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Friday, April 16, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2010 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., made the following declaration concerning the letter of 8 September 2001, written by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos,  at the time prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, to then bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux, France, Fr. Pierre Pican, regarding a case of sexual abuse in the diocese.

  "This document," affirmed the director of the Holy See Press Office, "is proof of the timeliness of the unification of the treatment of cases of the sexual abuse of minors on the part of members of the clergy under the competency of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, to guarantee rigorous and coherent action, as effectively occurred with the documents approved by the Pope in 2001."
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VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2010 (VIS) - Yesterday morning, Benedict XVI presided at a Eucharistic concelebration con members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.

  In his homily, the Pope reflected on the primacy of obedience to God and the true meaning of penitence and forgiveness in the life of Christians.

  Recalling the words of St. Peter before the Sanhedrin, the Pope noted that "we must obey God rather than men." Conversely in modern times, he said, the freedom of the human being is often spoken of, of man's full autonomy, and thus of a liberation from obedience to God.

  "This autonomy, however," the Holy Father asserted, "is a lie. It is an ontological lie because man does not exist in and for himself. It is a political and practical lie because collaboration and sharing in freedoms are necessary and if God did not exist, if God is not accessible to call upon, then only the will of the majority remains as a last recourse. The rule of the majority then becomes the final word that we must obey and this consensus - as we know from our history of the last century - can also be a consensus of evil. Thus we see that so-called autonomy does not liberate man."

  Benedict XVI highlighted that dictatorships have always been against obedience to God. "Nazi dictatorship, as that of Marxism, cannot accept a God above ideological power." Today, he continued, we do not live under a dictatorship but subtle forms of dictatorship exist: "Conformity, in which it is obligatory to think as everyone else thinks, to act as all others act, and the more or less subtle aggression against the Church demonstrate how this conformity can be a real dictatorship."

  The Pope continued to emphasize that "today we are often a little afraid to speak of eternal life. We speak of the things that are useful for the world, we show that Christianity can help improve the world but we dare not say that its goal is eternal life and that from that goal come the criteria of life."

  That is why, he added, "we should instead have the courage, the joy, and the great hope that eternal life exists, which is the true life and that from this true life comes the light that also illuminates this world. From this point of view, 'penitence is a grace', a grace that we recognize our sins, that we can recognize that we need renewal, change, a transformation of our very being."

  "I have to say that we Christians, also recently, have often avoided the word 'penitence', which seems too harsh. Now, before the attacks from the world that speak of our sins, we see that the power to be penitent is a grace and we see how it is necessary to make penance, to recognize what is wrong in our life. We must be open to forgiveness, prepare ourselves for forgiveness, let ourselves be transformed. The sorrow of penitence, of purification and transformation," he concluded, "is a grace because it is a renewal, the work of Divine Mercy."
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VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2010 (VIS) - This afternoon, Benedict XVI, who turns 83 today, received members of the Papal Foundation, the United States Catholic agency founded in Philadelphia, USA in 1990 by the now-deceased Cardinal John Krol, which every year finances the needs of the Church in the world. Its current chairman is Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia.

  In his address, the Pope reaffirmed that in every time and place the Church is called to proclaim the message of the "hope" of the Risen One and to "confirm its truth by her practical witness of holiness and charity. The Papal Foundation has advanced this mission in a particular way by supporting a broad spectrum of charities close to the heart of the Successor of Peter."

  "I thank you for your generous efforts," Benedict XVI said, "to offer assistance to our brothers and sisters in developing countries, to provide for the education of the Church's future leaders, and to advance the missionary endeavours of so many dioceses and religious congregations throughout the world."

  The Holy Father concluded, asking that the members of the Papal Foundation "pray for the needs of the universal Church and to implore a renewed outpouring of the Spirit's gifts of holiness, unity, and missionary zeal upon the whole People of God."
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VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2010 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

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

and five prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (North II Region), on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Dominique Marie Jean Denis You of Santissima Conceicao do Araguaia.

- Bishop Juventino Kestering of Rondonopolis.

- Bishop Capistrano Francisco Heim, O.F.M., of Itaituba.

- Bishop Jose Luis Azcona Hermoso, O.A.R., of Marajo.

- Bishop Erwin Krautler, C.P.P.S., of Xingu.
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VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, as his representative at the funeral of the Polish president Lech Kaczynski, which will take place tomorrow, Saturday, 17 April.
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