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Thursday, September 30, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 30 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon Benedict XVI bid farewell to staff who work at the Pontifical Villas in Castelgandolfo, thanking them for their prayers and their efforts on his behalf during the period he had spent there.

  "Dear friends", he said, "continue to offer daily witness of your faith, especially by humbly listening to the Word of God. ... All Christians are called to accept and to live, day after day with simplicity and joy, the Word of truth which the Lord communicated to us. ... It is vital that each Christian should live in contact and personal dialogue with the Word of God, given to us in Sacred Scripture, reading it not as a word of the past, but as a living Word addressed to us today".

  The Holy Father assured the staff of the Pontifical Villas of his "constant recollection in my prayers, that each of you may increasingly and more profoundly come to know and assimilate the Word of God, stimulus and source of Christian life in all situations and for all people, The Most Holy Virgin is a model of such obedient attention; learn from her".

  The Pope is due to return to the Vatican this evening.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for October is: "That Catholic universities may more and more be places where, in the light of the Gospel, it is possible to experience the harmonious unity existing between faith and reason".

  His mission intention is: "That World Mission Day may afford an occasion for understanding that the task of proclaiming Christ is an absolutely necessary service to which the Church is called for the benefit of humanity".
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VATICAN CITY, 30 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

 - Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

 - Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Sant'Egidio Community, accompanied by Bishop Vincenzo Paglia of Terni-Narni-Ameila.

 - Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki of Lviv of the Latins, Ukraine.
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2010 (VIS) - St. Matilda of Hackeborn (1241/1242 - 1298), one of the outstanding figures of the German convent of Helfta, was the subject of the Holy Father's catechesis during his general audience, which took place this morning in St. Peter's Square.

  Matilda was daughter of the barons of Hackeborn. At an early age she entered the convent of Helfta where her sister, St. Gertrude, was abbess for forty years. Gertrude gave "a particular imprint to the spirituality of the convent, causing it to flourish as a centre of mysticism and culture, a place of scientific and theological education". The nuns of Helfta enjoyed "a high level of intellectual learning which enabled them to cultivate a spirituality founded on Sacred Scripture, the liturgy and patristic tradition, and on the Rule and spirituality of the Cistercians".

  The main source for Matilda's life is a book written by her sister and entitled "The Book of Special Grace", in which she is described as possessing exalted natural and spiritual qualities such as "science, intelligence, knowledge of human literature, and a voice of great beauty".

  While still very young Matilda became the head of the convent school of Helfta, and later director of the choir and mistress of novices. She also possessed "the divine gift of mystic contemplation" and was "a teacher of faithful doctrine and great humility, a counsellor, a consoler and a guide in discernment". For this reason "many people, within the convent but also from elsewhere, ... testified that this holy virgin had freed them from their sufferings and that they had never known such consolation as they had with her", said Benedict XVI.

  "During her long life in the convent, Matilda was afflicted by continuous and intense suffering, to which she added her own great penance for the conversion of sinners. In this way she shared in the Lord's passion until the end of her life.

  "Prayer and contemplation", the Pope added. "were the vital 'humus' of her life. It was there that her revelations, her teachings, her service to others, and her journey in faith and love had their roots and their context. ... Of the liturgical prayers, Matilda gave particular emphasis to the canonical hours, and to the celebration of Mass especially Holy Communion. ... Her visions, her teachings, and the events of her life are described with expressions evocative of liturgical and biblical language. Thus do we come to appreciate her profound knowledge of Sacred Scripture, which was her daily bread".

  This saint, "allowing herself to be guided by Sacred Scripture and nourished by the Eucharistic bread, followed a path of intimate union with the Lord, always maintaining complete fidelity to the Christ. For us too, this is a powerful call to intensify our friendship with the Lord, especially through daily prayer and attentive, faithful and active participation in Mass. The liturgy is a great school of spirituality", the Pope concluded.
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VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2010 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Pope mentioned "the grave humanitarian crisis which has recently struck northern Nigeria, where some two million people have been forced to flee their homes because of severe flooding. To all those affected I express my spiritual closeness and I assure them of my prayers", he said.

  He then addressed some remarks to a group of pilgrims from Haiti assuring them of his continuing "prayers to God to bring Haitians relief in their misery".

  Noting then that Friday marks the beginning of the Marian month of October, he encouraged the faithful "to learn from the Virgin of Nazareth always to be ready to fulfil the will of God".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was the theme chosen by the Pope for the forty-fifth World Day of Social Communications: "Truth, proclamation and authenticity of life in the digital age". His Message for the Day will be published on 24 January 2011, feast of St. Francis of Sales, patron of journalists.

  An English-language note released by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications explains that the theme is "to be understood as focusing on the human person who is at the heart of all communicative processes. Even in an age that is largely dominated, and at times conditioned, by new technologies, the value of personal witness remains essential.

  "To approach the truth and to take on the task of sharing it", the note adds, "requires the 'guarantee' of an authenticity of life from those who work in the media, and especially from Catholic journalists; an authenticity of life that is no less required in a digital age.

  "Technology, on its own, cannot establish or enhance a communicator's credibility, nor can it serve as a source of the values which guide communication. The truth must remain the firm and unchanging point of reference of new media and the digital world, opening up new horizons of information and knowledge. Ideally, it is the pursuit of truth which constitutes the fundamental objective of all those who work in the media".
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 28 SEP 2010 (VIS) - A preparatory meeting for a forum on "Cultures, identities of peoples and development in Africa and the Black Diaspora" began yesterday in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The initiative is being promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Congregation for the Evangelisation of peoples, while the forum itself is due to be held in Abidjan in March 2011.

  Among those participating in the preparatory meeting, which ends on 1 October, are Fr. Barthelemy Adoukonou, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. Also taking part will be Cardinal Theodore-Adrien Sarr, president of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (CERAO) and vice president of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), and other bishops and theologians, as well as diplomatic representatives from Ivory Coast and Benin.

  "This year Africa is celebrating fifty years of independence of many countries from colonial rule", reads an English-language communique released by the Pontifical Council for Culture. "How far has this culturally rich and diverse continent, made up of different colours and hues, profited from independence? What mark has development made on people's lives and how has globalisation impacted the cultures of the continent?"

  "The Pontifical Council for Culture in collaboration with the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples aims to create a forum with representation from different ecclesiastical, international and non-governmental organisations in order to find ways and strategies through which development can be promoted while focusing on the human person made in the likeness and image of God".

  The forum is also intended "to become a permanent place of reflection, for concrete proposals for a cultural and educational engagement which will promote a body concerned with development in Africa".
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Monday, September 27, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 25 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (East region 1), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  Speaking about young people the Holy Father reminded the prelates how, during the Jubilee Year 2000, the Venerable John Paul II had described youth as "sentinels of the morning" whose "task it is to awaken their brothers and sisters as they sail in the vast ocean of the third millennium. As proof of this I recall the long queues of young people waiting to take Confession at the Circus Maximus, thus restoring the trust of many priests in the Sacrament of Penance", he said.

  "As you know", the Pope went on, "the core of the spiritual crisis of our time has its roots in the obscuration of the grace of forgiveness. If this is not recognised as being real and effective it tends to free people from guilt, and the conditions for the existence of guilt are never achieved. But people 'liberated' in this manner know in their hearts that it is not true, that sin exists and that they themselves are sinners".

  Benedict XVI highlighted how "we all need God as the Divine Sculptor Who removes the accumulation of dust and debris covering the image of God inscribed within us. We need forgiveness, which is the nucleus of all true reform. It rebuilds individuals from the depths of their hearts and is the core of the renewal of the community".

  "Only a profound renewal of the person can act as foundation for the growth of the Church, the community that unites and supports us in life and death", he explained. "This community is on an upward journey, seeking the purification which enables us to understand the authentic meaning of the human being, seeking the company of God. As purification is achieved the upward journey - which is hard to begin with - becomes more joyful. This joy must be increasingly reflected in the Church, infecting the world, because it is the youth of the world".

  "An undertaking such as this", Pope Benedict concluded, "cannot be completed with our own strength; rather, we need the light and grace that come from the Sprit of God and act in the depths of people's hearts and consciences. May that light and that grace help you and your dioceses in the formation of minds and hearts".
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VATICAN CITY, 26 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Before praying the Angelus today Benedict XVI turned his attention to this Sunday's Gospel narrative of the rich man and the poor Lazarus. While the former lives in selfish luxury and, when he dies, goes to hell, Lazarus, who eats the crumbs from the rich man's table, at his death is carried by the angels to an eternal dwelling with God.

  "This parable", the Pope told faithful gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, "tells us two things: firstly, that God loves the poor and raises them from their abjection; secondly, that our eternal destiny is dependent upon our behaviour, it is up to us to follow the path God has shown us in order to achieve life, and this path is love, understood not as an emotion but as service to others in the charity of Christ".

  The Holy Father then went on to recall the fact that tomorrow marks the feast day and the 350th anniversary of the death of St. Vincent de Paul, patron of Catholic charity organisations. "In seventeenth-century France he personally experienced the great contrast between rich and poor. As a priest he was able to frequent aristocratic circles, the countryside and the deprived areas of Paris. Encouraged by Christ's love, Vincent de Paul organised regular forms of service to the marginalised, creating the ... 'Charitees'; that is, groups of women who dedicated their time and goods to helping the poorest".

  In this context, the Pope made specific mention of St. Louise de Marillac who, together with Vincent de Paul, founded the Daughters of Charity, "the first female congregation to live their consecration 'in the world', among the people, serving the sick and the needy".

  "Only Love with a capital 'L' brings true happiness!", the Holy Father exclaimed. "This was also made evident by another witness, who was proclaimed blessed here in Rome yesterday. I am talking about Chiara Badano, an Italian girl born in 1971 who died of an illness when she was just under nineteen, but who was a ray of light to everyone, as her nickname says: Chiara Luce".

  The beatification of Chiara Badano, who was a member of the Focolari Movement, the Pope concluded, "is a feast day for all young people, who may see in her an example of Christian coherence".
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VATICAN CITY, 27 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Pope to Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and to Archbishop Julian Barrio Barrio of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, for the Second World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Pilgrimages and Shrines, which is being held in Santiago from 27 to 30 September.

  Extracts from the English-language version of the Message are given below:

  "With the theme, 'So he went in to stay with them', taken from the Gospel passage of the disciples of Emmaus, you are", the Holy Father writes, "preparing to study in depth the importance of pilgrimages to the shrines as a manifestation of Christian life and a space of evangelisation".

  "I will personally make a pilgrimage soon to the tomb of the Apostle St. James, the 'Lord's friend', in the same way that I have made my way to other places in the world which many of the faithful visit with fervent devotion. In this regard, from the beginning of my pontificate, I have wanted to live my ministry as the Successor of Peter with the sentiments of a pilgrim who travels over the roads of the world with hope and simplicity bringing on his lips and in his heart the saving message of the Risen Christ, and strengthening his brothers in faith. As an explicit sign of this mission, my coat-of-arms includes the pilgrim's shell, among other elements.

  "In these historic moments in which we are called, with greater force if possible, to evangelise our world, the riches offered to us by the pilgrimage to shrines should be highlighted. First of all, for its great ability to summon and bring together a growing number of pilgrims and religious tourists, some of whom are in complicated human and spiritual situations, somewhat distant from living the faith and with a weak ecclesial affiliation. Christ speaks to all of them with love and hope.

  "The desire for happiness that is imbedded in the soul finds its answer in Him, and human suffering together with Him has a meaning. With His grace, the noblest causes also find their complete fulfilment. As Simeon met with Christ in the temple, so too a pilgrim should have the opportunity to discover the Lord in the shrine.

  "For this purpose, efforts should be made so that visitors may not forget that shrines are sacred places in order to be in them with devotion, respect and propriety. In this way, the Word of Christ, the Son of the living God, can ring out clearly, and the event of His death and resurrection, the foundation of our faith, can be proclaimed completely.

  "Very careful attention should also be given to welcoming the pilgrims, by highlighting, among other elements, the dignity and beauty of the shrine, the image of 'God's dwelling... with the human race', the moments and spaces for both personal and community prayer, and attention to devotional practices. In the same way, it can never be stressed enough that shrines should be lighthouses of charity, with unceasing dedication to the neediest through concrete works of solidarity and mercy, and constant readiness to listen, favouring in particular the faithful's reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and taking part worthily in the Eucharistic celebration, making this the centre and apex of all the pastoral activity of the shrines. In this way it will be made manifest that the Eucharist is indeed the pilgrim's nourishment, the 'Sacrament of the God Who does not leave us alone on the journey but stays at our side and shows us the way'.

  "In fact, different from a wanderer whose steps have no established final destination, a pilgrim always has a destination, even if at times he is not explicitly aware of it. And this destination is none other than the encounter with God through Christ in whom all our aspirations find their response. For this reason, the celebration of the Eucharist can really be considered the culmination of the pilgrimage.

  "As 'God's co-workers', I exhort all of you to be dedicated to this beautiful mission so that through your pastoral care, you will favour in pilgrims the knowledge and imitation of Christ Who continues to walk with us, enlighten our lives with His Word, and share with us the Bread of Life in the Eucharist. In this way, the pilgrimage to the shrine will be a favourable occasion to strengthen the desire in those who visit it to share the wonderful experience with others of knowing they are loved by God and sent to the world to give witness to that love.

  "With these sentiments, I entrust the fruits of this Congress to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Apostle James as I direct my prayer to Jesus Christ, 'the Way and the Truth and the Life', to Whom I present all those who seek His face as they peregrinate through life:

"Lord Jesus Christ, pilgrim of Emmaus,
you make yourself close to us for love,
even if, at times, discouragement and sadness
prevent us from discovering your presence.
You are the flame that revives our faith.
You are the light that purifies our hope.
You are the force that stirs our charity. 
Teach us to recognise you in the Word,
in the house and on the Table where the Bread of Life is shared,
in generous service to our suffering neighbour. 
And when evening falls, Lord, help us to say:
'Stay with us'. Amen".
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VATICAN CITY, 27 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Today in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI made his traditional farewells to the local civil and religious authorities prior to returning to the Vatican later this week.

  The Pope greeted Marcello Semeraro of Albano and the priests and religious accompanying him, and thanked the mayor of Castelgandolfo and the town authorities. He likewise expressed his gratitude to members of the Vatican Governorate, the Gendarmerie and the Swiss Guard, as well as to the police and the Italian air force.

  "As I leave you", he told them, "I would like you to ponder on the figure of St. Vincent de Paul, whose feast day falls today. This apostle of charity, so dear to Christian people and known especially through the orders of nuns he founded, was proclaimed by Pope Leo XIII as 'universal patron of all works of charity all over the world'".

  The Holy Father concluded: "With his unceasing apostolic activity, he made the Gospel an increasingly bright beacon of hope and love for the men and women of his time, especially for the poorest in body and in spirit. May his virtuous example and his intercession arouse in your communities, and in each one of you, a renewed commitment to solidarity so that all our efforts may come together in building the common good".
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VATICAN CITY, 27 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

    - Bishop Fernando Areas Rifan, apostolic administrator of the personal apostolic administration of Sao Joao Maria Vianney.

    - Wilson Tadeu Jonck, S.C.I. of Tubarao.

 - Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy.

  On Saturday 25 September he received in separate audiences:

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

    - Bishop Elias James Manning O.F.M. Conv. of Valenca.

    - Archbishop Gil Antonio Moreira of Juiz de Fora.

    - Bishop Edgard Madi of Nossa Senhora do Libano em Sao Paulo of the Maronites.

 - Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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Friday, September 24, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 24 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Yesterday evening in the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI received a group of pupils, parents and teachers from the local Paul VI Pontifical School, which is run by the "Maestre Pie Filippini".

  "Dear children", said the Pope in his remarks, "you go to school and you learn naturally, and I am recalling that seventy-seven years have now passed since I began school. I lived in a small village of three hundred inhabitants, ... yet we learned the essential things. Most importantly, we learned to read and write. I think it is a great thing to be able to read and write, because in this way we can know other people's ideas, read newspapers and books. We can also know what was written two thousand or more years ago; we can know the spiritual continents of the world and communicate with one another. Above all there is one extraordinary thing: God wrote a book, He spoke to us human beings, finding people to write the book containing the Word of God. Reading that book, we can read what God says to us".

  The Holy Father went on: "At school you learn everything you need for life. You also learn to know God, to know Jesus and thus you learn how to live well. At school you make a lot of friends and this is a beautiful thing because in this way you form one big family, but among our best friends, the first we meet and know should be Jesus Who is a friend to everyone and truly shows us the path of life".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the programme of Benedict XVI's forthcoming apostolic trip to Spain, which is due to take him to the cities of Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona from 6 to 7 November.

  The Pope will depart from Rome's Fiumicino airport at 8.30 a.m. on Saturday 6 November, arriving in Santiago de Compostela at 11.30 a.m. where he will pronounce an address and meet the Prince and Princess of Asturias.

  At 1 p.m. he will visit the cathedral of Santiago and greet the faithful there. At 1.40 p.m. he is due to have lunch in the archbishopric with Spanish cardinals and members of the executive committee of the Spanish Episcopal Conference. At 4.30 p.m. he will celebrate Mass and pronounce a homily for the Compostela Holy Year in the city's Plaza de Obradoiro.

  The Holy Father will depart by plane from Santiago de Compostela at 9.15 p.m. and fly to Barcelona.

  At 9.30 a.m. on Sunday 7 November, Pope Benedict will have a private meeting with the King and Queen of Spain in the Museum Hall of Barcelona's church of the "Sagrada Familia".

  At 10 a.m. the Holy Father will preside at Mass, during which he will consecrate the church of the "Sagrada Familia" and the altar. Following the Eucharistic celebration he will exit the church into the adjoining square of the same name to pray the Angelus and pronounce some words to faithful gathered there.

  Following lunch with cardinals and bishops in the archbishopric of Barcelona, at 5.15 p.m. the Pope will visit the "Obra Benefico-Social Nen Deu", then travel directly to Barcelona airport where the departure ceremony will take place.

  The Pope's flight is due to take off at 7.15 p.m. and is scheduled to land at Ciampino airport in Rome at 8.55 p.m.
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VATICAN CITY, 24 SEP 2010 (VIS) - At midday today in the Holy See Press Office Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, presented Benedict XVI's Letter for the Seventh World Meeting of Families, which is due to be held in the Italian city of Milan from 30 May to 2 June 2012, on the theme: "The Family: Work and Rest".

  Also participating in today's press conference were Bishop Jean Lafitte, Msgr. Carlos Simon Vazquez and Fr. Gianfranco Grieco O.F.M. Conv., respectively secretary, under secretary and bureau chief of the pontifical council; Bishop Erminio De Scalzi, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Milan and the archbishop's delegate for the organisation of the meeting, and Fr. Davide Milani, head of social communications for the archdiocese of Milan.

  "Work and rest", writes the Pope in his Letter, "are intimately associated with the life of families. They influence the choices the family makes, the relationship between the spouses and among parents and children, and they affect the dealings the family has with society and with the Church".

  The Holy Father further highlights how "In our own time, unfortunately, the organisation of work, which is planned and implemented as a function of market competition and maximising profit, and the concept of rest as a time for evasion and consumption, contribute to the break-up of families and communities, and to the spread of an individualistic lifestyle. It is therefore necessary to reflect and commit ourselves to reconciling the demands and requirements of work with those of the family, and to recover the true significance of rest, especially on Sundays, the weekly Easter, the day of the Lord and the day of man, the day of the family, of the community and of solidarity.

  "The forthcoming World Meeting of Families", he adds, "is a propitious occasion to re-examine work and rest in the perspective of families that are united and open to life, well inserted into society and the Church, attentive to the quality of their relationships as well as to the economy of the family nucleus itself".

  The Pope goes on to express the hope that "during the course of 2011 - thirtieth anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation 'Familiaris consortio', the 'Magna Charta' of family pastoral care - valid initiatives may begin at the parish, diocesan and national level with the aim of identifying experiences of work and rest in their most authentic and positive aspects, with particular reference to their influence on the real lives of families".

  At the end of his Letter the Holy Father explains how the Seventh World Meeting of Families, "like earlier such meetings, will last five days culminating on Saturday evening with a 'Feast of Witness' and on Sunday morning with solemn Mass. During these two celebrations, at which I shall preside, we will come together as 'a family of families'".

  Commenting on the theme of the letter, Cardinal Antonelli mentioned the problems affecting the family which, he said, "is becoming privatised and reduced to a place of individual affections and gratification. It does not receive adequate cultural, juridical, economic or political support and suffers the negative conditioning of complex centrifugal dynamics, among which by no means the least important are the organisation of work and the degeneration of rest into 'free time'". In this context, the cardinal highlighted how the theme of the Milan meeting "could become an important contribution to the defence and promotion of authentic human values in today's world, beginning with a new style of family life".

  "Within the family, it is important to encourage the redistribution of domestic tasks, and a lifestyle inspired by sobriety, concern for personal relationships, openness towards the ecclesial community and the needs of others. Finally", Cardinal Antonelli concluded, "feast days must be celebrated in such a way as to illuminate the significance of life and of work itself, strengthening the cohesion of the family and its insertion into the wider community, reviving the relationship with Christ, Lord and Saviour Who accompanies us on our daily journey".

  For his part, Bishop Erminio De Scalzi observed that "it would be significant if we were able to welcome poor families from the South of the world to Milan. I am thinking," he said, "of people who live in counties where it is difficult to make their voice heard. It is important that the representatives of these families should have the chance to bring their testimony of life, and tell us how they understand work and rest as regards the family nucleus".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel met on 21 September to continue its work on an Agreement pursuant to article 10 para. 2 of the 1993 Fundamental Agreement between the two Parties.

  According to a joint communique, "the talks were held in a cordial atmosphere and produced progress towards the desired agreement".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

    - Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta O. Cist. of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Assis Lopes, Antonio Augusto Dias Duarte, Edson de Castro Homem and Dimas Lara Barbosa, and by Bishop Karl Josef Romer.

    - Bishop Joao Maria Messi O.S.M. of Barra do Pirai - Volta Redonda.

    - Bishop Jose Francisco Rezende Dias of Duque de Caixas.

    - Bishop Jose Ubiratan Lopes O.F.M. Cap. of Itaguai.

    - Bishop Luciano Bergamin C.R.L. of Nova Iguacu.

 - Ivan Guillermo Rincon Urdaneta, ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, on his farewell visit.
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VATICAN CITY, 24 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Daniel Fernandez Torres, auxiliary of San Juan de Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico, as bishop of Arecibo (area 2,157, population 615.600, Catholics 379,000, priests 87, permanent deacons 2, religious 213), Puerto Rico. He succeeds Bishop Inaki Mallona Txertudi C.P., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Douglas Crosby O.M.I. of Corner Brook and Labrador, Canada, as bishop of Hamilton (area 16,824, population 1,982,908, Catholics 562,000, priests 224, permanent deacons 24, religious 371), Canada. He succeeds Bishop Anthony F. Tonnos, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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Thursday, September 23, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 23 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a letter written by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. The letter concerns recent events involving the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) and appeared in today's edition of the British newspaper, Financial Times.

  "Yesterday the IOR (Institute of Religious Works) returned to international media attention in the wake of a surprise investigation by the Procurator's Office in Rome.

  "Given that the activities of the IOR take place at an international level, and that its President is a well respected figure, well-known in the world of international finance, it is appropriate that I, as the head of the Holy See's Press Office, should seek to clarify matters in order to avoid the spread of inaccurate information and to ensure that no damage is caused to the activities of the Institute or the good name of its managers.

  "The IOR is not a bank in the normal definition of the term. It is an Institute that administers the assets of Catholic institutions; institutions whose goal is to further a religious and charitable apostolate at an international level. The IOR is located within the territory of Vatican City State; in other words, beyond the jurisdiction and surveillance of the various national banks.

  "Its particular status means that its position in the system and the regulations of international finance requires a series of agreements in order to establish the procedures necessary for the Holy See to be included in the White List - this is especially true in light of the new norms laid down by the European Union to combat terrorism and money laundering.

  "From the day of his appointment, and in accordance with the specific mandate he received from the highest Vatican authorities and from the IOR Inspection Committee, President Gotti Tedeschi has been working with great commitment to ensure the absolute transparency of the IOR's activities, and their compliance for the norms and procedures which will allow the Holy See to be included in the White List. To this end, intense and fruitful contacts are ongoing with the Bank of Italy, the European Union and with the competent international bodies: OECD and GAFI.

  "It is for this reason that the Vatican Secretariat of State, in the official communiqué it released on Tuesday, expressed its perplexity and amazement at this investigation by the Procurator's Office in Rome, which has come at a time in which this commitment is being clearly shown and these contacts are being made in order to reach lasting solutions as soon as possible.

  "The nature and aims of the transactions under investigation could have been clarified with great simplicity, being cash transactions the beneficiary of which is the Institute itself, on accounts it holds at other credit institutions. The current problem was caused by a misunderstanding (now being examined) between the IOR and the bank which received the transfer order.

  "Thus the Holy See reiterates its complete confidence in the managers of the IOR, and its desire for complete transparency in the financial operations the Institute undertakes, in accordance with the procedures and norms required today to ensure the security and transparency of transactions in the field of international finance".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Stefan Mappus, minister-president of Baden-Wurttemburg, Germany, accompanied by an entourage.

 - Bishop Konrad Zdarsa of Augsburg, Germany.

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

    - Archbishop Alano Maria Pena O.P. of Niteroi, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Roberto Francisco Ferreria Paz.

    - Bishop Roberto Gomes Guimaraes of Campos.

    - Bishop Edney Gouvea Mattoso of Nova Friburgo, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Rafael Llano Cifuentes.

    - Bishop Filippo Santoro of Petropolis.
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2010 (VIS) - During this Wednesday's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square, the Pope turned his attention on his recent apostolic trip to the United Kingdom, which took place from 16 to 19 September and which he described as "a historic event marking a new important phase in the long and complex history of relations between that people and the Holy See".

  Referring to the first event of the trip, his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II in Edinburgh, the Holy Father recalled how "it was a highly cordial meeting, characterised by a deep and mutual concern for the wellbeing of the peoples of the world and for the role of Christian values in society".

  In Glasgow, where he celebrated the first Mass of his trip on the feast of St. Ninian, the first evangeliser of Scotland, "I recalled the importance of the evangelisation of culture, especially in our own time in which an insidious relativism threatens to darken the unchanging truth about the nature of man".

  The second day of the visit began with a meeting in London with the world of Catholic education, at which Benedict XVI dwelt on "the importance of the faith in forming mature and responsible citizens. I encouraged the many adolescents and young people who welcomed me with warmth and enthusiasm", he said, "not to follow limited goals, or to satisfy themselves with comfortable choices but to aim at something greater: the search for true happiness which is to be found only in God.

  "In my subsequent meeting with the leaders of other religions present in the United Kingdom", he added, "I pointed out the ineluctable need for sincere dialogue, which in order to be fruitful requires respect for the principle of reciprocity. At the same time, I identified the search for the sacred as a ground common to all religions, upon which to build up friendship, trust and collaboration".

  The Pope went on: "The fraternal visit to the Archbishop of Canterbury was an opportunity to underline the shared commitment to bear witness to the Christian message which unites Catholics and Anglicans. This was followed by one of the most significant moments of my apostolic trip: the meeting in the Great Hall of the British parliament" where, he explained, "I underlined the fact that religion, for lawmakers, must nor represent a problem to be resolved, but a factor that makes a vital contribution to the nation's historical progress and public debate, especially by recalling the essential importance of ensuring an ethical foundation for choices made in the various areas of social life".

  The praying of Vespers with the Christian communities of the United Kingdom in Westminster Abbey, the first visit made there by a Successor of Peter, "marked an important moment in relations between the Catholic community and the Anglican Communion", Pope Benedict said.

  He then recalled how, on Saturday morning, a Eucharistic celebration was held at Westminster Cathedral, which is dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord. "I as overjoyed to meet large numbers of young people", he remarked. "With their enthusiastic presence, ... they showed that they wanted to be protagonists of a new period of courageous witness, effective solidarity and generous commitment to serving the Gospel".

  Later in the apostolic nunciature, "I met with some victims of abuses committed by members of the clergy and religious. It was a moment of intense emotion and prayer", said the Holy Father. At his meeting with people responsible for protecting children and young people in Church environments "I thanked them and encouraged them to continue their work, which is part of the Church's long tradition of concern for the respect, education and formation of new generations".

  The old people's home he visited on Saturday afternoon testifies, he said, "to the great concern the Church has always had for the elderly, and expresses the commitment of British Catholics to respecting life irrespective of age or condition".

  "The culmination of my visit to the United Kingdom was the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, illustrious son of that land. By way of preparation, it was preceded by a special prayer vigil which took place on Saturday evening at Hyde Park in London. ... To the multitude of faithful, especially young people, I presented the shining example of Cardinal Newman, intellectual and believer, whose spiritual message can be summed up in his the witness that the way of knowledge does not mean closing in on oneself; rather it means openness, conversion and obedience to He Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life".

  Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by highlighting how "this apostolic trip confirmed my profound conviction that the old nations of Europe possess a Christian soul which merges with the 'genius' and history of their respective peoples, and the Church never ceases to work to keep this spiritual and cultural tradition alive".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2010 (VIS) - At the end of his catechesis during this morning's general audience, and before greeting those present in various languages, the Holy Father invited people to pray for the success of the work of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, which is currently meeting in plenary session in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

  "The theme of the current phase", he said, "is the role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Universal Church, with particular reference to the first millennium of Christian history. Obedience to the will of the Lord Jesus and consideration for the great challenges facing Christianity today, oblige us to commit ourselves seriously to the cause of re-establishing full communion among the Churches. I exhort everyone to intense prayer for the work of the commission and for the ongoing development and consolidation of peace and harmony among the baptised, that we may show the world an increasingly authentic evangelical witness".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon the Holy See Press Office published the following communique issued by the Secretariat of State concerning investigations by Roman tax authorities into the president and the director general of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR). The investigations concern the suspected violation of European norms on money laundering and have involved a freeze on twenty-three million euros held by the institution.

  "As is well known, the authorities of the Holy See have repeatedly expressed their desire for complete transparency regarding the financial activities of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR). This requires the implementation of all procedures aimed at preventing terrorism and money laundering. For this reason the authorities of the IOR have, for some time, been seeking the necessary contacts and meetings - both with the Bank of Italy and with relevant international bodies (the Organisation for Economic and Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (GAFI)) - for the inclusion of the Holy See in the so-called White List.

  "The Holy See thus expresses its perplexity and amazement at this initiative by the Procurator's Office in Rome, bearing in mind the fact that the necessary information is already available at the competent office of the Bank of Italy, and that similar operations regularly take place with other Italian credit institutions.

  "As for the sums mentioned, it should be noted that they are cash transactions with non-Italian credit institutions, the beneficiary of which is the IOR itself.

  "The Holy See thus wishes to express its complete confidence in the president and the director general of the IOR".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" today issued a communique concerning the forthcoming visit to the USA of Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the council. At the invitation of Catholic Charities USA, he is due to deliver the keynote address at a gathering being held in Washington DC from 25-29 September to mark the centenary of its founding.

  "The cardinal", says the English-language communique, "will reflect on the faith roots of the Church's charitable commitment and the need to nurture the specific identity of ecclesial organisations, as reaffirmed by the first Encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, 'Deus caritas est'.

  "Catholic Charities USA", the note adds, "with more than 1700 agencies and institutions operating in local dioceses, provides vital outreach to some nine million people a year of all religious, social and economic backgrounds. Pope Benedict 'prays that the present anniversary will be an occasion for gratitude to Almighty God for the abundant harvest of generosity, solidarity and good works reaped.' His Holiness encourages charity personnel to 'see their work as a tangible witness of their faith in Christ'.

  "As part of the visit, Cardinal Cordes will have meetings and deliver lectures on charity, social doctrine and the priesthood in the archdioceses of New York and Newark and dioceses of the Province of Connecticut".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Giovanni d'Aniello, apostolic nuncio to the Democratic Republic of Congo, as apostolic to Thailand and Cambodia, and apostolic delegate to Myanmar and Laos.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI is due to make a pastoral visit to Palermo, Italy, on Sunday 3 October for the occasion of a regional ecclesial meeting of families and young people.

  At 10.30 a.m. the Pope will preside at a concelebration of the Eucharist in the Foro Italico Umberto I, then lead the praying of the Angelus.

  He is scheduled to meet priests, religious and seminarians at the cathedral of Palermo at 5 p.m. An hour later he will go on to address a gathering of young people in the city's Piazza Politeama, which takes its name from the Politeama Garibaldi Theatre, built between 1867 and 1874.

  At the end of his visit the Holy Father will go to Palermo's Punta Raisi airport for his return flight to Rome.
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VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Matadi, Democratic Republic of Congo, presented by Bishop Gabriel Kembo Mamputu, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Daniel Nlandu Mayi.
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VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Bishop Francis Gerard Brooks, emeritus of Dromore, Ireland, on 4 September at the age of 86.

 - Bishop Maixent Coly of Ziguinchor, Senegal, on 24 August at the age of 60.

 - Bishop Heriberto Correa Yepes M.X.Y., former apostolic vicar of Buenaventura, Colombia, on 9 September at the age of 94.

 - Bishop Pedro Marcos Ribeiro da Costa, emeritus of Saurimo, Angola, on 2 September at the age of 88.

 - Bishop Jean-Marie Keletigui, emeritus of Katiola, Ivory Coast, on 31 August at the age of 78.

 - Bishop Tomas Pedro Barbosa da Silva Nunes, auxiliary of Lisbon, Portugal, on 1 September at the age of 67.
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Monday, September 20, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 19 SEP 2010 (VIS) - At 6.15 p.m. today Benedict XVI arrived at Birmingham airport where the departure ceremony took place at the end of his apostolic trip to the UK. Following some words from David Cameron, prime minister of the United Kingdom, the Holy Father arose to address some remarks to those present.

  "Thank you for the warmth of your welcome and for the hospitality that I have enjoyed", said the Pope, who also expressed his gratitude "for all the hard work of preparation, on the part of both the present and the previous government, the civil service, local authorities and police, and the many volunteers".

  "During my time with you", he went on, "I have been able to meet representatives of the many communities, cultures, languages and religions that make up British society. The very diversity of modern Britain is a challenge to its government and people, but it also represents a great opportunity to further inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue for the enrichment of the entire community".

  The Pope mentioned his meetings with Queen Elizabeth II and with political leaders, and his address to both Houses of Parliament, expressing the hope "that these occasions will contribute to confirming and strengthening the excellent relations between the Holy See and the United Kingdom, especially in co-operation for international development, in care for the natural environment, and in the building of a civil society with a renewed sense of shared values and common purpose".

  On the subject of the joint celebrations with the Archbishop of Canterbury and bishops of the Church of England in Westminster Abbey - "a place which speaks so eloquently of our shared traditions and culture" - the Holy Father said: "As Britain is home to so many religious traditions, I was grateful to have the opportunity to meet their representatives and to share some thoughts with them about the contribution that the religions can offer to the development of a healthy pluralistic society.

  "Naturally", he added in conclusion, "my visit was directed in a special way to the Catholics of the United Kingdom. I treasure the time spent with the bishops, clergy, religious and laity, and with teachers, pupils and older people. It was especially moving to celebrate with them, here in Birmingham, the beatification of a great son of England, Cardinal John Henry Newman. With his vast legacy of scholarly and spiritual writings, I am certain that he still has much to teach us about Christian living and witness amid the challenges of today's world, challenges which he foresaw with such remarkable clarity".

  At 6.45 p.m. the Pope boarded his flight to Rome. The plane landed at 10 p.m. local time in Rome's Ciampino airport whence he travelled by car to the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo.
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VATICAN CITY, 19 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Today at 4.45 p.m. the Holy Father met with the Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland in the chapel of Oscott College in Birmingham.

  In his address to the group the Pope recalled how, during the recent "ad limina" visit of their respective episcopal conferences, particular attention had been given to "the urgent need to proclaim the Gospel afresh in a highly secularised environment. In the course of my visit it has become clear to me how deep a thirst there is among the British people for the Good News of Jesus Christ", he said. "You have been chosen by God to offer them the living water of the Gospel, encouraging them to place their hopes, not in the vain enticements of this world, but in the firm assurances of the next.

  "As you proclaim the coming of the Kingdom, with its promise of hope for the poor and the needy, the sick and the elderly, the unborn and the neglected", he added, "be sure to present in its fullness the life-giving message of the Gospel, including those elements which call into question the widespread assumptions of today's culture". In this context he encouraged the prelates to avail themselves of the recently-established Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation of countries of long-standing Christian tradition.

  Turning his attention then to the financial crisis, Benedict XVI expressed the certainty that the bishops would call on British Catholics to show their "characteristic generosity" towards people in need. "Today's circumstances", he said, "provide a good opportunity to reinforce that message, and indeed to encourage people to aspire to higher moral values in every area of their lives, against a background of growing cynicism regarding even the possibility of virtuous living".

  The Holy Father went on: "Another matter which has received much attention in recent months, and which seriously undermines the moral credibility of Church leaders, is the shameful abuse of children and young people by priests and religious. ... I know that you have taken serious steps to remedy this situation, to ensure that children are effectively protected from harm and to deal properly and transparently with allegations as they arise. You have publicly acknowledged your deep regret over what has happened, and the often inadequate ways it was addressed in the past. Your growing awareness of the extent of child abuse in society, its devastating effects, and the need to provide proper victim support should serve as an incentive to share the lessons you have learned with the wider community. Indeed, what better way could there be of making reparation for these sins than by reaching out, in a humble spirit of compassion, towards children who continue to suffer abuse elsewhere? Our duty of care towards the young demands nothing less".

  "If we are to be effective Christian leaders, we must live lives of the utmost integrity, humility and holiness", said the Pope. "I pray that among the graces of this visit will be a renewed dedication on the part of Christian leaders to the prophetic vocation they have received, and a new appreciation on the part of the people for the great gift of the ordained ministry. Prayer for vocations will then arise spontaneously, and we may be confident that the Lord will respond by sending labourers to bring in the plentiful harvest that He has prepared throughout the United Kingdom".

  The Holy Father concluded by referring to "two specific matters that affect your episcopal ministry at this time. One is the imminent publication of the new translation of the Roman Missal. ... I encourage you now to seize the opportunity that the new translation offers for in-depth catechesis on the Eucharist and renewed devotion in the manner of its celebration".

  The second matter to which the Pope referred concerned generosity "in implementing the Apostolic Constitution 'Anglicanorum Coetibus'. This should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics", he said. "It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all.

  "Let us continue to pray and work unceasingly in order to hasten the joyful day when that goal can be accomplished".

  Before leaving Oscott College for Birmingham airport, the Holy Father greeted and blessed 130 British seminarians who were gathered there to see him.
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VATICAN CITY, 20 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Brooklyn, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Ignatius A. Catanello, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
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Sunday, September 19, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 19 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI left the apostolic nunciature in London this morning and, at 8.30 a.m., boarded a helicopter which took him to Birmingham for the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.

  John Henry Newman, one of the great Christian intellectuals of the nineteenth century, was born in London in 1801. His spiritual quest having begun in adolescence, he later went on to study theology at Oxford University. Subsequently he became an Anglican pastor, a fellow of Oriel College, and leader of the Oxford Movement which studied the Catholic roots of the faith in England. In 1842, while writing his "Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine", he began to mature his conversion to Catholicism. He was admitted into the Catholic Church in 1845 and ordained a Catholic priest in Rome on 1 June 1847. Following his ordination, and with the encouragement of Pope Pius IX, he founded the first Oratory of St. Philip Neri in England. In 1852 he was appointed rector of the Catholic University of Dublin, Ireland, a post he held until 1854. Pope Leo XIII made him a cardinal in 1879 and he died in 1890 at the Oratory of Edgbaston. The process for his beatification began in 1958. Newman's miraculous intercession in the cure of dean Jack Sullivan, who suffered a serious complaint of the spinal column, was officially recognised and approved by Benedict XVI in July 2009.

  The Pope's helicopter landed in Birmingham at 9.30 a.m. He then travelled by car to Cofton Park in the city's Rednal district, very near Cardinal Newman's tomb. Having travelled round the area by popemobile, greeting the 70,000 people present, the Holy Father listened to a greeting from Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham then celebrated Mass for the beatification of John Henry Newman.

  In his homily, before turning his attention to the new blessed, the Pope recalled how "this particular Sunday also marks a significant moment in the life of the British nation, as it is the day chosen to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the Battle of Britain. For me as one who lived and suffered through the dark days of the Nazi regime in Germany, it is deeply moving to be here with you on this occasion, and to recall how many of your fellow citizens sacrificed their lives, courageously resisting the forces of that evil ideology. ... Seventy years later, we recall with shame and horror the dreadful toll of death and destruction that war brings in its wake, and we renew our resolve to work for peace and reconciliation wherever the threat of conflict looms.

  "Yet there is another, more joyful reason why this is an auspicious day for Great Britain, for the Midlands, for Birmingham", he added. "It is the day that sees Cardinal John Henry Newman formally raised to the altars and declared blessed".

  "England has a long tradition of martyr saints, whose courageous witness has sustained and inspired the Catholic community here for centuries. Yet it is right and fitting that we should recognise today the holiness of a confessor, a son of this nation who, while not called to shed his blood for the Lord, nevertheless bore eloquent witness to Him in the course of a long life devoted to the priestly ministry, and especially to preaching, teaching, and writing. He is worthy to take his place in a long line of saints and scholars from these islands, St. Bede, St. Hilda, St. Aelred, Blessed Duns Scotus, to name but a few".

  "Cardinal Newman's motto, 'Cor ad cor loquitur', or Heart speaks unto heart, gives us an insight into his understanding of the Christian life as a call to holiness, experienced as the profound desire of the human heart to enter into intimate communion with the Heart of God. He reminds us that faithfulness to prayer gradually transforms us into the divine likeness".

  "Today's Gospel tells us that no one can be the servant of two masters, and Blessed John Henry's teaching on prayer explains how the faithful Christian is definitively taken into the service of the one true Master, Who alone has a claim to our unconditional devotion. Newman helps us to understand what this means for our daily lives: he tells us that our divine Master has assigned a specific task to each one of us, a 'definite service', committed uniquely to every single person".

  "The definite service to which Blessed John Henry was called involved applying his keen intellect and his prolific pen to many of the most pressing 'subjects of the day'. His insights into the relationship between faith and reason, into the vital place of revealed religion in civilised society, and into the need for a broadly-based and wide-ranging approach to education were not only of profound importance for Victorian England, but continue today to inspire and enlighten many all over the world".

  The Holy Father continued his homily by paying "particular tribute" to Cardinal Newman's "vision for education, which has done so much to shape the ethos that is the driving force behind Catholic schools and colleges today. Firmly opposed to any reductive or utilitarian approach, he sought to achieve an educational environment in which intellectual training, moral discipline and religious commitment would come together. The project to found a Catholic University in Ireland provided him with an opportunity to develop his ideas on the subject, and the collection of discourses that he published as 'The Idea of a University' holds up an ideal from which all those engaged in academic formation can continue to learn. ... On this day, ... I pray that, through his intercession and example, all who are engaged in the task of teaching and catechesis will be inspired to greater effort by the vision he so clearly sets before us".

  Finally, Benedict XVI mentioned the "warmth and humanity underlying" the new blessed's "appreciation of the pastoral ministry. ... He lived out that profoundly human vision of priestly ministry in his devoted care for the people of Birmingham during the years that he spent at the Oratory he founded, visiting the sick and the poor, comforting the bereaved, caring for those in prison.

  "No wonder that on his death so many thousands of people lined the local streets as his body was taken to its place of burial not half a mile from here. One hundred and twenty years later, great crowds have assembled once again to rejoice in the Church's solemn recognition of the outstanding holiness of this much-loved father of souls".

  Following Mass the Pope prayed the Angelus, expressing a special greeting to "the people of Seville, Spain, where, just yesterday, Madre Maria de la Purisima de la Cruz was beatified". May she, he said, "be an inspiration to young women to follow her example of single-minded love of God and neighbour".

  He continued: "When Blessed John Henry Newman came to live in Birmingham, he gave the name 'Maryvale' to his first home here. The Oratory that he founded is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. And the Catholic University of Ireland he placed under the patronage of Mary, 'Sedes Sapientiae'. In so many ways, he lived his priestly ministry in a spirit of filial devotion to the Mother of God".

  At 12.40 the Pope left Cofton Park and travelled by car to the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Birmingham, where the cardinal lived from his conversion until his death on 11 August 1890. There Benedict XVI visited the blessed's room, which has now been transformed into a museum. He then went on to Birmingham's Oscott College where he had lunch.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Before this evening's prayer vigil for the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, the Pope travelled in his popemobile around Hyde Park, one of London's largest public parks (142 hectares), where thousands of people were gathered to greet him.

  Following the readings the Holy Father pronounced his address: "We are gathered here in prayerful vigil to prepare for tomorrow's Mass, during which a great son of this nation, Cardinal John Henry Newman, will be declared blessed", he said. "How many people, in England and throughout the world, have longed for this moment! It is also a great joy for me, personally, to share this experience with you. As you know, Newman has long been an important influence in my own life and thought, as he has been for so many people beyond these isles".

  Benedict XVI referred to certain aspects of Newman's life which, he said, "I consider very relevant to our own lives as believers and to the life of the Church today".

  "Newman, by his own account, traced the course of his whole life back to a powerful experience of conversion which he had as a young man. ... At the end of his life, Newman would describe his life's work as a struggle against the growing tendency to view religion as a purely private and subjective matter, a question of personal opinion. Here is the first lesson we can learn from his life: in our day, when an intellectual and moral relativism threatens to sap the very foundations of our society, Newman reminds us that, as men and women made in the image and likeness of God, we were created to know the truth, to find in that truth our ultimate freedom and the fulfilment of our deepest human aspirations. In a word, we are meant to know Christ Who is Himself 'the way, and the truth, and the life'.

  "Newman's life", the Holy Father added, "also teaches us that passion for the truth, intellectual honesty and genuine conversion are costly. The truth that sets us free cannot be kept to ourselves; it calls for testimony, it begs to be heard, and in the end its convincing power comes from itself and not from the human eloquence or arguments in which it may be couched. Not far from here, at Tyburn, great numbers of our brothers and sisters died for the faith; the witness of their fidelity to the end was ever more powerful than the inspired words that so many of them spoke before surrendering everything to the Lord. In our own time, the price to be paid for fidelity to the Gospel is no longer being hanged, drawn and quartered but it often involves being dismissed out of hand, ridiculed or parodied. And yet, the Church cannot withdraw from the task of proclaiming Christ and His Gospel as saving truth, the source of our ultimate happiness as individuals and as the foundation of a just and humane society".

  The Pope continued: "Finally, Newman teaches us that if we have accepted the truth of Christ and committed our lives to Him, there can be no separation between what we believe and the way we live our lives. Our every thought, word and action must be directed to the glory of God and the spread of His Kingdom. Newman understood this, and was the great champion of the prophetic office of the Christian laity. He saw clearly that we do not so much accept the truth in a purely intellectual act as embrace it in a spiritual dynamic that penetrates to the core of our being. Truth is passed on not merely by formal teaching, important as that is, but also by the witness of lives lived in integrity, fidelity and holiness; those who live in and by the truth instinctively recognise what is false and, precisely as false, inimical to the beauty and goodness which accompany the splendour of truth, 'veritatis splendor'".

  Newman "taught that the 'kindly light' of faith leads us to realise the truth about ourselves, our dignity as God's children, and the sublime destiny which awaits us in heaven. ... Without the life of prayer, without the interior transformation which takes place through the grace of the Sacraments, we cannot, in Newman's words, 'radiate Christ'; we become just another 'clashing cymbal' in a world filled with growing noise and confusion, filled with false paths leading only to heartbreak and illusion".

  The Holy Father laid emphasis on "Newman's fine Christian realism, the point at which faith and life inevitably intersect", expressing the view that "no-one who looks realistically at our world today could think that Christians can afford to go on with business as usual, ignoring the profound crisis of faith which has overtaken our society, or simply trusting that the patrimony of values handed down by the Christian centuries will continue to inspire and shape the future of our society.

  "We know that in times of crisis and upheaval God has raised up great saints and prophets for the renewal of the Church and Christian society; we trust in His providence and we pray for His continued guidance. But each of us, in accordance with his or her state of life, is called to work for the advancement of God's Kingdom by imbuing temporal life with the values of the Gospel. Each of us has a mission, each of us is called to change the world, to work for a culture of life, a culture forged by love and respect for the dignity of each human person".

  Finally, the Pope addressed some words to the young people present. "Christ has need of families to remind the world of the dignity of human love and the beauty of family life", he said. "He needs men and women who devote their lives to the noble task of education, tending the young and forming them in the ways of the Gospel. He needs those who will consecrate their lives to the pursuit of perfect charity, following Him in chastity, poverty and obedience, and serving Him in the least of our brothers and sisters. He needs the powerful love of contemplative religious, who sustain the Church's witness and activity through their constant prayer. And He needs priests, good and holy priests, men who are willing to lay down their lives for their sheep. Ask our Lord what He has in mind for you! Ask Him for the generosity to say 'yes!' Do not be afraid to give yourself totally to Jesus. He will give you the grace you need to fulfil your vocation".

  Benedict XVI concluded by inviting young people to join him at World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain in August 2011. "It is always a wonderful occasion to grow in love for Christ and to be encouraged in a joyful life of faith along with thousands of other young people. I hope to see many of you there!".

  The Pope's address was followed by the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Litany of the Sacred Heart. Then, following Newman's prayer of "Irradiating Christ" and his hymn "Lead, Kindly Light", the vigil continued as the Holy Father left to travel back to the apostolic nunciature where he dined and spent the night.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Following his visit to elderly people at St. Peter's old people's home, the Holy Father met with a group of professionals and volunteers responsible for child protection in Church environments.

  "The Church has a long tradition of caring for children from their earliest years through to adulthood, following the affectionate example of Christ, Who blessed the children brought to Him and Who taught His disciples that to such as these the Kingdom of heaven belongs", he told them.

  "Your work", the Holy Father went on, "carried out within the framework of the recommendations made in the first instance by the Nolan Report and subsequently by the Cumberlege Commission, has made a vital contribution to the promotion of safe environments for young people. It helps to ensure that the preventative measures put in place are effective, that they are maintained with vigilance, and that any allegations of abuse are dealt with swiftly and justly. On behalf of the many children you serve and their parents, let me thank you for the good work that you have done and continue to do in this field.

  "It is deplorable that, in such marked contrast to the Church's long tradition of care for them, children have suffered abuse and mistreatment at the hands of some priests and religious", he added. "We have all become much more aware of the need to safeguard children, and you are an important part of the Church's broad-ranging response to the problem.

  "While there are never grounds for complacency, credit should be given where it is due: the efforts of the Church in this country and elsewhere, especially in the last ten years, to guarantee the safety of children and young people and to show them every respect as they grow to maturity, should be acknowledged. I pray that your generous service will help to reinforce an atmosphere of trust and renewed commitment to the welfare of children, who are such a precious gift from God".

  At the conclusion of the meeting, Benedict XVI travelled by popemobile to Hyde Park where he presided at a prayer vigil for tomorrow's beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 SEP 2010 (VIS) - At 4.40 p.m. today the Holy Father travelled to St. Peter's old people's home which lies eleven kilometres from the apostolic nunciature in London. The institution, which houses seventy-six elderly people including nine priests and religious, is run by the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order that has been active in England since 1851. The nuns are assisted in their duties by volunteers and members of the Association of Jeanne Jugan (1792-1879), foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor which today has a presence in thirty-two countries.

  Benedict XVI was greeted by Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, the chaplain of the old people's home, the superior general of the order, and the religious of the community. He then went on to meet the residents of the institution to whom he delivered an address.

  "The Church", he said, "has always had great respect for the elderly. The fourth Commandment, 'Honour your father and your mother as the Lord your God commanded you', is linked to the promise, 'that your days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with you, in the land which the Lord your God gives you'. This work of the Church for the aging and infirm not only provides love and care for them, but is also rewarded by God with the blessings He promises on the land where this commandment is observed. God wills a proper respect for the dignity and worth, the health and wellbeing of the elderly and, through her charitable institutions in Britain and beyond, the Church seeks to fulfil the Lord's command to respect life, regardless of age or circumstances".

  The Pope went on: "Life is a unique gift, at every stage from conception until natural death, and it is God's alone to give and to take. One may enjoy good health in old age; but equally Christians should not be afraid to share in the suffering of Christ, if God wills that we struggle with infirmity. My predecessor, the late Pope John Paul, suffered very publicly during the last years of his life. It was clear to all of us that he did so in union with the sufferings of our Saviour. His cheerfulness and forbearance as he faced his final days were a remarkable and moving example to all of us who have to carry the burden of advancing years.

  "In this sense", he added, "I come among you not only as a father, but also as a brother who knows well the joys and the struggles that come with age. Our long years of life afford us the opportunity to appreciate both the beauty of God's greatest gift to us, the gift of life, as well as the fragility of the human spirit. Those of us who live many years are given a marvellous chance to deepen our awareness of the mystery of Christ, who humbled Himself to share in our humanity.

  "As the normal span of our lives increases, our physical capacities are often diminished; and yet these times may well be among the most spiritually fruitful years of our lives. These years are an opportunity to remember in affectionate prayer all those whom we have cherished in this life, and to place all that we have personally been and done before the mercy and tenderness of God. This will surely be a great spiritual comfort and enable us to discover anew His love and goodness all the days of our life", Pope Benedict concluded.

  The Pope greeted some of the elderly inhabitants of the home, then went to visit a number of sick people on the first floor of the building before signing the institution's visitor's book.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique this afternoon:

  "On Saturday 18 September in the apostolic nunciature in London, the Holy Father met a group of persons who had been sexually abused by members of the clergy.

  "He was moved by what they had to say and expressed his deep sorrow and shame over what victims and their families had suffered. He prayed with them and assured them that the Catholic Church is continuing to implement effective measures designed to safeguard young people, and that it is doing all in its power to investigate allegations, to collaborate with civil authorities and to bring to justice clergy and religious accused of these egregious crimes.

  "As he has done on other occasions, he prayed that all the victims of abuse might experience healing and reconciliation, and be able to overcome their past and present distress with serenity and hope for the future".
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Saturday, September 18, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 18 SEP 2010 (VIS) - In the archbishop of Westminster's palace this morning, before today's Eucharistic celebration in Westminster Cathedral, the Holy Father met with David Cameron, prime minister of the United Kingdom, Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, and Harriet Harman, acting leader of the opposition.

  Westminster Cathedral is the main place of worship of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, seat of the archbishop of Westminster, an office currently held my Msgr. Vincent Nichols. John Paul II celebrated Mass in the cathedral in 1982 and Queen Elizabeth II - at the invitation of the then archbishop, Cardinal Basil Hume - participated in an ecumenical celebration there in 1995, marking the first time a British monarch had entered a Catholic church since the time of the Reformation.

  In his homily during the votive Mass for the Most Precious Blood of Christ, to which the cathedral is dedicated, the Holy Father remarked that "the visitor to this cathedral cannot fail to be struck by the great crucifix dominating the nave, which portrays Christ's body, crushed by suffering, overwhelmed by sorrow, the Innocent Victim whose death has reconciled us with the Father and given us a share in the very life of God".

  "The Eucharistic sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ embraces in turn the mystery of our Lord's continuing passion in the members of His Mystical Body, the Church in every age".

  Benedict XVI highlighted how "we see this aspect of the mystery of Christ's Precious Blood represented, most eloquently, by the martyrs of every age. ... It is also reflected in our brothers and sisters throughout the world who even now are suffering discrimination and persecution for their Christian faith. Yet it is also present, often hidden in the suffering of all those individual Christians who daily unite their sacrifices to those of the Lord for the sanctification of the Church and the redemption of the world. My thoughts go in a special way to all those who are spiritually united with this Eucharistic celebration, and in particular the sick, the elderly, the handicapped and those who suffer mentally and spiritually.

  "Here too", he added, "I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the Church and by her ministers. Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes, along with my hope that the power of Christ's grace, His sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to their lives. I also acknowledge, with you, the shame and humiliation which all of us have suffered because of these sins; and I invite you to offer it to the Lord with trust that this chastisement will contribute to the healing of the victims, the purification of the Church and the renewal of her age-old commitment to the education and care of young people. I express my gratitude for the efforts being made to address this problem responsibly, and I ask all of you to show your concern for the victims and solidarity with your priests".

  After then recalling how Vatican Council II had spoken "eloquently of the indispensable role of the laity in carrying forward the Church's mission", the Holy Father noted that "the Council's appeal to the lay faithful to take up their baptismal sharing in Christ's mission echoed the insights and teachings of John Henry Newman. May the profound ideas of this great Englishman continue to inspire all Christ's followers in this land to conform their every thought, word and action to Christ, and to work strenuously to defend those unchanging moral truths which, taken up, illuminated and confirmed by the Gospel, stand at the foundation of a truly humane, just and free society".

  "How much contemporary society needs this witness!", the Pope exclaimed. "How much we need, in the Church and in society, witnesses of the beauty of holiness, witnesses of the splendour of truth, witnesses of the joy and freedom born of a living relationship with Christ! One of the greatest challenges facing us today is how to speak convincingly of the wisdom and liberating power of God's Word to a world which all too often sees the Gospel as a constriction of human freedom, instead of the truth which liberates our minds and enlightens our efforts to live wisely and well, both as individuals and as members of society.

  "Let us pray, then, that the Catholics of this land will become ever more conscious of their dignity as a priestly people, called to consecrate the world to God through lives of faith and holiness. And may this increase of apostolic zeal be accompanied by an outpouring of prayer for vocations to the ordained priesthood. ... May many young men in this land find the strength to answer the Master's call to the ministerial priesthood, devoting their lives, their energy and their talents to God, thus building up His people in unity and fidelity to the Gospel, especially through the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice".

  At the end of Mass, the Pope went out to greet young people gathered in front of the cathedral. Recalling the theme of his trip to the United Kingdom (Heart speaks unto heart - cor ad cor loquitur) he reminded them that "we were made to give love, to make it the inspiration for all we do and the most enduring thing in our lives. At times this seems so natural, especially when we feel the exhilaration of love, when our hearts brim over with generosity, idealism, the desire to help others, to build a better world. But at other times we realise that it is difficult to love; our hearts can easily be hardened by selfishness, envy and pride".

  "Every day we have to choose to love", Benedict XVI insisted, "and this requires help, the help that comes from Christ, from prayer and from the wisdom found in His Word, and from the grace which He bestows on us in the Sacraments of His Church. This is the message I want to share with you today. I ask you to look into your hearts each day to find the source of all true love. Jesus ... is calling you to spend time with Him in prayer. But this kind of prayer, real prayer, requires discipline; it requires making time for moments of silence every day, ... because it is in silence that we find God, and in silence that we discover our true self. And in discovering our true self, we discover the particular vocation which God has given us for the building up of His Church and the redemption of our world".

  The Pope then unveiled and blessed a mosaic of St. David, patron of Wales, and lit a candle before an image of Our Lady of Cardigan who is venerated at a shrine in that country.

  Before returning to the apostolic nunciature, the Holy Father again met briefly with the archbishop of Canterbury, who was present at the Eucharistic celebration.
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VATICAN CITY, 17 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a joint communique released following a working dinner held this evening at Lancaster House between British government representatives and the Holy See delegation.

  "Her Majesty's Government hosted a dinner on 17 September for the Holy See delegation accompanying Pope Benedict XVI on his official visit to the UK, headed by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone. The UK side was headed by William Hague, the Foreign Secretary. Those present included a number of senior British government ministers and senior officials from the Holy See. The discussion covered a range of areas of shared interest between the UK government and the Holy See.

  "Her Majesty's Government and the Holy See share a commitment to bringing an end to poverty and underdevelopment. On the eve of a summit in New York to review progress towards implementing the Millennium Development Goals, they share the conviction that more needs to be done to address the unnecessary suffering caused by hunger, diseases and illiteracy. Strong political leadership and respect for the ethos of local communities are necessary in the promotion of the right to life, food, health and development for all.

  "The British Government and the Holy See share a conviction of the urgent need for action to address the challenge of climate change. Action is needed at every level from the governmental to the individual if we are to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to set in motion the transition to a global low-carbon economy, and to assist poor and vulnerable countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change that are already inevitable.

  "We had a good exchange of views on a variety of social and economic issues, recognising the essential role played by faith in the lives of individuals and as part of the fabric of a strong, generous, tolerant society.

  "The visit of Pope Benedict XVI provided the opportunity to develop a deeper exchange of views between the Holy See and the UK Government. Tonight's discussion provided a useful basis for both sides to continue to pursue initiatives and discussions on areas of common interest to the UK and the Holy See".
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VATICAN CITY, 17 SEP 2010 (VIS) - At 7 p.m. today the Pope arrived at Westminster Abbey in London where he participated in an ecumenical celebration of Vespers. Since 1066, the abbey has been the traditional site of the coronation and burial of British monarchs.

  The abbey, the full name of which is the Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster, was probably built in the eighth century. In 960 it became a Benedictine monastery. It grew thanks to the patronage of King Edgar and especially of King Edward the Confessor, and continued to flourish until 1534 when, with the Act of Supremacy, King Henry VIII sanctioned the separation of the Church of England from the Catholic Church , dissolving the Catholic monasteries and confiscating their property.

  The abbey became the Anglican cathedral of the diocese of Westminster and later the second cathedral of the diocese of London, but to this day it remains under the direct jurisdiction of the British monarch. Along the sides of the transept, to the right and left of the main altar, are the graves of various illustrious historical figures, some of them saints. Poet's Corner contains the tombs and memorial plaques of great English literary figures while behind the main altar are the royal chapels containing around a hundred tombs, many of British monarchs.

  Benedict XVI, accompanied by Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, and Catholic Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, was received by John Hall, dean of the abbey, who introduced him to the chapter. Together they visited the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and pronounced a brief prayer for peace to mark the seventieth anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The Pope was then introduced to a number of religious leaders in the abbey's St. George's Chapel.

  The Holy Father, accompanied by the archbishop of Canterbury, then made his way to the altar of the coronation where, having listened to the greetings of the archbishop and the dean, he pronounced some brief words.

  "I thank you for your gracious welcome", he said. "This noble edifice evokes England's long history, so deeply marked by the preaching of the Gospel and the Christian culture to which it gave birth. I come here today as a pilgrim from Rome, to pray before the tomb of St. Edward the Confessor and to join you in imploring the gift of Christian unity. May these moments of prayer and friendship confirm us in love for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, and in common witness to the enduring power of the Gospel to illumine the future of this great nation".

  After praying Vespers, Benedict XVI delivered his address.

  "I thank the Lord for this opportunity to join you, the representatives of the Christian confessions present in Great Britain, in this magnificent abbey church dedicated to St. Peter, whose architecture and history speak so eloquently of our common heritage of faith. Here we cannot help but be reminded of how greatly the Christian faith shaped the unity and culture of Europe and the heart and spirit of the English people. Here too, we are forcibly reminded that what we share, in Christ, is greater than what continues to divide us".

  The Holy Father recalled how this year marks the centenary of the modern ecumenical movement which "began with the Edinburgh Conference's appeal for Christian unity as the prerequisite for a credible and convincing witness to the Gospel in our time. In commemorating this anniversary, we must give thanks for the remarkable progress made towards this noble goal through the efforts of committed Christians of every denomination. At the same time, however, we remain conscious of how much yet remains to be done. In a world marked by growing interdependence and solidarity, we are challenged to proclaim with renewed conviction the reality of our reconciliation and liberation in Christ, and to propose the truth of the Gospel as the key to authentic and integral human development".

  "Our commitment to Christian unity is born of nothing less than our faith in Christ. ... It is the reality of Christ's person, His saving work and above all the historical fact of His resurrection, which is the content of the apostolic 'kerygma' and those credal formulas which, beginning in the New Testament itself, have guaranteed the integrity of its transmission. The Church's unity, in a word, can never be other than a unity in the apostolic faith, in the faith entrusted to each new member of the Body of Christ during the rite of Baptism. It is this faith which unites us to the Lord".

  The Holy Father continued his observations: "We are all aware of the challenges, the blessings, the disappointments and the signs of hope which have marked our ecumenical journey. ... We know that the friendships we have forged, the dialogue which we have begun and the hope which guides us will provide strength and direction as we persevere on our common journey. At the same time, with evangelical realism, we must also recognise the challenges which confront us, not only along the path of Christian unity, but also in our task of proclaiming Christ in our day. Fidelity to the Word of God, precisely because it is a true Word, demands of us an obedience which leads us together to a deeper understanding of the Lord's will, an obedience which must be free of intellectual conformism or facile accommodation to the spirit of the age".

  "Gathered in this ancient monastic church, we can recall the example of a great Englishman and churchman whom we honour in common: St. Bede the Venerable. At the dawn of a new age in the life of society and of the Church, Bede understood both the importance of fidelity to the word of God as transmitted by the apostolic tradition, and the need for creative openness to new developments and to the demands of a sound implantation of the Gospel in contemporary language and culture".

  "May St. Bede's example inspire the Christians of these lands to rediscover their shared legacy, to strengthen what they have in common, and to continue their efforts to grow in friendship. May the Risen Lord strengthen our efforts to mend the ruptures of the past and to meet the challenges of the present with hope in the future".

  After the ceremony, the Pope travelled back to the apostolic nunciature by car.
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