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Friday, October 30, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 30 OCT 2009 (VIS) - We remind our readers that will be no VIS service next Monday, November 2, All Souls Day. Service resumes on Tuesday, November 3.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 OCT 2009 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received the credential letters of the new ambassador of Panama, Delia Cardenas Christie.

In his address, the Pope highlighted that "the identity of Panama, which for centuries has been forged as a mosaic of ethnicities, peoples, and cultures, presents itself as an eloquent sign to the human family that peaceful co-existence between persons of diverse origins in a climate of communion and cooperation is possible". In this sense, he encouraged all its citizens "to work toward greater social, economic, and cultural equality between the distinct sectors of society, renouncing selfish interests, strengthening solidarity, and reconciling wills, so that, in the words of Pope Paul VI,  'the scandal of glaring inequalities' might be uprooted."

The Pope emphasized that "the Gospel message has played an essential and constructive role in shaping Panama's identity, forming part of the nation's spiritual patrimony and cultural heritage".

"The Church's presence holds particular relevance in the area of education and in assisting the poor, the sick, the weak, the imprisoned, and immigrants, as well as in the defence of aspects as basic as the commitment to social justice, the fight against corruption, the work toward peace, the inviolability of the right to life from the moment of conception until natural death as well as in safeguarding the family based on marriage between a man and a woman. These are irreplaceable elements for creating a healthy social fabric and building a dynamic society, precisely because of the stability of the moral values sustaining, ennobling, and dignifying it".

The Pope continually referred to the commitment of Panamanian authorities "in strengthening democratic institutions and public life rooted upon strong ethical pillars. In this respect they have spared no efforts to promote an efficient and independent juridical system and to act in all areas with honor, transparency in community activism, and professionalism and diligence in resolving the problems affecting the citizens. This will favor the development of a just and fraternal society in which no sector of the population is forgotten or doomed to violence or marginalization".

  "The valuable role Panama is playing in the political stability of Central America bears noting," he highlighted, "in moments where the current situation shows how the consistent and harmonic progress of the human community does not depend solely on economic development or technological discoveries".

  The Holy Father concluded by pointing out that "these aspects necessarily have to be carried out with those of an ethical and spiritual nature because a society advances primarily when in it abounds in persons with inner righteousness, faultless conduct, and the resolute will to work toward the common good, and who also impart to further generations a true humanism, sown within the family and cultivated at school so that the welfare of the nation be the fruit of the fundamental growth of the person and of all persons".
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VATICAN CITY, 30 OCT 2009 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict XVI received participants in the conference sponsored by the Specola Vaticana (Vatican Observatory) for the International Year of Astronomy accompanied by Giovanni Cardinal Lajolo, President of the Governorate of Vatican City.

  The Pope recalled that the International Year of Astronomy coincides with the 400 year anniversary of Galileo's first observations of the heavens made with a telescope and added; "As you know, the history of the Observatory is in a very real way linked to the figure of Galileo, the controversies which surrounded his research, and the Church's attempt to attain a correct and fruitful understanding of the relationship between science and religion".

  "I take this occasion," he continued, "to express my gratitude not only for the careful studies which have clarified the precise historical context of Galileo's condemnation, but also for the efforts of all those committed to ongoing dialogue and reflection on the complementarity of faith and reason in the service of an integral understanding of man and his place in the universe".

  The pontiff observed that "the International Year of Astronomy is meant not least to recapture for people throughout our world the extraordinary wonder and amazement which characterized the great age of discovery in the sixteenth century.  (…)  Our own age, poised at the edge of perhaps even greater and more far-ranging scientific discoveries, would benefit from that same sense of awe and the desire to attain a truly humanistic synthesis of knowledge which inspired the fathers of modern science".

  "As we seek to respond to the challenge of this Year -- to lift up our eyes to the heavens in order to rediscover our place in the universe -- how can we not be caught up in the marvel expressed by the Psalmist so long ago?  Contemplating the starry sky, he cried out with wonder to the Lord: 'When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you set in place, what is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man, that you should care for him'?".

  "It is my hope," the Pope concluded, "that the wonder and exaltation which are meant to be the fruits of this International Year of Astronomy will lead beyond the contemplation of the marvels of creation to the contemplation of the Creator, and of that Love (…) which, in the words of Dante Alighieri, 'moves the sun and the other stars'".


VATICAN CITY, 30 OCT 2009 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for November is: "That all the men and women in the world, especially those who have responsibilities in the field of politics and economics, may never fail in their commitment to safeguard creation".

  His mission intention is: "That believers in the different religions, through the testimony of their lives and fraternal dialogue, may clearly demonstrate that the name of God is a bearer of peace".
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VATICAN CITY, 30 OCT 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father received today in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

- Professor Angelo Caloia.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 OCT 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Kohima, India, presented by bishop Jose Mukala, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the code of canon law.

- Appointed Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, archbishop emeritus of Westminster, Great Britain, as member of  the Congregation for Bishops and for the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
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