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Monday, April 27, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 27 APR 2009 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI received in audience His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall, according to a communique issued today by the Holy See Press Office.

"A meeting subsequently took place with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

"The cordial discussions provided an opportunity for an exchange of views on certain questions of mutual interest including the human promotion and development of peoples, environmental protection, and the importance of inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue for furthering peace and justice in the world".
VATICAN CITY, 27 APR 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences twelve prelates from the Argentinean Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Santiago Olivera of Cruz del Eje.

- Bishop Pedro Maria Olmedo Rivero C.M.F., prelate of Humahuaca.

- Bishop Marcelino Palentini S.C.I. of Jujuy.

- Bishop Francisco Polti Santillan of Santiago del Estero, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Ariel Edgardo Torrado Mosconi.

- Bishop Juan Alberto Puiggari of Mar del Plata.

- Bishop Armando Jose Maria Rossi O.P. of Concepcion.

- Bishop Hugo Norberto Santiago of Santo Tome.

- Bishop Luis Teodorico Stockler of Quilmes.

- Bishop Eduardo Maria Taussig of San Rafael.

- Bishop Carlos Jose Tissera of San Francisco.

- Archbishop Luis Rector Villalba of Tucuman.

On Saturday 25 April, he received in audience Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, 27 APR 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office published the following communique today:

"This morning, His Holiness Benedict XVI received in audience Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus. Subsequently the president, accompanied by Sergei Martinov, foreign minister, met with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

"During the discussions, which took place in a positive atmosphere, consideration was given to various matters concerning the relationship between faith and reason, and to inter-confessional and inter-cultural dialogue. Attention also turned to the international issues associated with promoting peace and the true progress of humankind, as well as to certain internal problems of the country, questions concerning the Catholic Church in Belarus and the prospects for deeper collaboration between the two sides. Finally the peaceful coexistence characterising relations between the Catholic and Orthodox communities, and with other religious confessions, was noted".


VATICAN CITY, 26 APR 2009 (VIS) - At the end of this morning's Mass, during which he proclaimed five new saints, the Holy Father prayed the Regina Coeli with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"I hope that this pilgrimage, lived in sanctity and strengthened by the grace of the Pauline Year, may help each one of you 'to run' with greater joy and energy towards the final 'goal', towards the 'prize that God calls us to receive on high, in Christ Jesus'", he said.

The Pope then went on to refer to the celebration of the Day of the Sacred Heart Catholic University, which falls today. "Fifty years after the death of its founder, Fr. Agostino Gemelli, my hope is that the Catholic University may always remain faithful to the principles that inspired it, in order to continue to offer worthwhile formation to young generations".

As is the tradition following canonisations and beatifications, the Holy Father then greeted those present in various languages. Addressing Portuguese faithful about their newly-canonised countryman Nuno de Santa Maria, he recalled how the saint "provides an important lesson on sacrifice and participation, without which it would be impossible to achieve that fraternal equality characteristic of modern society, which recognises and treats everyone as members of the same family".

Turning then to speak to Polish pilgrims, the Pope recalled how the Week of the Bible is currently being celebrated in their country for the first time, under the patronage of the "Biblical Work" dedicated to John Paul II. "My heartfelt blessing goes to all those people who study the Word of God", he said. "By the intercession of the new saints, I invoke upon everyone the gift of Divine Wisdom".
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VATICAN CITY, 26 APR 2009 (VIS) - In St. Peter's Square at 10 a.m. today, the Holy Father celebrated the Eucharist and canonised the Italian Blesseds: Arcangelo Tadini (1846-1912), Bernardo Tolomei (1272-1348), Gertrude Comensoli (1847-1903) and Caterina Volpicelli (1839-1894), and the Portuguese Blessed Nuno de Santa Maria Alvares Pereira (1360-1431).

At the beginning of his homily, the Holy Father commented on today's Gospel which recounts how the two disciples of Emmaus, returning to Jerusalem, told the eleven disciples that they had recognised Jesus "in the breaking of the bread".

"Each community relives this same experience in the celebration of the Eucharist, especially on Sundays", said the Pope. "In celebrating the Eucharist we communicate with Christ, victim of atonement, and from Him we draw forgiveness and life. What would our lives as Christians be without the Eucharist?"

Going on then to recall certain fundamental aspects of the lives of the five new saints, the Holy Father began by referring to the "concrete and courageous initiatives" of St. Arcangelo Tadini. These included establishing the Catholic Workers' Mutual Assistance Association, building a textile mill and a residence for female workers, and founding the Congregation of Worker Sisters of the Holy House of Nazareth in 1900, his aim being to evangelise the world of work, sharing in its fatigues and following the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

"How prophetic the charismatic intuition of Don Tadini was, and what relevance his example still has, even today in times of serious economic crisis!" cried the Pope.

Benedict XVI described St. Bernardo Tolomei, abbot and founder of the Olivetan Benedictine Congregation who died of the plague in 1348 while assisting his fellow monks who had contracted the disease, as a "true martyr of charity. ... The example of this saint invites us to translate our own faith into a life dedicated to God in prayer and spent in serving others under the impulse of charity, a charity ready also to make the supreme sacrifice", he said.

St. Nuno de Santa Maria Alvares Pereira, he went on, "was a great soldier and a great leader who never allowed his personal qualities to overshadow the supreme action of God. .... At the end of his life he retreated to a Carmelite convent that he himself had ordered to be built".

"This exemplary figure, his life characterised by faith and prayer in apparently unfavourable settings, shows that in any situation - even military life and warfare - it is possible to enact and fulfil the values and principles of Christian life, especially if one places oneself at the service of the common good and the glory of God".

Turning then to focus on St. Gertrude Comensoli, foundress of the Institute of Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, Benedict XVI explained that the aim of her institute was "to translate 'charity contemplated' in the Eucharistic Christ into 'effective charity' through dedication to the needy.

"In a confused and often wounded society such as our own; to young people, such as those of our time, in search of values and of a meaning to give to their lives, St. Gertrude indicates a firm point of reference in God, Who in the Eucharist made Himself our travelling companion", he added.

Turning his attention then to St. Caterina Volpicelli, foundress of the Institute of Handmaidens of the Sacred Heart, the Pope noted how she "strove 'to be of Christ in order to bring to Christ' the people she came across in late nineteenth-century Naples, at a time of spiritual and social crisis".

This saint, the Holy Father concluded, "shows her own spiritual daughters, and all of us, the demanding path to a conversion that changes the heart at its roots and translates into activities coherent with the Gospel. Thus it is possible to lay the foundations for a society open to justice and solidarity, overcoming that economic and cultural imbalance which still exists in a large part of our planet".
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VATICAN CITY, 25 APR 2009 (VIS) - Yesterday evening the Holy See Press Office released a communique concerning the Holy Father's audience with Amr Moussa, secretary general of the League of Arab States. Amr Moussa and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the League of Arab States and the Secretariat of State.

  "During the cordial meetings", reads the English-language communique, "emphasis was placed on the importance of the agreement, which is intended to foster increased co-operation between the two parties with a view to promoting peace and justice in the world. Particular importance was given to the role of inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue.

  "Finally, there was an exchange of views on the international situation, especially in the Middle East, and on the need to find a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to the other conflicts which afflict the region".
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VATICAN CITY, 25 APR 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Ralph Everard Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The prime minister subsequently went on to met Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "The cordial discussions served to review the main political questions concerning the region, and to examine the social, ethical and religious issues that particularly affect the country".
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VATICAN CITY, 25 APR 2009 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received participants in a meeting of Italian Catholic teachers of religion. The teachers were accompanied by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

  "The teaching of Catholic religion is an inherent part of the history of education in Italy", said the Pope. The large number of pupils "who choose to study this subject is, furthermore, a sign of the exceptional importance it has in the educational process and an indication of the high levels of quality achieved".

  "Focusing on man created in God's image is, in fact, what daily distinguishes your work, in unity of purpose with other educators and teachers", said the Holy Father. He then recalled words he had pronounced at the 2006 Italian ecclesial congress in Verona when, touching on the "fundamental and decisive question" of education, he had highlighted the need "'to broaden the horizon of our rationality, open it to the great questions of truth and goodness, and unite theology, philosophy and science, respecting their reciprocal autonomy but also aware of the intrinsic unity that holds them together'. The religious dimension is, indeed, intrinsic to culture, it helps in the overall formation of the person and enables knowledge to be transformed into life wisdom".

  "Thanks to the teaching of Catholic religion, then, school and society are enriched with what is a true workshop of culture and of humanity, in which, by examining the significant contributions Christianity has made, people are enabled to discover goodness and grow in responsibility, to seek to confront their views and refine their critical sense, and to draw from the gifts of the past in order to better understand the present and to project themselves towards the future".

  The Pope then went on to refer to the current Pauline Year, observing that in the teaching of the Apostle of the Gentiles "religious formation is not separate from human formation. The final Letters of his epistolary, the so-called 'pastoral Letters' are full of significant references to social and civil life, aspects which Christ's disciples must keep well to mind. St. Paul is a true master, concerned both for the salvation and for the human and civil formation of people educated in a mentality of faith. ... The religious dimension is, then, not an appendage but an inherent part of the person".

  In closing, Benedict XVI praised the teachers' work. "Far from being a form of interference or a restriction on freedom", he told them, "your presence is a fine example of that positive spirit of secularism which enables constructive civil coexistence to be promoted, founded on reciprocal respect and faithful dialogue, values that a country always needs".
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VATICAN CITY, 25 APR 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Holy Father to Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, appointing him as special papal envoy to the closing celebrations of the Jubilee Year marking the seventh centenary of veneration of Our Lady of Europe. The event is due to take place in Gibraltar on 5 May. The Letter, written in Latin, is dated 31 March.

  The cardinal will be accompanied on his mission by two members of the clergy of the diocese of Gibraltar: Msgr. Paul Charles Bear, vicar general, Fr. Charles Azzopardi, apostolic vicar for youth.


VATICAN CITY, 25 APR 2009 (VIS) - The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the State of Israel and the Holy See met on 23 April at the ministry of foreign affairs in Jerusalem to continue negotiations on the economic agreement concerning fiscal and property matters, according to a communique released today by the Holy See Press Office.

  "The meeting was characterised by great cordiality and a spirit of co-operation", the English-language communique reads. "Meaningful progress was achieved by receiving a report from a working group, and the delegations renewed their joint commitment to conclude the agreement as soon as possible. The commission will next meet at plenary level on 30 April at Israel's ministry of foreign affairs".
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