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Thursday, September 17, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 17 SEP 2009 (VIS) - This morning in Castelgandolfo the Holy Father received a group of prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Northeast 2), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

 Highlighting the functions of the various members of the Church, the Pope explained how "the particular identity of priests and laity must be seen in the light of the essential difference between priestly ministry and the 'common priesthood'. Hence it is important to avoid the secularisation of clergy and the 'clericalisation' of the laity".

  "In this perspective", he went on, "the lay faithful must undertake to give expression in real life - also through political commitment - to the Christian view of anthropology and the social doctrine of the Church. While priests must distance themselves from politics in order to favour the unity and communion of all the faithful, thus becoming a point of reference for everyone".

  Benedict XVI indicated that "the lack of priests does not justify a more active and abundant participation of the laity. The truth is that the greater the faithful's awareness of their own responsibilities within the Church, the clearer becomes the specific identity and inimitable role of the priest as pastor of the entire community, witness to the authenticity of the faith, and dispenser of the mysteries of salvation in the name of Christ the Head".

  "The function of the clergy is essential and irreplaceable in announcing the Word and celebrating the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. ... For this reason it is vital to ask the Lord to send workers for His harvest; and it is necessary that priests express joy in their faithfulness to their identity".

  The Pope made it clear that "the shortage of priests must not come to be considered as a normal or typical state of affairs for the future". In this context he encouraged the prelates "to combine efforts to encourage new priestly vocations and find the pastors your dioceses need, helping one another so that all of you have better-trained and more numerous priests to support the life of faith and the apostolic mission".

  Referring then to the 150th anniversary of the death of the "Cure of Ars", which the Church is currently commemorating with the Year for Priests, Benedict XVI indicated that St. John Mary Vianney "continues even now to be a model for priests, especially in living a life of celibacy as a requirement for the total giving of self, expressed through that pastoral charity which Vatican Council II presents as the unifying centre of a priest's being and actions".

  The Holy Father concluded by assuring the prelates of the existence of "many signs of hope for the future of particular Churches, a future that God is preparing through the dedication and the faithfulness with which you exercise your episcopal ministry".
AL/.../BRAZIL                             VIS 20090917 (480)


VATICAN CITY, 17 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, met with Emil Boc, prime minister of Romania. The prime minister was received by the Holy Father Benedict XVI at the end of the general audience yesterday, 16 September.

  "The cordial discussions enabled a fruitful exchange of opinions to take place concerning the current international situation, with particular focus on certain aspects of bilateral co-operation between the Holy See and Romania. Some important questions concerning relations between the Catholic Church and the Romanian State were also touched upon. In this context, the secretary of State expressed an interest in, among other things, the situation of St. Joseph's Cathedral in Bucharest and of Catholic communities in Romania".


VATICAN CITY, 17 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences four prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Antonio Muniz Fernandes O. Carm. of Maceio, accompanied by Archbishop emeritus Edvaldo Concalves Amaral S.D.B.

    - Bishop Dulcenio Fontes de Matos of Palmeira dos Indios.

    - Bishop Valerio Breda S.D.B. of Penedo.
AL/.../...                                         VIS 20090917 (70)


VATICAN CITY, 17 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the apostolic vicariate of Mitu, Colombia, presented by Bishop Jose Gustavo Angel Ramirez M.X.Y., upon having reached the age limit.

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Dublin, Ireland, presented by Bishop Fiachra O Ceallaigh O.F.M., in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Bishop Vincenzo Manzella of Caltagirone, Italy, as bishop of Cefalu (area 1,718, population 113,254, Catholics 110,930, priests 96, permanent deacons 8, religious 133), Italy. He succeeds Bishop Francesco Sgalambro, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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