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Monday, May 24, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 22 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received in separate audiences first Boiko Borissov, prime minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, then Trjako Veljanoski, president of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Both men, each leading a delegation, have come to Rome for the commemoration of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.

  In his address to the Bulgarian delegation the Holy Father noted how "on her path to full integration with other European nations Bulgaria is called to promote and bear witness to the Christian roots that derive from the teachings of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, which today are still as relevant and important as ever. Bulgaria is, then, called to safeguard and remain faithful to the precious heritage which unites people - both Orthodox and Catholics - who profess the same faith in the Apostles and are united by a common Baptism. As Christian we have the duty to reinforce the intrinsic bond that exists between the Gospel and our respective cultural identities. As disciples of the Lord we are called, while showing mutual respect for the various ecclesial traditions, to a shared witness of our faith in Jesus in Whose name we obtain salvation".

  Benedict XVI expressed the hope that his meeting with the prime minister will represent "a reason for ever closer and more fraternal relations", and he encouraged the Bulgarian people "to persevere in the aim of building a society founded on justice and peace".

  In his remarks to the delegation from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Holy Father recalled how "the fruits of evangelisation of Sts. Cyril and Methodius were truly abundant. They experienced suffering, privation and hostility but they bore everything with unshakeable faith and invincible hope in God. It was with this strength that they strove to help the people entrusted to their care, safeguarding the texts of Scripture (indispensable for the celebration of the liturgy) which they translated into old Slavonic using a new alphabet, subsequently approved by the Church authorities.

  "In moments of trial and joy", the Pope added, "they felt that God accompanied them daily experiencing His love and that of their brethren. We too understand that when we feel loved by the Lord, and know that we return this love, we are enveloped and guided by His grace in everything we do. Thanks to the effusion of the multiple gifts of the Holy Spirit, the more we know we are loved and give ourselves to others, the more that Spirit will come in succour of our weaknesses, opening new roads for our activities".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Participants in the annual congress of the "Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice" foundation, led by their president Domingo Sugranyes Bickel, were received in audience this morning by the Holy Father.

  The Pope expressed his appreciation to the group for having chosen the relation between "development progress and the common good" as the theme of their congress. "Today more than ever", he said, "the human family can grow as a free society of free peoples so long as globalisation is guided by solidarity and the common good, and by social justice, all of which find a precious wellspring in the message of Christ and of the Church".

  "The common good is the goal that gives meaning to progress and development, which otherwise would be limited only to the production of material goods. These goods are necessary, but without the orientation to the common good consumerism, waste, poverty and inequality come to prevail, which are negative factors for progress and development".

  Benedict XVI then went on to quote from his Encyclical "Caritas in veritate", affirming that one of the greatest risks of the modern world lies in the fact that "'the de facto interdependence of people and nations is not matched by ethical interaction of consciences and minds that would give rise to truly human development'. Such interaction, for example, seems to be too weak with those leaders who, in the face of renewed episodes of irresponsible speculation against the weakest States, do not react with adequate decisions to govern finance. Politics must have primacy over finance, and ethics must be the guiding force for all activities".

  The Holy Father recalled how "the common good is made up of a number of factors: material, cognitive and institutional good, as well as moral and spiritual good. The latter two are superior and the former must be subordinate to them", he said. "Our commitment to the common good of the family of peoples, and to that of each society, means we must give support to and avail ourselves of the complex of institutions that give juridical, civil, political and cultural structure to the life of society".

  And he went on: "We must ensure that the economic-productive order remains socially responsible and of a human scale, through joint and unitary action on various levels, including the international level. In the same way, it is important to support the consolidation of constitutional, juridical and administrative systems in countries that do not yet fully enjoy them. Economic aid must, then, be accompanied by measures that aim to reinforce the guarantees of the rule of law, a just and efficient system of public order in full respect for human rights, and truly democratic and participative institutions.

  "The fundamental priority for the development of the entire family of peoples, however, is to strive to recognise the true scale of goods and values", the Holy Father added. "The notion of integral human development presupposes such things as subsidiarity and solidarity, and interdependence between State, society and the market. In a global society made up of many different peoples and religions, the common good and integral development must be achieved with everyone's contribution. Religions have a crucial role to play in this, especially when they teach fraternity and peace".

  "The exclusion of religion from public life - and, at the other extreme, religious fundamentalism - hinders an encounter between persons and their collaboration for the progress of humanity. Public life is sapped of its motivation and politics becomes domineering and aggressive".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2010 (VIS) - At 10 a.m. today in the Vatican Basilica, the Pope presided at Mass for the Solemnity of Pentecost.

  Commenting on the Pentecost narrative in the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Father explained how "from the Son of God - Who died, rose again then returned to the Father - the divine breath, the Holy Spirit, now descends on humankind with unprecedented energy. And what", he asked, "does God's new and powerful self-communication produce? Wherever there is rupture and estrangement, He brings unity and understanding.

  "A process of reunification begins among the different and divided parts of the human family", he added. "People, often reduced to competing and conflicting individuals, having been touched by the Spirit of Christ, open themselves to the experience of communion, which can envelop them to the point that they form a new organism, a new entity: the Church. The effect of God's work is unity. Thus unity is the sign of recognition, the 'calling card' of the Church in the course of her universal history. Ever since the beginning, since the day of Pentecost, she has spoken all languages".

  "The Church", Benedict XVI explained, "is never a prisoner of political, racial or cultural boundaries. She must not be confused with other States or with federations of States because hers is a different unity; it aspires to cross all human frontiers.

  "From this, dear brothers and sisters derives a practical criterion of discernment for Christian life: when a person or a community close themselves inside their own way of thinking and acting, it is a sign they have distanced themselves from the Holy Spirit. Christians and particular Churches must always compare themselves, and seek harmony, with the one Catholic Church".

  The Holy Father went on: "The unity of the Spirit is expressed in the plurality of understanding. The Church is by her nature one and multiple, being destined to live in all nations, with all peoples, and in the most diverse social contexts. She fulfils her vocation of being a sign and instrument of unity of the entire human race, only if she remains independent of all States and all specific cultures. Always and everywhere the Church must be truly catholic and universal, a home with which everyone can identify".

  "At Pentecost the Holy Spirit appeared as a fire", said the Pope, noting "how different this fire was from that of wars and bombs. How different is the immolation of Christ, as propagated by the Church, from the fires ignited by dictators of all ages, even last century, which left behind them only scorched earth".

  "The flame of the Holy Spirit burns but does not injure, and yet it achieves a transformation. ... However this effect of the divine fire scares us, we are afraid of being 'scalded' and would prefer to remain as we are. This depends on the fact that our lives often follow a logic of having, of possession and not of giving. ... On the one hand we want to be with Jesus, to follow Him closely, on the other we are afraid of the consequences this brings".

  We must, Benedict XVI told the faithful, "be able to recognise that losing something, losing ourselves, for the true God, the God of love and life, is in fact a gain, it means rediscovering oneself more fully. Those who entrust themselves to Jesus experience peace and joy of heart already in this life, things the world cannot give, and cannot take away once God has given them to us. It is worthwhile, then, to allow ourselves to be touched by the fire of the Holy Spirit. The pain this brings is necessary for our transformation".

  The Pope concluded by calling on the Holy Spirit "to ignite the flame of your love in us. We know this is an audacious payer, with which we ask to be touched by the flame of God; yet we know that this flame alone has the power to save us. We do not want, in order to defend our lives, to lose the eternal life God wants to give us. We need the fire of the Holy Spirit, because only Love redeems".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Following this morning's Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica for the Solemnity of Pentecost, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Regina Coeli with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square below.

  In his remarks the Pope explained that "the mystery of Pentecost", which we identify with the appearance of the Holy Spirit in the Cenacle, "is the true 'Baptism' of the Church, but it does not finish there. In fact, the Church lives constantly in the effusion of the Holy Spirit without which she would exhaust her energies like a sailing ship without wind.

  "Pentecost", he added, "is renewed especially in certain particularly intense moments, both at the local and universal level, in small assemblies and in great gatherings". Among these, the Holy Father mentioned Vatican Council II, and "the famous encounter of ecclesial movements with the Venerable John Paul II here in St. Peter's Square at Pentecost 1994.

  "Yet", he went on, "the Church experiences countless 'Pentecosts' which enliven local communities: the liturgies, especially those experienced at special moments in community life, in which the power of God is perceived particularly clearly, infusing souls with joy and enthusiasm".

  "Thus, there is no Church without Pentecost. And, I would like to add, there is no Pentecost without the Virgin Mary. So it was at the beginning, in the Cenacle. ... So it is always, in all places and times. I myself witnessed as much a few days ago in Fatima, Portugal. What did that immense multitude experience on the esplanade of the shrine, if not a renewed Pentecost?".

  "This", the Holy Father concluded, "is the experience typical of the great Marian shrines (Lourdes, Guadalupe, Pompeii, Loreto) and of the smaller ones. Wherever Christians come together in prayer with Mary, the Lord gives His Spirit".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2010 (VIS) - In his greetings after praying the Regina Coeli today, the Holy Father recalled how the Italian laywoman and Franciscan tertiary Teresa Manganiello (1849-1876) was yesterday proclaimed a blessed.

  The new blessed "spent a simple and humble life amidst her domestic duties and her spiritual commitments in the church of the Capuchins. Like St. Francis of Assisi she sought to imitate Jesus Christ, offering sufferings and penance for the remission of sins. She was also full of love for her neighbour, and made prodigious efforts for all, especially the poor and sick".

  The Pope then mentioned the Day of Prayer for the Church in China, which falls tomorrow 24 May, liturgical memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians. "While the faithful in China pray that the unity between themselves and the universal Church may become ever deeper, Catholics in the whole world - and especially those of Chinese origin - join them in prayer and charity, which the Holy Spirit infuses in our hearts, especially on today's solemnity".

  Finally, the Holy Father greeted members of the Italian association, Movement for Life, "which promotes the culture of life and gives concrete assistance to many young women to help them carry difficult pregnancies to term".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Bilateral Permanent Working Committee between the Holy See and the State of Israel met on 20 May to continue negotiations pursuant to article 10 para. 2 of the Fundamental Agreement.

  According to a communique on the event, "the talks took place in a constructive atmosphere and made progress towards the mandated agreement.

  "The delegations will meet again on 14 June, and the next day the plenary session will take place in the Vatican".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today released the following communique:

  "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Denis Sassou N'guesso, president of the Republic of Congo. 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.

  "During the cordial talks, mention was made of the initiatives being organised for the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the country's independence. Attention also dwelt on the shared desire to strengthen the good relations that exist between the Holy See and the Republic of Congo, with particular emphasis on the Catholic Church's contribution to the people's human, social and cultural development. Finally, opinions were exchanged on the political and social situation in the region, with attention focusing on humanitarian problems, especially of refugees".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Mihai Ghimpu, speaker of parliament and acting president of the Republic of Moldova. The guest 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.

  "In the course of the cordial discussions consideration was given to the situation in the country, with the hope being expressed that all difficulties may be overcome through dialogue. The positive contribution of the Catholic Church's mission in support of the people of Moldova was recognised, and appreciation expressed for the serene dialogue that exists between the Church and the authorities of State. Finally, opinions were exchanged on certain aspects of current international relations, including the cultural and religious identity of Europe".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval C.SS.R., archbishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.

  On Saturday May 22 he received in audience Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, 24 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Edgar de Jesus Garcia Gil of Montelibano, Colombia, as bishop of Palmira (area 4,796, population 754.000, Catholics 681,000, priests 77, religious 224), Colombia.

 - Gave his consent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Church of Fr. Bashar Warda C.SS.R., director of the patriarchal Chaldean seminary in Ankawa near Arbil, Iraq, and professor of moral theology at the local institute of religious sciences, as archbishop of Arbil of the Chaldeans (Catholics 20,000, priests 5, permanent deacons 6, religious 11). The archbishop-elect was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1969 and ordained a priest in 1993.

  On Saturday 22 May it was made public that he:

 - Elevated the diocese of Tunis (area 162,155, population 10,230,000, Catholics 21,000, priests 32, permanent deacons 1, religious 150), Tunisia, to the rank of archdiocese, making Bishop Maroun Lahham of Tunis the first archbishop of the new archdiocese. The archbishop-elect was born in Irbed, Jordan in 1948, he was ordained a priest in 1972 and consecrated a bishop in 2005.

 - Erected the new diocese of Kalay (area 22,235, population 1,373918, Catholics 49,165, priests 26, religious 84) Myanmar, with territory taken from the diocese of Hakha, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Mandalay. He appointed Bishop Felix Lian Khen Thang, auxiliary of Hakha, as first bishop of the new diocese.

 - Appointed Fr. F. Richard Spencer of the clergy of the archdiocese of Baltimore, U.S.A., vice commandant of the military chaplains of the U.S. Forces in Europe, as auxiliary to the military ordinariate of the U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Sylacauga, U.S.A. in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1988.

 - Appointed as relators of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura: Fr. Eduardo Baura de la Pena, professor at the faculty of canon law of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross; Fr. Paolo Giuseppe Bianchi, judicial vicar of the Ecclesiastical Regional Tribunal of Lombardy, Italy; Fr. Bruno Esposito O.P., professor at the faculty of canon law of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas; Fr. Luigi Sabbarese C.S., dean of the faculty of canon law of the Pontifical Urban University, and Edward N. Peters, professor of canon law at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary of the archdiocese of Detroit U.S.A.
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