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Monday, November 16, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 14 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following two communiques at midday today:

  "This morning the Holy Father received in audience Boris Tadic, president of the Republic of Serbia. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "During the meetings, which took place in a very cordial atmosphere, the positive state of bilateral relations was highlighted. Particular attention was given to the main regional challenges and to Serbia's journey towards full integration into the European Union. The contribution the Catholic Church wishes to make to Serbian society was underlined, with mention being made of the factors appropriate to ensuring her presence and activities therein. Furthermore, the positive dialogue with the Orthodox Church was noted, also with a view to the 2013 commemoration of the Edict of Milan, the work of the emperor Constantine who was born in Nis".

  The second communique announces that the Pope also received in audience Jan Fischer, prime minister of the Czech Republic. He too subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "The cordial discussions provided an opportunity to continue conversations that had begun during His Holiness Benedict XVI's recent apostolic trip to the Czech Republic. The good relations that exist between the Holy See and the Czech Republic were highlighted, and the mutual desire confirmed to continue constructive dialogue on bilateral themes concerning relations between the ecclesial and civil communities. Finally, an exchange of opinions took place on questions concerning current international relations, in particular the coming into effect of the Treaty of Lisbon".


VATICAN CITY, 14 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received in audience prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Region South 1, which includes the city of Sao Paulo), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  The Pope began his remarks to them by pointing out that the Brazilian people "guard in their hearts a strong religious sentiment and noble traditions. These are rooted in Christianity and are given deeply-felt and genuine expression in religious and civil life; a heritage rich in values which you make every effort to defend ... and promote. I invite you to continue this constant and methodical work of evangelisation, in the certainty that the authentically Christian formation of consciences is decisive for a profound life of faith, as well as for social maturity and the authentic and balanced wellbeing of the human community".

  "Since a well-formed conscience leads to the true good of human beings", the Holy Father went on, "the Church, by defining that good, illuminates men and women and, through all of Christian life, attempts to educate their consciences. The Church's teaching - due to its source (God), its content (truth) and the place it seeks to occupy (the conscience) - finds a profound and persuasive echo in the heart of each person, believer or non-believer".

  "The question of life, and its defence and promotion, is not just a prerogative of Christians. ... The 'people of life' are happy to share their commitment with others in such a way that they may become ever more numerous and the new culture of love and solidarity may grow, for the true good of human civilisation".

  Benedict XVI encouraged the prelates to speak "to people's hearts" and "to unite their efforts ... in order to face the growing wave of violence and contempt for human beings" who, "from being a gift of God welcomed in the loving intimacy between man and woman, have reached the point of being considered as mere human products".

  In this context he quoted his own recent Encyclical "Caritas in veritate": "A particularly crucial battleground in today's cultural struggle between the supremacy of technology and human moral responsibility is the field of bioethics. In this most delicate and critical area, the fundamental question asserts itself forcefully: is man the product of his own labours or does he depend on God? Scientific discoveries in this field and the possibilities of technological intervention seem so advanced as to force a choice between two types of reasoning: reason open to transcendence or reason closed within immanence".

  "The conviction - founded on proper reason and the certainty of faith - that human life, from conception to natural death, belongs to God and not to man, gives life that sacred character and individual dignity which justify the only correct legal and moral attitude: one of profound respect", said the Pope.

  "We must never lose heart in our call to people's consciences", the Holy Father concluded, and he invited the bishops to work for the cause of God, "not with the sadness of those who see only shortcomings and dangers, but with the firm trust of those who know they can be sure of Christ's victory".
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VATICAN CITY, 14 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Holy Father, written in Latin and dated 14 October, in which he appoints Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as his special envoy to the closing ceremony of celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the evangelisation of Taiwan, due to take place in Taipei on 22 November.

  The cardinal will be accompanied on his mission by Bishop John-Baptist Tseng Chien-tsi, auxiliary of the diocese of Hwalien, and by Fr. Ruben Martinez O.P., pastor of the Immaculate Conception at Wanchin in the diocese of Kaohsiung.


VATICAN CITY, 15 NOV 2009 (VIS) - In his remarks before praying the Angelus today, Benedict XVI spoke of the end of the liturgical year, quoting the passage from the Gospel of St. Mark in which Christ speaks of the end of time in these words: "heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away".

  "Jesus declares that everything is destined to 'pass away'", said the Pope. "Not only the earth but heaven too, here to be understood in its cosmic sense and not as a synonym for God. Sacred Scripture knows no ambiguity: all creation is finite, including the elements deified by ancient mythologies. There is no confusion between the creation and the Creator - rather, there is a clear difference - and with this net distinction Jesus affirms that His words 'will not pass away'; that is, they are of God and, hence, eternal".

  Those who listen to Christ's words "form part of the Kingdom of God; that is, they live under His lordship. They remain in the world but they are no longer of the world. They carry in themselves the seed of eternity, a principle of transformation which even now reveals itself in living a good life, animated by charity, which in the end will lead to the resurrection of the flesh".

  The Holy Father continued: "The Virgin Mary is the living sign of this truth. Her heart was the 'good earth' which accepted the Word of God with complete readiness, so that all her life, transformed in accordance with the image of her Son, was introduced body and soul into eternity, anticipating the eternal vocation of all human beings".

  After praying the Angelus Benedict XVI greeted participants in the plenary assembly of the European Episcopal Commission for the Media, which is currently being held in the Vatican. He then recalled the fact that today marks the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

  In this context he said: "I entrust the deceased to God, and encourage those who travel the roads of the world to be prudent and to show a spirit of responsibility for the gift of health and life, their own and that of others".
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VATICAN CITY, 16 NOV 2009 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI visited the Rome headquarters of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for the occasion of the World Summit on Food Security, being held there from 16 to 18 November.

  Given below are some excerpts from the Holy Father's address to the gathering:

  "The international community is currently facing a grave economic and financial crisis. Statistics bear witness to the dramatic growth in the number of people suffering from hunger, made worse by the rise in price of foodstuffs, the reduction in economic resources available to the poorest peoples, and their limited access to markets and to food - notwithstanding the known fact that the world has enough food for all its inhabitants.

  "Indeed, while low levels of agricultural production persist in some regions, partly owing to climate change, sufficient food is produced on a global scale to satisfy both current demands and those in the foreseeable future. From these data we may deduce that there is no cause-and-effect relationship between population growth and hunger, and this is further demonstrated by the lamentable destruction of foodstuffs for economic gain.

  "In the Encyclical Letter 'Caritas in veritate' I pointed out that ... 'what is missing is a network of economic institutions capable of guaranteeing regular access to sufficient food and water … and also capable of addressing the primary needs and necessities ensuing from genuine food crises'".

  There is a "need to oppose those forms of aid that do grave damage to the agricultural sector, those approaches to food production that are geared solely towards consumption and lack a wider perspective, and especially greed, which causes speculation to rear its head even in the marketing of cereals, as if food were to be treated just like any other commodity.

  "The weakness of current mechanisms for food security and the need to re-examine them are confirmed, one might say, by the mere fact that this summit has been convoked".

  "The concept of co-operation, though, must be consistent with the principle of subsidiarity. ... This is because integral human development requires responsible choices on the part of everyone and it demands an attitude of solidarity - meaning that aid or disaster relief should not be seen as opportunities to promote the interests of those who make resources available or of elite groups among the beneficiaries".

  "Within this overall context of responsibility, every country has the right to define its own economic model, taking steps to secure its freedom to choose its own objectives. In this way, co-operation must become an effective instrument, unbeholden to interests that can absorb a not insignificant part of the resources destined for development. Moreover, it is important to emphasise that an attitude of solidarity regarding the development of poor countries also has the potential to contribute to a solution of the current global crisis".

  "In the current situation there is a continuing disparity in the level of development within and among nations that leads to instability in many parts of the world, accentuating the contrast between poverty and wealth".

  A risk exists, "namely the tendency to view hunger as structural, an integral part of the socio-political situation of the weakest countries, a matter of resigned regret, if not downright indifference. It is not so, and it must never be so! To fight and conquer hunger it is essential to start redefining the concepts and principles that have hitherto governed international relations, in such a way as to answer the question: what can direct the attention and the consequent conduct of States towards the needs of the poorest? The response must be sought not in the technical aspects of co-operation, but in the principles that lie behind it: only in the name of common membership of the worldwide human family can every people and therefore every country be asked to practice solidarity, that is, to shoulder the burden of concrete responsibilities in meeting the needs of others, so as to favour the genuine sharing of goods, founded on love".

  "If the aim is to eliminate hunger, international action is needed not only to promote balanced and sustainable economic growth and political stability, but also to seek out new parameters - primarily ethical but also juridical and economic ones - capable of inspiring the degree of co-operation required to build a relationship of parity between countries at different stages of development.

  "This, as well as closing the existing gap, could favour the capacity of each people to consider itself an active player, thereby confirming that the fundamental equality of all peoples is rooted in the common origin of the human family, the source of those principles of 'natural law' that should inspire political, juridical and economic choices and approaches in international life".

  "In order to combat hunger and promote integral human development, ... access to international markets must be favoured for those products coming from the poorest areas, which today are often relegated to the margins. In order to achieve these objectives, it is necessary to separate the rules of international trade from the logic of profit viewed as an end in itself, directing them towards the support of economic initiative in countries with greater need of development; once they have greater income at their disposal, these countries will be able to advance towards the self-sufficiency that leads to food security.

  "Nor must the fundamental rights of the individual be forgotten, which include, of course, the right to sufficient, healthy and nutritious food, and likewise water; these rights take on an important role in the realisation of others, beginning with the primary one, the right to life".

  "Methods of food production likewise demand attentive analysis of the relationship between development and protection of the environment. ... While the entire human race is called to acknowledge its obligations to future generations, it is also true that States and international organisations have a duty to protect the environment as a shared good".

  "Norms, legislation, development plans and investments are not enough, however: what is needed is a change in the lifestyles of individuals and communities, in habits of consumption and in perceptions of what is genuinely needed. Most of all, there is a moral duty to distinguish between good and evil in human action, so as to rediscover the bond of communion that unites the human person and creation. ... 'Our duties towards the environment are linked to our duties towards the human person, considered in himself and in relation to others. It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the other. Herein lies a grave contradiction in our mentality and practice today: one which demeans the person, disrupts the environment and damages society'.

  "Hunger is the most cruel and concrete sign of poverty. Opulence and waste are no longer acceptable when the tragedy of hunger is assuming ever greater proportions. ... The Catholic Church will always be concerned for efforts to defeat hunger; the Church is committed to support, by word and deed, the action taken in solidarity - planned, responsible and regulated - to which all members of the international community are called to contribute. The Church does not wish to interfere in political decisions: she respects the knowledge gained through scientific study, and decisions arrived at through reason responsibly enlightened by authentically human values, and she supports the effort to eliminate hunger.

  "This is the most immediate and concrete sign of solidarity inspired by charity, and it brooks neither delay nor compromise. Such solidarity relies on technology, laws and institutions to meet the aspirations of individuals, communities and entire peoples, yet it must not exclude the religious dimension, with all the spiritual energy that it brings, and its promotion of the human person".
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VATICAN CITY, 16 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Holy Father to Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, for the plenary assembly of that dicastery, currently being held on the theme: "St. Paul and the new areopaghi".

  The reference to the Areopagus in Athens where St. Paul announced the Gospel "represents a pressing call to make good use of today's 'areopaghi', where the great challenges of evangelisation are to be found", the Pope writes.

  He also highlights how "the missionary activity of the Church must be oriented towards these nerve centres of society in the third millennium. Nor should we undervalue the influence of a widespread relativist culture, usually lacking values, which enters into the sanctuary of the family infiltrating the field of education and other areas of society, contaminating them and manipulating consciences, especially among the young. At the same time however, despite these snares, the Church knows that the Holy Spirit is always at work.

  "New doors are being opened to the Gospel and a longing for authentic spiritual and apostolic renewal is spreading throughout the world", the Pope adds. "As in other periods of change, the pastoral priority is to show the true face of Christ. ... This requires each Christian community and the Church as a whole to offer witness of faithfulness to Christ, patiently building that unity He wanted and called for from all His disciples. In fact, Christian unity will make it easier to evangelise and to face the cultural, social and religious challenges of our time".

  The Pope concludes his Message with a call "to imitate the lifestyle and the apostolic spirit" of the Apostle of the Gentiles, "focusing entirely on Christ. Through such complete adherence to the Lord, Christians will easily be able to transmit the heritage of faith to new generations, a heritage capable of transforming even difficulties into opportunities for evangelisation".
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VATICAN CITY, 16 NOV 2009 (VIS) - This evening, the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in separate audiences two prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Antonio Fernando Brochini C.S.S. of Jaboticabal.

    - Bishop Paulo Sergio Machado of Sao Carlos.
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VATICAN CITY, 16 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Queenstown, South Africa, presented by Bishop Herbert Nikolaus Lenhof S.A.C., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

  On Saturday 14 November it was made public that the Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Philippe Ranaivomanana of Ihosy, Madagascar, as bishop of Antsirabe (area 16,000, population 1,840,000, Catholics 821,000, priests 100, religious 501), Madagascar. He succeeds Bishop Felix Ramananarivo M.S., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Harrisburg, U.S.A., as bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend (area 15,200, population 1,262,788, Catholics 158,899, priests 276, permanent deacons 12, religious 869), U.S.A. He succeeds Bishop John M. D'Arcy, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Joseph Luechai Thatwisai of the clergy of Udon Thani, Thailand, professor at the Lux Mundi major national seminary of Sampran, and secretary of the episcopal conference's biblical commission, as bishop of Udon Thani (area 50,046, population 5,346,154, Catholics 17,000, priests 33, religious 100). The bishop-elect was born in Phonsung, Thailand in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1990. He succeeds Bishop George Yod Phimphisan C.Ss.R., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Jerome E. Listecki of La Crosse, U.S.A., as metropolitan archbishop of Milwaukee (area 12,323, population 2,287,185, Catholics 681,781, priests 663, permanent deacons 164, religious 2,165), U.S.A. The archbishop-elect was born in Chicago, U.S.A. in 1949, he was ordained a priest in 1975 and consecrated a bishop in 2001.

 - Appointed Bishop Dominique Bulamatari, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, as bishop of Molegbe (area 79,000, population 3,966,000, Catholics 1,875,000, priests 54, religious 119), Democratic Republic of Congo.

 - Appointed Bishop Alick Banda of Solwezi, Zambia, as coadjutor of Ndola (area 32,000, population 2,140,000, Catholics 954,200, priests 164, religious 354), Zambia.

 - Appointed Fr. Giovanni D'Ercole F.D.P., bureau chief in the First Section of the Secretariat of State, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of L'Aquila (area 1,516, population 111,700, Catholics 110,500, priests 169, permanent deacons 8, religious 288), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Morino, Italy in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1974.
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