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Monday, January 18, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2010 (VIS) - Migrants, refugees, religious dialogue with Judaism and Christian unity were the main themes of the Holy Father's remarks at the Angelus, which he prayed at midday today with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  The Pope first turned his attention to the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is being celebrated today, affirming that "the Church's presence alongside these people has been constant over time, achieving significant goals at the beginning of last century", in which context he mentioned the work of Blessed Giovanni Battista Scalabrini and of St. Francesca Cabrini.

  "Jesus Christ Who as a newborn, because of Herod's threats, underwent the dramatic experience of the refugee, taught His disciples to welcome children with great respect and love", said the Pope, recalling how the focus of this year's World Day is on underage migrants and refugees. "Particular care must be taken to ensure that minors who find themselves living in a foreign country are ensured legal guarantees" he said, "and especially that they are accompanied in the innumerable problems they have to face". Benedict XVI expressed words of encouragement for the communities and organisations that dedicate themselves to looking after children, and encouraged everyone "to show educational and cultural sensitivity when dealing with them, in keeping with the true evangelical spirit".

  He then turned to consider the visit he will make this afternoon to the synagogue of Rome, nearly twenty-four years after that made by John Paul II which he described as "historic". This afternoon's visit, he said, will "be a further stage on the path of harmony and friendship between Catholics and Jews". For, "despite the problems and the difficulties, there exists a climate of great respect and dialogue between believers of the two religions, testimony to how relations have matured and to a shared commitment to cherish that which unites us: first and foremost, faith in the one God, but also protection of life and the family, and the aspiration to social justice and peace".

  Finally Benedict XVI made mention of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which begins tomorrow and which every year "represents a time for believers in Christ to revive the ecumenical spirit, to meet and know one another, to pray and reflect together. ... Our announcement of Christ's Gospel will be more credible and effective the more we are united in His love, like true brothers".

  After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father mentioned "the dear people of Haiti", also recalling the death of the archbishop and of many priests, religious and seminarians in the recent earthquake. "I follow and encourage the efforts being made by so many charitable organisations, which are assuming the burden of the immense needs of the country, and I pray for the injured, the homeless and for those who have so tragically lost their lives", he said.

  And he concluded: "On this World Day of Migrants and Refugees I am happy to greet representatives of various ethnic communities gathered here today. I trust all will participate fully in social and ecclesial life, safeguarding the values of their own cultures of origin".
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VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2010 (VIS) - This afternoon Benedict XVI visited the synagogue of Rome where, on his arrival, he was welcomed by Riccardo Pacifici, president of the Jewish community of Rome; Renzo Gattegna, president of the Jewish communities of Italy, and Riccardo Di Segni, chief rabbi of Rome.

  Before entering the building, the Pope placed a floral wreath before plaques commemorating the deportation of 1,022 Jews on 16 October 1943 and a terrorist attack of 9 October 1982 which killed a two-year-old Jewish boy and injured thirty-seven other people as they left the synagogue after prayers.

  Having been greeted in discourses by Riccardo Pacifici, Renzo Gattegna and Riccardo Di Segni, the Pope delivered his own address, interrupted on seven occasions by applause from those present in the synagogue.

  Benedict XVI indicated how Vatican Council II "gave a strong impetus to our irrevocable commitment to pursue the path of dialogue, fraternity and friendship, a journey which has intensified and developed over the last forty years, through important steps and significant gestures. Among them, I should mention once again the historic visit by my venerable predecessor to this synagogue on 13 April 1986". In this context, the Pope also mentioned his own 2009 pilgrimage to the Holy Land and his visits to synagogues in Cologne and New York.

  "The Church", he said, "has not failed to deplore the failings of her sons and daughters, begging forgiveness for all that could in any way have contributed to the scourge of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism. May these wounds be healed forever!"

  The Holocaust, said the Holy Father, "the singular and deeply disturbing drama, ... represents, as it were, the apex of the path of hatred that begins when man forgets his Creator and places himself at the centre of the universe".

  "The extermination of the people of the Covenant of Moses, first announced then systematically planned and put into effect in Europe under the Nazi regime, on that day tragically reached as far as Rome. Unfortunately, many remained indifferent, but many, including Italian Catholics, sustained by their faith and by Christian teaching, reacted with courage, often at the risk of their lives, opening their arms to assist the Jewish fugitives who were being hunted down, and deserving perennial gratitude. The Apostolic See itself provided assistance, often in a hidden and discreet way.

  "The memory of these events compels us to strengthen the bonds that unite us so that our mutual understanding, respect and acceptance may always increase", he added.

  Benedict XVI explained how both Jews and Christians are illuminated by the Decalogue, "the 'Ten Words' or Ten Commandments" which constitute "a beacon and a norm of life in justice and love, a 'great ethical code' for all humanity".

  "From this perspective, there are several possible areas of co-operation and witness", said the Pope, going on to mention "three that are especially important for our time".

  "The 'Ten Words' require that we recognise the one Lord, against the temptation to construct other idols, to make golden calves. In our world there are many who do not know God or who consider Him superfluous, irrelevant for their lives. And so, other new gods have been fabricated to whom man bows down".

  Secondly, the Decalogue calls us "to respect life and to protect it against all injustice and abuse, recognising the worth of each human person, created in the image and likeness of God. How often, in every part of the world, near and far, the dignity, the freedom and the rights of human beings are trampled upon!", he cried.

  Thirdly, the Ten Commandments "call us to preserve and to promote the sanctity of the family, in which the personal and reciprocal, faithful and definitive 'yes' of man and woman opens the way to the future, to the authentic humanity of each, and at the same time opens them to the gift of a new life. To witness that the family continues to be the essential cell of society and the basic environment in which human virtues are learned and practised is a vital service for the building of a world with a more human face".

  "All of the Commandments are summed up in the love of God and in mercy towards one's neighbour", said the Holy Father. "This Rule urges Jews and Christians to exercise, in our time, a special generosity towards the poor, towards women and children, strangers, the sick, the weak and the needy".

  "On this path we can walk together, aware of the differences that exist between us, but also aware of the fact that when we succeed in uniting our hearts and our hands in response to the Lord's call, His light will come closer and shine on all the peoples of the world".

  Benedict XVI continued his remarks: "Christians and Jews share to a great extent a common spiritual heritage, they pray to the same Lord, they have the same roots, and yet they often remain unknown to one another. It is our duty, in response to God's call, to strive to keep open the space for dialogue, for reciprocal respect, for growth in friendship, for a common witness in the face of the challenges of our time, challenges which invite us to co-operate for the good of humanity in this world created by God, the Omnipotent and Merciful".

  After then recalling how the Catholic and Jewish communities have coexisted in Rome for two thousand years, the Pope expressed the hope that this proximity may "be animated by a growing fraternal love, expressed also in closer co-operation, so that we may offer a valid contribution to solving the problems and difficulties that we still face.

  "I beg from the Lord", he added in conclusion, "the precious gift of peace in the world, above all in the Holy Land. During my pilgrimage there last May, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, I prayed to Him Who can do all things, asking: 'Send your peace upon this Holy Land, upon the Middle East, upon the entire human family; stir the hearts of those who call upon Your name, to walk humbly in the path of justice and compassion'".
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VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received an ecumenical delegation from Finland for the occasion of the Feast of St. Henry, patron saint of that country, which falls tomorrow.

  Addressing the group in English, the Pope recalled how this year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the delegation's annual visit to Rome.

  "The Churches of East and West, both of whose traditions are present in your country, share a real, if still imperfect, communion. This is a motive to regret the troubles of the past, but it is surely also a motive which spurs us to ever greater efforts at understanding and reconciliation, so that our brotherly friendship and dialogue may yet blossom into a perfect, visible unity in Christ Jesus", he said.

  The Pope also mentioned the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, signed ten years old, describing it as "a concrete sign of the brotherhood rediscovered between Lutherans and Catholics".

  Benedict XVI likewise expressed his pleasure at "the recent work of the Nordic Lutheran-Catholic dialogue in Finland and Sweden. ... It is greatly to be hoped", he concluded, "that the text resulting from the dialogue will contribute positively to the path which leads to the restoration of our lost unity".
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VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

 - Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, Archbishop Hippolyte Simon of Clermont and Msgr. Antoine Herouard, respectively president, vice president and secretary general of the Conference of Bishops of France.

 - Rabbi Jacob Neusner, accompanied by his wife.

  On Saturday 16 January he received in separate audiences:

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

 - Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

 - Archbishop Eliseo Ariotti, apostolic nuncio to Paraguay.

 - Archbishop Patrick Coveney, apostolic nuncio.

 - A delegation from the German city of Freising, for the conferral of honorary citizenship on His Holiness.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Namur, Belgium, as metropolitan archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels (area 6,365, population 2,519,000, Catholics 1,612,000, priests 1,888, permanent deacons 89, religious 3,813), Belgium. The archbishop-elect was born in Jambes, Belgium in 1940, he was ordained a priest in 1964 and consecrated a bishop in 1991. He succeeds Cardinal Godfried Danneels, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. William Michale Mulvey of the clergy of the diocese of Austin, U.S.A., diocesan administrator, as bishop of Corpus Christi (area 29,690, population 560,614, Catholics 392,430, priests 157, permanent deacons 62, religious 195), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Houston, U.S.A. in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1975. He succeeds Edmund Carmody, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

  On Saturday 16 January it was made public that the Holy Father accepted:

 - The resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Ndola, Zambia, presented by Bishop Noel Charles O'Regan S.M.A., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Alick Banda.

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Bielsko-Zywiec, Poland, presented by Bishop Janusz Zimniak, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church, meeting at Mount St. Thomas near Ernakulam, India, from 10 to 15 January, having duty consulted with the Holy See, has adopted the following provisions and, with the prior assent of the Holy Father, has proceeded with the following episcopal elections:

 - Transferred the civil district of Chikmagalur from the eparchy of Mananthavady, India, to the eparchy of Bhadravathi, India.

 - Appointed Msgr. Pauly Kannookadan, secretary of the liturgical commission of the Syro-Malabar Church and of the commission for the clergy and for institutes of consecrated life, as bishop of the eparchy of Irinjalakuda (area 1,180, population 1,310,000, Catholics 258,320, priests 234, religious 2,490), India. The bishop-elect was born in Kuzhikattussery, India in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1985. He succeeds Bishop James Pazhayattil, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same eparchy the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 210 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

 - Appointed Msgr. Remigiose Inchananiyil, secretary and chancellor of the eparchy of Thamarasserry, India, and judge of the major archiepiscopal tribunal, as bishop of the same eparchy (area 5,893, population 6,232,000, Catholics 131,417, priests 265, religious 1,627). The bishop-elect was born in Vettilappara, India in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1987. He succeeds Bishop Paul Chittilapilly, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same eparchy the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 210 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

 - Erected the new eparchy of Ramanathapuram, India, appointing Msgr. Paul Alappatt, rector of the St. Mary major seminary and judge of the major archiepiscopal tribunal, as first bishop of the new eparchy. The bishop-elect was born in Edathuruthy, India in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1987 .

 - Erected the new eparchy of Mandya, India, appointing Msgr. George Njaralakatt, vicar general of the eparchy of Bhadravathi, India, as first bishop of the new eparchy. The bishop-elect was born in Kalayanthany, India in 1942 and ordained a priest in 1971.

 - Appointed Msgr. Raphel Thattil, vicar general of the archieparchy of Trichur, India, as auxiliary of the same archieparchy (area 1,000, population 2,726,300, Catholics 485,151, priests 417, religious 3,811). The bishop-elect was born in Trichur in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1980.

 - Appointed Msgr. Bosco Puthur, rector of the seminary of Mangalapuzha, India, as bishop of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Curia. The bishop-elect was born in Parappur, India in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1971.
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