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Friday, July 2, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 2 JUL 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received the Letters of Credence of Habbeb Mohammed Hadi Ali Al-Sadr, the new ambassador of Iraq to the Holy See.

  The Pope asked the diplomat to convey to President Jalal Talabani his respectful greetings and assurances of his prayers "for the peace and well-being" of all Iraqis. With the elections of March this year, he said, the people of Iraq "gave a clear sign to the world that they wish to see an end to violence, and that they have chosen the path of democracy through which they aspire to live in harmony with one another within a just, pluralist and inclusive society. ... It is to be hoped that the formation of a new government will now proceed swiftly so that the will of the people for a more stable and unified Iraq may be accomplished".

  In this context the Pope gave assurances that the Holy See, "which has always valued its excellent diplomatic relations with your country, will continue to provide whatever assistance it can, so that Iraq may assume its rightful place as a leading nation in the region with much to contribute to the international community".

  Continuing his English-language address, Benedict XVI expressed the view that "the new government will need to give priority to measures designed to improve security for all sectors of the population, particularly the various minorities", in which context he noted how, "since the earliest days of the Church, Christians have been present in the land of Abraham, a land which is part of the common patrimony of Judaism, Christianity and Islam".

  "Although Christians form a small minority of Iraq's population, they have a valuable contribution to make to its reconstruction and economic recovery through their educational and healthcare apostolates, while their engagement in humanitarian projects provides much-needed assistance in building up society. If they are to play their full part, however, Iraqi Christians need to know that it is safe for them to remain in or return to their homes, and they need assurances that their properties will be restored to them and their rights upheld".

  The Holy Father also spoke of the "many tragic acts of violence committed against innocent members of the population, both Muslim and Christian, acts which ... are contrary to the teachings of Islam as well as those of Christianity. This shared suffering can provide a deep bond, strengthening the determination of Muslims and Christians alike to work for peace and reconciliation. History has shown that some of the most powerful incentives to overcome division come from the example of those men and women who, having chosen the courageous path of non-violent witness to higher values, lost their lives through cowardly acts of violence". At this point the Pope mentioned Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho and Fr. Ragheed Ganni. "May their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of so many others like them", he said, "strengthen within the Iraqi people the moral determination that is necessary if political structures for greater justice and stability are to achieve their intended effect".

  Speaking then of the Iraqi government's commitment to respect human rights, the Pope noted that "among the rights that must be fully respected if the common good is to be effectively promoted, the rights to freedom of religion and freedom of worship are paramount, since it is they that enable citizens to live in conformity with their transcendent dignity. ... I therefore hope and pray that these rights will not only be enshrined in legislation, but will come to permeate the very fabric of society. All Iraqis have a part to play in building a just, moral and peaceable environment".

  Finally, the Holy Father turned his attention to the forthcoming Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East which, he said, "will provide a welcome opportunity to explore the role and the witness of Christians in the lands of the Bible, and will also give an impetus to the important task of inter-religious dialogue, which has so much to contribute to the goal of peaceful coexistence in mutual respect and esteem among the followers of different religions.

  "It is my earnest hope", he added in conclusion, "that Iraq will emerge from the difficult experiences of the past decade as a model of tolerance and co-operation among Muslims, Christians and others in the service of those most in need".
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VATICAN CITY, 2 JUL 2010 (VIS) - At midday today the Pope received Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid, Spain. The cardinal was accompanied by members of the "Madrid vivo" Foundation which is promoting the next World Youth Day, due to be held in the Spanish capital in August 2011.

  "There are many young people", said the Holy Father, "whose eyes are fixed on that beautiful city with the joyful expectation of meeting there, not many months from now, to listen together to the Word of Christ Who is always young, and to have the chance to share the faith that unites them, and the desire to build a better world inspired by Gospel values".

  Benedict XVI invited everyone "to continue to collaborate generously in this great initiative, which is not just a mass gathering but a privileged occasion for the young of your country and of the world entire to allow themselves to be conquered by the love of Christ Jesus, the Son of God and of Mary, the faithful friend, the victor over sin and death. Those who trust in Him will never be disillusioned, but will find the strength necessary to chose the right path in life".

  The Holy Father ensured those present and their families of a mention in his prayers, as he asked "God to bless the efforts you are making to ensure that the next World Youth Day may produce abundant fruits".
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VATICAN CITY, 2 JUL 2010 (VIS) - The "Osservatore Romano" today published a Letter from the Holy Father to Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. for the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination as a priest, which fell yesterday 1 July.

  In his Letter, dated 1 June, the Pope reminds Cardinal Bertone how, "with the laying on of hands of our venerable brother Albino Mensa, you were promoted to Holy Orders" and how, "following further studies in jurisprudence, you dedicated yourself to educating and guiding the young through teaching and writing, both inside and outside your Salesian family".

  The Holy Father then goes on to recall the fact that, at the wish of John Paul II, Tarcisio Bertone "was appointed to the role of secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith", a move which established "a happy familiarity between the two of us in the work we shared", he writes.

  He also mentions the cardinal's pastoral ministry as head of the Italian archdiocese of Genoa, where "you dedicated your zeal and your apostolic labours for the benefit of that ecclesial community", says the Pope, "and where you achieved an even more illustrious title with your admittance to the College of Cardinals.

  "Thinking of more recent times", the Holy Father adds, "it was our desire to keep you at our side as a collaborator, appointing you as our secretary of State, with whom to share decisions and duties. There is no doubt that you are showing great commitment and great skill as you participate in our pastoral projects for the universal Church, and in our initiatives for the whole world, that the family of God may be strengthened and the world become more harmonious".

  Benedict XVI concludes by expressing his happiness at the recollection "of the joyful beginning of your priesthood", and assures Cardinal Bertone "of our feelings of respect and of our congratulations", while imploring, "by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians and of St. John Bosco, ... abundant rewards from the Divine Master".
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VATICAN CITY, 2 JUL 2010 (VIS) - The Prefecture of the Pontifical Household today announced that on Wednesday 7 July the Holy Father will travel to the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo for a period of rest.

  During the summer period, all private and special audiences will be suspended.

  The Wednesday general audiences of 14, 21 and 28 July are likewise suspended.

  On Sundays and Solemnities over the summer, the Pope will pray the Angelus from the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo.

  General audiences will resume again from Wednesday 4 August.
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VATICAN CITY, 2 JUL 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops.

 - Archbishop Vincent Gerard Nichols of Westminster, England, president of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, accompanied by Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, president of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, and by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, archbishop emeritus of Westminster.
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VATICAN CITY, 2 JUL 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of military ordinary of Lithuania presented by Bishop Eugenijus Bartulis of Siauliai, Lithuania.

 - Appointed Msgr. Gintaras Grusas of the clergy of the archdiocese of Vilnius, Lithuania, secretary general of the Lithuanian Episcopal Conference, as military ordinary for Lithuania. The bishop-elect was born in Washington, U.S.A. in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1994.
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VATICAN CITY, 2 JUL 2010 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Bishop Cherubim Dambui, auxiliary of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, on 24 June at the age of 62.

 - Bishop Carlos Francisco Martins Pinheiro, former auxiliary of Braga, Portugal, on 4 June at the age of 85.
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