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Wednesday, May 12, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 11 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning during his flight to Portugal, the Holy Father responded - as he traditionally does on his flights abroad - to a number of questions put to him by the journalists accompanying him on the papal plane.

  Answering a query about the current secularisation of Portugal, a once profoundly Catholic country, the Holy Father replied that Portugal "has carried the faith to all corners of the world; a courageous, intelligent and creative faith. ... The dialectic between secularism and faith in Portugal has a long history", he said, noting how "over centuries of discussion between enlightenment, secularism and faith, there has never been a lack of people who have sought to build bridges and create dialogue".

  "I believe that the task and mission of Europe in this situation is to discover such dialogue, integrating faith and modern rationality into a single anthropological vision which completes the human being and thus also makes human cultures able to communicate with one another. Thus I would say that secularism is normal, but separation and contrast between secularism and the culture of faith is anomalous and must be overcome. The great challenge of the current time is for the two to meet and thus discover their true identity. This, as I have said, is a mission for Europe and the [great] human need of our own history".

  Replying then to another question about the economic crisis, which some people believe could endanger the future of the European Union, Benedict XVI affirmed that "ethics are not something external, but inherent to rationality and economic pragmatism. ... Catholic faith, Christian faith, has often been too individualist, it left concrete and economic matters to the world and thought only of individual salvation", he said.

  Yet "the entire tradition of the Church's social doctrine has sought ... to widen the ethical and faith-related dimension, over and above the individual, towards responsibility for the world, towards a rationality 'moulded' by ethics. Moreover, events on the markets over the last two or three years have shown that the ethical dimension is inherent and must become part of economic activity, because man is one, and what counts is ... a sound anthropology that embraces everything. Only in this way can the problem be resolved, only in this way can Europe accomplish its mission".

  The third question put to the Pope concerned the significance of the apparitions of Fatima and whether the third secret, apart from referring to the shooting of John Paul II, also referred to the Church's suffering for the sexual abuse of minors.

  "Apart from the great vision of the Pope's suffering, which we can primarily ascribe to Pope John Paul II", said Pope Benedict, the apparitions "indicate events of the future of the Church, which develop and are revealed little by little. Thus it is true that, apart from the moment indicated by the vision, we see the need for a passion of the Church, a passion naturally reflected in the person of the Pope, but the Pope stands for the Church and thus it is the sufferings of the Church that are being announced".

  "As for the novelties we can discover in this message today", he went on, "we may see that attacks against the Pope and the Church do not only come from outside; rather, the sufferings of the Church come from inside the Church, from the sin that exists in the Church. This was always common knowledge, but today we see it in truly terrifying form: the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from external enemies, but is born of sin within the Church. Thus the Church has a profound need to relearn penance, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness but also the need for justice. Forgiveness does not replace justice".
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VATICAN CITY, 11 MAY 2010 (VIS) - At 5.30 p.m. today the Holy Father travelled by popemobile from the apostolic nunciature in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon to the "Terreiro do Paco", the city's central square also known as "Praca do Comercio". There, before the beginning of the Eucharistic celebration in the presence of 200,000 faithful, the mayor handed him the keys of the city.

  In his homily, the Pope recalled how "generations upon generations of Christians ... have journeyed forth" from Lisbon, and how "in all five continents there are local churches that owe their origin to Portuguese missionary activity.

  "In times past", he added, "your departure in search of other peoples neither impeded nor severed your bonds with what you were and what you believed. On the contrary, with Christian wisdom you succeeded in transplanting experiences and characteristic elements, opening yourselves up to the contribution of others so as to be yourselves, through an apparent weakness which is actually strength. Today, as you play your part in building up the European Community, you offer the contribution of your cultural and religious identity".

  "Christ is not two thousand years distant from us, but is really present among us: He gives us the Truth and He gives us the light which is our life and helps us find the path towards the future", said Benedict XVI. He is "present in His word, present in the assembly of the people of God with its pastors, and pre-eminently present in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood. Jesus is here with us".

  Although the Church "has quarrelsome and even rebellious sons and daughters", said the Holy Father, "it is in the saints that she recognises her most characteristic features, it is in them that she tastes her deepest joy".

  "This local Church has rightly concluded that today's pastoral priority is to make each Christian man and woman a radiant presence of the Gospel perspective in the midst of the world, in the family, in culture, in the economy, in politics. Often we are anxiously preoccupied with the social, cultural and political consequences of the faith, taking for granted that faith is present, which unfortunately is less and less realistic".

  "In order for this not to happen, it is necessary to proclaim anew with vigour and joy the event of the death and resurrection of Christ, the heart of Christianity, the fulcrum and mainstay of our faith, the firm lever of our certainties, the strong wind that sweeps away all fear and indecision, all doubt and human calculation. The resurrection of Christ assures us that no adverse power will ever be able to destroy the Church.

  "Therefore our faith is well-founded, but this faith needs to come alive in each one of us. ... Only Christ can fully satisfy the profound longings of every human heart and give answers to its most pressing questions concerning suffering, injustice and evil, concerning death and the life hereafter".

  Benedict XVI went on to encourage the faithful never to doubt the presence of Christ. "Always seek the Lord Jesus, grow in friendship with Him, receive Him in communion. Learn to listen to His word and also to recognise Him in the poor. Live your lives with joy and enthusiasm, sure of His presence and of His unconditional, generous friendship, faithful even to death on the cross.

  "Bear witness to all of the joy that His strong yet gentle presence evokes, starting with your contemporaries", he added in conclusion. "Tell them that it is beautiful to be a friend of Jesus and that it is well worth following Him. With your enthusiasm, demonstrate that, among all the different ways of life that the world today seems to offer us - apparently all on the same level - the only way in which we find the true meaning of life and hence true and lasting joy, is by following Jesus".

  Before the end of Mass the Pope read out a brief message to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the shrine of Christ the King at Almada, in the Portuguese diocese of Setubal. He took the opportunity "to point out to the younger generation the example of hope in God and fidelity to their vow, that the bishops and faithful Christians of that time left us in this sculpture, a sign of their love and gratitude for the preservation of peace in Portugal".

  Benedict XVI then travelled back to the apostolic nunciature where he had dinner. Hearing the singing of a group of young people from various parishes and ecclesial movements who had gathered outside the building, the Holy Father emerged onto the balcony to greet and bless them.
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VATICAN CITY, 12 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning, having celebrated Mass in private, Benedict XVI travelled to the Belem cultural centre to meet with representatives from the world of culture. On arrival he was greeted by Bishop Manuel Clemente of Porto, president of the episcopal commission for culture, and by the film director Manoel do Oliveira, who addressed some words of welcome to the Pope.

  In his own address the Holy Father affirmed how "culture today reveals a 'tension' which sometimes takes the form of a 'conflict' between the present and tradition". However, he went on, "emphasis on the 'present' as a source of inspiration for the meaning of life, both individual and social, clashes with the powerful cultural tradition of the Portuguese people, deeply marked by the millenary influence of Christianity and by a sense of global responsibility. This came to the fore in the adventure of the discoveries and in the missionary zeal which shared the gift of faith with other peoples".

  "This 'conflict' between tradition and the present finds expression in the crisis of truth,", the Pope affirmed. "A people no longer conscious of its own truth ends up by being lost in the maze of time and history, deprived of clearly-defined values and lacking great and clearly-formulated goals". And he went on: "Fidelity to man requires fidelity to the truth, which alone is the guarantee of freedom and of the possibility of integral human development. For this reason the Church searches for truth, proclaims it tirelessly and recognises it wherever it is manifested. This mission of truth is something that the Church can never renounce

  "For a society made up mainly of Catholics, and whose culture has been profoundly marked by Christianity, the search for truth apart from Christ proves dramatic", he added. "For Christians, Truth is divine; it is the eternal 'Logos' which found human expression in Jesus Christ. ... The Church, in her adherence to the eternal character of truth, is in the process of learning how to live with respect for other 'truths' and for the truth of others. Through this respect, open to dialogue, new doors can be opened to the transmission of truth".

  "The Church must enter into dialogue with the world in which she lives", said Pope Benedict quoting Pope Paul VI. "Dialogue, without ambiguity and marked by respect for those taking part, is a priority in today's world, and the Church does not intend to withdraw from it. ... Given the reality of cultural diversity, people need not only to accept the existence of the culture of others, but also to aspire to be enriched by it and to offer to it whatever they possess that is good, true and beautiful".

  "Point out new worlds to the world", said the Holy Father quoting the poet Luis de Camoes, author of 'Os Lusiades'. You who are "forgers of thought and opinion", he told his audience, "have the opportunity to speak to the heart of humanity, ... to broaden the horizons of knowledge and of human engagement. Do not be afraid ... to enter into dialogue with believers, with those who, like yourselves, consider that they are pilgrims in this world and in history towards infinite Beauty!".

  He continued his address: "Precisely so as 'to place the modern world in contact with the life-giving and perennial energies of the Gospel', Vatican Council II was convened. There the Church, on the basis of a renewed awareness of the Catholic tradition, took seriously and discerned, transformed and overcame the fundamental critiques that gave rise to the modern world, the Reformation and the Enlightenment. ... The Council laid the foundation for an authentic Catholic renewal and for a new civilisation - 'the civilisation of love' - as an evangelical service to man and society".

  "The Church", Benedict XVI concluded, "considers that her most important mission in today's culture is to keep alive the search for truth, and consequently for God; to bring people to look beyond penultimate realities and to seek those that are ultimate".

  Following his meeting with representatives from the world of culture, the Holy Father went to the apostolic nunciature in Lisbon where he met Jose Socrates, prime minister of Portugal.
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VATICAN CITY, 12 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Timothy L. Doherty of the clergy of the diocese of Lafayette in Indiana, U.S.A., pastor of St. Catherine church in Dundee, and of St. Mary Mission church in Gilberts, as bishop of Lafayette in Indiana (area 25,455, population 1,296,384, Catholics 108,000, priests 98, permanent deacons 17, religious 81). The bishop-elect was born in Rockford, U.S.A. in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1976. He succeeds Bishop William L. Higi, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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