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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

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Monday, May 31, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 29 MAY 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father received participants in a pilgrimage promoted by the diocese of Macerata-Tolentino-Recanati-Cingoli-Treia and other dioceses of the Italian Marche region, marking the fourth centenary of the death of the Jesuit Fr. Matteo Ricci.

  In his address the Pope recalled how Fr. Ricci, who was born in Macerata and died in China on 11 May 1610, was "a great missionary and an important figure in the announcement of the Gospel in China in the modern age, following the first evangelisation by Archbishop Giovanni da Montecorvino". He "was granted the extraordinary privilege, unthinkable for a foreigner, of being buried in Chinese soil".

  "Fr. Ricci is a unique model of harmoniously blending the announcement of the Gospel with dialogue with the culture of the people to whom it is brought, an example of balance between doctrinal clarity and careful pastoral activity".

  The Pope highlighted how "the work of this great missionary presents two aspects which cannot be separated: the Chinese inculturation of the Gospel message, and the introduction of Western culture and science into China. ... Fr. Ricci did not go to China to bring Western science and culture but to bring the Gospel, to make God known".

  But "this meeting motivated by faith also became a dialogue between cultures", Pope Benedict explained. "It was a disinterested dialogue, free from economic and political aims, lived in friendship; and this makes the work of Fr, Ricci and his disciples one of the most exalted and felicitous points in relations between China and the West".

  "Our admiration for Fr. Ricci must not, however, makes us forget the role and influence of his Chinese counterparts. The decisions he made did not depend on some abstract strategy of inculturation of the faith, but on events as a whole, on the meetings and experiences he accumulated. Thus, his achievements came about thanks also to his meeting with the Chinese, an experience that took many forms but that was particularly intensified through his relations with certain friends and disciples, especially the four famous coverts, 'pillars of the nascent Chinese Church', of whom the first and most well known is Xu Guangqi".

  Addressing the seven thousand faithful present in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father called for "the memory of these men of God dedicated to the Gospel and to the Church, their example of faithfulness to Christ, their profound love for the Chinese people, their intelligence and dedication to study, their virtuous lives, to be a stimulus for us to pray for the Church in China, and for the entire Chinese people, as we do every year on 24 May, addressing ourselves to the Blessed Virgin venerated in the famous shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai.

  May their example, he concluded, "be a stimulus and encouragement to live the Christian faith intensely, in dialogue with various cultures but with the certainty that in Christ lies the true humanism, open to God, rich in moral and spiritual values and able to respond to the most profound desires of the human soul. I too, like Fr. Matteo Ricci, today express my profound esteem for the noble Chinese people and their millennial culture, convinced that a renewed encounter with Christianity will bring abundant fruits of good, just as it then favoured peaceful coexistence among peoples".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

 - Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Today, Trinity Sunday "which in a certain sense recapitulates the revelation of God in the Paschal mysteries", the liturgy returns to "ordinary time". However, said the Holy Father in his remarks before praying the Angelus, "this does not mean that the commitment of Christians must diminish; quite the contrary, having entered divine life through the Sacraments, we are now called to remain open to the action of Grace in order to grow in love towards God and neighbour".

  "The human mind and human language are inadequate to explain the relation that exists between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Nonetheless the Fathers of the Church sought to explain the mystery of the One and Triune God by putting it into practice with profound faith in their own lives", the Pope told the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  "The Blessed Trinity comes to dwell in us on the day of Baptism", Benedict XVI explained. "And each time we make the sign of the cross we remember the name of God in which we were baptised. ... The sign of the cross and the name of the living God contain, then, the announcement that generates faith and inspires prayer. And what Jesus promises the Apostles in the Gospel ('when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth'), comes about in the Sunday liturgy when, week after week, priests dispense the bread of the Word and the Eucharist".

  The Holy Father concluded his remarks by quoting a prayer of St. Hilary of Poitiers: "Keep, I pray, this my pious faith undefiled, and even till my spirit departs, grant that this may be the utterance of my convictions: so that I may ever hold fast that which I professed in the creed of my regeneration, when I was baptised in the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit".
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VATICAN CITY, 30 MAY 2010 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Pope recalled how this morning in the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major, the beatification took place of Maria Pierina De Micheli, religious of the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception in Buenos Aires.

  "Giuseppina, the name with which she was baptised, was born in Milan, Italy, in 1890", said the Pope, noting that "hers was a profoundly religious family which brought forth various vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life. At the age of twenty-three she too started down this path dedicating herself passionately to education, in Argentina and in Italy. The Lord gave her an extraordinary devotion to His Holy Face, which supported her always, even through trials and sickness. She died in 1945 and her remains lie at the Holy Spirit Institute in Rome".

  Turning then to address English-speaking faithful, Benedict XVI recalled how later this week, from 4 to 6 June, he will visit Cyprus "to meet and pray with the Catholic and Orthodox faithful there and to consign the 'Instrumentum laboris' for the upcoming Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Middle East. I ask for your prayers for the peace and prosperity of all the people of Cyprus, as well as for the preparations for the Special Assembly", he said.
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VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for June is: "That every national and trans-national institution may strive to guarantee respect for human life from conception to natural death".

  His mission intention is: "That the Churches in Asia, which constitute a 'little flock' among non-Christina populations, may know how to communicate the Gospel and give joyful witness to their adherence to Christ".
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VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning the Holy See Press Office released the following English-language communique concerning the apostolic visitation of Ireland as announced in the Holy Father's 19 March Letter to the Catholics of Ireland:

  "Following the Holy Father's Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, the apostolic visitation of certain Irish dioceses, seminaries and religious congregations will begin in autumn of this year.

  "Through this visitation, the Holy See intends to offer assistance to the bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful as they seek to respond adequately to the situation caused by the tragic cases of abuse perpetrated by priests and religious upon minors. It is also intended to contribute to the desired spiritual and moral renewal that is already being vigorously pursued by the Church in Ireland.

  "The apostolic visitors will set out to explore more deeply questions concerning the handling of cases of abuse and the assistance owed to the victims; they will monitor the effectiveness of and seek possible improvements to the current procedures for preventing abuse, taking as their points of reference the Pontifical 'Motu Proprio' 'Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela' and the norms contained in 'Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland', commissioned and produced by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church.

  "The visitation will begin in the four metropolitan archdioceses of Ireland (Armagh, Dublin, Cashel and Emly, and Tuam) and will then be extended to some other dioceses.

  "The visitors named by the Holy Father for the dioceses are: Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, archbishop emeritus of Westminster, England, for the archdiocese of Armagh; Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston, U.S.A., for the archdiocese of Dublin; Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins of Toronto, Canada, for the archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, and Archbishop Terrence Thomas Prendergast S.J. of Ottawa, Canada, for the archdiocese of Tuam.

  "In its desire to accompany the process of renewal of houses of formation for the future priests of the Church in Ireland, the Congregation for Catholic Education will co-ordinate the visitation of the Irish seminaries, including the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. While special attention will be given to the matters that occasioned the apostolic visitation, in the case of the seminaries it will cover all aspects of priestly formation. Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, U.S.A., has been named apostolic visitor.

  "For its part, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life will organise the visitation of religious houses in two phases. Firstly it will conduct an enquiry by means of a questionnaire to be sent to all the superiors of religious institutes present in Ireland, with a view to providing an accurate picture of the current situation and formulating plans for the observance and improvement of the norms contained in the 'guidelines'. In the second phase, the apostolic visitors will be: Fr. Joseph Tobin C.Ss.R. and Fr. Gero McLaughlin S.J. for institutes of men; Sr. Sharon Holland I.H.M. and Sr. Mairin McDonagh R.J.M. for institutes of women. They will carry out a careful study, evaluating the results obtained from the questionnaire and the possible steps to be taken in the future in order to usher in a season of spiritual rebirth for religious life on the Island.

  "His Holiness invites all the members of the Irish Catholic community to support this fraternal initiative with their prayers. He invokes God's blessings upon the visitors, and upon all the bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful of Ireland, that the visitation may be for them an occasion of renewed fervour in the Christian life, and that it may deepen their faith and strengthen their hope in Christ our Saviour".
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VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Benin City, Nigeria, presented by Archbishop Richard Anthony Burke S.P.S., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Bishop Matthias Kobena Nketsiah, auxiliary of Cape Coast, Ghana, as metropolitan archbishop of the same archdiocese (area 9,788, population 1,745,214, Catholics 318,419, priests 121, religious 152). The archbishop-elect was born in Kakomdo, Ghana in 1942, he was ordained a priest in 1970 and consecrated a bishop in 2007.

 - Appointed Bishop Remy Victor Vancottem, auxiliary of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium, as bishop of Namur (area 8,100, population 734,000, Catholics 556,000, priests 726, permanent deacons 63, religious 1,367), Belgium.

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Munster, Germany, presented by Bishop Heinrich Janssen, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Fr. Dieter Geerlings of the clergy of the archdiocese of Munster, Germany, president of diocesan Caritas and canon of the cathedral chapter; Fr. Christoph Hegge of the clergy of the archdiocese of Munster, pro vicar general, head of the office for consecrated life and canon the cathedral chapter, and Fr. Wilfried Theising of the clergy of the archdiocese of Munster, provost and dean at Borken, as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Munster (area 15,265, population 4,335,600, Catholics 2,007,335, priests 1,165, permanent deacons 270, religious 2,827). Bishop-elect Geerlings was born in Emmerich, Germany in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1973. Bishop-elect Hegge was born in Rheine, Germany in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1988. Bishop-elect was born in Wettringen, Germany in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1989.

  On Saturday 29 May it was made public that he appointed:

 - Fr. Michael Didi Adgum Mangoria of the clergy of Khartoum, Sudan, rector of St. Paul's National Seminary of Khartoum, as coadjutor of the diocese of El-Obeid (area 888,939, population 8,900,000, Catholics 140,000, priests 38, religious 28), Sudan. The bishop-elect was born in Engoth, Sudan in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1992.

 - Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., archbishop of Quebec, Canada, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the fourth centenary of the baptism of Grand Chief Henri Membertou, due to be held on Chapel Island, Nova Scotia, Canada, on 1 August.
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Friday, May 28, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Theodore Loko, the first resident ambassador of Benin to the Holy See, today presented his Letters of Credence to the Holy Father.

  In his speech the diplomat mentioned the Beninese Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, former prefect of the Congregation for Bishops who died two years ago, and this theme was taken up by the Pope in his address, who described Cardinal Gantin as "an authentic builder of bridges between cultures and continents", affirming that his example will help the men and women of the Church in Benin "to perform ever more generous and responsible service for their nation, which celebrates the 150th anniversary of its evangelisation next year".

  Benedict XVI then went on to consider the importance of Benin's "Conference of the Nation's Living Forces", which was celebrated twenty years ago. "That was not only a political event", he said, "but also bore witness to the close relationship between the faith and its expression in Beninese public life; it determined your future and continues to inspire your present. I ask God to bless the efforts of those who work to build a society founded on justice and peace, which recognises the rights of all its members".

  "Architects of their own destiny, the Beninese are called to promote true fraternity. This is an essential precondition for social peace and a factor of integral human promotion", said the Pope exhorting the people of Benin to refer back to values rooted in their own tradition, such as "respect for the sacredness of life". He also called on them "to behave coherently with this commitment, especially as regards factors that attack life and particularly in the context of the law".

  Benedict XVI also mentioned fraternity which, he said, "must also lead to the search for justice, the absence of which is always a cause of social tension and leads to dire consequences".

  "The search for personal advantage to the detriment of the common good is an evil which little by little undermines public institutions and prevents the full development of human beings. A country's political, economic and social leaders are its 'social conscience', guaranteeing the transparency of its structures and the ethics that animate the life of society. They must be just. Justice always accompanies fraternity", the Pope reiterated.

  "Work occupies a priority place in the development of a society", he went on. "Thanks to work, human beings can satisfy their basic needs and contribute to building a prosperous, just and fraternal society. Benin's motto 'Fraternity, Justice, Work' is the compendium of the charter of a nation with noble human ideals. Its application contributes to solidarity with other nations", said Benedict XVI, in this context thanking the Beninese for "the active fraternity they showed towards the people of Haiti during the recent earthquake".

  Finally, the Pope greeted members of the Catholic community of Benin, whom he encouraged to be "increasingly authentic witnesses of the faith and fraternal love that Christ teaches us".

  "I also wish to express my appreciation", he concluded, "for the efforts being made by everyone, especially the authorities, to strengthen relations of respect and esteem among the country's religious groups. Freedom of religion helps to enrich democracy and promote development".
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VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning the Pope received participants in the plenary session of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, who have been meeting to study the theme: "The pastoral care of human mobility today, in the context of the co-responsibility of States and International Organisations".

  The Holy Father expressed his appreciation for "efforts to build a system of shared norms which provide for the rights and duties of foreigners and those of the host communities, bearing foremost to mind the dignity of each human being, created in the image and likeness of God. Obviously the acquisition of rights goes hand in hand with the acceptance of duties", he said.

  "National and international laws which promote the common good and respect for the person encourage the hopes and efforts being made to achieve a world social order founded on peace, fraternity and universal co-operation, despite the critical phase international institutions are currently traversing as they concentrate on resolving crucial questions of security and development for everyone".

  Benedict XVI highlighted how "many people have not lost the desire to break down walls that divide, and to establish broad understanding also through legislative and administrative measures that favour integration, mutual exchange, and reciprocal enrichment. Coexistence among peoples can come about by following prudent and concerted policies of acceptance and integration, offering opportunities for people to attain legal status, favouring the legitimate right to family reunion, asylum and refuge, compensating any necessary restrictive measures, and contrasting the deplorable traffic in human beings.

  "It is here", he added, "that the various international organisations, co-operating with one another and with States, can make their specific contribution ... to reconciling recognition for the rights of the individual with the principle of national sovereignty, making specific reference to the needs of security, public order, and the control of frontiers".

  The Pope went on to explain that "the fundamental rights of the person can become the focal point for the co-responsible commitment of national and international institutions", recalling that this "is closely linked to openness to life, which is at the centre of true development".

  "Openness to life and the rights of the family must be reiterated in various contexts", said the Pope. "The future of our societies rests on the encounter between peoples, on dialogue between cultures while respecting identities and legitimate differences. In this scenario, the family maintains its fundamental role. Thus the Church, by announcing the Gospel of Christ in all areas of life, carries forward her commitment 'not only in favour of the individual migrant, but also of his family, which is a place and resource of the culture of life and a factor for the integration of values'".
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VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The International Confederation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will hold its extraordinary general assembly in the Spanish city of Salamanca from 28 May to 2 June. The meeting has been called to elect the confederation's fifteenth president, according to a communique released today.

  The confederation, which is a member of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", brings together 51,000 national conferences from 142 countries, with more than 700,000 members supported by 1,500,000 volunteers. In this way, it is able to reach thirty-seven million poor people. It intervenes in support of victims of natural disasters - such as, most recently, typhoons in Asia, earthquakes in Indonesia and Chile, flooding in India, etc. - with the aid being distributed by the Vincentian Family and its volunteers. In Haiti, for example, where it is present in the poorest areas, it has created the Zafen network which facilitates access to credit for small business and craftsmen.

  Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of "Cor Unum", has been invited by the heads of the confederation to deliver a lecture to delegates. The cardinal will talk about Blessed Frederic Ozanam with reference to questions of concern to "Cor Unum", such as the specific identify of Catholic aid and assistance organisations.

  During his stay in Salamanca, the cardinal will also preside at the Eucharist on Sunday 30 May, with Bishop Carlos Lopez Hernandez of Salamanca, and bid farewell to Jose Ramon Diaz Torremocha, the outgoing president of the confederation, whose mandate is coming to an end after many years of service to the organisation.
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VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Agostino Vallini, His Holiness' vicar general for the diocese of Rome.

 - Cardinal Claudio Hummes O.F.M., prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.

 - Renata Polverini, president of the Region of Lazio, Italy.
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VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Francisco Fortunato De Gouveia of the clergy of Cape Town, South Africa, pastor of the parish of St. John the Evangelist at Fish Hoek, as bishop of Oudtshoorn (area 113,000, population 850,000, Catholics 30,000, priests 30, permanent deacons 4, religious 32), South Africa. The bishop-elect was born in Cape Town in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1976.
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Thursday, May 27, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 27 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican's Synod Hall, the Holy Father met with participants in the general assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), who are meeting from 24 to 28 May to consider their general pastoral guidelines for the period 2010 - 2020.

  "The Holy Spirit guides the Church in the world and in history", said the Pope. "Thanks to this gift from the Risen One, the Lord remains present in midst of historical events. It is through the Spirit that we can recognise the meaning of human vicissitudes in Christ".

  "Supported by the Spirit and continuing down the path shown us by Vatican Council II, in particular with the pastoral guidelines of the last decade, you have chosen to adopt education as the principal theme for the next ten years. This temporal horizon is proportioned to the importance and breadth of educational requirements.

  "Though aware of the weight of these difficulties", the Holy Father added, "we cannot resign ourselves to lack of confidence and despair. Education has never been easy, but we must not surrender for we would fail in the mandate the Lord Himself entrusted to us when He called us to feed His sheep with love. ... Education means forming new generations that they may know how to relate to the world, strengthened by a significant memory, by a shared inner patrimony of real knowledge which, while recognising the transcendent goal of life, guides thoughts, emotions and judgements".

  Pope Benedict continued: "The inner thirst of the young is a call for meaning, for authentic human relationships which can help them not to feel alone in the face of life's challenges. ... Our response is to announce God, the friend of man Who in Jesus approached each one of us. The transmission of the faith is an indispensable part of the integral formation of the person. ... The personal meeting with Jesus is the key to understanding God's relevance in everyday life".

  The Pope explained how "the quality of our witness remains a decisive factor" in the duty to educate in families, schools and parishes.

  Going on them to mention "the weakness and sin" of some members of the Church, he highlighted how "this humble and painful admission must not, however, make us forget the gratuitous and zealous service of many believers, first among them, priests. The special year dedicated to the clergy has sought to be an opportunity to promote their interior renewal as a condition for more incisive evangelical and ministerial commitment".

  "What gives rise to scandal must, for us, translate into a profound reminder of the need to re-learn penance and accept purification; to learn, on the one hand, forgiveness and, on the other, the need for justice".

  Benedict XVI encouraged the bishops "never to lose faith in the young. ... Frequent all areas of life", he told them, "including those of the new communications technologies which now permeate culture in all its expressions. It is not a question of adapting the Gospel to the world, but of drawing from the Gospel that perennial novelty which, in all times, enables us to find the best way to announce the Word that does not fail, fecundating and serving human life. Let us, then, again present the young with the exalted and transcendent measure of life as vocation".

  Referring then to the "current cultural, spiritual and economic crisis", the Pope concluded by renewing his call "to the leaders of public life and to business people to do everything they can to lessen the effects of the employment crisis. I exhort everyone to reflect on the premises of a good and meaningful life, which lie at the basis of that authoritativeness which alone educates".
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VATICAN CITY, 27 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father yesterday received in audience Bishop Wilhelm Schraml of Passau, Germany.
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 26 MAY 2010 (VIS) - In today's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope focused his remarks on the duty of the priest to "govern and guide - with the authority of Christ, not with his own - that portion of the people which God has entrusted to his care".

  In the last of three catechesis on the essential tasks of priestly ministry, the Holy Father asked: "how, within contemporary culture, can we understand this dimension which implicates the concept of authority and has its origin in the Lord's command to feed His sheep?"

  "The regimes which spread death and terror last century are a powerful reminder that authority, in all fields, when exercised without reference to the transcendent, when it ignores the supreme authority that is God Himself, inevitably ends up by turning against man. It is important, then, to recognise that human authority is never an end but always and only a means, and that, necessarily and at all times, the end is always the person".

 "In order to be pastors after God's heart, we need to be profoundly rooted in a living friendship with Christ (not only of our minds, but also of our freedom and will), clearly aware of the identity we received at priestly ordination, and unconditionally ready to lead our flock where the Lord wills, not in the direction which seems most convenient and easy. This requires, first and foremost, a continuous and progressive willingness to allow Christ Himself to govern the priestly lives of clergy. No-one, in fact, is truly capable of feeding the flock if they do not live in profound and authentic obedience to Christ and the Church; and the docility of the people towards their priests depends on the docility of priests towards Christ".

  Referring then to the concept of "hierarchy" in the Church, the Pope noted how a prevalent idea among the public is of "an element of subordination, ... and for many people this contrasts with the flexibility and vitality of pastoral service. ... This is an erroneous interpretation which has its origins in the abuses of history", he explained. "The true meaning is of a sacred origin, it is an authority that comes from another, and subjects the person to the mystery of Christ, making him His servant. Only as His servant can he govern and guide, for Christ and with Christ".

  Thus "the Pope, who is a point of reference for the communion of all the pastors of the Church, cannot do as he pleases; quite the contrary, he is the custodian of obedience to Christ and His word".

  "Without this clear and explicit supernatural vision, priests' duty to govern cannot be understood. It is however, when supported by true concern for the salvation of each member of the faithful, a particularly important and necessary duty, also in our own time".

  "Where", the Pope asked, "can a priest today draw the strength to exercise his ministry in complete faithfulness to Christ and to the Church, with total dedication to his flock? There is", he said, "only one answer: in Christ the Lord".

  Benedict XVI told priests: "Do not be afraid to guide to Christ each of the brothers and sisters He has entrusted to you, certain that each word, each action, if they come from obedience to God's will, will bear fruit. Appreciate the advantages and recognise the limits of the culture in which we live, in the firm certainty that announcing the Gospel is the greatest service we can do mankind. In fact, there is no greater good in this earthly life than to lead man to God, to reawaken the faith, to raise mankind from inertia and desperation, and infuse the hope that God is close and guides the history of individuals and of the world. This is the profound and ultimate meaning of the task of government the Lord has entrusted to us".

  The Pope concluded by inviting priests to participate in the closing celebrations of the Year for Priests, due to take place in Rome from 9 to 11 June when, he said, "we will meditate on conversion and mission, on the gift of the Holy Spirit and on our relationship with the Blessed Virgin; and we will renew our priestly promises, supported by the entire People of God".
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VATICAN CITY, 26 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" released the following English-language communique:

  "In the wake of the floods provoked by torrential rains in Poland, a disaster on an unprecedented scale that has led to many victims and massive evacuations, the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum' has sent Archbishop Jozef Michalik, president of the Polish Episcopal Conference, a papal gift to assist the flood victims and evacuees in the worst hit ecclesiastical areas.

  "The Holy Father's gesture through 'Cor Unum' is intended to show his closeness and his paternal encouragement to those who are generously offering aid relief".
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VATICAN CITY, 26 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Celio de Oliveira Goulart O.F.M. of Cachoeiro de Itapemirim, Brazil, as bishop of Sao Joao del Rei (area 9,503, population 552,000, Catholics 470,000, priests 66, religious 109), Brazil. He succeeds Bishop Waldemar Chaves de Araujo, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Wilson Tadeu Jonck S.C.J., auxiliary of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as bishop of Tubarao (area 4,531, population 349,000, Catholics 305,000, priests 53, permanent deacons 1, religious 99), Brazil.
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 25 MAY 2010 (VIS) - On 18 May, the Holy See and the Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Germany, signed an agreement concerning the creation of a centre of formation for Catholic theology and the pedagogy of religion at Hamburg University.

  The agreement was signed in Hamburg by Archbishop Jean-Claude Perisset, apostolic nuncio to Germany, on behalf of the Holy See, and by Herlind Gundelach, minister for science and research of the Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg, on behalf of the city.

  The ceremony was also attended by Archbishop Werner Thissen of Hamburg accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschke, while the University of Hamburg was represented by Holger Fischer, vice president, and by the dean of the Evangelical theological faculty.
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VATICAN CITY, 25 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that at 7 p.m. on Thursday 3 June, Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass on the square in front of Rome's St. John Lateran Basilica. Following this he will preside at the traditional Eucharistic procession from the basilica, along Via Merulana, to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
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VATICAN CITY, 25 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The international biopharmaceutical company NeoStem Inc. and the Pontifical Council for Culture have announced a joint initiative between their charitable organisations to expand research and raise awareness of adult stem cell therapies, according to a communique made public today.

  NeoStem's Stem for Life Foundation, formed to create awareness about the promise of adult stem cells to treat disease, and the pontifical council's STOQ Foundation (Science Theology and the Ontological Quest), will work to advance research on adult stem cells, to explore their clinical applicability in the field of regenerative medicine, and the cultural relevance of such research especially with its impact on theological and ethical issues.

  "As part of the collaboration, NeoStem and the pontifical council will make efforts to develop educational programs, publications and academic courses with an interdisciplinary approach for theological and philosophical faculties, including those of bioethics, around the world. One of the initiatives will be a three-day international conference at the Vatican on adult stem cell research, including VSEL technology (which uses very small embryonic-like stem cells) that will focus on medical research presentations and theological and philosophical considerations and implications of scientific achievements", the communique says.
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Monday, May 24, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 22 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received in separate audiences first Boiko Borissov, prime minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, then Trjako Veljanoski, president of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Both men, each leading a delegation, have come to Rome for the commemoration of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.

  In his address to the Bulgarian delegation the Holy Father noted how "on her path to full integration with other European nations Bulgaria is called to promote and bear witness to the Christian roots that derive from the teachings of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, which today are still as relevant and important as ever. Bulgaria is, then, called to safeguard and remain faithful to the precious heritage which unites people - both Orthodox and Catholics - who profess the same faith in the Apostles and are united by a common Baptism. As Christian we have the duty to reinforce the intrinsic bond that exists between the Gospel and our respective cultural identities. As disciples of the Lord we are called, while showing mutual respect for the various ecclesial traditions, to a shared witness of our faith in Jesus in Whose name we obtain salvation".

  Benedict XVI expressed the hope that his meeting with the prime minister will represent "a reason for ever closer and more fraternal relations", and he encouraged the Bulgarian people "to persevere in the aim of building a society founded on justice and peace".

  In his remarks to the delegation from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Holy Father recalled how "the fruits of evangelisation of Sts. Cyril and Methodius were truly abundant. They experienced suffering, privation and hostility but they bore everything with unshakeable faith and invincible hope in God. It was with this strength that they strove to help the people entrusted to their care, safeguarding the texts of Scripture (indispensable for the celebration of the liturgy) which they translated into old Slavonic using a new alphabet, subsequently approved by the Church authorities.

  "In moments of trial and joy", the Pope added, "they felt that God accompanied them daily experiencing His love and that of their brethren. We too understand that when we feel loved by the Lord, and know that we return this love, we are enveloped and guided by His grace in everything we do. Thanks to the effusion of the multiple gifts of the Holy Spirit, the more we know we are loved and give ourselves to others, the more that Spirit will come in succour of our weaknesses, opening new roads for our activities".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Participants in the annual congress of the "Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice" foundation, led by their president Domingo Sugranyes Bickel, were received in audience this morning by the Holy Father.

  The Pope expressed his appreciation to the group for having chosen the relation between "development progress and the common good" as the theme of their congress. "Today more than ever", he said, "the human family can grow as a free society of free peoples so long as globalisation is guided by solidarity and the common good, and by social justice, all of which find a precious wellspring in the message of Christ and of the Church".

  "The common good is the goal that gives meaning to progress and development, which otherwise would be limited only to the production of material goods. These goods are necessary, but without the orientation to the common good consumerism, waste, poverty and inequality come to prevail, which are negative factors for progress and development".

  Benedict XVI then went on to quote from his Encyclical "Caritas in veritate", affirming that one of the greatest risks of the modern world lies in the fact that "'the de facto interdependence of people and nations is not matched by ethical interaction of consciences and minds that would give rise to truly human development'. Such interaction, for example, seems to be too weak with those leaders who, in the face of renewed episodes of irresponsible speculation against the weakest States, do not react with adequate decisions to govern finance. Politics must have primacy over finance, and ethics must be the guiding force for all activities".

  The Holy Father recalled how "the common good is made up of a number of factors: material, cognitive and institutional good, as well as moral and spiritual good. The latter two are superior and the former must be subordinate to them", he said. "Our commitment to the common good of the family of peoples, and to that of each society, means we must give support to and avail ourselves of the complex of institutions that give juridical, civil, political and cultural structure to the life of society".

  And he went on: "We must ensure that the economic-productive order remains socially responsible and of a human scale, through joint and unitary action on various levels, including the international level. In the same way, it is important to support the consolidation of constitutional, juridical and administrative systems in countries that do not yet fully enjoy them. Economic aid must, then, be accompanied by measures that aim to reinforce the guarantees of the rule of law, a just and efficient system of public order in full respect for human rights, and truly democratic and participative institutions.

  "The fundamental priority for the development of the entire family of peoples, however, is to strive to recognise the true scale of goods and values", the Holy Father added. "The notion of integral human development presupposes such things as subsidiarity and solidarity, and interdependence between State, society and the market. In a global society made up of many different peoples and religions, the common good and integral development must be achieved with everyone's contribution. Religions have a crucial role to play in this, especially when they teach fraternity and peace".

  "The exclusion of religion from public life - and, at the other extreme, religious fundamentalism - hinders an encounter between persons and their collaboration for the progress of humanity. Public life is sapped of its motivation and politics becomes domineering and aggressive".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2010 (VIS) - At 10 a.m. today in the Vatican Basilica, the Pope presided at Mass for the Solemnity of Pentecost.

  Commenting on the Pentecost narrative in the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Father explained how "from the Son of God - Who died, rose again then returned to the Father - the divine breath, the Holy Spirit, now descends on humankind with unprecedented energy. And what", he asked, "does God's new and powerful self-communication produce? Wherever there is rupture and estrangement, He brings unity and understanding.

  "A process of reunification begins among the different and divided parts of the human family", he added. "People, often reduced to competing and conflicting individuals, having been touched by the Spirit of Christ, open themselves to the experience of communion, which can envelop them to the point that they form a new organism, a new entity: the Church. The effect of God's work is unity. Thus unity is the sign of recognition, the 'calling card' of the Church in the course of her universal history. Ever since the beginning, since the day of Pentecost, she has spoken all languages".

  "The Church", Benedict XVI explained, "is never a prisoner of political, racial or cultural boundaries. She must not be confused with other States or with federations of States because hers is a different unity; it aspires to cross all human frontiers.

  "From this, dear brothers and sisters derives a practical criterion of discernment for Christian life: when a person or a community close themselves inside their own way of thinking and acting, it is a sign they have distanced themselves from the Holy Spirit. Christians and particular Churches must always compare themselves, and seek harmony, with the one Catholic Church".

  The Holy Father went on: "The unity of the Spirit is expressed in the plurality of understanding. The Church is by her nature one and multiple, being destined to live in all nations, with all peoples, and in the most diverse social contexts. She fulfils her vocation of being a sign and instrument of unity of the entire human race, only if she remains independent of all States and all specific cultures. Always and everywhere the Church must be truly catholic and universal, a home with which everyone can identify".

  "At Pentecost the Holy Spirit appeared as a fire", said the Pope, noting "how different this fire was from that of wars and bombs. How different is the immolation of Christ, as propagated by the Church, from the fires ignited by dictators of all ages, even last century, which left behind them only scorched earth".

  "The flame of the Holy Spirit burns but does not injure, and yet it achieves a transformation. ... However this effect of the divine fire scares us, we are afraid of being 'scalded' and would prefer to remain as we are. This depends on the fact that our lives often follow a logic of having, of possession and not of giving. ... On the one hand we want to be with Jesus, to follow Him closely, on the other we are afraid of the consequences this brings".

  We must, Benedict XVI told the faithful, "be able to recognise that losing something, losing ourselves, for the true God, the God of love and life, is in fact a gain, it means rediscovering oneself more fully. Those who entrust themselves to Jesus experience peace and joy of heart already in this life, things the world cannot give, and cannot take away once God has given them to us. It is worthwhile, then, to allow ourselves to be touched by the fire of the Holy Spirit. The pain this brings is necessary for our transformation".

  The Pope concluded by calling on the Holy Spirit "to ignite the flame of your love in us. We know this is an audacious payer, with which we ask to be touched by the flame of God; yet we know that this flame alone has the power to save us. We do not want, in order to defend our lives, to lose the eternal life God wants to give us. We need the fire of the Holy Spirit, because only Love redeems".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Following this morning's Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica for the Solemnity of Pentecost, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Regina Coeli with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square below.

  In his remarks the Pope explained that "the mystery of Pentecost", which we identify with the appearance of the Holy Spirit in the Cenacle, "is the true 'Baptism' of the Church, but it does not finish there. In fact, the Church lives constantly in the effusion of the Holy Spirit without which she would exhaust her energies like a sailing ship without wind.

  "Pentecost", he added, "is renewed especially in certain particularly intense moments, both at the local and universal level, in small assemblies and in great gatherings". Among these, the Holy Father mentioned Vatican Council II, and "the famous encounter of ecclesial movements with the Venerable John Paul II here in St. Peter's Square at Pentecost 1994.

  "Yet", he went on, "the Church experiences countless 'Pentecosts' which enliven local communities: the liturgies, especially those experienced at special moments in community life, in which the power of God is perceived particularly clearly, infusing souls with joy and enthusiasm".

  "Thus, there is no Church without Pentecost. And, I would like to add, there is no Pentecost without the Virgin Mary. So it was at the beginning, in the Cenacle. ... So it is always, in all places and times. I myself witnessed as much a few days ago in Fatima, Portugal. What did that immense multitude experience on the esplanade of the shrine, if not a renewed Pentecost?".

  "This", the Holy Father concluded, "is the experience typical of the great Marian shrines (Lourdes, Guadalupe, Pompeii, Loreto) and of the smaller ones. Wherever Christians come together in prayer with Mary, the Lord gives His Spirit".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2010 (VIS) - In his greetings after praying the Regina Coeli today, the Holy Father recalled how the Italian laywoman and Franciscan tertiary Teresa Manganiello (1849-1876) was yesterday proclaimed a blessed.

  The new blessed "spent a simple and humble life amidst her domestic duties and her spiritual commitments in the church of the Capuchins. Like St. Francis of Assisi she sought to imitate Jesus Christ, offering sufferings and penance for the remission of sins. She was also full of love for her neighbour, and made prodigious efforts for all, especially the poor and sick".

  The Pope then mentioned the Day of Prayer for the Church in China, which falls tomorrow 24 May, liturgical memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians. "While the faithful in China pray that the unity between themselves and the universal Church may become ever deeper, Catholics in the whole world - and especially those of Chinese origin - join them in prayer and charity, which the Holy Spirit infuses in our hearts, especially on today's solemnity".

  Finally, the Holy Father greeted members of the Italian association, Movement for Life, "which promotes the culture of life and gives concrete assistance to many young women to help them carry difficult pregnancies to term".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Bilateral Permanent Working Committee between the Holy See and the State of Israel met on 20 May to continue negotiations pursuant to article 10 para. 2 of the Fundamental Agreement.

  According to a communique on the event, "the talks took place in a constructive atmosphere and made progress towards the mandated agreement.

  "The delegations will meet again on 14 June, and the next day the plenary session will take place in the Vatican".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today released the following communique:

  "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Denis Sassou N'guesso, president of the Republic of Congo. 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 talks, mention was made of the initiatives being organised for the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the country's independence. Attention also dwelt on the shared desire to strengthen the good relations that exist between the Holy See and the Republic of Congo, with particular emphasis on the Catholic Church's contribution to the people's human, social and cultural development. Finally, opinions were exchanged on the political and social situation in the region, with attention focusing on humanitarian problems, especially of refugees".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Mihai Ghimpu, speaker of parliament and acting president of the Republic of Moldova. The guest 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.

  "In the course of the cordial discussions consideration was given to the situation in the country, with the hope being expressed that all difficulties may be overcome through dialogue. The positive contribution of the Catholic Church's mission in support of the people of Moldova was recognised, and appreciation expressed for the serene dialogue that exists between the Church and the authorities of State. Finally, opinions were exchanged on certain aspects of current international relations, including the cultural and religious identity of Europe".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval C.SS.R., archbishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.

  On Saturday May 22 he received in audience Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, 24 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Edgar de Jesus Garcia Gil of Montelibano, Colombia, as bishop of Palmira (area 4,796, population 754.000, Catholics 681,000, priests 77, religious 224), Colombia.

 - Gave his consent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Church of Fr. Bashar Warda C.SS.R., director of the patriarchal Chaldean seminary in Ankawa near Arbil, Iraq, and professor of moral theology at the local institute of religious sciences, as archbishop of Arbil of the Chaldeans (Catholics 20,000, priests 5, permanent deacons 6, religious 11). The archbishop-elect was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1969 and ordained a priest in 1993.

  On Saturday 22 May it was made public that he:

 - Elevated the diocese of Tunis (area 162,155, population 10,230,000, Catholics 21,000, priests 32, permanent deacons 1, religious 150), Tunisia, to the rank of archdiocese, making Bishop Maroun Lahham of Tunis the first archbishop of the new archdiocese. The archbishop-elect was born in Irbed, Jordan in 1948, he was ordained a priest in 1972 and consecrated a bishop in 2005.

 - Erected the new diocese of Kalay (area 22,235, population 1,373918, Catholics 49,165, priests 26, religious 84) Myanmar, with territory taken from the diocese of Hakha, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Mandalay. He appointed Bishop Felix Lian Khen Thang, auxiliary of Hakha, as first bishop of the new diocese.

 - Appointed Fr. F. Richard Spencer of the clergy of the archdiocese of Baltimore, U.S.A., vice commandant of the military chaplains of the U.S. Forces in Europe, as auxiliary to the military ordinariate of the U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Sylacauga, U.S.A. in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1988.

 - Appointed as relators of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura: Fr. Eduardo Baura de la Pena, professor at the faculty of canon law of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross; Fr. Paolo Giuseppe Bianchi, judicial vicar of the Ecclesiastical Regional Tribunal of Lombardy, Italy; Fr. Bruno Esposito O.P., professor at the faculty of canon law of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas; Fr. Luigi Sabbarese C.S., dean of the faculty of canon law of the Pontifical Urban University, and Edward N. Peters, professor of canon law at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary of the archdiocese of Detroit U.S.A.
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Friday, May 21, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Yesterday evening in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI attended a concert in honour of his birthday and the anniversary of his election as Pope, offered by Kirill I, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. The concert, which included pieces by nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian composers, was played by the National Orchestra of Russia conducted by Carlo Ponti, with the Synodal Choir of Moscow and the Horn Capella of St. Petersburg.

  At the end of the concert, which was part of the initiative "Days of Russian Culture and Spirituality in the Vatican", the Holy Father listened to a message sent by Patriarch Kirill and was greeted by Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, president of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow and composer of one of the pieces played during the concert. The Pope then pronounced a brief address.

  "Deep in these works", he said, "is the soul of the Russian people, and therewith the Christian faith, both of which find extraordinary expression in divine liturgy and in the liturgical chants with which it is always accompanied. There is, in fact, a close and fundamental bond between Russian music and liturgical chant. It is in the liturgy and from the liturgy that a large part of the artistic creativity of Russian musicians is released and expressed, giving life to masterpieces which deserve to be better known in the West".

  Such nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian composers as Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov "treasured the rich musical-liturgical heritage of Russian tradition, re-modelling it and harmonising it with musical themes and experiences of the West. ... Music, then, anticipates and in some way creates encounter, dialogue and synergy between East and West, between tradition and modernity.

  "It was of just such a unified and harmonious vision of Europe that the Venerable John Paul II was thinking when, referring to the image of the 'two lungs' suggested by Vjaceslav Ivanovic Ivanov, he expressed his hope in a renewed awareness of the continent's profound and shared cultural and religious roots, without which today's Europe would be deprived of a soul or, at least, victim of a reduced and partial vision".

  "Modern culture, particularly in Europe, runs the risk of amnesia, of forgetting and thus abandoning the extraordinary heritage aroused and inspired by Christian faith, which is the essential framework of the culture of Europe, and not only of Europe. The Christian roots of the continent are, in fact, made up not only of religious life and the witness of so many generation of believers, but also of the priceless cultural and artistic heritage which is the pride and precious resource of the peoples and countries in which Christian faith, in its various expressions, has entered into dialogue with culture and the arts".

  "Today too these roots are alive and fruitful in East and West, and can in fact inspire a new humanism, a new season of authentic human progress in order to respond effectively to the numerous and sometimes crucial challenges that our Christian communities and societies have to face: first among them that of secularism, which not only impels us to ignore God and His designs, but ends up by denying the very dignity of human beings, in view of a society regulated only by selfish interests".

  The Holy Father concluded: "Let us again let Europe breathe with both lungs, restore a soul not only to believers, but to all peoples of the continent, promote trust and hope, rooting them in the millennial experience of the Christian faith. The coherent, generous and courageous witness of believers must not now be lacking, so that together we may look to our shared future, a future in which the freedom and dignity of all men and women are recognised as a fundamental value, in which openness to the Transcendent, the experience of faith, is recognised as an essential element of the human being".
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VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Leonel Antonio Fernandez Reyna, president of the Dominican Republic. 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 appreciation was expressed for the great contribution the Church makes to the development of the country, especially in the fields of education and healthcare where she particularly concerns herself with the most needy. Emphasis was then given to the importance of continuing to promote human life, from conception until natural death.

  "Subsequently, opinions were exchanged on the Dominican authorities' commitment to combating the social problems that afflict the country.

  "As the conversation continued, attention turned to the international and regional situation, in which context the Dominican Republic's role in organising humanitarian aid to Haiti was highlighted".
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VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received participants in the twenty-fourth plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity who are currently meeting to examine the theme: "Witnesses to Christ in the political community".

  The Pope told them that, although the "technical formation of politicians" is not part of the Church's mission, she reserves the right to "pass moral judgment in those matters which regard public order when the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls require it".

  "It is up to the lay faithful to show - in their personal and family life, in social cultural and political life - that the faith enables them to read reality in a new and profound way, and to transform it", he said.

  "It is also the duty of the laity to participate actively in political life, in a manner coherent with the teaching of the Church, bringing their well-founded reasoning and great ideals into the democratic debate, and into the search for a broad consensus among everyone who cares about the defence of life and freedom, the protection of truth and the good of the family, solidarity with the needy, and the vital search for the common good".

  The Holy Father went on: "There is a need for authentically Christian politicians but, even more so, for lay faithful who bear witness to Christ and the Gospel in the civil and political community. This need must be reflected in the educational prospectus of the ecclesial community and requires new forms of presence and support from pastors. Christian membership of associations, ecclesial movements and new communities can be a good school for such disciples and witnesses, supported by the charismatic, community, educational and missionary resources of those groups".

  The Pope explained how "the spread of a confused cultural relativism, and of a utilitarian and hedonistic individualism weakens democracy and favours the dominance of strong powers. We must recover and reinvigorate authentic political wisdom; be demanding in what concerns our own sphere of competency; make discriminating use of scientific research; face reality in all its aspects, going beyond any kind of ideological reductionism or utopian dream; show we are open to true dialogue and collaboration, bearing in mind that politics is also a complex art of equilibrium between ideals and interests, but never forgetting that the contribution of Christians can be decisive only if knowledge of faith becomes knowledge of reality, the key to judgement and transformation. What is needed is a true 'revolution of love'".
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VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican the Holy Father received participants in the ordinary assembly of the superior council of the Pontifical Missionary Works, a body which depends on the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

  Evangelisation "is an immense mission", the Pope told them, "especially in our own time in which humankind is suffering from a certain lack of reflection and wisdom, and we are seeing the spread of a humanism that excludes God. For this reason, it is urgently necessary to illuminate emerging problems with the unchanging light of the Gospel".

  Preaching the Gospel "is a priceless service the Church can offer humankind on its journey through history", the Holy Father told the members of the Pontifical Missionary Works, whom he described as "an eloquent and living sign of the catholicity of the Church, which takes concrete form in the universal scope of the apostolic mission 'to the ends of the earth', and 'to the end of the age', so that no people or environment may be without the light and grace of Christ. This is the meaning, the historical trajectory, the mission and the hope of the Church", he said.

  "The mission to announce the Gospel to all peoples" involves making "critical judgement on the global transformations that are bringing substantial changes to the culture of humankind. The Church, present and at work on geographical and anthropological frontiers, carries a message which enters into history as she proclaims the inalienable values of the person, announcing God's plan of salvation made visible and operational in Christ. The preaching of the Gospel is the call to freedom of the children of God, for a more just and united society".

  Those who participate in Christ's mission must inevitably "face trials, contrasts and suffering because they clash with the powers of this world", said Benedict XVI. Like the Apostle Paul "we have no arms other than the Word of Christ and His Cross". Thus the "ad gentes" mission requires the Church and missionaries "to accept the consequences of their ministry: evangelical poverty, which gives them the freedom to preach the Gospel courageously and frankly; non-violence, by which they respond to evil with good; and willingness to give their life for the name of Christ and the love of mankind".

  "It is from the Holy Spirit that the Church's announcement and apostolic ministry receive authority", the Pope explained. "Evangelisation needs Christians with their arms raised to God in prayer, Christians aware that conversion to the world of Christ is not something we produce, but something given to us".

  The Holy Father concluded his remarks by thanking the members of the Pontifical Missionary Works for "stimulating the missionary conscience of the particular Churches, encouraging them to... form and send out missionaries and help the young Churches".
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VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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Thursday, May 20, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 20 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Pope today received the Letters of Credence of Hissa Abdulla Ahmed Al-Otaiba, the first ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) to the Holy See.

  Speaking English to the diplomat the Holy Father highlighted how "love of God and respect for the dignity of one's neighbour motivates the Holy See's diplomacy and shapes the Catholic Church's mission of service to the international community. The Church's action in the field of diplomatic relations promotes peace, human rights and integral development, and thus strives for the authentic progress of all, without regard for race, colour or creed".

  He went on: "The Holy See and the Catholic Church take care to highlight the dignity of man in order to maintain a clear and authentic vision of humanity on the international stage and in order to muster new energy in the service of what is best for the development of peoples and nations".

  The U.A.E., the Holy Father noted, "notwithstanding difficulties, has experienced notable economic growth in recent years. In this context, your country has welcomed many hundreds of thousands of foreigners coming to seek work and a more secure financial future for themselves and for their families".

  "The openness of the United Arab Emirates towards those foreign workers requires constant efforts to strengthen the conditions necessary for peaceful coexistence and social progress, and is to be commended", said the Pope, expressing his satisfaction "that there are several Catholic churches built on lands donated by the public authorities.

  "It is the Holy See's earnest wish", he added, "that this co-operation may continue and indeed flourish, according to the growing pastoral necessities of the Catholic population living there. Freedom of worship contributes significantly to the common good and brings social harmony to all those societies where it is practised. I assure you of the desire of the Catholic Christians present in your country to contribute to the wellbeing of your society, to live God-fearing lives and to respect the dignity of all peoples and religions".
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VATICAN CITY, 20 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Luvsantseren Orgil, the new ambassador of Mongolia to the Holy See, today presented his Letters of Credence to the Holy Father. "As your nation celebrates the twentieth anniversary of its passage to democracy", the Pope told him, "I express my confidence that the great progress made in these years will continue to bear fruit in the consolidation of a social order which promotes the common good of your citizens, while furthering their legitimate aspirations for the future".

  Speaking English, the Pope expressed his "solidarity and concern" for people "who suffered as a result of the harsh winter and the effects of last year's torrential rains and flooding. ... Environmental issues, particularly those related to climate change, are global issues and need to be addressed on a global level", he said.

  "The establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and the Holy See, which took place after the great social and political changes of two decades ago, are a sign of your nation's commitment to an enriching interchange within the wider international community", said the Holy Father. "Religion and culture, as interrelated expressions of the deepest spiritual aspirations of our common humanity, naturally serve as incentives for dialogue and co-operation between peoples in the service of peace and genuine development".

  Pope Benedict likewise expressed his appreciation "for the constant support of the government in ensuring religious liberty. The establishment of a commission, charged with the fair application of law and with protecting the rights of conscience and free exercise of religion, stands as a recognition of the importance of religious groups within the social fabric and their potential for promoting a future of harmony and prosperity".

  "The Church's primary mission is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fidelity to the liberating message of the Gospel, she seeks also to contribute to the advancement of the entire community. It is this that inspires the efforts of the Catholic community to co-operate with the Government and with people of good will by working to overcome all kinds of social problems.

  "The Church", the Pope added, "is also concerned to play her proper part in the work of intellectual and human formation, above all by educating the young in the values of respect, solidarity and concern for the less fortunate. In this way, she strives to serve her Lord by showing charitable concern for the needy and for the good of the whole human family", he concluded.
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VATICAN CITY, 20 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Feleti Vaka'uta Sevele, prime minister of Tonga. The prime minister 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.

  "In the course of the cordial discussions attention focused on the process of institutional reform in Tonga, on various aspect of the archipelago's social and economic life, and on the important contribution the Catholic Church makes in various fields of human promotion. Opinions were then exchanged on the international situation, with particular reference to the political, commercial and environmental problems which the Pacific Island States are facing in a spirit of close collaboration".
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VATICAN CITY, 20 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 19 MAY 2010 (VIS) - During his general audience this morning, Benedict XVI reminisced about his recent apostolic trip to Portugal, which took place from 11 to 14 May to mark the tenth anniversary of the beatification of the shepherd children Jacinta and Francisco.

  The Holy Father began by explaining how throughout his journey he had felt the "spiritual support" of his predecessor John Paul II, "who visited Fatima three times, to give thanks for the 'invisible hand' that delivered him from death in the attack of 13 May here in St. Peter's Square".

  During Mass in the capital city of Lisbon, "whence over the centuries so many missionaries left to carry the Gospel to other continents", the Pope had called the local Church "to vigorous evangelising activity in the various areas of society, in order to sow hope in a world often marked by mistrust". In particular he had encouraged believers "to announce the death and resurrection of Christ, the core of Christianity, fulcrum and support of our faith and the reason for our joy".

  Benedict XVI then went on to refer to his meeting with representatives from the world of culture, where he had "underlined the heritage of values with which Christianity has enriched the culture, art and tradition of the Portuguese people. In that noble land, as in every country deeply marked by Christianity, it is possible to build a future of fraternal understanding and collaboration with other cultures, opening reciprocally to sincere and respectful dialogue", he said.

  In Fatima, "a town marked by an atmosphere of authentic mysticism, in which the presence of the Virgin is almost palpable", the Pope had been "a pilgrim among other pilgrims", who presented Our Lady with "the joys and expectations, as well as the problems and sufferings of the whole world", said the Holy Father.

  He also recalled how he had celebrated Vespers in Fatima's church of the Blessed Trinity with priests, religious and deacons of Portugal, thanking them "for their witness, often silent and not always easy, and for their faithfulness to the Gospel and to the Church", inviting them to follow, in this Year for Priests, "the shining example of the 'Cure of Ars'".

  The Pope mention the Rosary he had prayed with hundreds of thousands of people on the evening of 12 May, vigil of the anniversary of the first apparition of the Virgin. "This prayer, so dear to Christian people, has found in Fatima a driving force for all the Church and the world", he said. "We could say that Fatima and the Rosary are almost synonymous".

  During the Mass of 13 May, celebrated on the esplanade of Fatima in the presence of half a million people, the Pope had reaffirmed that "the demanding but consoling message the Virgin left us at Fatima is full of hope. It is a message that focuses on prayer, penance and conversion, a message projected beyond the threats, dangers and horrors of history, inviting humankind to have faith in the action of God, to cultivate great hope, and to experience the grace of the Lord in order to love Him, the source of love and peace".

  In his meeting with pastoral care organisations, Benedict XVI recalled how he had "indicated the example of the Good Samaritan, in order to meet the requirements of our most needy brothers and sisters, and to serve Christ by promoting the common good".

  In his celebration of the Eucharist in Porto, "the city of the Virgin", the Pope had highlighted "the duty to bear witness to the Gospel in all environments, offering Christ to the world so that all situations of difficulty, suffering and fear may be transformed by the Holy Spirit into an opportunity for growth and life".

  "'Wisdom and Mission' was the motto of my apostolic trip to Portugal", Pope Benedict concluded his reminiscences. "In Fatima the Blessed Virgin Mary invites us to walk with hope, letting ourselves be guided by the 'wisdom from on high' which was manifested in Jesus, the wisdom of love, to bring the light and joy of Christ into the world".
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VATICAN CITY, 19 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today announced that at 10.30 a.m. on 24 June Benedict XVI will visit the Don Orione Centre located in Rome's Monte Mario district to bless a statue of the Virgin "Salus populi romani". The statue, which looks out over the city, has recently been restored and replaced on its tower.

  The great statue of Our Lady, nine metres high and made of gilded copper, fell from its nineteen-metre pedestal in a storm and high winds on 12 October last year.

  The fall of the statue elicited a great swell of affection and devotion on the part of the authorities and people of the capital, who requested to see it back in place as soon as possible.

  Benedict XVI himself, in a message sent to the superior general of the Orionine Fathers, had expressed the hope "that the statue be replaced as soon as possible for the devotion of all Romans".

  The Holy Father's brief pilgrimage, and his blessing of the restored statue of the Virgin, has great religious and civil significance for the whole city, because the statue is a memory of historical events inscribed in the poplar imagination.

  Benedict XVI's visit to Monte Mario also coincides with the 'Feast of the Pope' which the Orione Family promotes all over the world, following a tradition begun by St. Luigi Orione.

  The Holy Father will then go on to visit the Dominican convent of Santa Maria del Rosario in Monte Mario, where he will meet the cloistered nuns. The convent contains the seventh-century icon of the Virgin "Hagiosoritissa", known as Our Lady of St. Luke, as well as precious relics of St. Dominic, St. Catherine of Siena and other Dominican saints.

  The Pope is expected to return to the Vatican at about midday.
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VATICAN CITY, 19 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Giovanni Santucci of Massa Marittima - Piombino, Italy, as bishop of Massa Carrara - Pontremoli (area 1,174, population 204,110, Catholics 199,000, priests 161, permanent deacons 28, religious 233), Italy. He succeeds Bishop Eugenio Binni, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Canisio Klaus of Diamantino, Brazil, as bishop of Santa Cruz do Sul (area 17,568, population 555,000, Catholics 470,000, priests 85, permanent deacons 22, religious 255), Brazil. He succeeds Bishop Aloisio Sinesio Bohn, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 18 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The twenty-fourth plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity will take place in Rome from 20 to 22 May on the theme: "Witnesses to Christ in the political community".

  A communique on the event explains how "Benedict XVI has, on various occasions, highlighted the pressing need for a renewed commitment of Catholics in political life".

  The plenary will be inaugurated by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and is scheduled to include three lectures: Lorenzo Ornaghi, rector of the Sacred Heart Catholic University in Milan, Italy, will speak on "politics and democracy today: 'status quaestionis'"; Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the "Cultural Project" of the Italian Episcopal Conference, will examine the topic of "Church and political community: certain vital points"; finally Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, will speak on "the responsibility of the lay faithful in political life".

  The assembly will also include two reports, one by Andrea Riccardi, founder of the St. Egidio Community, on "what the great Christian figures in the history of politics have to say to us today"; and the second by Guzman Carriquiry, under secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, who will discuss "criteria and methods for the formation of the lay faithful in politics".

  The participants will be received in audience by the Pope on Friday 21 May.

  On the afternoon of Saturday 22 May, Bishop Joseph Clemens, secretary of the pontifical council, will consider the dicastery's achievements and explain its programmes for the future.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Kieran O'Reilly S.M.A., superior general of the Society of African Missions, as bishop of Killaloe (area 4,523, population 133,201, Catholics 122,746, priests 132, religious 125), Ireland. The bishop-elect was born in Cork, Ireland in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1978. He succeeds Bishop William Walsh, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Salvador Cristau Coll, vicar general of the diocese of Terrassa, Spain, as auxiliary of the same diocese (area 1,197, population 1,241,332, Catholics 1,218,420, priests 186, permanent deacons 7, religious 671). The bishop-elect was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1980.
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Monday, May 17, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 17 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning Evo Morales Ayma, president of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, was received in audience by the Holy Father Benedict XVI. 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 opportunity for a fruitful exchange of opinions on questions concerning the current international and regional situation, and on the need to develop greater social awareness for the protection of the environment.

  "Attention then turned to various aspects of the situation in Bolivia itself, in particular collaboration between Church and State in the areas of education, healthcare, and social policies in defence of the weakest".
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VATICAN CITY, 17 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was the annual Message to Buddhists for the Feast of Vesakh, issued by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and signed by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the council.

  Vesakh, the main Buddhist festivity, marks three fundamental moments in the life of Gautama Buddha. It is held during the full moon of the month of May because, according to tradition, the Buddha was born, achieved enlightenment, and passed away in that period.

  This year's message is entitled "Christians and Buddhists Respect Human Life as the Basis of Respect for all Beings".

  "Let us take this opportunity", the message reads, "to reflect together on a theme of particular relevance today, namely, the environmental crisis that has already caused notable hardship and suffering throughout the world. The efforts of both of our communities to engage in inter-religious dialogue have brought about a new awareness of the social and spiritual importance of our respective religious traditions in this area. We recognise that we hold in common a regard for values like respect for the nature of all things, contemplation, humility, simplicity, compassion, and generosity. These values contribute to a life of non-violence, equilibrium, and contentment with sufficiency".

  "The Catholic Church considers the protection of the environment as intimately linked to the theme of integral human development; and for her part, she is committed not only to promoting the protection of land, water and air as gifts destined for everyone, but also to encouraging others to join the efforts to protect mankind from self-destruction. Our responsibility to protect nature springs, in fact, from our respect for one another; it comes from the law inscribed in the hearts of all men and women".

  "Both Christians and Buddhists have a profound respect for human life", the document goes on. "It is crucial therefore that we encourage efforts to create a sense of ecological responsibility, while at the same time reaffirming our shared convictions about the inviolability of human life at every stage and in every condition, the dignity of the person and the unique mission of the family, where one learns to love one's neighbour and to respect nature.

  "May we together promote a healthy relationship between human beings and the environment", the message adds n conclusion. "By enhancing our efforts to promote ecological consciousness for serenity and peaceful coexistence, we can give witness to a respectful way of life that finds meaning not in having more, but in being more. By sharing the insights and commitments of our respective religious traditions, we can contribute to the well-being of our world".
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VATICAN CITY, 15 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Pope to participants in the "Kirchentag", an ecumenical event being celebrated in Munich, Germany, from 12 to 16 May in the presence of Christians from various denominations, and followers of other religions.

  Referring to the theme of the event - "that you may have hope" - the Holy Father highlights how "over recent months we have repeatedly had to absorb news that seeks to extract the joy from the Church, casting a shadow over her as a place of hope".

  "Today, if we pay close attention, if we do not perceive only the darkness but also what is light and good in our time, we see how faith makes men and women pure and generous, and educates them to love", he writes. "Weeds exist also in the bosom of the Church and among those whom the Lord has called to His special service. But the light of God has not gone out, the good wheat has not been choked by the weeds of evil".

  "Is the Church, then, a place of hope?", the Pope asked. "Yes", he said, "because from her the Word of God comes ever and anew, purifying us and showing us the path of faith. She is a place of hope because in her the Lord continues to give Himself to us in the grace of the Sacraments, in the words of reconciliation, in the multiple gifts of His consolation. Nothing can darken or destroy all this, and so we should be glad amidst all the tribulations.

  "To speak of the Church as a place of hope that comes from God", he adds, "involves an examination of conscience. What must I do with the hope the Lord has given us? Do I really allow myself to be moulded by His Word? What weeds grow in me? Am I willing to uproot them? Am I grateful for forgiveness and ready, in my turn, to forgive and to heal rather than to condemn?"

  The Pope explains how "we ourselves cannot achieve the greatest things (friendship, love, joy and happiness), they come to us only as a gift. ... Today almost no-one speaks of eternal life which, in the past, was the true object of hope. Since people no longer dare believe in it, they must hope to obtain everything in this life. Setting aside hope in eternal life leads to greed for life here and now, which almost inevitably becomes selfish and, in the end, unattainable. Precisely when we want to take possession of life as a kind of treasure it escapes us".

  "God is alive. God loves us. In Jesus Christ He became one of us. I can address Him and He listens to me. For this reason, like Peter, in the confusion of our own times which encourage us to believe in many other paths, we say to Him: 'Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God'".

  In closing his Message, the Holy Father expresses the hope that everyone at the Munich meeting "may be overcome with the joy of being able to know God, to know Christ. ... This is our hope and our joy in the midst of the confusion of the present".
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VATICAN CITY, 16 MAY 2010 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Regina Coeli with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  Today, the Pope explained, Italy and other countries are celebrating Jesus' Ascension to heaven forty days after Easter. He also pointed out that today is the World Day of Social Communications which has as its theme this year: "The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: new media at the service of the Word".

  "The liturgy recounts the episode of the last separation of the Lord Jesus from His disciples", said the Pope. "But this is not an abandonment, because He remains with them always in a new form. ... The Lord draws the gaze of the Apostles towards heaven showing them the path of goodness to be followed during their earthly life.

  "And yet He remains in the fabric of human history. He is close to each of us and guides our Christian journey. He is companion to those persecuted for their faith, He is in the heart of the marginalised, He is present in those whose right to life is denied. We can listen to, see and touch the Lord Jesus in the Church, especially through the word and sacramental gestures of her pastors".

  In this context, the Pope particularly exhorted young people receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation to "remain faithful the Word of God and the doctrine they have learned", and he invited them "assiduously to go to Confession and take the Eucharist, aware of having been chosen and created to bear witness to Truth".

  The Holy Father also renewed his call to priests to ensure that their "lives and activity are distinguished by a determined witness to the Gospel, and that they may know how to used the communications media to make the life of the Church known and help the men and women of today discover the face of Christ".
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