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Monday, January 19, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2009 (VIS) - On 16 January, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, participated in the tenth emergency special session of the U.N. General Assembly dedicated to: "Illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory: draft resolution (A/ES-10/L.21)".

  Speaking English, Archbishop Migliore turned his attention to "the dramatic situation in Gaza and some Israeli cities", expressing his solidarity "with the civilians in those regions who bear the brunt of a cruel conflict". He also highlighted the need "to step up the pace of the joint diplomatic efforts and ensure that urgent humanitarian assistance reaches those in need.

  "The Holy See asks that Security Council resolution 1860, of 8 January, which calls for an immediate and enduring ceasefire as well as for unimpeded humanitarian assistance, be implemented fully", he added. "In the past few days we have witnessed a practical failure from all sides to respect the distinction of civilians from military targets. Within the context of this resolution, we call on all parties to fully abide by the requirements of international humanitarian law, in order to ensure the protection of civilians".

  Over sixty years of coexistence, he went on, Israelis and Palestinians have "witnessed a long succession of conflict, but also of dialogue, including the Madrid meetings, the Oslo Accords, the Wye Memorandum, the peace process of the Quartet, the road map and the Annapolis Conference with their two State solution. Unfortunately, however, the many efforts to establish peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples have so far failed", he noted.

  "The United Nations has the weighty task to get the parties to respect the ceasefire, pave the way to negotiations and agreements between them and ensure humanitarian assistance. In particular, this General Assembly can assist the parties in the conflict to discover new patterns for establishing peace, patterns based on mutual acceptance and co-operation amid diversity".


VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Pope, written in Latin and dated 10 December 2008, in which he appoints Cardinal Julian Herranz, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the 1750th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Fructuosus and the deacons St. Augurius and St. Eulogius, known as the proto-martyrs of Tarragona. The event is due to be held in that Spanish city on 24 and 25 January.

  The cardinal will be accompanied on his mission by Msgr. Miquel Barbara Angles, vicar general of the archdiocese of Tarragona and canon of the cathedral, and by Msgr. Joaquim Fortuny Vizcarro, penitentiary canon of the cathedral of Tarragona and diocesan bursar.


VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2009 (VIS) - Today, during a private audience with Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Pope authorised the congregation to promulgate the following decrees:


 - Servant of God Ciriaco Maria Sancha y Hervas, Spanish cardinal archbishop of Toledo, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Cardinal Sancha (1833-1909).

 - Servant of God Carlo Gnocchi, Italian diocesan priest and founder of the "Pro Juventute" Foundation (1902-1956).

 - Servant of God Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos, Spanish professed priest of the Company of Jesus (1711-1735).

 - Servant of God Raphael Rafiringa (ne Louis), Madagascan professed religious of the Institute of Brothers of Christian Schools (1856-1919).

 - Servant of God Eustachio Kugler, (ne Joseph), German professed religious of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God (1867-1946).


 - Servant of God Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, Spanish bishop of Osma (1600-1659).

 - Servant of God Robert Spiske, diocesan priest and founder of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Hedwig (1821-1888).

 - Servant of God Carolina Beltrami, Italian foundress of the Institute of "Immaculatine" Sisters of Alessandria (1869-1932).

 - Servant of God Mary of the Immaculate e Conception Salvat y Romerio (nee Maria Isabella), Spanish superior general of the Institute of Sisters of the Company of the Cross (1926-1998).

 - Servant of God Liberata Ferrarons y Vives, Spanish laywoman of the Third Order of Carmelites (1803-1842).

  In the course of a private audience with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. on 22 December 2008, the Pope authorised the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate a decree regarding the heroic virtues of Servant of God Jose Tous y Soler, Spanish professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins and founder of the Capuchin sisters of the Mother of the Divine Shepherd (1811-1871).
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VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2009 (VIS) - At 8 p.m. today Mexican time, a recorded video message was transmitted to participants in the Sixth World Meeting of Families. The event, a moment of celebration and witness taking place from 14 to 18 January and attended by Christian families from all over the world, was held at the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico, on the theme: "The family, teacher of human and Christian values".

  That theme, said the Pope in his message, reminds us how "the domestic environment is a school of humanity and Christian life for all its members, with beneficial consequences for people, the Church and society. In fact, the home is called to practice and cultivate reciprocal love and truth, respect and justice, loyalty and collaboration, service and readiness to help others, especially the weakest. The Christian home ... must be impregnated with the presence of God, placing the events of every day in His hands and asking His help to accomplish its vital mission".

  "To this end it is vitally important to pray in the family at the most appropriate and significant moments", said the Holy Father. "The Master is definitely present in the family that listens to and meditates upon the Word of God, that learns what is most important in life from Him and puts His teachings into practice. In this way individual and family life is gradually transformed and improved, dialogue is enriched, the faith is transmitted to children, the pleasure of being together increases and the home becomes more unified and consolidated, like a house built upon rock".

  Benedict XVI emphasised how, "with the strength that comes from prayer, the family becomes a community of disciples and missionaries of Christ. ... Through the experience of filial obedience to God, faithfulness and generousity in welcoming children, care for the weakest and readiness to forgive, the family becomes a living Gospel which everyone may read". Furthermore, families must "bring their witness of life and their explicit profession of faith to their surroundings, such as schools and associations, and must make a commitment to the catechetical formation of their children and to the pastoral activities of their parish community, especially activities associated with preparation for marriage or specifically directed at family life".

  "Because of its essential social function the family has the right for its specific identity to be recognised and not confused with other forms of coexistence. It must also be ensured adequate cultural, juridical, economic, social and health protection. In particular it must be afforded a support which, bearing in mind the number of children and the economic resources available, is sufficient to enable freedom of education and the choice of school".

  Finally the Holy Father underlined the need "to develop a family culture and family policies that are driven by families themselves". In this context he encouraged his audience "to join associations that promote the identity and rights of the family in keeping with an anthropological vision that is coherent with the Gospel. Furthermore", he concluded, "I invite those associations to collaborate with one another in order for their activity to be more effective".
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VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2009 (VIS) - Before praying the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square at midday today, World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Benedict XVI turned his attention to the figure of St. Paul "emigrant and Apostle of the Gentiles".

  This year's World Day of Migrants and Refugees is, in fact, dedicated to St. Paul "the great itinerant missionary of the Gospel", said the Pope. When he changed from being a persecutor of Christians to become the Apostle of the Gospel, Paul also became an 'ambassador' for the Risen Christ, making Him known to everyone in the conviction that in Him all peoples are called to form the great family of the children of God.

  "This is also the Church's mission", he added, "and more so than ever in this period of globalisation. As Christians we cannot but ... transmit Jesus' message of love, especially to people who do not know Him or find themselves facing difficult and painful situations. Today my thoughts turn particularly to migrants. ... I would like to assure them that the Christian community is attentive to each person and each family, and that it asks St. Paul for renewed strength to favour peaceful coexistence in all parts of the world between men and women of different ethnic backgrounds, cultures and religions".

  "Each of us", the Pope went on, "is called to bear witness to the Gospel, showing greater concern for those of our brothers and sisters who, for various reasons, have come from other countries to live among us". Thus, he said, we will appreciate "the phenomenon of migration as an opportunity for encounter between civilisations. Let us pray and act that this may happen peacefully and constructively, in respect and dialogue, avoiding any temptation to conflict or exploitation".

  Benedict XVI also mentioned fishermen and sailors "who for sometime who have been suffering from increased problems. Apart from the difficulties they habitually confront, they are facing increased restrictions in going ashore and in welcoming chaplains on board, as well having to face the risk of piracy and the harm caused by illegal fishing. I express my closeness to them and the hope that their generosity in rescue operations at sea may be rewarded with greater recognition".

  In closing, the Pope referred to the World Meeting of Families which comes to an end today in Mexico, and to today's opening of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2009 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Holy Father once again turned his attention to the conflict in the Gaza Strip which, he said, "I continue to follow with profound concern".

  "Today too we would like to commend to the Lord the hundreds of children, elderly people, and women who have fallen victim to exceptional violence, also the injured and those who are weeping for their loved ones or who have lost their possessions.

  "At the same time", he added, "I invite you to accompany with your prayers the efforts being made by many people of good will to stop the tragedy. It is my heartfelt wish that wise advantage be taken of the glimmers of hope in order to restore the truce and move towards peaceful and lasting solutions.

  "In this context, I renew my encouragement to those who, on one side and on the other, believe that the Holy Land has sufficient space for everyone, that they may help their people to raise themselves from the ruins and the terror, and courageously return to dialogue in justice and in truth. This is the only way that can effectively open a future of peace for the children of that beloved region".

  Following his appeal, the Pope mentioned today's opening of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which is due to come to an end next Sunday, 25 January, the theme of which, suggested by an ecumenical group in Korea, is a quote from the Prophet Ezechiel: "That they may become one in your hand".

  "Let us too accept this invitation and pray with greater intensity for Christians to advance resolutely towards full communion", said Pope Benedict. "I address myself particularly to Catholics all over the world so that, united in prayer, they may work tirelessly to overcome the obstacles that still impede full communion between all Christ's disciples. Ecumenical commitment is even more vital today in order to give our society, marked as it is by tragic conflicts and divisions, a sign and an impulse towards true reconciliation and peace".
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VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2009 (VIS) - The Italian city of Milan will be the site of the next World Meeting of Families, due to take place in spring 2012 on the theme "The Family, Work and Feast". Benedict XVI made the announcement in the course of a live television linkup with pilgrims participating in the closing Mass for the Sixth World Meeting of Families, being held on the square in front of the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico.

  "The family", said the Pope, "is the essential foundation for society and peoples, an irreplaceable benefit for children, who deserve to come into the world as the fruit of love, of the total and generous giving of the parents. ... The family occupies a primary position in the education of the individual. It is a true school of humanity and of perennial values. No-one has ever brought themselves into being".

  The Holy Father highlighted how "it was from others that we received the gift of life, which then develops and matures with the truths and values we learn through relation and communion with others. ... The family founded on indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman expresses this inter-relational, filial and community dimension, as well as being the environment in which human beings can be born with dignity, and grow and develop fully".

  "Yet such educational efforts are hindered by a misleading concept of freedom, in which individual caprice and subjective impulses are exalted to the point that people are enclosed in the prison of their own ego. Human beings' true freedom comes from having been created in the image and likeness of God and hence must be exercised responsibly, always opting for true goodness. ... Hence, more than theories, what is needed is the closeness and love that are characteristic of the family. It is in the home that people truly learn to live, to value life and health, freedom and peace, justice and truth, work, harmony and respect".

  The Pope went on to underline the vital need for "public witness and commitment from all the baptised in order to reaffirm the dignity and the unique and irreplaceable value of the family, founded on the marriage of a man and a woman and open to life. ... Legislative and administrative measures also have to be promoted that support families in their inalienable rights, which are necessary in order for them to continue their extraordinary mission", he said.

  After reiterating his closeness to, and giving assurances of his prayers for, "all families who bear faithful witness in particularly difficult situations", Benedict XVI concluded by encouraging large families "who, though sometimes experiencing difficulties and misunderstandings, give an example of generosity and trust in God", expressing the hope that "they may not lack the aid they need". He also mentioned families "suffering poverty, illness, marginalisation and emigration, and especially Christian families persecuted for their faith".

  Finally the Pope entrusted all the families of the world to the protection of the Blessed Virgin, "so venerated in the noble land of Mexico with the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe".
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VATICAN CITY, 19 JAN 2009 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received an ecumenical delegation from Finland for the occasion of today's Feast of St. Henry, patron saint of that country.

  Addressing the group in English, the Pope noted that "The Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue Commission in Finland and Sweden continues to consider the 'Joint Declaration on Justification'. This year we celebrate the tenth anniversary of this significant statement, and the commission is now studying its implications and the possibility of its reception. Under the theme 'Justification in the Life of the Church', the dialogue is taking ever fuller account of the nature of the Church as the sign and instrument of the salvation brought about in Jesus Christ, and not simply a mere assembly of believers or an institution with various functions".

  Noting that the group's pilgrimage to Rome coincides with the Pauline Year, the Pope expressed the view that "St. Paul reminds us of the marvellous grace we have received by becoming members of Christ's Body through Baptism. The Church is this mystical Body of Christ, and is continuously guided by the Holy Spirit; the Spirit of the Father and the Son.

  "It is only based on this incarnational reality", he added in conclusion, "that the sacramental character of the Church as communion in Christ can be understood. A consensus with regard to the profoundly Christological and pneumatological implications of the mystery of the Church would prove a most promising basis for the commission's work"
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BENEDICT XVI ATTENDED A CONCERT IN THE SISTINE CHAPEL on the evening of Saturday 17 January during which the Requiem Mass in D Minor K. 427 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was performed. The event was organised to celebrate the 85th birthday of the Pope's elder brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, director emeritus of the cathedral choir of Regensburg, Germany.

CARDINAL PAUL JOSEF CORDES, PRESIDENT of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", at the invitation of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, will visit Manila from 19 to 24 January to reflect together with the bishops on the teaching reaffirmed in Pope Benedict XVI's first Encyclical 'Deus Caritas Est', and listen to the diverse experiences of the local Churches. In the course of his trip, Cardinal Cordes will visit the poor, the sick and the suffering. He will also meet Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, president of the Philippines, and be awarded an honorary doctorate from the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas in Manila, the oldest university in Asia and one of the world's largest Catholic universities.
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VATICAN CITY, 19 JAN 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, accompanied by Bishop Mariano Crociata, emeritus of Noto and secretary general of the same episcopal conference.

  On Sunday 18 January, he received in separate audiences:

 - Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Reinhard Pappenberger.

 - Bishop Wilhelm Schraml of Passau, Germany.

  On Saturday 17 January, he received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

 - Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
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VATICAN CITY, 19 JAN 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Msgr. Edward J. Burns of the clergy of Pittsburgh, U.S.A., rector of the St. Paul diocesan seminary, as bishop of Juneau (area 97,258, population 74,000, Catholics 7,350, priests 10, permanent deacons 5, religious 8), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Pittsburgh in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1983.

 - Bishop Dionisio Lachovicz O.S.B.M. as apostolic visitor for Ukrainians of Byzantine rite resident in Italy and Spain.

  On Saturday 17 January it was made public that he:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Caracas, Venezuela, presented by Bishop Pedro Nicolas Bermudez Villamizar C.I.M., in accordance with canon 401 para. 1 and canon 411 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Erected the new diocese of Rutana (area 2,180, population 378,387, Catholics 168,160, priests 23, religious 30) Burundi, with territory taken from the dioceses of Bururi and Ruyigi, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Gitega. He appointed Fr. Bonaventure Nahimana, rector of the major inter-diocesan seminary of Burasira, and secretary of the episcopal commission for vocations and seminaries as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Gisebuzi, Burundi in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1986.

 - Appointed Fr. Franco Mulakkal of the clergy of Jullundur, India, treasurer of the Apostolic Union of the Clergy and consultor of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Delhi (area 15,420, population 19,023,000, Catholics 107,500, priests 247, religious 1,118), India. The bishop-elect was born in Mattam, India in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1990.

 - Appointed as members of the Pontifical Council for Culture: Cardinal Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, Venezuela; Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, India; Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, France; Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary; Cardinal Angelo Scola, patriarch of Venice, Italy; Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, U.S.A.; Cardinal Theodore-Adrien Sarr, archbishop of Dakar, Senegal; Archbishop Charles Maung Bo S.D.B. of Yangon, Myanmar; Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany; Archbishop Willem Jacobus Eijk of Utrecht, Netherlands, and Archbishop Hector Ruben Aguer of La Plata, Argentina.

 - Appointed as consultors of the Pontifical Council for Culture: Fr. Sebastian Maria Michael S.V.D., director of the Andheri Institute of Indian Culture in Mumbai, India; Dominique Jean-Marie Lambert, professor at the University of Notre Dame de la Paix in Namur, Belgium; Jean-Dominique Durand, philosopher-economist and professor of history at the State University and president of the "Fourviere" Foundation of Lyon, France; Roberto Jose Mendez Martinez, founder and co-ordinator of the "Aula de Poesia" of the "Dulce Maria Loynaz" Cultural Centre in Havana, Cuba; Rita Maria Isabell Naumann of the Marian Sisters of Schonstatt, professor at the Catholic Institute and dean of studies at the Good Shepherd Seminary in Sydney, Australia; Giovanna Parravicini, cultural counsellor of the pontifical representation to the Russian Federation, and Maria Lousie Kanse Tah in Mvbida, lawyer and founder member of the Justice and Peace commission of the archdiocese of Douala, Cameroon.
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