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Tuesday, June 30, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 27 JUN 2009 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Vietnam who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  The Pope began his remarks to them by recalling the figure of Cardinal Paul Joseph Phan Ding, who died in February and was for many years archbishop of Hanoi. He also expressed his hope that "the example of sanctity, humility and simplicity of life of the great pastors of your country may stimulate you in your pastoral ministry at the service of the Vietnamese people, to whom goes my profound esteem".

  Referring then to the Year for Priests, Benedict XVI pointed out that, "in order to be reliable guides who conform to the heart of God and the teaching of the Church, priests must develop interior life and tend towards sanctity, like the humble Cure of Ars".

  "In your pastoral letter of last year", he reminded the prelates, "you dedicated particular attention to the lay faithful, highlighting the role of their vocation in the family". In this context, the Pope indicated that "lay Catholics must - through lives based on charity, honour and love for the common good - show that a good Catholic is also a good citizen. To this end, pay particular attention to their correct formation, promoting their life of faith ... that they may effectively serve the Church and society".

  The Holy Father also spoke of his hope that attention be given to "appropriate pastoral care for internally displaced youth, beginning with reinforcing ... collaboration between the dioceses of origin of the young people and the dioceses of destination, giving them ethical advice and practical guidance".

  After then recalling how 2010 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the creation of the episcopal hierarchy in Vietnam, the Pope said: "On this occasion the People of God are invited to give thanks for the gift of faith in Jesus Christ. This gift has been generously accepted, lived and witnessed by many martyrs who wished to proclaim the truth and universality of faith in God".

  "Closer collaboration between different dioceses is necessary", Benedict XVI went on, "as it is between dioceses and religious congregations, and among the congregations themselves".

  "Healthy collaboration between the Church and the political community is possible. ... The Church does not seek to substitute government, rather her only desire, through a spirit of dialogue and respectful collaboration, is to participate in life of the nation, at the service of all people".

  The Pope concluded by highlighting how religions "are not a danger for the unity of the nation, because their goal is to help people to sanctity and, through their institutions, wish to place themselves generously and disinterestedly at the service of others".
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VATICAN CITY, 27 JUN 2009 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father welcomed a delegation sent to Rome for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul by His Holiness Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople. An ecumenical delegation traditionally visits Rome for the 29 June feast, while a delegation from Rome attends celebrations in Istanbul for the 30 November Feast of St. Andrew, patron of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

  This year the delegation was made up of Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, director of the office of the Orthodox Church to the European Union; Bishop Athenagoras of Sinope, assistant to the Metropolitan of Belgium, and Deacon Ioakim Billis of Fanar.

  Greeting them the Pope gave thanks to God "for all the fruits and benefits brought by the celebration of the bi-millennium of the birth of St. Paul". Together, he said, we will celebrate "the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the 'protothroni' of the Apostles as they are known in Orthodox tradition, in other words those who hold first place among the Apostles and are called 'masters of ecumenism'".

  "With your presence here", the Holy Father went on, "which is a sign of ecclesiastical fraternity, you remind us of our shared commitment to achieve full communion. You already know, but I wish to reaffirm, that the Catholic Church seeks to contribute in every possible way to the re-establishment of full unity, thus responding to the will of Christ for His disciples and recalling Paul's own teaching which tells us that we are called to be 'a single hope'".

  In this context the Holy Father spoke of his "confidence in the progress of the activities" of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between Catholic and Orthodox. The commission is due to meet in October "to examine a crucial aspect of relations between East and West: the role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Church during the first millennium".

  "Such study", he continued, "is an indispensable step towards gaining a deeper understanding of this question in the current context of the search for full communion". Benedict XVI also pointed out that the commission will be received by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus which he thanked for its "fraternal welcome ... which will facilitate our task and our mutual understanding".

  "I wish participants in Catholic-Orthodox dialogue to be aware that my prayers accompany them always and that such dialogue enjoys the support of the Catholic Church", concluded the Holy Father. "It is my heartfelt wish that the fraternal misunderstandings and tensions that arose among Orthodox delegates during recent plenary sessions of the commission be overcome in fraternal love, so this dialogue may more broadly represent Orthodoxy".
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VATICAN CITY, 27 JUN 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Pope, written in Latin and dated 23 June, in which he appoints Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, as pontifical legate to solemn celebrations marking the millennium of Lithuania. The celebrations are due to take place in the Lithuanian capital city of Vilnius on 6 July.

  The cardinal will be accompanied on his mission by Msgr. Grintaras Grusas, secretary of the Lithuanian Bishops' Conference; Fr. Lionginas Virbalas S.J.; Msgr. Piero Pioppo, nunciature counsellor at the Secretariat of State, and Msgr. Jean-Francois Lantheaume, nunciature counsellor of the apostolic nunciature to Lithuania.


VATICAN CITY, 27 JUN 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Four prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Vietnam, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Etienne Nguyen Nhu The of Hue, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Francois Xavier Le Van Hong.

    - Bishop Vincent Nguyen Van Ban of Ban Me Thuot.

    - Bishop Joseph Chau Ngoc Tri of Da Nang.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2009 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his private study to pray the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square below.

  Before the Marian prayer, the Pope spoke of the Pauline Year, due to come to an end this evening in a ceremony at the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls. "It has been", he said, "a true period of grace during which, through pilgrimages, catecheses, numerous publications and various other initiatives, the figure of St. Paul has been presented afresh to the entire Church, and his powerful message has revived a passion for Christ and the Gospel in Christian communities everywhere".

  Pope Benedict then went on to refer to the newly-inaugurated Year for Priests, called to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, the "Cure of Ars", and the aim of which "is to help promote the commitment to interior renewal among all priests", that they may provide "stronger and more incisive evangelical witness in today's world"

  In this context, said the Pope, the Apostle Paul "represents a magnificent model to be imitated ... in love for Christ, in zeal for announcing the Gospel, in dedication to communities, in elaborating effective summaries of pastoral theology. St. Paul was an example of a priest completely identified with his ministry - as the holy 'Cure of Ars' would also be - aware he was bearing a priceless treasure - that is the message of salvation - though carrying it in a clay jar'".

  "'The love of Christ possesses us', the Apostle wrote", Benedict XVI concluded, "and this could well be a motto for priests, whom the Spirit has 'captivated' to make them faithful administrators of the mysteries of God".
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VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2009 (VIS) - This evening in the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, the Holy Father presided at first Vespers for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles. The ceremony, which officially closed the Pauline Year, was also attended by a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, headed by His Eminence Emmanuel, metropolitan of France.

  Benedict XVI, standing before the sarcophagus of the Apostle Paul which lies under the main altar, recalled how a recent scientific analysis of the tomb had revealed the presence of a costly purple linen fabric, grains of incense and bone fragments which a carbon-14 test has dated to the first or second centuries. "This", he said, "seems to confirm the unanimous and uncontested tradition that these are the mortal remains of the Apostle Paul, and it fills our heart with profound emotion".

  Paul, said the Holy Father, remains the "'Master of the Gentiles' who wished to carry the message of the risen Christ to all men and women, because Christ has known and loved them all, He died and rose again for them all". In his Letter to the Romans the Apostle makes it clear "that with Christ a new way of venerating God, a new form of worship, has begun. ... It is no longer things that are offered to God, it is our very lives that must become praise of God".

  This Letter uses two decisive words, "transformation and renewal", said the Pope and he went on: "We must become new men and new women, transformed in a new way of existence. The world is always seeking novelty because, quite rightly, it is always discontented with concrete reality. Paul tells us that the world cannot be renewed without new men and women. ... The Apostle exhorts us to non-conformity. In this Letter he tells us not to succumb to the blueprint of the current age".

  Paul explains this process more clearly "saying that we become new if we transform our way of thinking" and that "such renewal must be complete. ... The mind of old man, the common way of thinking, generally aims at possession, wellbeing, influence, success, fame and so on. But this has too limited a scope; in the final analysis, it is the 'self' that remains at the centre of the world. We must learn to think more deeply, ... we must learn to understand God's will so that it moulds our own will, so that we ourselves want what God wants, so that we recognise that what God wants is beautiful and good".

  In his Letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle says that "with Christ we must reach adulthood, mature humanity. ... Paul wants Christians to have 'responsible' faith, 'adult' faith. The phrase 'adult faith' has become a common slogan over recent decades. It is often understood as the attitude of those who no longer listen to the Church and her pastors, but autonomously choose what they wish to believe and not to believe: a sort of 'do-it-yourself' faith. This is also presented as the 'courage' to go against the Magisterium of the Church. The truth, however, is that it requires no courage because one is always certain of garnering public sympathy.

  "What does require courage", he added, "is to adhere to the faith of the Church even if this contradicts the blueprint of the modern world. It is the 'non-conformity' of faith that Paul calls 'adult faith'. What he considers childlike is to charge after all the winds and currents of the age".

  The Holy Father went on: "Part of adult faith, for example, is commitment to the inviolability of human life from the very first moment, thus radically opposing the principle of violence by defending the most helpless human creatures. Part of adult faith is recognising lifelong marriage between a man and a woman, as ordained by God and re-established by Christ. Adult faith does not allow itself to be blown here and there by the slightest breeze".

  "Yet Paul does not limit himself to mere negation, he leads us on to the great 'yes'. ... The new way of thinking that faith has given us is primarily directed towards truth. The power of evil is falsehood. The power of faith, the power of God, is truth. ... God makes Himself visible to us in the face of Jesus Christ. And looking at Christ we recognise another thing: that truth and charity are inseparable".

  "The Apostle tells us that, by working according to truth in charity, we contribute to ensuring that everything - the universe - develops towards Christ. On the basis of his faith, Paul is not simply concerned for our personal rectitude or for the growth of the Church. ... The ultimate goal of Christ's work is the universe, the transformation of the universe, of the entire human world, of all creation. Those who, together with Christ, serve the truth in charity contribute to the true progress of the world".

  Finally, Benedict XVI recalled how in the Letter to the Ephesians the Apostle speaks of the need to strengthen "'inner being'. ... The inner vacuum - the weakness of inner being - is one of the great problems of our age", he said. "Inner life must be strengthened: the perception of the heart, the capacity to see and understand the world and mankind from within, with the heart. We need a reason illuminated by the heart so as to learn to act according to the truth in charity".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 JUN 2009 (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. today, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, Benedict XVI celebrated the Eucharist in the Vatican Basilica. Concelebrating with the Holy Father were 34 new metropolitan archbishops, upon whom he imposed the pallium.

  At the beginning of the ceremony, the Holy Father addressed a special greeting to members of a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, headed by His Eminence Emmanuel, metropolitan of France and director of the office of the Orthodox Church to the European Union.

  In his homily Benedict XVI commented on the First Letter of St. Peter, explaining that it focuses on the figure of Christ and highlighting how the Apostle describes Him as "shepherd and guardian of ... souls" while, in the same context, the Greek text uses the word "episcopos" (bishop).

  "It is surprising the Peter should call Christ Himself bishop, bishop of souls", said the Pope. "What this means is that He sees us from God's perspective. Looking from God's standpoint gives an overall view, the dangers are evident but also the hopes and the possibilities. From God's perspective one sees the essence, one sees the inner man. If Christ is the bishop of souls, the aim is to ensure that man's soul does not become impoverished, that man does not lose his essence, his capacity for truth and love; the aim is to ensure that he comes to recognise God, that he is not lost up blind alleys, that he does not lose himself in isolation. ... In this perspective, being a bishop, being a priest, means ... making oneself available to human beings that they may find life".

  "The word 'bishop' is closely related to the word 'shepherd'", said the Pope explaining how the pastor "must be capable of resisting the enemy, the wolves; he must go before, show the way, maintain the unity of the flock. ... This is what being a pastor, model to the flock, means: living the word now, in the great community of holy Church".

  "As pastors of our own times we, more than others, have the duty to understand the reason of the faith; the duty not to allow it to remain mere tradition but to recognise it as the answer to our questions. ... Part of our duties as pastors is to penetrate the faith with our minds in order to show the reasons for our hope in the disputes of our age. ... Faith must not remain a theory, it must become life. ... From such a living certainty stems the capacity to communicate the faith believably to others".

  At the beginning of his Letter, St. Peter "tells us that the outcome of our faith is the salvation of souls", said the Holy Father. In this context he highlighted how "lack of concern for souls, inner impoverishment of man, destroys not only the individual but threatens the destiny of all humankind. Without the healing of souls, without the healing of man from within, there can be no salvation for humanity. The true sickness of souls is defined by St. Peter as ignorance, in other words as non knowledge of God. Those who do not know God, those who do not at least seek Him sincerely, remain excluded from true life".

  "It is obedience to the truth that purifies the soul, and coexistence with falsehood that pollutes it. Obedience to the truth begins with the small truths of daily life, which can often be tiring and painful. This obedience then extends to unreserved obedience towards Truth itself, which is Christ. Such obedience makes us not only pure, but above all free for service to Christ, and so to the salvation of the world".

  Finally, turning to address the new metropolitan archbishops, the Pope told them that the pallium they were about to receive "reminds us of the flock of Jesus Christ, which you must feed in communion with Peter. ... It reminds us of the fact the He, supreme Pastor, made Himself a Lamb in order to assume all our destinies, to carry us and heal us from within".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 JUN 2009 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his private study overlooking St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims gathered below.

  On this Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Benedict XVI addressed a special greeting to faithful of his own diocese of Rome, assuring them of his constant prayers "that Rome may uphold its Christian vocation by maintaining unadulterated its immense spiritual and cultural heritage", and "that its inhabitants may translate the beauty of the faith they have received into concrete forms of thought and action, thus offering those who ... come to this city, an atmosphere charged with humanity and evangelical values".

  "Today's Solemnity also has a universal aspect", he went on. "It expresses the unity and catholicity of the Church. That is why every year on this day, the new metropolitan archbishops come to Rome to receive the pallium, symbol of their communion with Peter's Successor".

  "May the shared veneration of these martyrs [Peter and Paul] be a sign of an ever greater and more deeply felt communion among Christians all over the world".

  Following the Angelus prayer, Benedict XVI indicated that "the publication of my third Encyclical, entitled 'Caritas in veritate', is now imminent. Returning to the social themes contained in 'Populorum progressio' written by Servant of God Paul VI in 1967, this document - dated today 29 June, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles - aims to delve more deeply into certain aspects of the integral development of our age, in the light of charity and of truth.

  "To your prayers I entrust this latest contribution made by the Church to mankind, in her commitment to sustainable development while fully respecting human dignity and the real needs of everyone", he concluded.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2009 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Pope received the 34 metropolitan archbishops upon whom he imposed the pallium yesterday, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles. The archbishops were accompanied by members of their families.

  The Holy Father addressed the prelates in various languages. To the new Italian archbishops he expressed the hope that, during the recently-inaugurated Year for Priests, they would "be exemplary pastors, zealous and rich in love for the Lord and for your communities. Thus you will guide and provide solid support for priests, your primary collaborators in pastoral ministry, and co-operate effectively in spreading the Kingdom of God throughout the beloved land of Italy".

  Benedict XVI also had words of encouragement for new Spanish-speaking archbishops: "Following the footsteps of the Good Pastor", he said, "always be signs of unity among your faithful, strengthening bonds of communion with Peter's Successor, with your suffragan bishops and with everyone who collaborates in your evangelising mission. In this Year for Priests that has just begun, keep your clergy very close to your hearts. They expect to be kindly treated by you, like fathers and brothers who accept them, listen to them and show concern for them".

  The Pope also thanked Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki of Lviv of the Latins, Ukraine, for "the service he has given the Church, as a collaborator of mine and, prior to that, of my venerated predecessor John Paul II".
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VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2009 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a telegram sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., in the Holy Father's name, to Archbishop Benvenuto Italo Castellani of Lucca, Italy, for yesterday's explosion of a goods train in the station of Viareggio which left thirteen dead and many injured, some critically.

  "Having learned the news of the serious accident at the station of Viareggio, the Supreme Pontiff expresses his heartfelt participation in the suffering afflicting the entire city. While giving assurances of his fervent prayers for the souls of those who have so tragically died, he invokes from the Lord a speedy recovery for the injured and, entrusting those affected by this dramatic event to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary, he sends a special and comforting apostolic blessing".
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VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Gerard Tlali Lerotholi O.M.I., professor at the National University of Lesotho and at the Seminary of St. Augustine, as archbishop of Maseru (area 7,739, population 813,362, Catholics 364,858, priests 87, religious 386), Lesotho. The archbishop-elect was born in St. James Mission, Lesotho in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1982. He succeeds Archbishop Bernard Mohlalisi O.M.I., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Augustinus Tumaole Bane O.M.I., superior of the "Mater Jesu Scholasticate, Roma" in Maseru, Lesotho, as bishop of Leribe (area 5,129, population 424,400, Catholics 230,639, priests 39, religious 226), Lesotho. The bishop-elect was born in Motsistseng, Mokhotlong, Lesotho in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1977. He succeeds Bishop Paul Khoarai, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

  On Saturday 27 June it was made public that the Holy Father appointed:

 - Fr. Manuel da Silva Rodrigues Linda of the clergy of the diocese of Vila Real, Portugal, rector of the diocesan seminary, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Braga (area 2,857, population 959,000, Catholics 881,900, priests 524, permanent deacons 8, religious 733), Portugal. The bishop-elect was born in Paus, Portugal in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1981.

 - Fr. Fernando Jose Castro Aguayo of the clergy of the Personal Prelature of Opus Dei, episcopal vicar for pastoral care in the eastern zone of the archdiocese of Caracas, Venezuela, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 790, population 4,292,000, Catholics 3,749,000, priests 560, permanent deacons 8, religious 1,769). The bishop-elect was born in Caracas in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1984.

 - Stefano Fralleoni, official of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, as accountant general of the same institution.
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