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Wednesday, May 5, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 5 MAY 2010 (VIS) - In today's general audience, which was celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope focused his remarks on the priest's mission to sanctify humankind.

  "Sanctifying a person means putting that person in contact with God", said the Pope, noting how "an essential part of a priest's grace is his gift, his task to establish such contact. This comes about through the announcement of the Word of God, ... and particularly intensely in the Sacraments".

  "Over recent decades", he went on, "various schools of thought have tried to make the aspect of announcement prevail in the priest's mission and identity, separating it from sanctification. It has often been affirmed that there is a need to go beyond merely sacramental pastoral care".

  "Ordained ministers", the Pope explained, "represent Christ, God's envoy, they ... continue His mission through the 'Word' and the 'Sacrament', which are the two main pillars of priestly service". In this context he identified the need "to reflect whether, in certain cases, having undervalued the faithful exercise of 'munus sanctificandi' has not perhaps led to a weakening of faith in the salvific effectiveness of the Sacraments and, in the final analysis, in the real action of Christ and His Spirit, through the Church, in the world".

  "It is, therefore, important to promote appropriate catechesis in order to help the faithful understand the value of the Sacraments. But it is equally necessary, following the example of the saintly 'Cure of Ars', to be willing, generous and attentive in giving the faithful the treasures of grace that God has placed in our hands, treasures of which we are not masters but custodians and administrators. Especially in our own time - in which on the one hand, the faith seems to be weakening and, on the other, there is a profound need and widespread search for spirituality - it is necessary for each priest to remember that ... missionary announcement and worship are never separate, and that he must promote a healthy sacramental pastoral care in order to form the People of God and help them to fully experience the liturgy ... and the Sacraments as gratuitous gifts of God, free and effective aspects of His action of salvation".

  The Pope went on to highlight how "each priest knows he is a tool necessary for God's salvific action, but nonetheless just a tool. This awareness must make him humble and generous in administering the Sacraments, respecting the canonical norms but also profoundly convinced that his mission is to ensure that mankind, united to Christ, can offer itself to God as a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to Him".

  Addressing himself directly to priests the Holy Father encouraged them "to practice liturgy and worship with joy and love". He also renewed his call "to return to the confessional, as a place in which to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but also as a place in which 'to dwell' more frequently, that the faithful may find mercy, counsel and comfort, feel themselves to be loved and understood by God, and experience the presence of Divine Mercy alongside the real presence in the Eucharist".

  "I would also like to invite each priest to celebrate and to live the Eucharist intensely", said Benedict XVI. Priests "are called to be ministers of this great Mystery, in the Sacrament and in life".

  Likewise, "it is indispensable to strive after the moral perfection which must dwell in each authentically priestly heart", because "there is an example of faith and a witness of sanctity that the People of God expect from their pastors".

  Pope Benedict concluded by calling on the faithful "to be aware of the great gift that priests represent for the Church and the world. Through their ministry the Lord continues to save mankind, to make Himself present, to sanctify. Give thanks to God and above all remain close to your priests with prayer and support, especially in moments of difficulty, that they may increasingly become pastors in keeping with God's heart".
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VATICAN CITY, 5 MAY 2010 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience the Holy Father reminded those present that the eighth Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty began work in New York on 3 May.

  "Progress towards combined and secure nuclear disarmament is closely connected to the full and rapid fulfilment of the relative international commitments", said the Pope. "Peace, in fact, rests on trust and on respect for promises made, not only on the balance of power. In this spirit I encourage the initiatives that seek progressive disarmament and areas free of nuclear weapons, with a view to their complete elimination from the planet.

  "Finally, I exhort all those participating in the New York meeting to overcome historical conditioning and patiently to weave a political and economic web of peace in order to help integral human development and peoples' authentic aspirations".

  Benedict also greeted a group of people who are due to participate in a congress on the family in Jonkoping, Sweden, later this month.

  "Your message to the world is truly a message of joy, because God's gift to us of marriage and family life enables us to experience something of the infinite love that unites the three divine persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit", Pope Benedict told them speaking English. "Human beings, made in the image and likeness of God, are made for love; indeed at the core of our being, we long to love and to be loved in return".

  "Marriage is truly an instrument of salvation, not only for married people but for the whole of society. Like any truly worthwhile goal, it places demands upon us, it challenges us, it calls us to be prepared to sacrifice our own interests for the good of the other. It requires us to exercise tolerance and to offer forgiveness. It invites us to nurture and protect the gift of new life. ... I encourage all of you in your efforts to promote a proper understanding and appreciation of the inestimable good that marriage and family life offer to human society".
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VATICAN CITY, 5 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Today in the Holy See Press Office Mary Ann Glendon, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, presented a summary of the academy's sixteenth plenary assembly which took place in the Vatican's Casina Pio IV from 30 April to 4 May on the theme: "Crisis in a Global Economy. Re-planning the Journey".

  Ms. Glendon pointed out that this was the first gathering of the academy since the publication of Benedict XVI's Encyclical "Caritas in veritate", and that the deliberations took account of the guidelines contained in that document. She also observed that, as the plenary assembly had coincided with the crisis in Greece, it "was marked by an analysis of recent events in a manner more immediate than is customary in the rhythms of academic life".

  The three main themes on which the participants focused were: Financialisation of the Economy and of Common Life; The Consequences of the Crisis on the Poor, and Governance of Economic Activity.

  On the first of these subjects, the participants highlighted how "the fragility of the economic system was partly a consequence of over-reliance on speculative financial activities separated from productive activity in the real economy". Examining the consequences of the crisis on the poor, the academy noted that, "for the first time, our world will soon have one billion malnourished people".

  "If one compares the relative cost of the financial bailouts to the amounts needed for basic nutrition, for example, one cannot avoid the conclusion that this crisis has distracted greatly from urgent questions of development", said Ms Glendon.

  Finally, the president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences reaffirmed that "the principles laid out in 'Caritas in veritate' about the need for stronger regulation of international finance were discussed with various concrete measures suggested in order to ensure greater transparency in financial instruments and to avoid the moral hazard problems arising from bailouts".
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VATICAN CITY, 5 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter in which the Holy Father appoints 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.

  In the Letter, written in Latin and dated 19 April, the Pope expresses the hope that the event will prove fruitful and he entrusts the participants to Our Lady of Aparecida.
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VATICAN CITY, 5 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father yesterday received in audience Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany.
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VATICAN CITY, 5 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Jose Valdeci Santos Mendes of the clergy of the diocese Coroata, Brazil, pastor of the parish of "Nossa Senhora de Graca" at Arari, rector of the propedeutic seminary and co-ordinator for pastoral care in his diocese, as bishop of Brejo (area 23,340, population 475,000, Catholics 444,500, priests 25, religious 16), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Coroata in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1994. He succeeds Bishop Valter Carrijo S.D.S., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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