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Monday, May 17, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 17 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning Evo Morales Ayma, president of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, was received in audience by the Holy Father Benedict XVI. The president 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 cordial discussions provided an opportunity for a fruitful exchange of opinions on questions concerning the current international and regional situation, and on the need to develop greater social awareness for the protection of the environment.

  "Attention then turned to various aspects of the situation in Bolivia itself, in particular collaboration between Church and State in the areas of education, healthcare, and social policies in defence of the weakest".
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VATICAN CITY, 17 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was the annual Message to Buddhists for the Feast of Vesakh, issued by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and signed by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the council.

  Vesakh, the main Buddhist festivity, marks three fundamental moments in the life of Gautama Buddha. It is held during the full moon of the month of May because, according to tradition, the Buddha was born, achieved enlightenment, and passed away in that period.

  This year's message is entitled "Christians and Buddhists Respect Human Life as the Basis of Respect for all Beings".

  "Let us take this opportunity", the message reads, "to reflect together on a theme of particular relevance today, namely, the environmental crisis that has already caused notable hardship and suffering throughout the world. The efforts of both of our communities to engage in inter-religious dialogue have brought about a new awareness of the social and spiritual importance of our respective religious traditions in this area. We recognise that we hold in common a regard for values like respect for the nature of all things, contemplation, humility, simplicity, compassion, and generosity. These values contribute to a life of non-violence, equilibrium, and contentment with sufficiency".

  "The Catholic Church considers the protection of the environment as intimately linked to the theme of integral human development; and for her part, she is committed not only to promoting the protection of land, water and air as gifts destined for everyone, but also to encouraging others to join the efforts to protect mankind from self-destruction. Our responsibility to protect nature springs, in fact, from our respect for one another; it comes from the law inscribed in the hearts of all men and women".

  "Both Christians and Buddhists have a profound respect for human life", the document goes on. "It is crucial therefore that we encourage efforts to create a sense of ecological responsibility, while at the same time reaffirming our shared convictions about the inviolability of human life at every stage and in every condition, the dignity of the person and the unique mission of the family, where one learns to love one's neighbour and to respect nature.

  "May we together promote a healthy relationship between human beings and the environment", the message adds n conclusion. "By enhancing our efforts to promote ecological consciousness for serenity and peaceful coexistence, we can give witness to a respectful way of life that finds meaning not in having more, but in being more. By sharing the insights and commitments of our respective religious traditions, we can contribute to the well-being of our world".
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VATICAN CITY, 15 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Pope to participants in the "Kirchentag", an ecumenical event being celebrated in Munich, Germany, from 12 to 16 May in the presence of Christians from various denominations, and followers of other religions.

  Referring to the theme of the event - "that you may have hope" - the Holy Father highlights how "over recent months we have repeatedly had to absorb news that seeks to extract the joy from the Church, casting a shadow over her as a place of hope".

  "Today, if we pay close attention, if we do not perceive only the darkness but also what is light and good in our time, we see how faith makes men and women pure and generous, and educates them to love", he writes. "Weeds exist also in the bosom of the Church and among those whom the Lord has called to His special service. But the light of God has not gone out, the good wheat has not been choked by the weeds of evil".

  "Is the Church, then, a place of hope?", the Pope asked. "Yes", he said, "because from her the Word of God comes ever and anew, purifying us and showing us the path of faith. She is a place of hope because in her the Lord continues to give Himself to us in the grace of the Sacraments, in the words of reconciliation, in the multiple gifts of His consolation. Nothing can darken or destroy all this, and so we should be glad amidst all the tribulations.

  "To speak of the Church as a place of hope that comes from God", he adds, "involves an examination of conscience. What must I do with the hope the Lord has given us? Do I really allow myself to be moulded by His Word? What weeds grow in me? Am I willing to uproot them? Am I grateful for forgiveness and ready, in my turn, to forgive and to heal rather than to condemn?"

  The Pope explains how "we ourselves cannot achieve the greatest things (friendship, love, joy and happiness), they come to us only as a gift. ... Today almost no-one speaks of eternal life which, in the past, was the true object of hope. Since people no longer dare believe in it, they must hope to obtain everything in this life. Setting aside hope in eternal life leads to greed for life here and now, which almost inevitably becomes selfish and, in the end, unattainable. Precisely when we want to take possession of life as a kind of treasure it escapes us".

  "God is alive. God loves us. In Jesus Christ He became one of us. I can address Him and He listens to me. For this reason, like Peter, in the confusion of our own times which encourage us to believe in many other paths, we say to Him: 'Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God'".

  In closing his Message, the Holy Father expresses the hope that everyone at the Munich meeting "may be overcome with the joy of being able to know God, to know Christ. ... This is our hope and our joy in the midst of the confusion of the present".
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VATICAN CITY, 16 MAY 2010 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Regina Coeli with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  Today, the Pope explained, Italy and other countries are celebrating Jesus' Ascension to heaven forty days after Easter. He also pointed out that today is the World Day of Social Communications which has as its theme this year: "The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: new media at the service of the Word".

  "The liturgy recounts the episode of the last separation of the Lord Jesus from His disciples", said the Pope. "But this is not an abandonment, because He remains with them always in a new form. ... The Lord draws the gaze of the Apostles towards heaven showing them the path of goodness to be followed during their earthly life.

  "And yet He remains in the fabric of human history. He is close to each of us and guides our Christian journey. He is companion to those persecuted for their faith, He is in the heart of the marginalised, He is present in those whose right to life is denied. We can listen to, see and touch the Lord Jesus in the Church, especially through the word and sacramental gestures of her pastors".

  In this context, the Pope particularly exhorted young people receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation to "remain faithful the Word of God and the doctrine they have learned", and he invited them "assiduously to go to Confession and take the Eucharist, aware of having been chosen and created to bear witness to Truth".

  The Holy Father also renewed his call to priests to ensure that their "lives and activity are distinguished by a determined witness to the Gospel, and that they may know how to used the communications media to make the life of the Church known and help the men and women of today discover the face of Christ".
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VATICAN CITY, 16 MAY 2010 (VIS) - After praying the Regina Coeli today, the Pope thanked the 200,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square and Via della Conciliazione for their "presence and trust".

  "Today", he said, "my first greetings go out to the lay faithful who have come here from all over Italy, and to Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco who has accompanied them as president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, A heartfelt thank-you, dear brothers and sisters, for your warm and abundant presence.

  "Responding to the invitation of the National Consultative Council of Lay Associations", he told them, "you have enthusiastically joined this beautiful and spontaneous demonstration of faith and solidarity, which also includes a large group of parliamentarians and local administrators. To all of you I wish to express my most heartfelt recognition. I likewise greet the thousands of immigrants connected with us from the square of St. John Lateran where they are gathered with Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of Rome, for the 'Feast of Peoples'.

  "Dear friends", he added, "today you are expressing the Church's and the Italian people's great affection and profound closeness to the Pope and to your priests who daily take care of you so that, committed to spiritual and moral renewal, we may better serve the Church, the People of God and everyone who turns to us with trust".

  The Holy Father continued his remarks: "The real enemy to be feared and fought is sin, spiritual evil, which at times, unfortunately, also infects members of the Church. We live in the world, the Lord says, but we are not of the world, although we must guard ourselves from its temptations, Yet we must fear sin and so be strongly rooted in God, firm in goodness, love and service. This is what the Church, her ministers and the faithful have done and continue to do ... for the spiritual and material good of people all over the world. And this is what you especially seek to do in parishes, associations and movements: serve God and man in the name of Christ".

  The Pope concluded: "Let us trustingly continue this journey together, and may the trials, which the Lord allows, encourage us to greater resolve and coherence. It is a beautiful thing to see the multitudes in St. Peter's Square, just as it was moving for me to see the immense multitudes at Fatima, who, at the school of Mary, prayed for the conversion of hearts. Today I renew that appeal, comforted by your numerous presence. Thank you".
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VATICAN CITY, 17 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

 - Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, president of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), accompanied by Cardinal Josip Bozanic, archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia, and Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, France, vice-presidents.
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VATICAN CITY, 17 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the fourth centenary of the archdiocese of Arequipa, Peru, due to take place from 14 to 18 July.
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