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Monday, December 7, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 5 DEC 2009 (VIS) - Yesterday evening in the Sistine Chapel, the Pope attended a concert offered by Horst Kohler, president of the Federal Republic of Germany, to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the foundation of that State, and the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

  The "Augsburger Domsingknaben" and the "Residenz-Kammerorchester Munchen", conducted by Reinhard Kammler, played Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio BWV 248 (Cantatas I-III).

  In his remarks at the end of the concert, the Holy Father recalled how the Berlin Wall was "a frontier of death which for many years divided our homeland, forcibly separating people, families, neighbours and friends. Many at the time saw the events of 9 November 1989 as an unexpected dawn of freedom after a long and harsh night of violence and oppression due to a totalitarian system which, in the end, led to nihilism, to an emptying of souls.

  "Under the communist dictatorship no action was held to be evil and always immoral in itself. What served the aims of the party was good, however inhuman it could be", the Pope added.

  He went on to note how the current Federal Republic of Germany is proof that "the social order of the West is better and more humane". This is largely due to the "Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany" which "exhorts men and women, responsible before God the Creator, to give priority to human dignity, to respect marriage and the family as the foundation of all societies, and to show esteem and profound respect for what is sacred to others.

  "May the citizens of Germany - faithful to the duty established in the Basic Law concerning spiritual and political renewal in the wake of National Socialism and the Second World War - continue to collaborate for the construction of a freer and more social society".

  "The history of Europe in the twentieth century shows how responsibility before God is of vital importance for moral political activity", said the Pope. "God brings mankind together in true communion and shows individuals that, in their communion with others, a greater One is present, One Who is the original cause of our lives and of our joint existence. This is particularly evident in the mystery of the Nativity when this God comes close to us with His love and, as a Child, requests our love".
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VATICAN CITY, 5 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Horst Kohler, president of Germany, who was accompanied by his wife. 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 cordial discussions opinions were exchanged on various themes. Mention was made of the recent concert marking the sixtieth anniversary of the foundation of Federal Republic of Germany and the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which was the reason for the president's visit to the Vatican. Attention also turned to the current economic crisis and its consequences, and to the international situation, with particular reference to Europe and the continent of Africa".
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VATICAN CITY, 5 DEC 2009 (VIS) - Prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Region South 3 and 4), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit, were received in audience this morning by the Holy Father who focused his remarks to them on the places where culture is transmitted (schools and universities) and on the consequences of liberation theology.

  "The Catholic school", he said, "cannot be conceived or experienced separately from other educational institutions. It is at the service of society, having a public function and offering a service of public utility which is not reserved exclusively to Catholics but remains open to whoever wishes to receive a quality education. The problem of juridical and economic parity with State schools cannot be correctly understood save by recognising the primary role of families and the subsidiary role of other educational institutions".

  Turning then to consider the subject of higher education, the Pope highlighted how the Church "has always supported universities and their vocation to take human beings to the highest level of knowledge, of truth and of dominion of the world in all its aspects". Benedict XVI likewise expressed his gratitude to the religious congregations which founded and still support various famous universities in Brazil, recalling how these places "are not the property of those who founded them, or of those who frequent them, but an expression of the Church and of her heritage of faith".

  The Pope then went on to recall how 25 August this year marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's Instruction "Libertatis nuntius" concerning certain aspects of liberation theology. That document, he said, "highlights the danger involved in the uncritical absorption, by certain theologians, of theses and methodologies that come from Marxism".

  "The more or less visible consequences of that approach - characterised by rebellion, division, dissent, offence and anarchy - still linger today, producing great suffering and a serious loss of vital energies in your diocesan communities".

  "I appeal to all who, in the depths of their being, feel in some way attracted, involved or encouraged by some of the misleading principles of liberation theology, to re-examine the aforementioned Instruction, accepting the benign light it emanates. And I remind everyone that 'the supreme rule of the faith [of the Church] derives from the unity which the Spirit has created between Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church in a reciprocity which means that none of the three can survive without the others'".

  The Pope concluded by invoking the Virgin Mary, "so loved and venerated ... in Brazil. ... In her we find, pure and un-deformed, the true essence of the Church and we learn to know and love the mystery of the Church which lives in history and of which we feel ourselves to be a part. Thus do we become 'ecclesial souls', learning to resist that 'inner secularisation' which threatens the Church and her teachings".
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VATICAN CITY, 6 DEC 2009 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope appeared at the window of his private study overlooking St. Peter's Square, in order to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered below.

  The Holy Father explained that on this second Sunday of Advent the Gospel of St. Luke "focuses its attention on John the Baptist, precursor to the Messiah, and very precisely outlines the area and period in which his preaching took place".

  "The Evangelist wished to inform those reading or listening that the Gospel is not a legend but the account of a real story, that Jesus of Nazareth was a real person Who lived in that specific context", said the Pope. "The second element worthy of mention is that, following this detailed historical introduction, the subject turns to the 'word of God' presented as a power that descends from on high and alights on John the Baptist".

  Benedict XVI then went on to highlight how "the Word of God is the force that moves history, inspires prophets, prepares the way for the Messiah, convenes the Church. Jesus Himself is the divine Word Who became flesh in the virginal womb of Mary. God revealed Himself fully in Him. He told us and gave us everything, opening us to the treasures of His truth and mercy".

  "The most beautiful flower to grow from the Word of God is the Virgin Mary. She is the first fruit of the Church, the garden of God upon the earth. But while Mary is Immaculate - and so we will celebrate her the day after tomorrow - the Church has continual need of purification, because sin threatens all her members. Within the Church there is a constant struggle between the desert and the garden, between sin which dries out the land and grace which irrigates it to produce abundant fruits of sanctity. Let us, then, pray to the Lord's Mother that she may help us in this period of Advent, to 'straighten' our path and allow ourselves to be guided by the Word of God".

  After praying the Angelus, the Pope recalled how tomorrow, 7 December, the UN climate conference is due to begin in the Danish capital of Copenhagen, "with which the international community will seek to counter the phenomenon of global warming.

  "It is my hope", he added, "that the work of the conference will help to identify actions that respect creation and promote development in solidarity, based upon the dignity of human beings and oriented to the common good. The defence of creation requires the adoption of sober and responsible lifestyles, especially with respect to the poor and to future generations. In this context, and in order to guarantee the complete success of the conference, I invite all people of good will to respect the laws established by God over nature and to rediscover the moral dimension of human life".
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VATICAN CITY, 7 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany.

  On Saturday 5 December the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

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

    - Bishop Luiz Carlos Eccel of Cacador.

    - Bishop Augustinho Petry of Rio do Sul.

    - Bishop Jacinto Inacio Flach of Criciuma.

    - Bishop Joao Oneres Marchiori , apostolic administrator of Lages.

    - Fr. Nilo Buss, diocesan administrator of Tuburao.
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VATICAN CITY, 7 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Fr. Pedro Daniel Martinez, rector of the major seminary of San Rafael, as coadjutor of the diocese of San Luis (area 76,748, population 337,000, Catholics 358,000, priests 54, religious 92), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Mendoza, Argentina in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1981.

 - Fr. Marian Eleganti O.S.B., abbot of the monastery of Sankt Otmarsberg, Switzerland, as auxiliary of the diocese of Chur (area 12,272, population 1,645,541, Catholics 689,746, priests 628, permanent deacons 40, religious 374), Switzerland. The bishop-elect was born in Uznach, Switzerland in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1995.

 - Msgr. Theodorus Cornelius Maria Hoogenboom of the clergy of the archdiocese of Utrecht, Netherlands, vicar general and provost of the metropolitan chapter, and Fr. Herman Willebrordus Woorts, also of the clergy of Utrecht, episcopal vicar for the region of Utrecht and for the liturgy, and canon of the metropolitan chapter, as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Utrecht (area 10,000, population 3,938,514, Catholics 766,000, priests 460, permanent deacons 82, religious 1,404). Bishop-elect Hoogenboom was born in Oudewater, Netherlands in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1999. Bishop-elect Woorts was born in Abcoude, Netherlands in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1992.

  On Saturday 5 December it was made public that he:

 - Erected the two new dioceses of Sisak and of Bjelovar-Krizevci, both in Croatia, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Zagreb, making them suffragans of the same metropolitan church. He appointed Bishop Vlado Kosic, auxiliary of Zagreb, as first bishop of the new diocese of Sisak, and Msgr. Vjekoslav Huzjak of the clergy of the diocese of Varazdin, Croatia, secretary general of the Croatian Episcopal Conference, as first bishop of the new diocese of Bjelovar-Krizevci. Bishop-elect Huzjak was born in Jalzabet, Croatia in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1986.

 - Elevated the apostolic prefecture of Gambella, (area 50,000, population 507,000, Catholics 8,430, priests 14, religious 9), Ethiopia, to the rank of apostolic vicariate, with the same name and territorial configuration as before. He appointed Fr. Angelo Moreschi S.D.B., currently apostolic prefect of the same ecclesiastical circumscription, as apostolic vicar of the new vicariate. The bishop-elect was born in Nave, Italy in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1982.

 - Elevated the apostolic prefecture of Jimma-Bonga, (area 57,000, population 3,500,000, Catholics 12,185, priests 9, religious 23), Ethiopia, to the rank of apostolic vicariate, with the same name and territorial configuration as before. He appointed Fr. Markos Ghebremedhin C.M., provincial superior of the Lazarist Fathers in Ethiopia, as apostolic vicar of the new vicariate. The bishop-elect was born in Shappa, Ethiopia in 1966 and ordained a priest in 1993.

 - Transferred Bishop Method Kilaini from the office of auxiliary of Dar-es-Salam, Tanzania, to that of auxiliary of Bukoba, Tanzania.
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VATICAN CITY, 7 DEC 2009 (VIS) - As previously advised, there will be no VIS service tomorrow Tuesday, December 8, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day and a holiday in the Vatican. Service will resume on Wednesday, December 9.
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