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Friday, December 3, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2010 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today in the "Redemptoris Mater" chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Pope and the pontifical family attended the first sermon of Advent.

  The theme of this year's meditations which were delivered, in keeping with tradition, by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M. Cap., preacher of the Pontifical Household, is taken from the Gospel of St. John (16, 33): "'Take courage; I have conquered the world!'. Towards a re-evangelisation of the secularised world".

  The remaining Advent sermons will be given on 10 and 17 December.
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VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received the Letters of Credence of Fernando F. Sanchez Campos, the new ambassador of Costa Rica to the Holy See, to whom he expressed his contentment at the Jubilee Year the nation is currently celebrating to mark the 375th anniversary of the discovery of the image of Our Lady of the Angels, the national patroness.

  The Pope referred to Costa Ricans as "a people who centuries ago welcomed the evangelical seed, to see how it would sprout forth in countless educational, healthcare and humanitarian initiatives. Thus the children of your land well know that in Christ the Son of God man can always find the strength to combat poverty, domestic violence, unemployment and corruption, seeking social justice, the common good, and the integral progress of human beings. No-one must feel themselves to be detached from the attainment of these exalted goals", he said.

  "In this context", the Pope continued, "the public authorities must be the first to seek out what is of benefit to everyone, working principally as a moral force that augments each individual's freedom and sense of responsibility. This must not undermine the fundamental values which support the inviolable dignity of the person, beginning with the unswerving protection of human life. In this context I am pleased to recall that it was in your country that the Pact of San Jose was signed, which expressly recognises the value of human life from conception. Thus it is to be hoped that Costa Rica does not violate the rights of the unborn with laws that legitimise in vitro fertilisation or abortion".

  The Holy Father then turned his attention to a new legal agreement which will, he said, "reaffirm the long history of mutual collaboration, healthy independence and mutual respect between the Holy See and Costa Rica", helping to guarantee "their traditional and fruitful understanding - more stably and more in keeping with current historical circumstances - with a view to the greater good of the country's religious and civil life".

  "I have made special mention of Costa Rica in my prayers, because of the tragic consequences of the torrential rains that affected the country", said Benedict XVI. "I also asked God that the nation may continue to follow the paths that make her a beacon for peace in the international community. To this end it is important that those who guide the country's destiny do not hesitate to reject impunity, juvenile delinquency, child labour, injustice and drug trafficking, encouraging such important measures as security in cities, adequate education of children and young people, due attention to those in prison and effective healthcare for everyone, ... as well as programmes to ensure that people can achieve a dignified standard of living and find decent work. Moreover, it is vital that new generations should acquire the conviction that conflicts cannot be won by mere force, but by converting hearts to goodness and truth, eradicating poverty and illiteracy, strengthening the rule of law and stimulating the independence and effectiveness of the law courts".

  "A great contribution in this direction will be made if one of society's fundamental and irreplaceable pillars is strengthened: the stability and union of the family. This institution is suffering, perhaps like no other, the effects of the broad and rapid transformations of society and culture; nonetheless, it must not lose its true identity. ... Thus, no measure will be in vain if it favours, safeguards and supports marriage between a man and a woman".

  "Protecting the natural environment will facilitate the defence of peace, because the two are intimately related", the Holy Father concluded. "Costa Rica has distinguished itself in the field of environmental protection and the search for a balance between human development and the safeguarding of natural resources. ... I encourage all Costa Ricans to continue to work towards what favours true human development, in harmony with the creation, while avoiding spurious and false interests, and lack of foresight in a field of such transcendent importance".
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VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2010 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI received members of the International Theological Commission, who have just completed their plenary assembly.

  "Your reflection on the Christian vision of God", the Pope told them, "can be a precious contribution to the life of the faithful, as well as to our dialogue with believers of other religions and with non-believers".

  In "theo-logy", the Holy Father explained, "we seek, through the 'logos', to communicate what 'we have seen and heard'. ... We can think about God and communicate what we think because He has gifted us with reason in harmony with His own nature. ... Indeed, knowing God in His true nature is also the sure way to ensure peace. A God Who was not perceived as a source of forgiveness could not be a light along the path of peace".

  "No theological system can subsist if it is not permeated by the love of its divine 'Subject', if it is not nourished by dialogue (that is, by acceptance in the theologian's mind and heart) with the divine 'Logos', Creator and Redeemer". In this context the Pope explained that theology "must remain faithful to the nature of ecclesial faith: centred on God, rooted in prayer, and in communion with the other disciples of the Lord as guaranteed by communion with Peter's Successor and the entire college of bishops".

  Benedict XVI then highlighted how "the theologian never starts from naught, rather he considers the Fathers and theologians of Christian tradition to be his masters. Rooted in Sacred Scripture, read with the Fathers and the Doctors, theology can be a school of sanctity, as shown by Blessed John Henry Newman. Discovering the permanent value of the wealth handed down from the past is an important contribution that theologians make to the field of the sciences".

  "The social commitment of Christians necessarily derives from the manifestation of divine love. Contemplating the revealed God and practicing charity towards others cannot be separated, though experienced under different charisms. In a world which often appreciates many of Christianity's gifts (such as the idea of democratic equality, which comes from evangelical monotheism) without understanding the roots of its ideals, it is particularly important to show that the fruit dies if the roots of the tree are cut. There is, in fact, no justice without truth, and justice cannot fully develop if is horizon is limited by the material world. For us as Christians, social solidarity always has an eternal perspective".

  Benedict XVI concluded by highlighting how "theologians cannot work in solitude; they need the ministry of the pastors of the Church, just as the Magisterium has need of theologians who carry out their service to the full, with all the asceticism this implies".
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VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram of condolence to Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples, Italy, for the death yesterday at the age of 80 of Cardinal Michele Giordano, archbishop emeritus of that see.

  "Having learned with great sadness the news of the death of Cardinal Michele Giordano, archbishop emeritus of Naples, I wish to express to Your Eminence and to the entire diocesan community, as well as to the relatives of the late cardinal, my profound commiseration at your pain, while my thoughts turn affectionately to that dear brother who served the Gospel and the Church so generously. With gratitude to the Lord I recall his intense pastoral activity, first at Trursi-Lagonegro then at Matera-Irsina, and finally in the archdiocese of Naples, and raise fervent prayers to God to welcome him in His peace. At the same time, upon those weeping his demise, I impart the comfort of a heartfelt apostolic blessing".
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VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Bishop Agidius Zsifkovics of Eisenstadt, Austria.

 - Eight prelates of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Jose F. Oliveros of Malolos.

    - Bishop Antonio R. Tobias of Novaliches.

    - Bishop Jesse E. Mercado of Paranaque.

    - Bishop Francisco C. San Diego of Pasig.

    - Bishop Leo M. Drona S.D.B. of San Pablo.

    - Bishop Prudencio P. Andaya C.I.C.M., apostolic vicar of Tabuk.

    - Bishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle of Imus.

    - Bishop Deogracias S. Iniguez of Kalookan.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
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VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Alexander Pyone Cho, currently "fidei donum" priest in the diocese of Salina, U.S.A., as bishop of Pyay (area 80,937, population 9,000,000, Catholics 25,000, priests 37, religious 67), Myanmar. The bishop-elect was born in Oatshitpin, Myanmar in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1975. He succeeds Bishop Joseph Devellerez Thaung Shwe, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Toledo, Spain, presented by Bishop Joaquin Carmelo Borobia Isasa, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Stefan Zekorn of the clergy of the diocese of Munster, Germany, rector-pastor of the Marian shrine of Kevelaer and canon of the cathedral chapter of Munster, as auxiliary of Munster (area 15,265, population 4,335,600, Catholics 2,007,335, priests 1,165, permanent deacons 270, religious 2,827). The bishop-elect was born in Datteln, Germany in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1984.

 - Appointed Msgr. Carmelo Pellegrino and Fr. Alfred Simon O.S.B., respectively official and consultor of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, as relators of the same congregation.
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