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Friday, April 8, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 8 APR 2011 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI received participants in the plenary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, dedicated to the theme "Impact of popular piety on the process of evangelisation in Latin America".

  The Pope affirmed that the bishops who met at the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean held in 2007 in Aparecida, Brazil, "presented popular piety as a space in which to encounter Jesus Christ, and a form of expression of the faith of the Church. It cannot, therefore, be considered as a secondary aspect of Christian life", and added that "the profound popular religiosity characteristic of the way faith is experienced among the Latin American people ... constitutes "a valuable asset of the Catholic Church in Latin America, and must be protected, promoted and also, where necessary, purified".

  "In pursuing the new evangelisation in Latin America", he continued, "one cannot disregard the many manifestations of popular piety. All these, well channelled and duly accompanied, help bring about a fruitful encounter with God, fostering an intense veneration of the Sacrament, a profound devotion to the Virgin Mary, affection for Peter's Successor and a sense of belonging to the Church ... Consequently, the faith has to be the principal source of popular piety, in order that it not be reduced simply to a form of cultural expression within a given region.  Moreover, it must remain in strict relation with the sacred liturgy, which may not be substituted with any other form of religious expression".

  "Nevertheless, one cannot deny", he remarked, "the existence of certain deviant forms of popular religiosity which, far from promoting active participation in the Church, instead create confusion and can give rise to a superficial religious practice detached from a deep-rooted and inwardly vital faith ... However, to exclude it would be completely mistaken. Through popular piety, faith enters into the heart of men, forming a part of their sentiments, customs, commonly shared ways of feeling and living ... Certainly, popular piety must be continually purified and orientated, but deserves our love, as it truly renders us 'People of God'."

  The Holy Father concluded by thanking the bishops for their "valuable and consistent contributions to the protection, promotion and purification of all that is connected to expressions of popular religiosity in Latin America" and highlighted that, in order to achieve this aim, it would be valuable to continue to promote the continental Mission, "with which the Latin American Episcopate has renewed the process of the new evangelisation following the conference in Aparecida", and which "has given particular space to the pastoral field, which constitutes a privileged method for ensuring that the faith is welcomed into the hearts of the people, touching their deepest sentiments, and is shown to be strong and flourishing through divine charity".
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VATICAN CITY, 8 APR 2011 (VIS) - A press conference was held at the Holy See Press Office this morning to present the cultural activities planned for the Santo Domingo International Book Fair, to which the Holy See has been invited as a guest of honour.

  Participating in the conference were Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Victor Manuel Grimaldi Cespedes, ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the Holy See; Fr. Giuseppe Costa, S.D.B., director of the Vatican Publishing House; and Fr. Miguel Angel Reyes Arreguin, director of the Department for Latin America.

  The Holy See will participate with a pavilion at this year's fair, which will be held at the Plaza de la Cultura grounds from 4 to 22 May. The fair will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the diocese of Santo Domingo, the first diocese to be erected on the American continent, which was elevated to the rank of metropolitan archdiocese in 1546.

  Cardinal Ravasi explained that "Benedict XVI has received the invitation with approval. It will be the first time that the Holy See participates as a guest of honour at an international book fair". Cardinal Ravasi has been designated as the Holy Father's delegate at the event.

  He continued, "A collaboration agreement has been signed by the Holy See and the Santo Domingo Ministry of Culture, including plans for the participation of twenty lecturers, art exhibitions, concerts and other events. The Vatican delegation will donate a considerable amount of books by Catholic authors which will subsequently be destined for schools and public libraries in Santo Domingo, in order to promote greater knowledge of contemporary Catholic literature among newer generations of Santo Domingans".

The design and construction of the pavilion will be entrusted to the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Vatican Publishing House, the Vatican Museums, the Vatican Apostolic Library and the Vatican Secret Archives. Representatives of various Vatican institutions, such as the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Vatican Internet Office, Vatican Radio and so on, will present the activities of the Church in the field of culture.
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VATICAN CITY, 8 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Bishop Joseph Kunnath, C.M.I., of Adilabad of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.

 - Bishop Vijay Anand Nedumpuram, C.M.I., of Chanda of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.

 - Bishop Simon Stock Palathara, C.M.I., of Jagdalpur, of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.

 - Bishop Jacob Angadiath of Saint Thomas the Apostle of Chicago, of the Syro-Malabars, USA; apostolic visitor for the faithful of the Syro-Malabar rite resident in Canada, on his "ad limina" visit.

This afternoon the Holy Father will receive Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, 8 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Agapitus Enuyehnyoh Nfon of the clergy of Kumbo, as auxiliary bishop of Bamenda (area 10,000, population 1,261,000, Catholics 303,729, priests 92, religious 296), Cameroon. The bishop-elect was born in Kumbo, Cameroon, in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1991.
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