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Friday, December 4, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique yesterday evening:

  "This afternoon, 3 December 2009, His Holiness Benedict XVI received in audience Dimitri Medvedev, president of the Russian Federation. The president had previously met with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "During the cordial discussions pleasure was expressed on both sides at the cordial relations that currently exist between them, and it was agreed to establish full diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Russian Federation.

  "Following an exchange of opinions on the international economic and political situation - also in the light of the Encyclical "Caritas in veritate" of which the Holy Father presented the president with a copy in Russian - attention turned to the challenges currently facing security and peace. The talks then turned to cultural and social questions of mutual interest, such as the value of the family and the contribution believers make to life in Russia".
OP/AUDIENCE/PRESIDENT RUSSIA                VIS 20091204 (190)


VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2009 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today, in the presence of the Holy Father and of the Pontifical Family, the first sermon for Advent was delivered in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace.

  In this Year for Priests the theme of the meditations - pronounced, as is customary, by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M. Cap, preacher of the Pontifical Household - is: "Servants of Christ and stewards of God's mysteries".

  The next two sermons will be delivered on Friday 11 and Friday 18 December.
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VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience His Beatitude Anastas, archbishop of Tirana, Durres and All Albania, who was accompanied by other representatives of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania.

  "As is well known", said the Pope in his English-language address to the group, "Illyricum received the Gospel in apostolic times. Since then, Christ's saving message has borne fruit in your country down to our own day. As the very earliest writings of your culture bear witness, through the survival of an ancient Latin baptismal formula along with a Byzantine hymn about the Lord's Resurrection, the faith of our Christian forefathers left wonderful and indelible traces in the first lines of the history, literature and arts of your people.

  "Yet", he added, "the most impressive witness is surely always found in life itself. During the latter half of the past century, Christians in Albania, both Orthodox and Catholic, kept the faith alive there in spite of an extremely repressive and hostile atheistic regime; and, as is well known, many Christians paid cruelly for that faith with their lives".

  The Holy Father went on: "The fall of that regime has happily given way to the reconstruction of the Catholic and Orthodox communities in Albania". In this context he praised the archbishop's missionary activity, "particularly in the reconstruction of places of worship, the formation of the clergy and the catechetical work now being done, a movement of renewal which Your Beatitude has rightly described as 'Ngjallja' (Resurrection).

  "Since it acquired its freedom, the Orthodox Church of Albania has been able to participate fruitfully in the international theological dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox. Your commitment in this regard happily mirrors the fraternal relations between Catholics and Orthodox in your country and offers inspiration to the entire Albanian people, demonstrating how it is possible for fellow Christians to live in harmony.

  "In this light, we would do well to emphasise the elements of faith which our Churches share: a common profession of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed; a common Baptism for the remission of sins and for incorporation into Christ and the Church; the legacy of the first ecumenical councils; the real if imperfect communion which we already share, and the common desire and collaborative efforts to build upon what already exists".

  Benedict XVI then went on to mention two initiatives currently underway in Albania: the establishment of the Inter-confessional Biblical Society and the creation of the Committee for Inter-religious Relations, describing them as " timely efforts to promote mutual understanding and tangible co-operation, not only between Catholics and Orthodox, but also among Christians, Muslims and Bektashi".

  Closing his remarks the Pope expressed his joy at the "spiritual renewal" of the Albanian people, and gave assurances to Archbishop Anastas that the Catholic Church "will do all she can to offer a common witness of brotherhood and peace, and to pursue with you a renewed commitment to the unity of our Churches".
AC/ALBANIA/ANASTAS                        VIS 20091204 (500)


VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences eleven prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Murilo Sebastiao Ramos Krieger S.C.I. of Florianopolis.

    - Bishop Aloisio Alberto Dilli O.F.M. of Uruguaiana.

    - Bishop Gilio Felicio of Bage.

    - Bishop Irineu Gassen O.F.M. of Vacaria.

    - Bishop Paulo Antonio De Conto of Montenegro.

    - Bishop Antonio Carlos Rossi Keller of Frederico Westphalen.

    - Bishop Liro Vendelino Meurer, auxiliary of Passo Fundo.

    - Bishop Giuseppe Negri P.I.M.E. of Blumenau.

    - Bishop Walmir Alberto Valle I.M.C. of Joacaba.

    - Bishop Irineu Roque Scherer of Joinville.

    - Bishop Manoel Joao Francisco of Chapeco.
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VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted:

 - The resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Southwark, England, presented by Archishop Kevin John Patrick McDonald, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - The resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Nha Trang, Vietnam, presented by Bishop Paul Nguyen Van Hoa, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Joseph Vo Duc Minh.
RE/.../MCDONALD:NGUYEN:VO                    VIS 20091204 (90)

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