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Friday, May 28, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Theodore Loko, the first resident ambassador of Benin to the Holy See, today presented his Letters of Credence to the Holy Father.

  In his speech the diplomat mentioned the Beninese Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, former prefect of the Congregation for Bishops who died two years ago, and this theme was taken up by the Pope in his address, who described Cardinal Gantin as "an authentic builder of bridges between cultures and continents", affirming that his example will help the men and women of the Church in Benin "to perform ever more generous and responsible service for their nation, which celebrates the 150th anniversary of its evangelisation next year".

  Benedict XVI then went on to consider the importance of Benin's "Conference of the Nation's Living Forces", which was celebrated twenty years ago. "That was not only a political event", he said, "but also bore witness to the close relationship between the faith and its expression in Beninese public life; it determined your future and continues to inspire your present. I ask God to bless the efforts of those who work to build a society founded on justice and peace, which recognises the rights of all its members".

  "Architects of their own destiny, the Beninese are called to promote true fraternity. This is an essential precondition for social peace and a factor of integral human promotion", said the Pope exhorting the people of Benin to refer back to values rooted in their own tradition, such as "respect for the sacredness of life". He also called on them "to behave coherently with this commitment, especially as regards factors that attack life and particularly in the context of the law".

  Benedict XVI also mentioned fraternity which, he said, "must also lead to the search for justice, the absence of which is always a cause of social tension and leads to dire consequences".

  "The search for personal advantage to the detriment of the common good is an evil which little by little undermines public institutions and prevents the full development of human beings. A country's political, economic and social leaders are its 'social conscience', guaranteeing the transparency of its structures and the ethics that animate the life of society. They must be just. Justice always accompanies fraternity", the Pope reiterated.

  "Work occupies a priority place in the development of a society", he went on. "Thanks to work, human beings can satisfy their basic needs and contribute to building a prosperous, just and fraternal society. Benin's motto 'Fraternity, Justice, Work' is the compendium of the charter of a nation with noble human ideals. Its application contributes to solidarity with other nations", said Benedict XVI, in this context thanking the Beninese for "the active fraternity they showed towards the people of Haiti during the recent earthquake".

  Finally, the Pope greeted members of the Catholic community of Benin, whom he encouraged to be "increasingly authentic witnesses of the faith and fraternal love that Christ teaches us".

  "I also wish to express my appreciation", he concluded, "for the efforts being made by everyone, especially the authorities, to strengthen relations of respect and esteem among the country's religious groups. Freedom of religion helps to enrich democracy and promote development".
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VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning the Pope received participants in the plenary session of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, who have been meeting to study the theme: "The pastoral care of human mobility today, in the context of the co-responsibility of States and International Organisations".

  The Holy Father expressed his appreciation for "efforts to build a system of shared norms which provide for the rights and duties of foreigners and those of the host communities, bearing foremost to mind the dignity of each human being, created in the image and likeness of God. Obviously the acquisition of rights goes hand in hand with the acceptance of duties", he said.

  "National and international laws which promote the common good and respect for the person encourage the hopes and efforts being made to achieve a world social order founded on peace, fraternity and universal co-operation, despite the critical phase international institutions are currently traversing as they concentrate on resolving crucial questions of security and development for everyone".

  Benedict XVI highlighted how "many people have not lost the desire to break down walls that divide, and to establish broad understanding also through legislative and administrative measures that favour integration, mutual exchange, and reciprocal enrichment. Coexistence among peoples can come about by following prudent and concerted policies of acceptance and integration, offering opportunities for people to attain legal status, favouring the legitimate right to family reunion, asylum and refuge, compensating any necessary restrictive measures, and contrasting the deplorable traffic in human beings.

  "It is here", he added, "that the various international organisations, co-operating with one another and with States, can make their specific contribution ... to reconciling recognition for the rights of the individual with the principle of national sovereignty, making specific reference to the needs of security, public order, and the control of frontiers".

  The Pope went on to explain that "the fundamental rights of the person can become the focal point for the co-responsible commitment of national and international institutions", recalling that this "is closely linked to openness to life, which is at the centre of true development".

  "Openness to life and the rights of the family must be reiterated in various contexts", said the Pope. "The future of our societies rests on the encounter between peoples, on dialogue between cultures while respecting identities and legitimate differences. In this scenario, the family maintains its fundamental role. Thus the Church, by announcing the Gospel of Christ in all areas of life, carries forward her commitment 'not only in favour of the individual migrant, but also of his family, which is a place and resource of the culture of life and a factor for the integration of values'".
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VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The International Confederation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will hold its extraordinary general assembly in the Spanish city of Salamanca from 28 May to 2 June. The meeting has been called to elect the confederation's fifteenth president, according to a communique released today.

  The confederation, which is a member of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", brings together 51,000 national conferences from 142 countries, with more than 700,000 members supported by 1,500,000 volunteers. In this way, it is able to reach thirty-seven million poor people. It intervenes in support of victims of natural disasters - such as, most recently, typhoons in Asia, earthquakes in Indonesia and Chile, flooding in India, etc. - with the aid being distributed by the Vincentian Family and its volunteers. In Haiti, for example, where it is present in the poorest areas, it has created the Zafen network which facilitates access to credit for small business and craftsmen.

  Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of "Cor Unum", has been invited by the heads of the confederation to deliver a lecture to delegates. The cardinal will talk about Blessed Frederic Ozanam with reference to questions of concern to "Cor Unum", such as the specific identify of Catholic aid and assistance organisations.

  During his stay in Salamanca, the cardinal will also preside at the Eucharist on Sunday 30 May, with Bishop Carlos Lopez Hernandez of Salamanca, and bid farewell to Jose Ramon Diaz Torremocha, the outgoing president of the confederation, whose mandate is coming to an end after many years of service to the organisation.
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VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Agostino Vallini, His Holiness' vicar general for the diocese of Rome.

 - Cardinal Claudio Hummes O.F.M., prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.

 - Renata Polverini, president of the Region of Lazio, Italy.
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VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Francisco Fortunato De Gouveia of the clergy of Cape Town, South Africa, pastor of the parish of St. John the Evangelist at Fish Hoek, as bishop of Oudtshoorn (area 113,000, population 850,000, Catholics 30,000, priests 30, permanent deacons 4, religious 32), South Africa. The bishop-elect was born in Cape Town in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1976.
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