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Monday, March 15, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 13 MAR 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received prelates of the Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference at the end of their "ad limina" visit. "Your fidelity to the Lord and the fruits of your labours amid difficulties and sufferings bear eloquent witness to the power of the Cross which shines through our human limitations and weakness" he told them, beginning his English-language address.

"I know how much you and the faithful of your country long for peace", he added, "and how patiently you are working for its restoration. Anchored in your faith and hope in Christ the Prince of Peace, may you always find in the Gospel the principles needed to shape your preaching and teaching, your judgements and actions.

"Inspired by those principles, and echoing the just aspirations of the entire Catholic community, you have spoken out with one voice in rejecting 'any return to war' and in appealing for the establishment of peace at every level of national life", noted the Holy Father, likewise highlighting how, if peace is to triumph, "efforts must be made to diminish the factors contributing to unrest, particularly corruption, ethnic tensions, indifference and selfishness. Initiatives in this regard will surely prove fruitful if they are based on integrity, a sense of universal brotherhood and the virtues of justice, responsibility and charity", he said.

Benedict XVI then called on the prelates to draw inspiration from the recent Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops "as you continue to preach reconciliation and forgiveness. The effects of violence may take many years to heal, yet the change of heart which is the indispensable condition for a just and lasting peace must even now be implored as a gift of God's grace".

The Pope went on: "As heralds of the Gospel, you have sought to instil in your people and in society a sense of responsibility towards present and future generations, encouraging forgiveness, mutual acceptance and respect for commitments taken. You have likewise worked to advance fundamental human rights through the rule of law and have called for the application of an integral model of economic and human development. I appreciate all that the Church in your country is doing to assist poor people to live in dignity and self-respect, to help them find long-term work and to enable them to make their proper contribution to society".

The Holy Father then turned to consider the bishops' relations with their priests, in which context he told them "you yourselves must be the first teachers and witnesses of our communion in faith and the love of Christ, sharing common initiatives, listening to your collaborators, helping priests, religious and faithful to accept and support one another as brothers and sisters, without distinction of race or ethnic group, in a generous exchange of gifts".

Finally Pope Benedict expressed his appreciation to the bishops for their efforts "to maintain good relations with the followers of Islam. As you work to promote co-operation in practical initiatives, I would encourage you to stress the values that Christians share in common with Muslims as the basis for that 'dialogue of life' which is an essential first step towards genuine inter-religious respect and understanding. The same openness and love should be shown to people belonging to the traditional religions".
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VATICAN CITY, 13 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

"This morning the Holy Father received in audience Jadranka Kosor, prime minister of the Republic of Croatia. The prime minister subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

"The focal point of the cordial discussions was a fruitful exchange of opinions on a number of current international questions, and on the situation in the region. Particular attention was given to the condition of the Croatian community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the three peoples who make up that country. Subsequently the parties reconfirmed their mutual will to continue constructive dialogue on matters of joint interest for the Church and the Croatian State. Finally attention turned to certain themes concerning Croatia's path towards full integration into the European Union.


VATICAN CITY, 14 MAR 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square.

Before the Marian prayer the Holy Father reflected on today's Gospel reading, saying that St. Luke's narrative "represents an all-time literary and spiritual high point.

"What indeed would our culture, our art and, more generally, our civilisation be without this revelation of a Father God full of mercy?" he added. "Once Jesus told us of the merciful Father, things were not as they were before: now we know God. ... Our relations with Him are constructed over the course of time, just as happens with a child and his parents. At first he is dependent on them, then he claims his own autonomy and finally - if there is a positive development - the relationship matures, based on recognition and authentic love".

The Pope went on to point out that these stages in human relations reflect the various moments in a human being's relationship with God, which "may also have a phase similar to infancy: a religion inspired by need and dependency". Then, as a person grows, "he wishes to free himself from this submission" and "to become capable of looking after himself, of making his own independent choices, sometimes thinking he can do without God".

This delicate phase, noted the Holy Father, "can lead to atheism, but that too, not infrequently, conceals a need to discover the true face of God. Luckily for us, God never fails in His faithfulness and, even if we move away and become lost, He continues to follow us with His love, forgiving our errors and speaking to our conscience in order to call us back to Him".

"Only by experiencing forgiveness, by recognising that we are loved with a gratuitous love that is greater than our own abjection, and than our justice, do we finally enter into a truly filial and free relationship with God", Benedict XVI concluded.
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VATICAN CITY, 13 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office has announced that in summer this year the Holy Father will travel directly from Rome to Castelgandolfo, where he will spend the entire summer period.

Benedict XVI, the text continues, "greatly appreciates all the invitations he has received to spend several weeks in alpine locations and sincerely thanks the bishops who sent them, but this year he prefers to start the summer period of rest and study immediately, without the commitment of further transfers".
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VATICAN CITY, 14 MAR 2010 (VIS) - This afternoon, Benedict XVI visited the Evangelical-Lutheran church of Rome, a building inaugurated in 1922, where he was welcomed by Jens-Martin Kruse, pastor of the city's Lutheran community. John Paul II visited the same church in December 1983, for the fifth centenary of the birth of Martin Luther.

As the Pope and the Lutheran pastor advanced towards the altar, a choir of Lutherans and Catholic seminarians sang Mozart's "Jubilate Deo".

Following a greeting from the president of the Lutheran community, Pastor Kruse and the Pope both delivered homilies. Benedict XVI gave thanks for the fact that "we are gathered here on this Sunday, singing together, listening to the Word of God, listening to one another and looking towards the One Christ, bearing witness to the One Christ".

Continuing his homily, delivered off-the-cuff in German, the Holy Father noted how "we hear many complaints about the fact that there are no longer any new developments in ecumenism. Yet", he insisted, "we can say with gratitude that there are many elements that unite us".

"We must not content ourselves with the successes of ecumenism over recent years, because we still cannot drink from the same chalice or gather together around the same altar", he said.

"This", he went on, "cannot but make us sad because it is a situation of sin; and yet unity cannot be achieved by men. We must entrust ourselves to the Lord, because He is the only one Who can give us unity. Let us hope that He brings us to that goal".

Recalling words used by Pastor Kruse in his homily, the Holy Father agreed that the main common ground between Lutherans and Catholics "must be the joy and hope we are already experiencing, and the hope that our current unity may become even deeper".

At the end of his visit the Pope gave the Lutheran community of Rome, which is made up of 350 faithful, a mosaic depicting Jesus Christ, reproduction of an original located under the Altar of the Confession in St. Peter's Basilica.
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VATICAN CITY, 15 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Bishop Zelimir Puljic of Dubrovnik, Croatia, as archbishop of Zadar (area 3,009, population 164,840, Catholics 158,985, priests 118, religious 184), Croatia. The archbishop-elect was born in Kamena, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1947, he was ordained a priest in 1974 and consecrated a bishop in 1990.

- Msgr. Stanislav Lipovsek of the clergy of the archdiocese of Maribor, Slovenia, pastor of the cathedral, as bishop of Celje (area 2,711, population 291,300, Catholics 238,800, priests 136, permanent deacons 2, religious 62), Slovenia. The bishop-elect was born in Vojnik, Slovenia in 1943 and ordained a priest in 1968.

- Fr. Vicente Bokalic Iglic C.M., former provincial of the Congregation of the Mission in Argentina, as auxiliary of Buenos Aires (area 203, population 2,847,000, Catholics 2,609,000, priests 849, permanent deacons 6, religious 2,144), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Lanus, Argentina in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1978.

On Saturday 13 March it was made public that he:

- Appointed Cardinal Claudio Hummes O.F.M., prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, as his special envoy to the sixteenth Eucharistic Congress of Brazil, due to take place in the country's capital city of Brasilia from 13 to 16 May.

- Appointed Archbishop Eugene Martin Nugent, apostolic nuncio to Madagascar and apostolic delegate to Comoros with functions as apostolic delegate to Reunion, also as apostolic nuncio to Mauritius and Seychelles.

- Appointed Bishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Bilbao, Spain, as metropolitan archbishop of Valladolid (area 8,172, population 521,661, Catholics 466,412, priests 462, permanent deacons 9, religious 1,659), Spain. The archbishop-elect was born in Campillo, Spain in 1942, he was ordained a priest in 1967 and consecrated a bishop in 1988.

- Accepted the resignation from the diocese of Kerema, Papua New Guinea, presented by Bishop Paul John Marx M.S.C., upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Patrick Taval M.S.C.

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, presented by Bishop Ramon Jose Viloria Pinzon, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
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VATICAN CITY, 15 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy, president of the Italian Episcopal conference.

- Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, major archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine.

- Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki of Lviv of the Latins, Ukraine.

- Four prelates of the Conference of Bishops of Burkina Faso and Niger, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Anselme Titianma Sanon of Bobo-Dioulasso.

- Bishop Basile Tapsoba of Koudougou.

- Wenceslas Compaore of Manga.

- Bishop Lucas Kalfa Sanou of Banfora.

On Saturday 13 March he received in separate audiences

- Four prelates from the Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako, archbishop of Khartoum, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Marco Kur Adwok.

- Bishop Macram Max Gassis M.C.C.J. of El Obeid, accompanied by Bishop Antonio Menegazzo M.C.C.J., apostolic administrator "sede plena et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis".

- Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga S.D.B., archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
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