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Monday, September 14, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 14 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences six prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Aldo di Cillo Pagotto S.S.S. of Paraiba.

    - Bishop Jose Gonzalez Alonso of Cajazeiras.

    - Bishop Jaime Vieira Rocha of Campina Grande.

    - Bishop Francisco de Assis Dantas de Lucena of Guarabira.

    - Bishop Manoel dos Reios de Farias of Patos.

    - Fr. Joao Acioly, diocesan administrator of Afogados da Ingazeira.

  Yesterday, 13 September, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, apostolic nuncio to Lebanon, accompanied by members of his family.

 - Archbishop Franco Coppola, apostolic nuncio to Burundi, accompanied by members of his family.

 - Archbishop Pietro Parolin, apostolic nuncio to Venezuela, accompanied by members of his family.

 - Bishop Raffaello Martinelli of Frascati, Italy, accompanied by members of his family.

 - Bishop Giorgio Corbellini, president the Labour Office of the Apostolic See (ULSA), accompanied by members of his family.
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VATICAN CITY, 13 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI appeared on the balcony overlooking the internal courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered below.

  Commenting on today's Gospel text, the Pope noted how it "raises two crucial questions which I would summarise thus: 'who is Jesus of Nazareth for you?' and 'is your faith translated into actions or not?'". To the first of these questions, "Peter's response is clear and immediate: 'You are Christ', in other words the Messiah. ... Peter and the other Apostles, unlike most people, believed that Jesus was not only a great teacher or prophet, but much more. They had faith. They believed that God was present and worked in Him.

  "However", the Holy Father added, "immediately after this profession of faith, when for the first time Jesus openly announced that He would have to suffer and be killed, Peter opposed this prospect of torment and death. Jesus had .... to make him understand that it is not enough to believe that He is God but, impelled by charity, we have to follow Him on His journey, the journey of the cross. Jesus did not come to teach us a philosophy but to show us a path, the path that leads to life".

  Pope Benedict went on: "This path is love, which is an expression of true faith. If someone loves his neighbour with a pure and generous heart, this means he truly knows God. If on the other hand someone claims to have faith but does not love his brothers and sisters, he is not a true believer. God does not dwell in him".

  In this context the Holy Father quoted St. John Chrysostom's commentary on the Letter of James which was the second reading of today's Mass: "A man may have an upright faith in the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit, but if he does not lead an upright life, his faith will not serve him for his salvation".

  Finally, recalling that tomorrow and the day after are, respectively, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Pope said: "The Virgin Mary, who believed in the Word of the Lord, did not lose her faith in God when she saw her Son rejected, humiliated and placed on the cross. She stayed near Jesus, suffering and praying unto the end. And she saw the radiant dawn of His Resurrection. Let us learn from her to bear witness to our faith through a life of humble service, ready to pay personally so as to remain faithful to the Gospel of charity and truth, in the certainty that nothing of what we do will be lost".
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VATICAN CITY, 12 SEP 2009 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father conferred episcopal ordination upon five priests who have worked in the Secretariat of State, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Governorate of Vatican City State.

  The new bishops and archbishops are: Msgr. Gabriele Giordano Caccia, apostolic nuncio to Lebanon; Msgr. Franco Coppola, apostolic nuncio to Burundi; Msgr. Pietro Parolin, apostolic nuncio to Venezuela; Msgr. Raffaello Martinelli, bishop of the suburbicarian see of Frascati, and Msgr. Giorgio Corbellini, president of the Labour Office of the Apostolic See (ULSA).

  In his homily Benedict XVI recalled how "service and the giving of self" represent "the most profound nucleus of the mission of Jesus Christ and, at the same time, the true essence of His priesthood".

  "In Jerusalem during the last week of His life Jesus Himself ... revealed three characteristics of correct service, giving concrete form to the image of priestly ministry", he said.

  "The first characteristic the Lord requires from His servant is faithfulness", the Pope explained. "The Church is not our Church but His Church, the Church of God. ... We do not seek power, prestige or esteem for ourselves. We lead men and women towards Christ and thus towards the living God. In this way we introduce them into truth, and into the freedom that derives from truth".

  The Holy Father highlighted the fact that "affairs in civil society and, not infrequently, in the Church too, suffer from the fact that many of those charged with responsibility work for themselves and not for the community. ... The faithfulness of the servant of Jesus Christ consists precisely in the fact that he does not seek to adapt the faith to the fashions of the age".

  "Faith", he explained, "needs to be transmitted. It was not given to us for ourselves alone, for the individual salvation of our souls, but for others, for this world and for our time".

  The second characteristic is prudence, which is "something quite different from being astute", said the Pope. Prudence, according to Greek philosophical tradition the first of the cardinal virtues, "indicates the primacy of truth, which through 'prudence' becomes the criterion by which we act. Prudence requires humble, disciplined and vigilant reason which does not allow itself to be blinded by prejudice, which does not act in accordance with desires and passions, but seeks the truth, even an uncomfortable truth".

  "Through Jesus Christ, God opened the window of truth for us. ... In Sacred Scripture and in faith in the Church, He shows us the essential truth about man, which imposes the right direction upon our actions. Thus, the primary cardinal virtue of the priest minister of Jesus Christ consists in allowing himself to be moulded by the truth that Christ shows us. In this way we truly become men of reason, men who judge on the basis of the whole picture and not of random details".

  The third characteristic is goodness. "Only God is good in the complete sense", the Holy Father explained. "He is goodness, goodness par excellence, goodness in person". Thus in man "being good is necessarily founded upon a profound inner orientation towards God. ... Goodness presupposes above all a living communion with God, a growing interior union with Him".

  Finally Benedict XVI recalled how the Church today commemorates the Most Holy Name of Mary and how "in western tradition the name 'Mary' has been translated as 'Star of the Sea'. ... How many times does the history through which we live seem like a dark sea whose waves strike threateningly against the ship of our lives", he asked. "But then, close by, we see the light that shone forth when Mary said: 'Here am I, the servant of the Lord'. We see the clear light of goodness that emanates from her. In the goodness with which she welcomes and reaches out to the great and small aspirations of so many men and women, we recognise, in a very human way, the goodness of God Himself. With His goodness He ever and anew brings Jesus Christ (and thus the great Light of God) into the world".

"We pray", the Holy Father concluded, "that you may become faithful, prudent and good servants, and thus that one day you may hear from the Lord of History the words: Good and faithful servant, share in the joy of your lord".
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