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Monday, March 14, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 12 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., has sent a telegram of condolence to Archbishop Leo Jun Ikenaga S.J. of Osaka, Japan, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan, for the earthquake and tsunami which have brought devastation to the country.

  "Deeply saddened by the sudden and tragic effects of the major earthquake and consequent tsunamis which have struck Japan's north-eastern coastal regions, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI assures all who have been afflicted of his closeness at this difficult time. He prays for those who have died, and upon their grieving families and friends he invokes divine blessings of strength and consolation. The Holy Father also expresses his prayerful solidarity with all those providing rescue, relief and support to the victims of this disaster".
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VATICAN CITY, 12 MAR 2011 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received members of the National Association of Italian Local Authorities.

  In his address to them, the Pope highlighted how "the multiplicity of subjects and of situations is not incompatible with the unity of the nation, which is being reaffirmed by this 150th anniversary currently being celebrated. Unity and plurality are, at various levels including the ecclesial level, values which enrich one another, if the right reciprocal balance is maintained.

  "Two principles which facilitate the harmonious joint presence of unity and plurality are subsidiarity and solidarity, typical of the social teaching of the Church. This social doctrine has as its objective truths which are not only part of the heritage of believers, but rationally knowable by all people".

  Benedict XVI highlighted how "these principles must also be applied at the level of local administration, in a dual sense: in the dealings local authorities have with the public offices of State, region and province, and in their relationship with social and intermediary organisations present in their territory. ... These include numerous ecclesial formations, such as parishes, oratories, religious houses, and Catholic institutions of education and assistance. My hope is that this vital activity may always find adequate appreciation and support, also in financial terms".

  The Holy Father continued: "On this subject I would like to reiterate the fact that the Church seeks no privileges, but wishes only to be able to perform her mission freely, requesting effective respect for religious liberty. In Italy, such liberty facilitates the collaboration which exists between civil and ecclesial communities. Unfortunately, in other countries Christian minorities are often victims of discrimination and persecution", he said.

  The Pope also highlighted the importance of the word "citizenship", which the members of the association have chosen to emphasise in their work. "Citizenship today", he remarked, "must be placed in the context of globalisation which is characterised, among other things, by great migratory flows. Faced with this situation solidarity must be associated with respect for the law, so as to ensure that social coexistence is not disrupted, and that consideration is given to legal principles and to the cultural and religious tradition from which Italy draws its origins. This need is more deeply felt by you who, as local administrators, are closer to people's daily lives. At all times you are required to show particular dedication in your public service to citizens, in order to promote collaboration, solidarity and humanity.

  "History", the Pope added in conclusion, "has left us examples of mayors who through their prestige and dedication have marked the lives of their communities. Mention has rightly been made of Giorgio La Pira, an exemplary Christian and respected public administrator. May this tradition continue to produce fruits for the good of the country and its citizens".
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VATICAN CITY, 12 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, 13 MAR 2011 (VIS) - At midday today the Pope appeared at the window of his private study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square below.

  Before the Marian prayer the Holy Father remarked on the significance of the period of Lent which, he said, constitutes "a spiritual itinerary of preparation for Easter. Essentially it means following Jesus as He moves decisively towards the Cross, the apex of His mission of salvation. And if we ask ourselves: Why Lent? Why the Cross? The answer is, in radical terms this: Because evil exists, sin, which according to Scripture is the profound cause of all evil.

  "But this affirmation cannot be taken for granted", he added. "Many people do not accept the very word 'sin' because it presupposes a religious vision of the world and of man; and indeed it is true that if we eliminate God from the horizon of the world we can no longer speak of sin. ... The eclipse of God necessarily involves the eclipse of sin. For this reason the sense of sin - which is different to the 'sense of guilt' as psychology understands it - is acquired by rediscovering the sense of God".

  Faced with moral evil, "God's approach is to oppose sin and to save the sinner. God does not tolerate evil, because he is Love, Justice and Fidelity. It is for this reason that He does not want the death of sinners, but for them to convert and live. God intervenes to save humanity, as we see throughout the history of the Jewish people, beginning with their flight from Egypt. God is determined to free His children from slavery and lead them to freedom, and the most serious and profound form of slavery is that of sin. This is why God sent His Son into the world: to free mankind from the domination of Satan, the 'original cause of all sin'".

  "Entering this liturgical period means always siding with Christ against sin, facing - as individuals and as Church - the spiritual struggle against the spirit of evil".

  Finally the Pope asked everyone to pray for him and his collaborators in the Roman Curia as they begin their annual Lenten spiritual exercises this evening.
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VATICAN CITY, 13 MAR 2011 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Pope spoke of the "images of the tragic earthquake and the consequent tsunami in Japan" which, he said, "have left a deep impression on us all.

  "I wish to renew", he added, "my spiritual closeness to the dear people of that country who are facing up to the consequences of these calamities with dignity and courage. I pray for the victims and their families, and for everyone suffering as a result of these tremendous events. And I encourage everyone who, with commendable willingness, is bringing aid. Let us remain united in prayer, the Lord is near us!"
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VATICAN CITY, 14 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Joseph Nguyen Tan Tuoc, director of formation for candidates to the priesthood in the diocese of Phu Cuong, Vietnam, as coadjutor of the same diocese (area 9,543, population 2,580,000, Catholics 125,274, priests 104, religious 405). The bishop-elect was born in Chanh Hiep, Vietnam in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1991.

  On Saturday 12 March it was made public that the Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Thumma Bala of Warangal, India, as archbishop of Hyderabad (area 25,319, population 12,674,000, Catholics 108,388, priests 283, religious 1,080), India. The archbishop-elect was born in Narimetta, India in 1944, he was ordained a priest in 1970 and consecrated a bishop in 1987.

 - Erected the new diocese of Kondoa (area 13,210, population 541,345, Catholics 46,067, priests 17, religious 87) Tanzania, with territory taken from the diocese of Dodoma, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Dar-es-Salaam. He appointed Fr. Bernardine Mfumbusa, vice chancellor of academic studies at the University of St. Augustine of Mwanza, as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Arusha, Tanzania in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1992.

 - Appointed John Chrisostom Ndimbo, executive secretary of the department of education at the Tanzania Episcopal Conference, as bishop of Mbinga (area 11,400, population 532,019, Catholics 418,000, priests 69, religious 270), Tanzania. The bishop-elect was born in Kipololo, Tanzania in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1989. He succeeds Bishop Emmanuel A. Mapunda, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Thomas D'Souza of Bagdogra, India, as coadjutor archbishop of Calcutta (area 29,857, population 32,674,000, Catholics 165,381, priests 237, religious 1,258), India. The archbishop-elect was born in Adyapady, India in 1950, he was ordained a priest in 1977 and consecrated a bishop in 1998.

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Vigevano, Italy presented by Bishop Claudio Baggini, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop-Bishop Vincenzo Di Mauro.
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