

  "The Church is making great efforts of evangelisation, supporting Christian families in their values and encouraging a wide-ranging strategy to promote and defend life from conception to natural death. ... Thanks to God", he concluded, "over the last few years numerous initiatives, both ecclesial and civil, have come into being in the service of the family ... which support this work".
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