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Monday, July 6, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 4 JUL 2009 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the 120 participants in a European congress on the pastoral care of vocations which was held in Rome and focused on the theme: "The Gospel of vocation for young people in European culture". The Pope reminded them how "concern for vocations is one of the pastoral priorities for all dioceses, and assumes even greater importance in the context of the recently-inaugurated Year for Priests".

The parable of the sower was the focus of the work of the congress, in which context the Pope noted how "the sower scatters the seed of the Word of God, well aware that it may find inadequate soil that will not allow it to grow. ... Nonetheless, the sower does not lose heart, because he knows that part of his seed is destined to find 'good soil', in other words ardent hearts capable of giving a ready welcome to the Word".

"The image of the earth can evoke the situation of families, good or bad as it may be; the working environment, sometimes arid and harsh; days of suffering and tears", he said. "The earth is, above all, the heart of man, in particular that of the young: ... a heart often confused and disoriented yet capable of containing unexpected energy and capacity to give, ready to open itself to a life spent in love for Jesus ... with the certainty that comes from having found life's greatest treasure.

"It is always God and God alone Who sows in man's heart" the Pope added. "Only after the abundant and generous sowing of the Word of God can we then venture along the paths of accompaniment and education, of formation and discernment", he said. "Like Christ, the priest and the animator must be a 'grain of wheat' who sacrifices himself to do the Father's will; who knows how to live hidden from clamour and strife; who abandons the search for visibility and image which so often today are the criterion and even the goal of life for such a large part of our culture, and which fascinate so many young people".

"Be sowers of trust and hope", the Holy Father told his audience. "Many young people today often experience a profound sense of confusion. Not infrequently human words lack future and perspective, they lack also a sense of wisdom. An attitude of frenetic impatience is spreading, an inability to wait. And yet this could be the moment for God: His call, mediated by the force and effectiveness of the Word, generates a path of hope towards fullness of life".

Finally, turning to consider the figure of St. John Mary Vianney who "dedicated his life to the spiritual guidance of others", the Pope said: "The Year for Priests offers us a fine opportunity to rediscover a profound sense of vocational pastoral care, and of its fundamental methodologies. These are: simple and credible witness; shared and harmonious communion within each particular Church; educating people to follow the Lord in everyday life; listening guided by the Holy Spirit in order to direct young people in the search for God and for true happiness; and finally, truth, which is the only thing that can generate inner freedom".


VATICAN CITY, 4 JUL 2009 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. sent a telegram of condolence, in the name of the Holy Father, to Fr. Adolfo Nicolas Pachon S.J., superior general of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), for the death on 2 July of Fr. Pasquale Borgomeo S.J.

During this morning's funeral Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., current director general of Vatican Radio, read out the telegram in which Benedict XVI recalls how the late Fr. Borgomeo "was a faithful collaborator of the Holy See for many years, especially as a much-appreciated director general of Vatican Radio".

The telegram continues: "The Supreme Pontiff wishes to express his heartfelt condolences to the family and to the Society of Jesus, who have been affected by this loss, and while with a grateful heart he recalls Fr. Borgomeo's competent efforts in the service of social communications, he entrusts his soul to the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin".


VATICAN CITY, 4 JUL 2009 (VIS) - The Pope sent a letter to Silvio Berlusconi, Italian prime minister, for the forthcoming meeting of the heads of State and Government of the industrialised countries (G8), due to take place in the Italian city of L'Aquila from 8 to 10 July.

John Paul II, writes Benedict XVI, "was convinced that freeing the poorest countries from the burden of debt and, more generally, eradicating the causes of extreme poverty in the world, depended on the most economically-advanced governments and States fully assuming the responsibility they bear towards all humanity".

Nonetheless, the Pope goes on, despite the fact that one of the millennium goals was to eradicate extreme poverty in the world by 2015, "the financial and economic crisis that has struck the entire planet since the start of 2008 has altered the panorama, so that there is now a real risk not only that the hope of emerging from extreme poverty may be extinguished, but that people who until now benefited from some minimal material wellbeing risk falling into indigence".

"With the same force as that with which John Paul II called for relief from foreign debt, I too would like to make an appeal to the G8 member States, to the other States represented and to governments of the whole world, that their aid for development, especially the part directed at 'evaluating' the 'human resource', may be maintained and strengthened, and not just despite the crisis but precisely because this is one of the principle ways to solve it".

"The question of access to education is intimately linked to the effectiveness of international co-operation", writes the Holy Father. "Education is an indispensable condition for the working of democracy, for the fight against corruption, for the exercise of political, economic and social rights, and for the recovery of all States, both poor and rich". In this context he also mentions the efforts being made in the field of education by the Catholic Church and by other religions in the "poorest and most remote corners of the globe".

The Holy Father also makes it clear that "the level of technical efficiency of the provisions necessary to emerge from the crisis directly depends on the level of their ethical force". What is important, he goes on, is "the creation of jobs for everyone, thus enabling workers to meet the needs of their families in a dignified way, and to absolve the primary responsibility they have in educating their children and in playing an active role in the communities to which they belong".

He encourages the G8 nations "to reform international financial structures in order to ensure effective co-ordination of national policies, avoiding ... speculation and guaranteeing the broad international availability of public and private credit at the service of production and of work, especially in the most disadvantaged countries and regions.

"The ethical legitimisation of the political commitments of the G8 will naturally require that they be weighed against the ideas and needs of the entire international community", the Pope adds, highlighting the importance of "reinforcing multilateralism, not only in economic questions but over the entire spectrum of topics concerning peace, world security, disarmament, health, and protection of the environment and of natural resources for present and future generations".

The Pontiff encourages G8 leaders "to listen to the voice of Africa and of less economically-developed countries". He also calls upon them "to seek effective ways to link the decisions made by various State groupings, including the G8, to the United Nations Assembly, where each nation, whatever its political or economic importance, can legitimately express itself in a position of equality with others".

Finally, noting how the summit meeting is to be held in a city recently affected by an earthquake, the Pope indicates that the aid L'Aquila has received "could be seen as an invitation to the members of the G8 and to governments and peoples of the world to unite to face current challenges, which require humankind to make decisive choices concerning the very destiny of man, intimately connected with that of creation".


VATICAN CITY, 4 JUL 2009 (VIS) - The 63rd meeting of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organisational and Economic Problems of the Holy See was held in the Vatican from 1 to 3 July, under the presidency of Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.

A communique published this afternoon explains that the Holy See consolidated financial statements for 2008, presented to the cardinals during the meeting by Archbishop Velasio De Paolis C.S., president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, show a deficit of 911,514 euro, the difference between an income of 253,953,869 euro and outgoings of 254,865,383 euro.

The outgoings are due above all to the ordinary and extraordinary expenses of the dicasteries and offices of the Holy See, which employ 2,732 people of whom 761 are ecclesiastics, 334 religious and 1,637 lay people.

The meeting also examined the consolidated financial statements of the Governorate of Vatican City State for 2008, which show a deficit of slightly more than 15 million euro. A total of 1,894 people work under the jurisdiction of the Governorate.

The communique explains how, during the period in question, the Governorate began to study an integrated communications infrastructure including telephone and internet services, and installed photoelectric panels on the roof of the Paul VI Hall. It also mentions the "notable economic and financial burden of protecting, evaluating and restoring the artistic heritage of the Holy See (restoration of the Pauline Chapel and work on the papal basilicas of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls and St. Mary Major)".

Finally the consolidated financial statements of Peter's Pence were also presented. This fund consists of offers made to the Holy Father by the particular Churches, especially for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, and contributions by institutes of consecrated life, societies of apostolic life, foundations and various members of the faithful. In 2008 a total of 54,387,714 euro was raised and, although the number of donations went up, the total fell slightly due to the general economic situation.


VATICAN CITY, 4 JUL 2009 (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father presided at Vespers in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Place to mark its reopening following seven years of restoration work. The chapel is the work of the architect Antonio da Sangallo, while its frescoes depicting the conversion of St. Paul and the crucifixion of St. Peter are some of the last done by Michelangelo. With the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the Pauline Chapel was restored to its function as a place of worship for the Pope and the Pontifical Family.

In his homily Benedict XVI explained how the faces of Paul and Peter play a central role in the chapel's iconography, noting that, although it is known that Paul was around thirty at the time of his conversion, Michelangelo depicts him as an old man. "The artist's decision takes us outside pure realism, it takes us beyond the mere narration of events and introduces us to a deeper level", he said. Thus Paul's face "reveals the maturity of a man illuminated from within by Christ the Lord. ... The grace and peace of God enveloped Saul, conquering him and transforming him from within".

Peter, who turns his head to contemplate the viewer, seems to express "the state of mind of a man facing death and evil; he looks lost ... as if he were searching for something or someone in this his last hour". The Apostles "are facing one another. ... It is as if Peter, at the moment of supreme trial, sought that light which gave the true faith to Paul. In this context the two images become two acts of the same drama, the drama of the Paschal Mystery: Cross and Resurrection, death and life, sin and grace".

"For those who come to pray in this chapel, and above all for the Pope, Peter and Paul become masters of the faith. By their witness they invite us to ... meditate in silence upon the mystery of the Cross which accompanies the Church until the end of time, and to welcome the light of the faith thanks to which the apostolic community can extend the missionary and evangelising activity entrusted to her by the Risen Christ to the confines of the earth.

"No solemn celebrations with the people are held here", the Pope added. "Here Peter's Successor and his collaborators meditate in silence and adore the living Christ, Who is especially present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the Sacrament in which all the work of Redemption is concentrated. In the Eucharistic Jesus we contemplate the transformation of death into life, of violence into love".

At the end of his homily, Benedict XVI expressed his thanks to everyone who had contributed to the restoration of the Pauline Chapel, from the Vatican Museums, to the Governorate of Vatican City State, to the Association of Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.


VATICAN CITY, 4 JUL 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, as bishop of Trieste (area 134, population 243,900, Catholics 220,000, priests 144, permanent deacons 10, religious 189), Italy, giving him the "ad personam" title of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Pettorazza Grimani, Italy in 1947, he was ordained a priest in 1971 and consecrated a bishop in 2001. He succeeds Bishop Eugenio Ravignani, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed as consultors of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples: Archbishop-bishop Henryk Hoser S.A.C. of Warszawa-Praga, Poland; Bishop Paul Hinder O.F.M. Cap., apostolic vicar of Arabia, United Arab Emirates; Fr. Cataldo Zuccaro, rector of the Pontifical Urban University in Rome, and Fr. Heinz Wilhelm Steckling O.M.I., superior general of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

- Appointed Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the twelfth centenary of the death of St. Ludger, first bishop of Munster and "Apostle of the Saxons and Frisians", due to take place at Werden an der Ruhr, Germany on 6 September.

- Appointed Msgr. Juan Miguel Ferrer Grenesche, vicar general of the archdiocese of Toledo, Spain, as second under secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
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VATICAN CITY, 5 JUL 2009 (VIS) - At midday today, before praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI recalled how the first Sunday of July was once dedicated to devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Christ, a tradition confirmed "by Blessed John XXIII who, in his Apostolic Letter 'Inde a primis' of 30 June 1960, explained its significance and approved its litanies".

Addressing the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope pointed out that "the theme of blood, associated with that of the Pascal Lamb, is of primary importance in Sacred Scripture", and he recalled Christ's words at the Last Supper: "this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins".

"It is written in Genesis that the blood of Abel killed by his brother Cain calls to God from the earth. Unfortunately, today as yesterday, this cry has not ceased as human blood continues to flow because of violence, injustice and hatred. When will men learn that life is sacred and belongs only to God? When will they understand that we are all brothers? To the cry for spilt blood which rises from so many parts of the earth, God responds with the blood of His Son Who gave His life for us. Christ did not respond to evil with evil, but with good, with His infinite love.

"The Blood of Christ is the pledge of God's faithful love for humankind. By gazing at the wounds of the crucified Christ each man, even in conditions of abject moral poverty, can say: 'God has not abandoned me, He loves me, He gave his life for me', and thus rediscover hope".

After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father spoke of the recent train accident in the Italian city of Viareggio which killed twenty-two people and injured many others. "I join the suffering of those who have lost loved ones, of the injured and of poeple who have suffered material loss", he said. "While raising heartfelt prayers to God for everyone involved in this tragedy, I express the hope that such incidents may not be repeated and that safety in the workplace and in daily life may be guaranteed".

The Pope concluded by deploring "this morning's attack in Cotabato, Philippines, where the explosion of a bomb in front of the cathedral during the celebration of Sunday Mass left a number of dead and many injured, including women and children. As I pray to God for the victims of this ignoble act, I once again raise my voice to condemn the use of violence, which is never a just solution to problems".


VATICAN CITY, 6 JUL 2009 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Carl-Henri Guiteau, the new envoy extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Haiti to the Holy See.

In his address, the Pope recalled the natural disasters that have caused serious damage to the country over recent months. In this context he also underlined how "the country's vulnerability to extreme weather ... has also led to a greater awareness of the need to protect creation".

"Environmental protection", he went on, "is a challenge for everyone because it involves defending a collective asset. ... This responsibility must bring present generations to concern themselves about future generations. The reckless exploitation of the resources of nature and its consequences, which have a particularly serious impact on the poorest, cannot be effectively dealt with except through political and economic decisions that accord with human dignity, and through effective international co-operation".

After highlighting how "signs of hope are not lacking" in Haiti, Benedict XVI encouraged "efforts that contribute to promoting the protection of life and to restoring importance to the institution of the family, especially by reclaiming the value of marriage in society".

"It is vital to give real support to families in most need", he said, "and to ensure effective protection for women and children who at times are victims of violence, abandonment and injustice".

"The education of the young is also a priority for the future of the nation", the Holy Father went on. "This is an important task, vital for the quality of human life both at individual and community level. In fact, various forms of cultural privation often lie at the roots of poverty". In this context he also expressed his satisfaction for the high esteem in which the educational institutions of the Catholic Church are held in the country.

Finally the Pope addressed some words to the Catholic community of Haiti, encouraging them to "serve society, ever attentive to the needs of the poorest and seeking the unity of the nation, in fraternity and solidarity. This", he concluded, "is an authentic sign of hope for all Haitians".


VATICAN CITY, 6 JUL 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

- Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples, Italy.

- Luis Miguel Leitao Ritto, head of the European Commission delegation to the Holy See, on his farewell visit.

- Acisclo Valladares Molina, ambassador of Guatemala, on his farewell visit.

On Saturday 4 July he received in separate audiences:

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

- Cardinal Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

- Monique Patricia Antoinette Frank, ambassador of the Netherlands, on her farewell visit.

- Lawrence Edward Chewning Fabrega, ambassador of Panama, on his farewell visit.
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