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Monday, November 30, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received in separate audiences Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, president of Argentina, and Michelle Bachelet, president of Chile, to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the two States.

  The Pope subsequently met with the two presidents together, each accompanied by a delegation, in the Vatican's Clementine Hall. In his address to them he recalled how the treaty "brought to an end the territorial dispute the two countries had maintained over a long period of time".

  "This", he said, "is an appropriate and joyful commemoration of those intense negotiations which, through pontifical mediation, concluded with a dignified, reasonable and equitable solution, thus avoiding an armed conflict which was on the point of breaking out between the two peoples".

  The Holy Father went on to highlight how the "Treaty of Peace and Friendship, and the meditation which made it possible, are indissolubly linked to the figure of Pope John Paul II who, moved by feelings of affection towards those beloved nations and in keeping with his tireless efforts as messenger and architect of peace, did not hesitate to accept the delicate and crucial task of mediator in the conflict". In this he was able to rely on "the priceless help of Cardinal Antonio Samore, who personally followed all the vicissitudes of those long and complex negotiations until the ... signing of the Treaty in the presence of delegations from both countries and of the then secretary of State, Cardinal Agostino Casaroli".

  "Twenty-five years on, we may note with satisfaction that that historic event made a beneficial contribution to strengthening fraternal feelings in both countries, and to ensuring greater co-operation and integration, which takes concrete form in numerous economic plans, cultural exchanges and important infrastructure projects, thus overcoming the prejudices, suspicions and reserve of the past", said the Pope.

  He also pointed out that "Chile and Argentina are not only neighbour States, but much more; they are brother peoples with a shared vocation of fraternity, respect and friendship which, to a large extent, is the fruit of the Catholic tradition lying at the foundations of their history and of their rich cultural and spiritual heritage".

  Referring once again to the treaty being commemorated today, the Holy Father described it "as a shining example of the force of the human spirit and of the will for peace against the barbarism and unreason of violence and war". In this context he also highlighted the need "always to persevere with firm resolve (and until the final consequences) in seeking to resolve controversies, with a true desire for dialogue and agreement, through patient negotiation and necessary compromise, and always bearing in mind the just requirements and legitimate interests of everyone".

  "In order for the cause of peace to open a way into the minds and hearts of all human beings, and especially of those called to serve their fellow citizens from the highest offices of State, it must be founded on firm moral convictions, on serenity of soul, ... and on the constant search for the common good at the national, regional and global level".

  Benedict XVI concluded by underlining the fact that achieving peace "requires the promotion of a true culture of life which fully respects human dignity, and the strengthening of the family as the basic cell of society. It also requires the combating of poverty and corruption, access to quality education for everyone, greater economic solidarity, the consolidation of democracy and the eradication of violence and exploitation, especially against women and children".
AC/PEACE TREATY/ARGENTINA: CHILE            VIS 20091130 (610)


VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today.

  "This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, for the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Chile and Argentina, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in separate audiences Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, president of the Argentine Republic, and Michelle Bachelet, president of the Republic of Chile. The two illustrious guests also met with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. The Holy Father subsequently delivered an address to the delegations of the two presidents gathered in the Clementine Hall.

  "During the cordial discussions, grateful recollection was made of the meritorious efforts undertaken by Servant of God Pope John Paul IIand by the late Cardinal Antonio Samore who, by following the path of dialogue, helped the two States to resolve a long-standing territorial controversy. Attention dwelt particularly on the fact that, in the course of this last quarter of a century, the agreement has brought tangible fruits of goodness and prosperity to the two brother peoples, and continues to stand as an example and model for the countries of Latin America and for the entire international community. Opinions were also exchanged on the current international situation".
OP/AUDIENCE/ARGENTINA:CHILE                VIS 20091130 (240)


VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica this evening, Benedict XVI presided at first Vespers for the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of a new liturgical year for the Church.

  In his homily the Pope reflected upon the meaning of the word Advent which "Christians used", he said, "to express their relationship with Jesus. ... The meaning of the expression advent also includes that of 'vistatio', ... a visit, which in this case means a visit from God: He enters my life and wishes to address Himself to me".

  "In daily life we all know the experience of having little time for the Lord, and little time for ourselves. We end up becoming absorbed by 'doing'. Is it not often true that it is activity itself that possesses us, society with its multiple distractions that monopolises our attention? Is it not true that we dedicate a lot of time to entertainment and leisure activities of various kinds?"

  "Advent, this potent liturgical period we are entering, invites us to remain silent as we come to appreciate a presence. It is an invitation to understand that the individual events of the day are signs God addresses to us, signs of the care He has for each of us. How often does God make us aware of some aspect of His love! To maintain what we might call an 'inner diary' of this love would be a beautiful and rewarding task in our lives. Advent invites us and encourages us to contemplate the living Lord. Should not the certainty of His presence help us to see the world with different eyes?"

  The Holy Father went on: "Another fundamental aspect of Advent is that of waiting: a wait that is, at the same time, a hope. ... Hope marks the journey of humankind, but for Christians it is enlivened by a certainty: the Lord is present in the events of our lives, He accompanies us and will one day dry our tears. One not-far-distant day everything will reach fulfilment in the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of justice and peace.

  "Yet", he added, "there are many different ways to wait. If the present time is not filled with meaning, the wait risks becoming unbearable. If we await something, but at this moment have nothing - in other words, if the present is empty - then every passing instant seems exaggeratedly long and the wait becomes an over-heavy burden because the future remains too uncertain. When, on the other hand, time has meaning and at every instant we perceive something specific and valid, then the joy of waiting makes the present richer".

  The Holy Father encouraged the faithful "intensely to live the present, where we already obtain the gifts of the Lord. Let us live projected towards the future, a future charged with hope". The Messiah, "coming among us, brought us and continues to bring us the gift of His love and His salvation. He is present among us and speaks to us in many ways: in Sacred Scripture, in the liturgical year, in the saints, in the events of daily life, in all creation, which changes its appearance depending upon whether [we see Him] behind it or whether [we see it] shrouded in the fog of an uncertain origin and uncertain future".

  "We in our turn", Pope Benedict concluded, "can address Him, present Him the sufferings that afflict us, the impatience and the questions that arise in our hearts. We are certain that He always listens to us! And if Jesus is present, then there can be no meaningless or empty time. If He is present we can continue to hope, even when others can no longer offer us their support, even when the present becomes burdensome".
HML/ADVENT/...                            VIS 20091130 (640)


VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today published the following communique concerning the preparatory committee for the third phase of the "Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission" (ARCIC).

  "Following the 21 November meeting in the Vatican between Benedict XVI and Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, in the course of which they reiterated their desire to strengthen ecumenical relations between Anglicans and Catholics, on 23 November the meeting took place of the committee entrusted with preparing the third phase of the 'Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission' (ARCIC). It was decided that this new phase will begin during next year.

  "The third phase will focus on fundamental questions concerning the Church - local Church and universal Church - understood as communion, and on the way in which the local and universal Church can, in communion, discern just moral teaching.

  "Over coming months the members of the commission will be appointed, and the date of its first meeting will be announced".
OP/ARCIC/WILLIAMS                        VIS 20091130 (180)


VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Archbishop Anton Stres C.M. coadjutor of Maribor, Slovenia, as metropolitan archbishop of Ljubljana (area 6,134, population 768,647, Catholics 570,895, priests 438, permanent deacons 9, religious 604), Slovenia. He succeeds Archbishop Alojzij Uran, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Bishop Peter Stumpf S.D.B., auxiliary of Maribor, Slovenia, as bishop of Murska Sobota (area 1,102, population 119,818, Catholics 95,135, priests 64, religious 26), Slovenia.

 - Appointed Bishop Marjan Turnsek of Murska Sobota, Slovenia, as coadjutor archbishop of Maribor (area 3,682, population 419,849, Catholics 356,427, priests 199, permanent deacons 3, religious 136), Slovenia. The archbishop-elect was born in Celje, Slovenia in 1955, he was ordained a priest in 1981 and consecrated a bishop in 2006.
RE:NER:NEC/.../...                            VIS 20091130 (150)


VATICAN CITY, 29 NOV 2009 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  The Pope began by recalling how today marks the beginning of "a new liturgical year, which naturally opens with Advent, the period of preparation for the Lord's Nativity". In this context he explained how Vatican Council II, in its constitution on the liturgy, affirmed that the Church, 'within the cycle of a year, unfolds the whole mystery of Christ, from the incarnation and birth until the Ascension, the day of Pentecost, and the expectation of blessed hope and of the coming of the Lord'".

  The Council, he went on, "underlined the fact that the focus of the liturgy is Christ, like the sun around which revolve, like planets, the Blessed Virgin Mary (the closest), then the martyrs and the other saints, who 'sing God's perfect praise in heaven and offer prayers for us'.

  "This", the Pope added, "is the reality of the liturgical year seen, so to say, 'from God's side'. And what, we might ask, of the side of man, of history and of society? What importance can they have?

  "The answer is given us by the journey of Advent itself, which we begin today. The modern world has need, above all, of hope. It is needed by people in developing countries, but also by the economically evolved. We are becoming ever more aware that we are all in the same boat and must save ourselves together. Above all, we are aware that, as we see so many false hopes collapse, we need a reliable hope, and this is only to be found in Christ Who, as the Letter to the Hebrews says, 'is the same yesterday and today and forever'".

  Christ "embraces all dimensions of time because He died and rose again. He is 'the Living One' and, while sharing our precarious human condition, remains forever and offers us the stability of God Himself. ... Those who thirst for freedom, justice and peace, can stand up and raise their heads because in Christ freedom is drawing close".

  "Thus we can affirm that Jesus Christ concerns not only Christians, or only believers, but all men and women, because He, Who is at the centre of the faith, is also the foundation of hope. And hope is something of which all human beings have constant need".

  After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father mentioned World AIDS Day which falls on 1 December. "My thoughts and prayers go", he said, "to everyone suffering from this disease, especially to children, the poor and those who are rejected.

  "The Church", he added, "never ceases to strive to combat AIDS through her institutions and personnel dedicated to that task. I call upon everyone to make their contribution, with prayer and tangible assistance, so that people affected by the HIV virus may experience the presence of the Lord Who offers comfort and hope. Finally, I trust that, by increasing and co-ordinating efforts, we may manage to halt and eradicate this disease".
ANG/ADVENT AIDS/...                        VIS 20091130 (530)


VATICAN CITY, 30 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning in the Vatican the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Alan Garcia Perez, president of the Republic of Peru. 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.

  "The cordial discussions provided an occasion for a fruitful exchange of opinions on questions concerning the current international situation, especially in the region.

  "Attention then focused on certain aspects of the situation in Peru, especially the government's commitment to eradicating poverty, on promoting the rule of law, on protecting the environment and on areas of collaboration between Church and State".
OP/AUDIENCE/PRESIDENT PERU                VIS 20091130 (140)


VATICAN CITY, 30 NOV 2009 (VIS) - As is traditional for the Feast of St. Andrew, the Pope has written a Message to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. The Message was delivered during the course of a visit to Istanbul by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

  In his English-language Message for the feast of the patron of the patriarchate of Constantinople, the Pope recalls how that saint was brother to St. Peter and, like him, suffered martyrdom. "The memory of the holy martyrs compels all Christians to bear witness to their faith before the world", he writes. "There is an urgency in this call especially in our own day, in which Christianity is faced with increasingly complex challenges".

  "Our Churches have committed themselves sincerely over the last decades to pursuing the path towards the re-establishment of full communion, and although we have not yet reached our goal, many steps have been taken that have enabled us to deepen the bonds between us".

  The Holy Father goes on to note that "this openness has guided the work of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue, which held its eleventh plenary session in Cyprus last month" on the theme "the role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Church in the first millennium". This subject was "certainly complex and will require extensive study and patient dialogue if we are to aspire to a shared integration of the traditions of East and West", he says.

  "The Catholic Church understands the Petrine ministry as a gift of the Lord to His Church. This ministry should not be interpreted in the perspective of power, but within an ecclesiology of communion, as a service to unity in truth and charity. The Bishop of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity ... is understood to be the 'Servus Servorum Dei' (Servant of the Servants of God). ... It is a question of seeking together, inspired by the model of the first millennium, the forms in which the ministry of the Bishop of Rome may accomplish a service of love recognised by one and all".

  And, "even as we make this journey towards full communion, we should already offer common witness by working together in the service of humanity, especially in defending the dignity of the human person, in affirming fundamental ethical values, in promoting justice and peace". Our Churches, Pope Benedict concludes, "can work together in drawing attention to humanity's responsibility for the safeguarding of creation".
MESS/ST. ANDREW/BARTHOLOMEW I                VIS 20091130 (440)


VATICAN CITY, 30 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Thirteen prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Dedeus Grings of Porto Alegre, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Remidio Jose Bohn and Alessandro Carmelo Ruffinoni C.S.

    - Bishop Irineu Silvio Wilges O.F.M. of Cachoeira do Sul.

    - Bishop Gironimo Zanandrea of Erexim.

    - Bishop Zeno Hastenteufel Novo Hamburgo.

    - Bishop Jaime Pedro Kohl P.S.D.P. of Osorio.

    - Bishop Jacinto Bergmann of Pelotas.

    - Bishop Jose Mario Stroeher of Rio Grande.

    - Bishop Aloisio Sinesio Bohnm of Santa Cruz do Sul.

    - Bishop Helio Adelar Rubert of Santa Maria.

    - Bishop Jose Clemente Weber of Santo Angelo

    - Bishop Federico Heimler S.D.B. of Cruz Alta.

 - His Royal Imperial Highness Otto von Hapsburg, archduke of Austria, accompanied by an entourage.

  On Saturday 28 November he received in audience Bishop Airton Jose dos Santos of Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Paulo Antonino Mascarenhas Roxo, on their "ad limina" visit.
AL/.../...                                VIS 20091130 (180)

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