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Wednesday, June 30, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2010 (VIS) - In the light of the recently-concluded Year for Priests, Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis during this morning's general audience to the Italian St. Joseph Cafasso (1811-1860), the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of whose death fell last week.

  Joseph Cafasso first studied philosophy and theology then, four months after his priestly ordination in 1833, entered the "St. Francis of Assisi" institute in Turin, Italy, to perfect his skill in pastoral care.

  The kind of ministry that Joseph Cafasso helped to establish, said the Pope, was "that of the true pastor with a rich interior life and a profound zeal for pastoral care: faithful in prayer, committed to preaching and catechesis, dedicated to the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession, in keeping with the model incarnated by St. Charles Borromeo and St . Francis of Sales, and promoted by the Council of Trent".

  "St. Joseph Cafasso sought to establish this model in the formation of young priests so that, in their turn, they too could become formators to other priests, religious and lay people, thus creating a unique and effective chain".

  The saint, who passed many hours in the confessional, "loved the Lord totally, he was animated by a well-rooted faith and supported by profound and prolonged prayer, he showed sincere charity to everyone. He knew moral theology but was equally well aware of the condition of people's hearts for which, like the good shepherd, he took responsibility".

  Recalling then that St. Joseph Cafasso was St. John Bosco's spiritual director from 1835 to 1860, Benedict XVI explained that at no time did the former seek to make the latter "a disciple in his image and likeness", while St. John Bosco never copied his master. "He imitated him in the human and priestly virtues - defining him as a 'model of priestly life' - but maintained his own attitudes and his own specific vocation. ... This is a precious lesson for those involved in the formation and education of the young generations", said the Pope.

  Another element that characterised the ministry of St. Joseph Cafasso was his "concern for the lowest, especially for prisoners ... who lived in inhuman and dehumanising conditions". If at first, in his preaching to prisoners, the saint "often delivered great sermons that came to involve almost the entire prison population, with the passage of time he came to favour individual catechesis, made up of conversations and personal meetings. While respecting the individual situation of each individual, he tackled the great themes of Christian life, speaking of trust in God, adherence to His will, the utility of prayer and the Sacraments, the culmination of which is Confession, the meeting with God Who, for us, becomes infinite mercy".

  He died in the year 1860. In 1948 Pope Pius XII proclaimed him as patron of Italian prisons and, in 1950, propsed him "as a model for priests involved in Confession and spiritual direction".

  In his greetings at the end of his audience, the Pope addressed special greetings to the metropolitan archbishops who yesterday received the pallium, and to the pilgrims accompanying them.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Message for World Tourism Day published by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples was issued today. The Day, which is due to be celebrated on 27 December, has as its theme: "Tourism and Biodiversity". The message has been published in Italian, French, English, Spanish and Portuguese, and is signed by Archbishops Antonio Maria Veglio and Agostino Marchetto, respectively president and secretary of the pontifical council. Extracts from the English-language version are given below:

  "Biodiversity, or biological diversity, refers to the great wealth of beings that live on earth, as well as the delicate equilibrium of interdependence and interaction that exists between them and the physical environment that hosts and conditions them.

  "There are three imminent and grave dangers to them that require an urgent solution: climate change, desertification and the loss of biodiversity. The latter has been developing in recent years at an unprecedented rate. Recent studies indicate that on a worldwide level 22 percent of mammals, 31 percent of amphibians, 13.6 percent of bird life and 27 percent of reefs are threatened or in danger of extinction.

  "There are numerous areas of human activity that largely contribute to these changes, and one of them is, without a doubt, tourism, which is among the activities that have experienced great and rapid growth. In this regard, we can look to the statistics that the World Tourism Organisation offers us. With international tourist travel numbering 534 million in 1995 and 682 million in 2000, estimates from the organisation's 'Tourism 2020 Vision' report are 1.006 billion for the year 2010 and reaching 1.561 billion in 2020, at an average annual growth rate of 4.1 percent. ... All of this points to strong growth in this economic sector, which brings with it some major effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and the consequent danger of their transformation into serious environmental impacts - especially in regard to the exorbitant consumption of limited resources (such as potable water and land) and the enormous generation of pollution and residues, exceeding the quantities that might be withstood by a determined area.

  "The situation is seen to be aggravated by the fact that tourist demand directs itself more and more towards natural destinations, attracted by their beauty, which leads to a major impact on the populations visited, on their economies, on their cultural heritage and on the environment".

  "For all of this, we must assert that tourism cannot relieve itself of its responsibility to defend biodiversity. On the contrary rather, it must assume an active role in it.

  "This economic sector's development inevitably needs to be accompanied by the principles of sustainability and respect for biological diversity".

  "The Church would like to add her voice, from the space which is hers, beginning from the conviction that she herself 'has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere'. ... Church teaching reiterates insistently the responsibility of the human being in the preservation of an integral and healthy environment for all, from the conviction that the 'care for the environment represents a challenge for all of humanity. It is a matter of a common and universal duty, that of respecting a common good'".

  "There is an element that makes even this effort more imperative than ever. In the search for God, the human being discovers ways to bring himself closer to the Mystery, which has creation as a starting point. ... For this reason, tourism, bringing us closer to creation in its variety and wealth, can be an occasion to promote and increase the religious experience".

  "Efforts to protect and promote biological diversity in its relation with tourism are developed, firstly, through participative and shared strategies, in which the implied diverse sectors are involved. The majority of governments, international institutions, professional associations of the tourist sector and non-governmental organisations defend, with a long-term vision, the necessity of sustainable tourism as the only possible form in order for their development to simultaneously be economically profitable, protect natural and cultural resources and serve as a real help in the fight against poverty.

  "Public authorities must offer clear legislation that protects and fortifies biodiversity, reinforcing the benefits and reducing the costs of tourism, while at the same time ensuring the fulfilment of norms. ... Governments' efforts will need to be great in those places which are most vulnerable and where the degradation is greater. Perhaps in some of them, tourism should be restricted or even avoided.

  "For its part, the business sector of tourism is asked to 'conceive, develop and conduct their businesses minimising negative effects on, and positively contributing to, the conservation of sensitive ecosystems and the environment in general, and directly benefiting and including local and indigenous communities'".

  "Finally, tourists must be conscious that their presence in a place is not always positive. With this end, they must be informed of the real benefits that the conservation of biodiversity brings with it, and be educated in methods of sustainable tourism. ... In no case, neither the land nor the historical-cultural heritage of the destination should be damaged in favour of the tourist, adapting itself to their tastes and desires. A major effort, in a special way the pastoral care of tourism must realise, is the education in contemplation, that helps to tourists have the ability to discover the sign of God in the great wealth of biodiversity".
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VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2010 (VIS) - Responding to questions posed by a number of journalists about the note published on Monday morning concerning the role and functions of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. provided the following clarification: The reference to financial activities for which - as the note affirmed - there may also have been 'errors of judgement' is to be considered as a general observation, and not as referring to any particular administration. As regards Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples, Italy, who led the congregation from 2001 to 2006, we reiterate 'respect and solidarity', in the certainty that his correct conduct may lead to a complete and rapid clarification of the judicial proceedings.
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VATICAN CITY, 29 JUN 2010 (VIS) - Following this morning's Mass in the Vatican Basilica, at midday the Pope appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus.

  Speaking of the patrons of Rome, the Pope noted that St. Peter was "a humble fisherman from Galilee ... who was so close to the Lord as to become a rock of faith and love upon which Jesus built His Church. ... St. Paul - the two-thousandth anniversary of whose birth we have just celebrated - spread the Gospel with the help of divine Grace, sowing the Word of truth and salvation among pagan peoples. The two patron saints of Rome, though having received different charisms and different missions from God, are both the foundation of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church".

  Benedict XVI then recalled how he had just imposed the pallium on thirty-eight new metropolitan archbishops "symbolising both communion with the Bishop of Rome, and the mission to feed the one flock of Christ".

  "May the example of the Apostles Peter and Paul illuminate believer's minds and enflame their hearts with the holy desire to accomplish the will of God, that the pilgrim Church in the world may remain ever faithful to her Lord", he concluded.

  After the Marian prayer, the Holy Father addressed a special greeting to the new metropolitan archbishops, who have come from various parts of the world, and to the pilgrims accompanying them.
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VATICAN CITY, 29 JUN 2010 (VIS) - Today, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, Benedict XVI celebrated the Eucharist in the Vatican Basilica. Concelebrating with the Holy Father were thirty-eight new metropolitan archbishops, upon whom he imposed the pallium.

  Commenting on the biblical readings from today's Mass, the Pope explained how "they highlight a topic which we could summarise thus: God remains close to His faithful servants freeing them from all evil, and He frees the Church from negative powers. This is the theme of freedom in the Church, which has a historical aspect and another more profoundly spiritual side".

  "Jesus' promise that 'the powers of darkness will not prevail' over the Church embraces the historical experience of persecution suffered by Peter and Paul, and by other witnesses to the Gospel; but it also goes further, ensuring protection above all from threats of a spiritual nature".

  "If we consider the two millennia of Church history we can see that - as the Lord Jesus foresaw - Christians have never lacked for trials, which in some times and places have taken the form of authentic persecutions. Yet nonetheless, despite the suffering they bring, these do not represent the most serious danger for the Church. In fact, she suffers her greatest damage from that which pollutes the faith and the Christian life of her members and her communities, damaging the integrity of her mystical Body, weakening her capacity for prophecy and witness, obscuring the beauty of her countenance".

  The Pope noted that St. Paul, in his Second Letter to Timothy, says that "men who work evil 'will not make much progress, because their folly will become plain to everyone'. There is, then", he explained, "a guarantee of freedom that God gives the Church: freedom from material ties which seek to impede or inhibit her mission, and from spiritual and moral evils which can damage her authenticity and credibility.

  "The question of the Church's freedom, which Christ guaranteed to Peter, also has a specific bearing on the rite of the imposition of the pallium which we today renew for thirty-eight metropolitan archbishops", the Holy Father added. "Communion with Peter and his successors is, in fact, a guarantee of freedom for the pastors of the Church and for the communities entrusted to their care".

  "At the historical level, union with the Apostolic See ensures that particular Churches and episcopal conferences remain free from local, national or trans-national powers, which can in certain cases hinder the mission of the Church. Also, and more importantly, the Petrine ministry is a guarantee of freedom in terms of full adherence to truth and authentic tradition, that the People of God may be protected from errors of faith and morality".

  The Holy Father continued his homily: "The fact, then, that every year the new metropolitan archbishops come to Rome to receive the pallium from the hands of the Pope must be understood in its proper sense, as a gesture of communion; and the theme of the freedom of the Church offers us a particularly important key with which to interpret it. This is evident in the case of Churches suffering persecutions, or those undergoing political interference or other harsh trials. But it is no less relevant in the case of communities suffering the influence of misleading doctrines, or of ideological tendencies and practices that run counter to the Gospel. In this sense, the pallium becomes a sign of freedom, like the 'yoke' which Christ invites each of us to take on our shoulders ... which rather than weighing down the person who carries it, raises him up. In the same way the bond with the Apostolic See, though demanding, supports the pastor and that part of the Church entrusted to his care, making them freer and stronger".

  Benedict XVI stressed the ecumenical importance of the words "the powers of darkness will not prevail over the Church" because, he said, "one of the typical effects of the Evil One is precisely division within the ecclesial community. Divisions are, in fact, a symptom of the power of sin, which continues to act in the members of the Church even after redemption".

  "The unity of the Church is rooted in her union with Christ, and the complete unity of Christians - a cause which must be sought and renewed generation after generation - is also sustained by His prayer and by His promise".

  In this context the Pope greeted the delegation from the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which was present at the Eucharistic celebration. "Together", he said, "let us give thanks to God for the progress made in ecumenical relations between Catholics and Orthodox, and renew our commitment to respond generously to God's grace, which leads us to full communion".

  At the end of the Mass, the Pope and Orthodox Metropolitan Gennadios descended to the "Confessio" of St. Peter for a brief moment of prayer.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique on 28 June:

  "In the face of news reports which have been circulating with regard to the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples (formerly known as 'De Propaganda Fide'), it has been deemed necessary to recall some objective facts to protect the reputation of this important body of the Holy See and the Catholic Church.

  "The Congregation is the body responsible for directing and co-ordinating the work of evangelisation and missionary co-operation throughout the world.

  "Its first and fundamental aim is therefore to guide and support young Churches, located in areas of recent or scant evangelisation, territories which, according to long tradition, are subject to the jurisdiction of the congregation for all aspects of Church life.

  "Thus it co-ordinates the presence and action of missionaries in the world, submits candidates for the episcopate to the Holy Father and is responsible for the formation of local clergy, catechists, and pastoral workers.

  "This function is exercised by members of the congregation of the highest level, mostly cardinals, many of whom come from the mission countries themselves, and who meet regularly. In ordinary management the congregation is directed by the cardinal prefect and other superiors, in accordance with their duties.

  "In order to fulfil its duties, the congregation administers and maintains a large number of educational structures in Rome, among them the Pontifical Urban University (about 1400 students in the current academic year) and several colleges, where an estimated 150 seminarians, 360 priests, 150 religious and lay people from the five continents are currently studying.

  "This vast work, which requires a considerable amount of financial resources, is only part of the congregation's commitments for, as is well-known, it annually bestows to the churches of the territories under its jurisdiction (1080 districts) an ordinary financial subsidy which in many cases is the main or a major source of revenue for dioceses, apostolic vicariates, prefectures, 'sui iuris' missions, etc. Besides this, the congregation sends annual subsidies for the formation of local clergy. For the Holy See, this is an indispensable instrument for the growth and maturation of these Churches, which are among the most vital and promising for the future of the Catholic Church. Thanks to the congregation and to other countless activities in support of missions by Catholics around the world, a significant number of priests, seminarians and other pastoral workers can study in Rome, close to Peter's Successor".

  "Moreover, every year funding is given to aid projects for the construction of new churches and pastoral institutions, for literacy projects, healthcare and hospitals, particularly for children and education, often in regions that are among the world's poorest. This series of initiatives, and numerous others, are promoted and co-ordinated by the Pontifical Mission Societies, which is part of the dicastery. If we consider the relationship between the quantity of personnel and resources deployed, it is evident that operating costs are far lower than any international organisation engaged in the field of co-operation".

  "The Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples derives its resources mainly from the collections of World Mission Sunday, all distributed through the national Pontifical Mission Societies and, secondly, the income of its financial assets and real estate. This patrimony has been formed over decades through numerous donations from benefactors from all walks of life, who intended that part of their property be bequeathed to serve the cause of evangelisation.

  "The administration of this patrimony is of course a complex and challenging task, one which requires the advice of experts from different professional backgrounds and which, like all financial transactions, may also be exposed to errors of judgement and to fluctuations in the international market.

  "Nevertheless, as a result of sound administration and the growing generosity of Catholics, this legacy has continued to increase. At the same time, in recent years the awareness has gradually emerged of the need to improve profitability and to this end structures and procedures have been established to ensure a professional management that is in line with the highest standards.

  "This note aims to recall the identity, value and great significance of an institution vital to the Holy See and the entire Catholic Church, responding to Jesus' command: 'Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation'. It has earned and deserves the support of all Catholics and those who care about the good of man and his integral development".
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VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2010 (VIS) - This evening in the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, the Holy Father presided at first Vespers for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles.

  The ceremony was attended by a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, sent by His Holiness Bartholomew I and composed of His Eminence Gennadios (Limouris), metropolitan of Sassima; His Eminence Bartholomaios (Ioannis Kessidis), bishop of Arianzos and assistant to the metropolitan of Germany, and Deacon Theodoros Meimaris of the patriarchal see of Fanar.

  In his homily the Pope reflected on the Church's missionary vocation. He began by recalling how Servant of God Giovanni Battista Montini, when elected as Peter's Successor, "chose the name of the Apostle of the Gentiles". In the year 1974 "he called an assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme of evangelisation in the modern world, and about a year later published the Apostolic Exhortation 'Evangelii nuntiandi'".

  Turning then to consider the figure of the Venerable John Paul II, Benedict XVI highlighted how, "with his apostolic trips and the insistence of his Magisterium on the urgent need for a 'new evangelisation', he was the living embodiment of the missionary nature of the Church. ... It is obvious to everyone that my predecessor gave extraordinary impulse to the mission of the Church, not only because of the distances he covered, but above all because of the genuine missionary spirit that moved him and that he left us as inheritance at the dawn of the third millennium.

  "Taking up this inheritance", the Pope added, "at the beginning of my Petrine ministry I affirmed that the Church is young, she is open to the future. And I repeat as much today at the tomb of St. Paul: the Church is an immense force for renewal in the world, not by her own power but by the power of the Gospel".

  "The challenges of the present are certainly beyond human capacities", said the Holy Father. "Not only is there physical hunger, there is also a more profound hunger which only God can satisfy. Man in the third millennium also seeks an authentic and full life; he needs truth, profound freedom and gratuitous love. Even in the deserts of the secularised world man's soul thirsts for God, for the living God".

  Benedict XVI pointed out that "there are regions of the world that still await their first evangelisation while others have already received it but need more profound attention. In others again, the Gospel has long standing roots and has given rise to an authentic Christian tradition but - over recent centuries and following complex dynamics - the process of secularisation has led to a serious crisis of meaning in Christian faith and in membership of the Church".

  And he went on: "It is in this perspective that I have decided to create a new organisation, in the form of a Pontifical Council, with the fundamental task of promoting renewed evangelisation in countries where the first announcement of the faith has already been heard and where there are Churches of ancient foundation, but where a progressive secularisation of society is being experienced, a kind of 'eclipse of the meaning of God'". These countries, he said, "are a challenge to us to find the adequate means to re-present the perennial truth of the Gospel of Christ".

  The Holy Father concluded by affirming that "the challenge of the new evangelisation calls to the universal Church, it asks us to remain committed to the search for full unity among Christians. In this context, one eloquent sign of hope are the reciprocal visits between the Churches of Rome and of Constantinople on the feasts of their respective patrons. For this reason we today welcome, with renewed joy and recognition, the delegation sent by Patriarch Bartholomew I".
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VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels and president of the Belgian Episcopal Conference.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., archbishop of Quebec, Canada, as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. He succeeds Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, whose resignation from the same office the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life and rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, as president of the recently-announced Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.

 - Appointed Fr. Enrico dal Covolo S.D.B., professor of ancient Greek Christian literature at Rome's Pontifical Salesian University and ordinary member of the Pontifical Theological Academy, as rector of the Pontifical Lateran University.

 - Appointed Msgr. Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Life, as president of the same academy.

 - Appointed Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, as apostolic nuncio to Poland.

 - Appointed Fr. John Richard Cihak as a master of pontifical ceremonies.

 - Appointed Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Rapid City, U.S.A., as bishop of Spokane (area 63,325, population 741,000, Catholics 101,700, priests 152, permanent deacons 55, religious 303), U.S.A. He succeeds Bishop William S. Skylstad, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Boston, U.S.A. presented by Bishop Emilio S. Allue S.D.B., in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Fr. Arthur L. Kennedy, rector of the St. John Seminary, and Fr. Peter J. Uglietto, rector of the Blessed John XXIII National Seminary, as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Boston (area 6,386, population 4,112,000, Catholics 1,874,000, priests 1,286, permanent deacons 257, religious 2,712), U.S.A. Bishop-elect Kennedy was born in Boston in 1942 and ordained a priest in 1966. Bishop-elect was born in Cambridge, U.S.A. in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1977.

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Hartford, U.S.A. presented by Bishop Peter A. Rosazza, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law.
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Monday, June 28, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 26 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received members of the "Circolo di San Pietro" who gave him, as they traditionally do every year, the "Peter's Pence" collection which is raised annually in parishes and religious institutes of the diocese of Rome. 

  In his brief remarks to them, the Pope spoke of the recently-concluded Year for Priests, during which the Church dedicated particular attention to the figure of St. John Mary Vianney, the holy 'Cure of Ars'. He was, said the Holy Father, "a model of evangelical life, not only for priests but also for lay people, especially for those ... who work in the vast field of charity. Indeed, one specific aspect of the life of that humble priest was his detachment from material goods".

  Benedict XVI expressed the hope that the example of St. John Mary Vianney may represent "a constant invitation to open our arms to all people in need of a tangible sign of solidarity". He likewise exhorted the members of the "Circolo di San Pietro" to continue "to represent this concrete sign of the Pope's charity towards those in need, in both material and spiritual terms".

  Having then expressed his thanks for "Peter's Pence", the Holy Father highlighted how the collection "is an eloquent testimony of evangelical charity because it expresses, on the one hand, the affection felt by this city's inhabitants and pilgrims towards Peter's Successor and, on the other, the Holy See's real solidarity with many situations of suffering and poverty which, unfortunately, continue to exist in Rome and in many other parts of the world".

  "Through your commitment to go out and meet the needs of the less fortunate", the Pope concluded, "you spread a message of hope that arises from faith and adherence to the Lord, and you become heralds of His Gospel. May charity and witness continue to be the leading aspects of your apostolate".
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VATICAN CITY, 26 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Secretariat of State today published the following English-language communique:

  "As agreed at its first meeting in Hanoi in February 2009, the second meeting of the Vietnam - Holy See Joint Working Group took place in the Vatican from 23 to 24 June, co-chaired by Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, Holy See under secretary for Relations with States who headed the Holy See delegation, and Nguyen Quoc Cuong, vice minister of Foreign Affairs who headed the Vietnamese Delegation.

  "After reviewing the progress made since the first Joint Working Group meeting, the two sides discussed international issues and those related to bilateral relations and to the Catholic Church in Vietnam. The Vietnamese side recalled its consistent policy of respect for freedom of religion and belief as well as the legal provisions to guarantee its implementation. The Holy See delegation took note of this explanation and asked that further conditions be established so that the Church may participate effectively in the development of the country, especially in the spiritual, educational, healthcare, social and charitable fields. The Holy See delegation also mentioned that the Church in her teaching invites the faithful to be good citizens and therefore to work for the common good of the population.

  "The two sides noted encouraging developments in various areas of Catholic life in Vietnam, especially in relation to the Jubilee Year. Furthermore they recalled the address of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI during the last 'ad limina' visit of the Vietnamese bishops and the Holy Father's Message to the Catholic Church in Vietnam on the occasion of the Jubilee Year, and agreed that these teachings of the Holy Father would serve as an orientation for the Catholic Church in Vietnam in the years ahead.

  "On bilateral relations the two sides appreciated the positive developments since the first meeting of the Joint Working Group, especially the meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and the Vietnamese State President Nguyen Minh Triet in December 2009. The two sides also had in-depth and comprehensive discussions on bilateral diplomatic relations. In order to deepen the relations between the Holy See and Vietnam, as well as the bonds between the Holy See and the local Catholic Church, it was agreed that, as a first step, a non-resident representative of the Holy See for Vietnam will be appointed by the Pope.

  "The two sides decided to hold the third meeting of the Joint Working Group in Vietnam; the time of the meeting will be settled through diplomatic channels.

  "On the occasion of the meeting, the Vietnamese delegation paid courtesy visits to Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Holy See secretary for Relations with States, to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and to the Vicariate of the diocese of Rome. The Delegation also visited the Holy See's 'Bambino Gesu' paediatric hospital in Rome".
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VATICAN CITY, 26 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Secretariat of State today announced that Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, received the Letters accrediting Nikolay Sadchikov as ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Holy See. In the near future, Archbishop Antonio Mennini will present Sergei Lavrov, minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, with the Letters of Credence accrediting him as apostolic nuncio to that State.
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VATICAN CITY, 27 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Pope focused his remarks prior to praying the Angelus on this last Sunday of June to the theme of the call of Christ and the requirements it brings.

  Addressing thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope said that "a young man or young woman who leave their family, their studies or their work to consecrate themselves to God" represent "a living example of the radical response to the divine vocation". 

  "One of the most beautiful experiences a person can have in the Church is that of being able to see and touch the work of the Lord in people's lives, of experiencing the fact that God is not some abstract entity, but a reality so great and strong as to fill man's heart to overflowing; a living Person Who is close to us, Who loves us and asks to be loved".

  Benedict XVI highlighted how the requirements for following Christ "may seem very harsh, but in reality they express the novelty and absolute priority of the Kingdom of God which is present in the Person of Jesus Christ. They are, in the final analysis, the radical commitment that is due to the Love of God, which Jesus Himself was the first to obey".

  "A person who renounces everything in order to follow Christ enters a new dimension of freedom", he continued. "Freedom and love are the same thing, while obeying one's own egoism leads to rivality and conflict".

  The Holy Father concluded by inviting everyone "to contemplate the mystery of the divine-human Heart of the Lord Jesus. ... People who fix their gaze on that Heart, pierced and ever open with Love for us, feel the truth of the following invocation: 'Be you, my Lord, my only good', and are ready to abandon everything in order to follow the Lord". 

  After praying the Angelus, the Pope recalled how in Lebanon this morning a beatification ceremony was held for Etienne (ne Joseph) Nehme, religious of the Lebanese Maronite Order who lived in Lebanon between the end of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. "My heartfelt congratulations go to our Lebanese brothers and sisters", he said, "and with great affection I commend them to the protection of the new blessed".

  "On this Sunday which precedes the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles", the Holy Father concluded, "Italy and other countries are celebrating the Day of the Pope's Charity. I express my gratitude to people who, with prayer and offerings, support the apostolic and charitable activity of Peter's Successor, in favour of the universal Church and of so many of our brothers and sisters, both near and far".
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VATICAN CITY, 27 JUN 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a message, made public today Sunday, sent by the Pope to Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, president of the Belgian Episcopal Conference, following the search of the cathedral of Mechelen and of the archbishopric which was conducted on 24 June.

  "At this sad time I wish to express my special closeness and solidarity to you, dear brother in the episcopate, and to all the bishops of the Church in Belgium, for the surprising and deplorable manner in which searches were carried out at the cathedral of Mechelen and at the site where the Belgian episcopate was gathered in a plenary assembly which, among other things, also intended to consider questions associated with the abuse of minors by members of the clergy. On a number of occasions I myself have highlighted how these serious matters should be dealt with by both civil law and canon law, while respecting the specific nature and autonomy of each. In this context, I trust that justice may run its course in order to guarantee the fundamental rights of persons and of institutions, at the same time respecting victims, showing unconditional recognition for those who undertake to collaborate, and rejecting everything that obscures the noble goal with which justice is assigned.

  "While assuring you that I accompany the progress of your Church with my daily prayers, I willingly impart an affectionate apostolic blessing".
MESS/ VIS 20100628 (250)


VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Pope today received in audience the members of a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, who have come to Rome for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles.

  The delegation, sent by His Holiness Bartholomew I, is composed of His Eminence Gennadios (Limouris), metropolitan of Sassima, joint secretary of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, and vice moderator of the central committee of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland; His Eminence Bartholomaios (Ioannis Kessidis), bishop of Arianzos, assistant to the metropolitan of Germany, and Deacon Theodoros Meimaris of the patriarchal see of Fanar.

  At the start of his English-language address to the group, the Holy Father rendered thanks unto God "that the relations between us are characterised by sentiments of mutual trust, esteem and fraternity, as is amply testified by the many meetings that have already taken place in the course of this year".

  "All this gives grounds for hope that Catholic-Orthodox dialogue will also continue to make significant progress", he added.

  Referring to the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue, the Pope noted how it is now "at a crucial point, having begun last October in Paphos to discuss the 'The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the Communion of the Church in the First Millennium'. With all our hearts we pray that, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the members of the commission will continue along this path during the forthcoming plenary session in Vienna, Austria, and devote to it the time needed for thorough study of this delicate and important issue. For me it is an encouraging sign that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and the Holy Synod of Constantinople share our firm conviction of the importance of this dialogue".

  Benedict XVI then noted how the forthcoming Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, due to be held in October, will dedicate particular attention to "the theme of ecumenical co-operation between the Christians of that region". And he highlighted the fact that that "the difficulties that the Christians of the Middle East are experiencing are in large measure common to all: living as a minority, and yearning for authentic religious freedom and for peace. Dialogue is needed with the Islamic and Jewish communities".

  "In this context I shall be very pleased to welcome the fraternal delegation which the Ecumenical Patriarch will send in order to participate in the work of the Synodal Assembly", the Pope concluded.
AC/ VIS 20100628 (430)


VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique early this afternoon:

  "(1) The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., archbishop of Vienna and president of the Austrian Episcopal Conference. The cardinal had asked to meet the Supreme Pontiff personally in order to report on the current situation of the Church in Austria. In particular, Cardinal Schonborn wished to clarify the exact meaning of his recent declarations concerning some aspects of current ecclesiastical discipline, and certain of his judgements regarding positions adopted by the Secretariat of State - and in particular by the then Secretary of State of Pope John Paul II - concerning the late Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, archbishop of Vienna from 1986 to 1995.

  "(2) Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, and Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. were subsequently invited to join the meeting.

  "In the second part of the audience certain widespread misunderstandings were clarified and resolved, misunderstandings deriving partly from certain statements of Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, who expressed his displeasure at the interpretations given to his words.

  "In particular:

  "(a) It must be reiterated that, in the Church, when accusations are made against a cardinal, competency falls exclusively to the Pope; other parties may have a consultative function, while always maintaining due respect for persons.

  "(b) The word 'chiacchiericcio' (gossip) was erroneously interpreted as disrespectful to the victims of sexual abuse, towards whom Cardinal Angelo Sodano nourishes the same feelings of compassion, and of condemnation of evil, as expressed on various occasions by the Holy Father. That word, pronounced during his Easter address to Pope Benedict XVI, was taken literally from the pontifical homily of Palm Sunday and referred to the "courage that does not let itself be intimidated by the gossip of prevalent opinions".

  "(3) The Holy Father, recalling with great affection his own pastoral trip to Austria, via Cardinal Christoph Schonborn sends his greetings and encouragement to the Church in Austria, and to her pastors, entrusting the journey to renewed ecclesial communion to the celestial protection of the Blessed Virgin, so venerated at Mariazell".
OP/ VIS 20100628 (370)


VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

 - Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., archbishop of Vienna, Austria.

  On Saturday 26 June he received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City.

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

 - Reverend Ishmael Noko, secretary general of the World Lutheran Federation, accompanied by his wife.
AP/ VIS 20100628 (100)


VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Jakarta, Indonesia, presented by Cardinal Julius Riyadi Darmaatmadja, S.J., upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo.

 - Appointed Bishop Giacomo Lanzetti of Alghero-Bosa, Italy, as bishop of Alba (area, 1,050, population, 128,000, Catholics, 125,000, priests, 152, permanent deacons, 5, religious, 355), Italy. He succeeds Bishop Sebastiano Dho, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

  On Saturday 26 June it was made public that he appointed:

 - As members of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See: Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, Peru, and Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, archbishop of Barcelona, Spain..

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, as his special envoy to the fifteenth centenary celebrations of the Marian shrine of Mary of Grace, Our Lady of Mentorella in the Italian diocese of Tivoli, which are due to be held on 29 August.
RE:NER:NA/ VIS 20100628 (190)

Saturday, June 26, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 26 JUN 2010 (VIS).- The Secretariat of State released yesterday  the following communique after a police search at the residence of the Archbishop of Malines-Brussels, on 24 June.

  "The bishops of Belgium were gathered at the residence of the Archbishop of Malines-Brussels at about 10.30 this morning for the monthly meeting of the Episcopal Conference. At about 10:30, police and court officials entered and referred that there would be a search of the archdiocese, following complaints of sexual abuse within the territory of the archdiocese. No explanation was given, but all documents and mobile phones were confiscated and it was referred that nobody could leave the building. This situation lasted until approximately 19:30.

Everyone was interrogated, members of the Episcopal Conference and staff. It was not a pleasant experience, but everything was done correctly. The bishops have always affirmed their trust in justice and its work. This search was greeted with the same confidence and therefore, for the moment, the (bishops) shall refrain from making further comments.

Instead, they, along with Professor Peter Adriaensses, chairman of the committee for handling sexual abuse as part of a pastoral outreach, regret the fact that during another search, all files of this committee were seized. This goes against the privacy rights of which the victims who have chosen to turn to this committee should benefit. This action gravely affects the much needed and excellent work of this committee".

Eric de Beukelaer
Spokesman for the Episcopal Conference

 "In publishing this statement, the Secretariat  of State reiterates its firm condemnation of all sinful and criminal acts of abuse of minors by members of the Church, and the need to repair and face such acts in accordance with the requirements of justice and the teachings of the Gospel. It is in the light of these needs that the same Secretary of State also expresses great surprise at how some searches were conducted yesterday by the Belgian judicial authorities and its indignation at the fact that the tombs of Cardinals Jozef-Ernest Van Roey and Léon-Joseph Suenens, deceased archbishops of Malines-Brussels, were violated. Added to the dismay over those actions, is regret for some breaches of confidentiality, owed to those very victims for whom the searches were conducted.

These feelings were expressed personally by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States, to  Charles Ghislain, Ambassador of Belgium to the Holy See.".
SS/        VIS 20100626 (410)

Friday, June 25, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 25 JUN 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father received participants in the annual Meeting of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (ROACO), whose work this year focused chiefly on preparations for the forthcoming Synod for the Middle East.

  Beginning his remarks to them, the Pope noted that "all of us desire the gift of stable peace and secure coexistence in the Holy Land, in Iraq and in the Middle East. This will arise through respecting human rights, families, communities and peoples, and through overcoming religious, cultural and social discrimination".

  He went on: "I encourage our brothers and sisters in the East ... who continue to keep the faith and, despite numerous sacrifices, stay in the land where they were born. At the same time I encourage emigrants from the East not to forget their origins, especially their religious origins. Their human and Christian faithfulness and coherence depend on this".

  The Holy Father made special mention of "Christians who suffer violence because of the Gospel", entrusting them to the Lord. "I continue to hope that the leaders of nations will truly guarantee, without distinction and in all places, public and community profession of religious belief".

  Benedict XVI expressed his appreciation for the enthusiasm with which the Eastern Catholic Churches participated in the recently-concluded Year for Priests, recalling how in antiquity the East was a cradle for great schools of priestly spirituality. In this context he particularly referred to the Church of Antioch, which produced extraordinary saints, and he called on the priests of the Eastern Churches to continue to reflect this spiritual heritage.

  Referring then to the Special Assembly for the Middle East, due to be held from 10 to 24 October, the Pope said: " I am pleased at the broad co-operation provided thus far by the Eastern Churches and for the work which, from the beginning, ROACO has done, and continues to do for this historical event. This joint effort will have fruitful results because of the presence of some of your representatives at this episcopal gathering and your ongoing relationship with the Congregation for the Eastern Churches".

  The Holy Father asked the participants in the annual meeting "to contribute with your activities to keeping the 'hope that does not disappoint' alive among the Christians of the East. ... We would like to be with them always! Trusting in the intercession of the Blessed Mother of God and of the Apostles Peter and Paul, I commend to the Lord the benefactors, friends and collaborators (living and dead) who in one way or another are linked to ROACO, with a special mention for the recently-deceased Bishop Luigi Padovese".
AC/ VIS 20100625 (460)


VATICAN CITY, 25 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Fra' Matthew Festing, prince and grand master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, accompanied by an entourage.

 - Luis Paris Chaverri, ambassador of Costa Rica, on his farewell visit.

 - Lorenzo Ornaghi, rector of the Sacred Heart Catholic University.
AP/ VIS 20100625 (60)


VATICAN CITY, 25 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Msgr. Guglielmo Borghetti of the clergy of Massa Carrara - Pontremoli, Italy, pastor of Montignoso and director of the inter-diocesan theological centre of Camaiore, as bishop of Pitigliano - Sovana - Orbetello (area 2,177, population 73,500, Catholics 71,300, priests 66, permanent deacons 10, religious 57), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Avenza di Carrara, Italy in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1982.

 - Bishop Ricardo Jorge Valenzuela Rios, military ordinary of Paraguay, as bishop of Villarrica del Espiritu Santo (area 13,347, population 315,000, Catholics 310,900, priests 44, permanent deacons 54, religious 58), Paraguay.

 - Bishop Jozef De Kesel, auxiliary of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium, as bishop of Bruges (area 3,145, population 1,149,394, Catholics 940,000, priests 875, permanent deacons 81, religious 2,675), Belgium.
NER/ VIS 20100625 (140)

Thursday, June 24, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 24 JUN 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today visited 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-high pedestal in a storm 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, expressed the hope "that the statue be replaced as soon as possible for the devotion of all Romans".

  The Pope arrived at the Don Orione Centre at 10.30 a.m. where he was greeted by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, his vicar general for the diocese of Rome, by other bishops present and by Mayor Gianni Alemanno. He then pronounced a brief address.

  "This statue", he said, "stands to remind us of dramatic and providential events written in the history and conscience of the city. It was, in fact, raised on Monte Mario in 1953 to fulfil a popular vow pronounced during World War II when hostility and arms made people fear for the fate of the city of Rome.

  "The 'Work' of Don Orione in Rome", he added, "launched an initiative to collect signatures for a vow to the Blessed Virgin, and more than one million citizens participated. Venerable Pius XII then adopted the devout initiative of the people who wished to entrust themselves to Mary and the vow was pronounced on 4 June 1944 before the image of Our Lady of Divine Love. On that very day Rome was peacefully liberated".

  "In their vow to the Virgin, apart from promising prayer and devotion, Romans also undertook to perform works of charity", said the Holy Father, going on to recall Don Orione's motto: "Only charity will save the world".

  Don Orione, founder of the Little Work of Divine Providence, "coherently and passionately lived the Church's duty to put love into practice, to bring the light of God into the world. He left this mission to his disciples as a spiritual and apostolic path, in the conviction that 'charity opens people's eyes to faith and warms their hearts with love for God", the Holy Father said.

  "Dear Sons of Divine Providence", he concluded, "continue along this charismatic journey which Don Orione began because, as he said, 'charity is the best apologist for the Catholic faith', and 'charity impels, charity moves, it brings people to faith and to hope'. Works of charity, both as individual acts and as services to the disadvantaged provided by large institutions, can never be reduced to a mere philanthropic gesture, but must remain a tangible expression of the providential love of God".
BXVI-VISIT/ VIS 20100624 (510)


VATICAN CITY, 24 JUN 2010 (VIS) - Following his visit to the Don Orione Centre in Rome's Monte Mario district, the Holy Father moved on to the nearby Dominican convent of Santa Maria del Rosario in Monte Mario where he presided at the celebration of the Middle Hour (hora media) with the cloistered nuns.

  The convent houses 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.

  "You, who are well aware of the effectiveness of prayer", he told the nuns in his address, "daily experience how many graces of sanctification it can obtain for the Church".

  Benedict XVI encouraged the religious "to be grateful to Divine Providence for the sublime and gratuitous gift of the monastic vocation, to which the Lord called you without any merit on your part".

  "The contemplative life which, from the hands of St. Dominic, you received in the form of the cloister, makes you living and vital members in the heart of the Lord's mystical body which is the Church. And just as the heart causes the blood to circulate and keeps the entire body alive, so your hidden lives with Christ, imbued with work and prayer, contribute to maintaining the Church, the instrument of salvation for all mankind whom the Lord redeemed with His Blood".

  Through prayer, the Pope went on, you present "the Almighty with the spiritual and material needs of so many of our brothers and sisters in difficulty, the lost lives of those who have abandoned the Lord. How can we not be moved by compassion for those who seem to drift without a goal? How can we not desire that their lives may encounter Jesus, Who alone gives meaning to existence?"

  "Ensure then", he continued his remarks to the nuns, "that in everything you do, beyond the time you dedicate to prayer, your hearts continue to be guided by the desire to love God. ... This is the horizon of the earthy pilgrimage. This is your goal. You have chosen to live in obscurity and to renounce earthly goods in order to desire above all other things the good that has no equal, the precious pearl for which it is worth abandoning all else".

  The Holy Father concluded by inviting the religious "to pronounce your 'yes' to the designs of God every day, with the same humility as that with which the Blessed Virgin pronounced her 'yes'".

  Following the visit, the Pope returned to the Vatican.
BXVI-VISIT/ VIS 20100624 (440)


VATICAN CITY, 24 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father yesterday appointed Msgr. Antonio Braz Benevente, vicar general of the archdiocese of Uberaba, Brazil, as bishop of Jacarezinho (area 13,369, population 455,000, Catholics 395,200, priests 87, religious 66), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Itapolis, Brazil in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1985. He succeeds Bishop Fernando Jose Penteado, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
NER:RE/ VIS 20100624 (90)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 23 JUN 2010 (VIS) - In today's general audience, celebrated in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope delivered the last in a series of three catecheses on the figure of St. Thomas Aquinas.

  The Holy Father explained how St. Thomas' masterpiece, the "Summa Theologica", contains 512 questions and 2,669 articles in which the saint "precisely, clearly and pertinently" outlines the truths of faith as they emerge from "the teachings of Holy Scripture and of the Fathers of the Church, especially St. Augustine". This exertion "of the human mind was always illuminated - as St. Thomas' own life shows - by prayer, by the light that comes from on high.

  "In his 'Summa'", the Pope added, "St. Thomas starts from the fact that God exists in three different ways: God exists in Himself, He is the principle and end of all things, so all creatures come from and depend upon Him. Secondly, God is present through His Grace in the life and activity of Christians, of the saints. Finally, God is present in a very special way in the person of Christ, and in the Sacraments which derive from His work of redemption".

  "St. Thomas dedicates special attention to the mystery of the Eucharist, to which he was particularly devoted", said Benedict XVI, encouraging people "to follow the example of the saints and love this Sacrament. Let us participate devotedly in Mass in order to obtain its spiritual fruits; let us feed from the Body and Blood of the Lord that we may be incessantly nourished by divine Grace; let us pause willingly and often in the company of the Blessed Sacrament".

  The Holy Father went on: "What St. Thomas explained with academic rigour in his main theological works such as the ' Summa Theologica' was also expressed in his preaching", the content of which "corresponds almost in its entirety to the structure of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Indeed, in a time such as our own of renewed commitment to evangelisation, catechism and preaching must never lack the following fundamental themes: what we believe, i.e., the Creed; what we pray, i.e., the Our Father and the Ave Maria; and what we live as biblical revelation teaches us, i.e., the law of the love of God and neighbour and the Ten Commandments".

  "In his brief 'Devotissima expositio super symbolum apostolorum', St. Thomas explains the importance of faith. Through it, he says, the soul is united to God, ... life is given a clear direction and we can easily overcome temptations. To those who object that faith is foolish because it makes us believe something that does not enter into the experience of the senses, St. Thomas offers a very detailed response, claiming that this is an inconsistent objection because human intelligence is limited and cannot know everything.

  "Only if we were able to have perfect knowledge of all things visible and invisible would it be foolish to accept truth out of pure faith", said the Pope. "Moreover, as St. Thomas observes, it is impossible to live without entrusting ourselves to the experience of others, when our personal knowledge does not extend far enough. Thus it is reasonable to have faith in God Who reveals Himself, and in the witness of the Apostles".

  Commenting on the article of the Creed concerning the incarnation of the Divine Word, St. Thomas says that "the Christian faith is reinforced in the light of the mystery of the Incarnation; hope emerges more trustingly at the thought that the Son of God came among us as one of us, to communicate His divinity to mankind; charity is revived because there is no more evident sign of God's love for us than to see the Creator of the universe Himself become a creature", said the Holy Father.

  "St. Thomas, like all saints, was greatly devoted to the Blessed Virgin", Pope Benedict concluded. "He gave her a stupendous title: 'Triclinium totius Trinitatis'; in other words, the place where the Trinity finds repose because, thanks to the Incarnation, the three divine persons dwell in her as in no other creature, and experience the delight and joy of living in her soul full of Grace. Through her intercession we can obtain any kind of help".
AG/ VIS 20100623 (720)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 22 JUN 2010 (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. on Tuesday 29 June, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles, Benedict XVI will preside at a Eucharistic concelebration with the following 38 metropolitan archbishops upon whom he will impose the pallium:

 - Archbishop Luis Gerardo Herrera O.F.M. of Cuenca, Ecuador.

 - Archbishop Alex Thomas Kaliyanil S.V.D. of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

 - Archbishop Gerard Tlali Lerotholi O.M.I. of Maseru, Lesotho.

 - Archbishop Antonio Fernando Saburido O.S.B. of Olinda and Recife, Brazil.

 - Archbishop Albert Legatt of Saint-Boniface, Canada.

 - Archbishop Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia - Citta della Pieve, Italy.

 - Archbishop Andrea Bruno Mazzocato of Udine, Italy.

 - Archbishop Gabriel Mblinghi C.S.Sp. of Lubango, Angola.

 - Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, Philppines.

 - Archbishop Constancio Miranda Weckmann of Chihuahua, Mexico.

 - Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, England.

 - Archbishop Juan Jose Asenjo Pelegrina of Seville, Spain.

 - Archbishop Jerome Edward Listecki of Milwaukee, U.S.A.

 - Archbishop Samuel Kleda of Douala, Cameroon.

 - Archbishop Jesus Sanz Montes O.F.M. of Oviedo, Spain.

 - Archbishop Anton Stres C.M. of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

 - Archbishop Joseph Atanga S.J. of Bertoua, Cameroon.

 - Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town, South Africa.

 - Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati, U.S.A.

 - Archbishop Alberto Taveira Correa of Belem do Para, Brazil.

 - Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium.

 - Archbishop Antonio Lanfranchi of Modena - Nonantola, Italy.

 - Archbishop Dominik Duka O.P. of Prague, Czech Republic.

 - Archbishop Ricardo Antonio Tobon Restrepo of Medellin, Colombia.

 - Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa Mendieta O.S.A. of Panama, Panama.

 - Archbishop Francis Kallarakal of Verapoly, India.

 - Archbishop Desire Tsarahazana of Toamasina, Madagascar.

 - Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Valladolid, Spain.

 - Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Kwangju, Korea.

 - Archbishop Luis Madrid Merlano of Nueva Pamplona, Colombia.

 - Archbishop Thomas Gerard Wenski of Miami, U.S.A.

 - Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, England.

 - Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk of Gniezno, Poland.

 - Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon of Hanoi, Vietnam.

 - Archbishop Matthias Kobena Nketsiah of Cape Coast, Ghana.

 - Archbishop Bernard Bober of Kosice, Slovakia.

 - Archbishop Carlos Garfias Merlos of Acapulco, Mexico.

 - Archbishop Luigi Moretti of Salerno - Campagna - Acerno, Italy.
OCL/                                    VIS 20100622 (370)


VATICAN CITY, 22 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Bishop Joseph Patrick McFadden, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Philadelphia, U.S.A., as bishop of Harrisburg (area 19,839, population 2,060,000, Catholics 248,000, priests 179, permanent deacons 49, religious 394), U.S.A.

 - Appointed Fr. Andres Vargas Pena of the clergy of the diocese of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, episcopal vicar for pastoral care, and Fr. Adolfo Miguel Castano Fonseca of the clergy of the diocese of Toluca, Mexico, professor at the diocesan seminary, as auxiliaries of Mexico (area 1,429, population 8,781,000, Catholics 7,845,500, priests 1,757, permanent deacons 135, religious 7,229), Mexico. Bishop-elect Vargas Pena was born in Villa de la Paz, Mexico in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1973. Bishop-elect Castano Fonseca was born in San Mateo Mozoquilpan, Mexico in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1987.

 - Appointed Msgr. Michael J. Fitzgerald of the clergy of the archdiocese of Philadelphia, U.S.A., judicial vicar, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 5,652, population 3,887,694, Catholics 1,458,430, priests 999, permanent deacons 239, religious 3,370). The bishop-elect was born in Montclair, U.S.A. in 1948 and ordained a priest in 1980.

 - Appointed as members of the administrative council of the Pontifical Academy for Life: Bishop Fernando Natalio Chomali Garib, auxiliary of Santiago de Chile, Chile; Mounir Abdel Messih Shehata Farag of Egypt; Gian Luigi Gigli of Italy; John Hass of U.S.A., and Monica Lopez Barahona of Spain.

 - Appointed Msgr. Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, under secretary of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", as secretary of the same dicastery.
NEA:NA/                                VIS 20100622 (260)

Monday, June 21, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 20 JUN 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI celebrated Mass this morning in the Vatican Basilica, during the course of which he conferred priestly ordination on fourteen deacons from the diocese of Rome.

  In his homily the Pope explained how, "in prayer, the priest is called to rediscover the ever-new face of his Lord, the most authentic content of his mission. Only one who has an intimate relationship with the Lord can be seized by Him, can bring Him to others, can become His envoy. This involves a kind of 'remaining with Him' which must always accompany, and be the core of, priestly ministry, also and above all during moments of difficulty when it seems that 'the things to be done' must take priority. Wherever we are, whatever we do, we must always 'remain with Him'".

  "The priesthood must never represent a way to achieve security in life or to attain social position. Anyone who aspires to the priesthood in order to increase his personal prestige and power has radically misunderstood the significance of this ministry. Anyone whose main goal is to realise an ambition of his own, to achieve success, will always be a slave to himself and to public opinion. In order to be noticed he will have to adulate; he must say what people want to hear, he must adapt to changing fashions and opinions. In this way, he will deprive himself of the vital relationship with truth, reducing himself to condemning tomorrow what he praises today.

  "A man who organises his life like this", the Holy Father added, "a priest who sees his ministry in these terms, does not truly love God and neighbour, he loves only himself and, paradoxically, ends up by losing himself. The priesthood - let us never forget it - is founded on the courage to say yes to another will, with the daily-growing awareness that - precisely my conforming ourselves to the will of God, 'immersed' in this will - not only is our originality not cancelled but, quite the contrary, we increasingly enter into the truth of our being and our ministry".

  "When we celebrate Mass", said Benedict XVI, "we have the bread of heaven in our hands, the bread of God Who is Christ, the grain broken to be multiplied and become the true food for the life of the world. This cannot but fill you with a sense of inner wonder, of living joy and immense gratitude because now the love and gift of the crucified and glorious Christ pass through your hands, through your hearts! It is an experience of wonder, ever new, to see that in my hands and in my voice the Lord achieves this mystery of His presence".

  The Pope asked God to give the new priests "the grace to achieve a profound experience of all the beauty and power of your priestly service and, at the same time, the grace to be able to live this ministry coherently and generously, every day.

  "The grace of the priesthood", he told the newly-ordained priests, "will unite you in the depths of your hearts to the sentiments of Jesus, Who loved unto the end unto the total gift of self, it will unite you to His becoming bread multiplied for the holy meal of unity and communion".

  The Holy Father concluded by explaining that "care over the celebration of the Eucharist must always be accompanied by commitment to Eucharistic life; that is, a life lived in obedience to the one great law, the law of love that gives completely and serves with humility, a life that the grace of the Holy Spirit makes ever more similar to that of Jesus Christ, High and Eternal Priest, Servant of God and of man".
HML/                                    VIS 20100621 (640)


VATICAN CITY, 20 JUN 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, following this morning's Mass in the Vatican Basilica during which he conferred priestly ordination on fourteen deacons from the diocese of Rome, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his private study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  "The Sacrament of Holy Orders demonstrates, on God's part, attentive closeness to mankind and, on the part of those who receive the Sacrament, complete willingness to become instruments of that closeness, with a radical love for Christ and for the Church.

  "In today's Gospel", the Holy Father added, "the Lord asks His disciples: 'Who do you say that I am?' To this the Apostle Peter promptly replies: 'The Messiah of God', thus surmounting the earthly opinions that held Jesus to be one of the prophets".

  "It is to us too - who can know the Lord through faith in His Word and the Sacraments - that Jesus addresses the proposal to follow Him every day. And it is us too whom He tells that, in order to be His disciples, we must acquire the power of His cross, pinnacle of our good and crown of our hope. ... Taking up the cross means committing ourselves to defeat the sin that blocks the way to God, daily welcoming the will of the Lord and growing in faith, especially in the face of problems, difficulties and suffering", said the Pope.

  "Also in our own time there are many Christians in the world who, animated by love for God, daily take up their cross, both the cross of everyday trials and that of human barbarity which sometimes requires the courage of the supreme sacrifice. May the Lord enable each of us to place our solid hope in Him, certain that, by carrying our cross, we will, with Him, attain the light of the resurrection".
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VATICAN CITY, 20 JUN 2010 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus at midday today, Benedict XVI launched "a pressing appeal for peace and security to be promptly re-established in southern Kyrgyzstan, following the serious clashes of recent days".

  The Pope expressed his closeness to the victims and gave assurances of his prayers for everyone suffering because of this tragedy. He also invited "all the ethnic communities of the country to renounce any form of provocation or violence", and asked "the international community to strive to that humanitarian aid can soon reach the people affected".

  The Holy Father then went on to recall the fact that today marks the United Nations' annual World Refugee Day, which aims "to call attention to the problems of people who have been forced to leave their lands and familiar customs, often taking refuge in profoundly different environments. Refugees wish to be welcomed and to see their dignity and fundamental rights recognised. At the same time they intend to make their own contribution to the society that welcomes them, We pray that, with due reciprocity, refugees' expectations may find an adequate response, and they may demonstrate the respect they nourish for the identity of the communities that receive them".
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VATICAN CITY, 21 JUN 2010 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. today announced that the Vietnam - Holy See Joint Working Group will hold its second meeting in the Vatican on 23 and 24 June. The aim of the meeting is to strengthen and develop bilateral relations, as declared at the end of the group's first meeting, which took place in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi on 17 February 2009.
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VATICAN CITY, 21 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences eleven prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Miguel Angelo Freitas Ribeiro of Oliveira.

    - Bishop Guilherme Porto of Sete Lagoas.

    - Bishop Emanuel Messias de Oliveira of Guanhaes.

    - Bishop Aloisio Jorge Pena Vitral of Teofilo Otoni.

    - Bishop Francisco Carlos da Silva of Ituiutaba.

    - Bishop Paulo Francisco Machado of Uberlandia.

    - Bishop Tarcisio Nascente dos Santos of Divinopolis.

    - Bishop Waldemar Chaves de Araujo of Sao Joao del Rei.

    - Bishop Jose Ronaldo Ribeiro of Janauba.

    - Bishop Jose Moreira da Silva of Januaria.

    - Bishop Leonardo de Miranda Pereira of Paracatu.

  On Saturday 19 June he received in separate audiences:

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

 - Archbishop Velasio De Paolis C.S., president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.
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VATICAN CITY, 21 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. John Wong Soo Kau, vice director of the preparatory year of St. Peter's College in Kuching, Malaysia, as coadjutor archbishop of the archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu (area 11,558, population 3,746,000, Catholics 186,138, priests 38, religious 140), Malaysia. The archbishop-elect was born in Sandakan, Malaysia in 1968 and ordained a priest in 1999.

  On Saturday 19 June it was made public that he:

 - Appointed Fr. Zbignev Stankevics of the clergy of the archdiocese of Riga, Latvia, spiritual director of the local seminary and director of the higher institute for religious sciences, as metropolitan archbishop of the same archdiocese (area 23,587, population 1,250,000, Catholics 220,000, priests 41, permanent deacons 1, religious 63). The archbishop-elect was born in Lejasciema, Latvia in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1996. He succeeds Cardinal Janis Pujats, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop of Santiago de Chile, Chile, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the centenary of the diocese of Catamarca, Argentina, due to take place on 21 August.
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Friday, June 18, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 18 JUN 2010 (VIS) - On 16 June Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, attended the opening of the tenth Cuban Catholic Social Week, during which he delivered a speech entitled: "Certain considerations concerning the secularism of the State".

  "Although the term 'secularism', both in the past and in the present, refers first and foremost to the reality of the State and not infrequently assumes forms that run counter to the Church and Christianity", the archbishop noted, "it would not exist at all were it not for Christianity".

  "In fact, without the Gospel of Christ the history of humankind would not have known the fundamental distinction between what man owes to God and what he owes to Caesar; in other words, to civil society. ... The word 'secularism' itself ... has its origins in the ecclesiastical sphere. ... A lay person is ... one who is not of the clergy. ... This is the original, completely intra-ecclesial, definition of the word", he said.

  In the Middle Ages, the archbishop went on, "sovereigns who sought to avoid being subject to the Pope did not for this reason consider themselves as being outside the Church. At most they wanted to play a role in controlling and organising the Church, but they had no desire to separate themselves from her or exclude her from society. It was with the Enlightenment, and in a particularly dramatic way during the French revolution, that the term 'secularism' came to designate quite the opposite: complete alterity, a net opposition between civil life, and religious and ecclesial life".

  "Although secularism today is not infrequently invoked and used to hinder the life and activity of the Church", said the secretary for Relations with States, "in its profound and positive sense it would never even have existed without Christianity. The same is true for other values which today are considered as typical of modernity and often invoked to criticise the Church, or religion in general, such as respect for the dignity of the person, the right to freedom, equality, etc. These are to a large extent the fruit of the profound influence of the Gospel in various cultures, though later they were separated and even set in conflict with their Christian origins".

  "Much State legislation", he observed, "affirms that secularism is a fundamental principle; above all, as concerns the State's relationship with the religious dimension of man. ... In this context we cannot overlook the fact that, in the name of this concept, decisions are sometimes taken and norms published with objectively affect the individual and collective practice of the fundamental right to religious freedom".

  "If secularism is not made logically and ontologically subordinate to full respect for religious freedom this can represent a real threat to that freedom. ... In such a case the State, paradoxically, becomes a confessional state, no longer truly secular, because it would make secularism a supreme value, a dominant ideology, a kind of religion with its own civil rites and liturgies".

  "The full concept of the right to religious freedom must be reaffirmed. Because respecting this right does not just mean avoiding coercion and allowing personal and interior adherence to the faith. Although respect for the individual act of faith is fundamental, the State's stance towards the religious dimension does not end there, because this dimension ... must find expression in the world and be lived, not only individually but also in the community".

  Referring finally to the mission of lay people themselves, Archbishop Mamberti highlighted how "the role of the Magisterium is different from that of the laity, for while pastors of the Church must illuminate minds with their teaching, 'the direct duty to work for a just ordering of society', as Benedict XVI says in his Encyclical on charity, 'is proper to the lay faithful', who achieve this by 'co-operating with other citizens'"
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VATICAN CITY, 18 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

 - Hans-Henning Horstmann, ambassador of Germany, accompanied by his wife, on a farewell visit.

 - Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Bishop Epaminondas Jose de Araujo, emeritus of Palmeira dos Indios, Brazil, on 9 June at the age of 88.

 - Bishop Joseph Crescent McKinney, former auxiliary of Grand Rapids, U.S.A., on 9 June at the age of 81.

 - Bishop Luigi Padovese O.F.M. Cap., apostolic vicar of Anatolia, Turkey, on 3 June at the age of 63.

 - Archbishop Ismael Blas Rolon Silvero S.D.B., emeritus of Asuncion, Paraguay, on 8 June at the age of 96.

 - Archbishop Basil Myron Schott O.F.M. of Pittsburgh of the Byzantines, U.S.A., on 10 June at the age of 70.

 - Bishop Jaroslav Skarvada, former auxiliary of Prague, Czech Republic, on 14 June at the age of 85.
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Thursday, June 17, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 17 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

    - Archbishop Ricardo Pedro Chaves Pinto Filho O. Praem. of Pouso Alegre.

    - Bishop Diamantino Prata de Carvalho O.F.M. of Campanha.

    - Bishop Jose Lanza Neto of Guaxupe.

    - Archbishop Aloisio Roque Oppermann S.C.I. of Uberaba.

    - Bishop Claudio Nori Sturm O.F.M. Cap. of Patos de Minas.

    - Bishop Dario Campos O.F.M. of Leopoldina.

    - Archbishop Jose Alberto Moura C.S.S. of Montes Claros.

 - Fr. Alvaro Corcuera Martinez del Rio, superior general of the Legionaries of Christ.
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VATICAN CITY, 17 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese Berberati, Central African Republic, presented by Bishop Agostino Delfino O.F.M. Cap., upon having reached the age limit.
RE/                                    VIS 20100617 (40)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 16 JUN 2010 (VIS) - In his catechesis during this morning's general audience, Benedict XVI continued his presentation of the figure of St. Thomas Aquinas, "a theologian of such importance that the study of his works was explicitly recommended by Vatican Council II", he said. He also recalled how in 1880 Leo XIII declared him as patron of Catholic schools and universities.

  The Pope noted how Thomas Aquinas focused on the distinction between philosophy and theology. This was because in his time, in the light of Aristotelian and Platonic thought on the one hand, and the philosophy of the Church Fathers on the other, "the burning question was whether ... a philosophy elaborated without reference to Christ and the world of faith, and that elaborated bearing Christ and the world of faith in mind, were compatible or mutually exclusive".

  "Thomas", the Holy Father explained, "was firmly convinced that they were compatible, and that the philosophy elaborated without Christ was awaiting only the light of Jesus in order to be made complete. The novelty of Thomas, what determined his path as a thinker, was this: to demonstrate the independence of philosophy and theology, and at the same time their inter-relation".

  For the "Doctor Angelicus", the Pope went on, "faith consolidates, integrates and illuminates the heritage of truth acquired by human reason. The trust St. Thomas places in these two instruments of knowledge (faith and reason) can be explained by his conviction that both come from a single wellspring of truth, the divine Logos which works in the area of both creation and redemption".

  Having established the principle of reason and faith, St. Thomas makes it clear that they follow different cognitive processes: "Reason accepts a truth by virtue of its intrinsic evidence, either mediated or direct; faith, on the other hand, accepts a truth on the basis of the authority of the revealed Word of God".

  "This distinction ensures the autonomy of the human sciences, ... and the theological sciences. However this does not mean a separation; rather, it implies mutual and advantageous collaboration. Faith, in fact, protects reason from any temptation to mistrust in its own capacities and stimulates it to open itself to ever broader horizons".

  "Reason too, with the means at its disposal, can do something important for faith, offering it a triple service which St. Thomas summarises thus: ... 'demonstrating the foundations of faith; using similitudes to explain the truth of faith; rebuffing the objections that arise against the faith'. The entire history of Christian theology is, in the final analysis, the exercise of this duty of the intellect, which shows the intelligibility of the faith, its inner structure and harmony, its reasonableness and its capacity to promote the good of man.

  "The correctness of theological reasoning and its true cognitive significance is based on the value of theological language which, according to St. Thomas, is principally a language of analogy", the Pope added. "Analogy recognises shared perfections in the created world and in God". Thomas based his doctrine of analogy, "not only on purely philosophical arguments, but also on the fact that, with the revelation, God Himself spoke to us and, thus, authorised us to speak about Him".

  The Holy Father highlighted the importance of this doctrine which, he said, "helps us overcome certain objections raised by modern atheism which denies that religious language possesses objective meaning and holds that it only has a subjective or merely emotional value. In the light of the teachings of St. Thomas, theology affirms that, however limited, religious language does have meaning".

  St. Thomas' moral theology retains great relevance in its affirmation that "the theological and moral virtues of man are rooted in human nature", said Pope Benedict. "Divine Grace accompanies, supports and encourages ethical commitment but, according to St. Thomas, all men and women, believers and non-believers, are of themselves called to recognise the requirements of human nature as expressed in natural law, and to draw inspiration therefrom when formulating positive law; that is, the laws produced by civil and political authorities to regulate human society.

  "When natural law and the responsibility it implies are denied," he added, "the way is thrown dramatically open to ethical relativism at an individual level, and to totalitarianism at a political level. Defending the universal rights of man and affirming the absolute value of the dignity of the person presupposes a foundation: and is not this foundation natural law, with the non-negotiable values it contains?".

  "Thomas", the Holy Father concluded, "presents us with a broad and trusting view of human reason. Broad, because it is not limited to the area of empirical-scientific reason but open to all of existence and therefore also to the fundamental and inescapable questions of human life; trusting, because human reason, especially if it welcomes the inspiration of Christian faith, promotes a civilisation which recognises the dignity of the person, the inviolability of his rights and the cogency of his duties".
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