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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

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Monday, April 11, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 9 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office published the following communique at midday today:

  "The Commission established by Benedict XVI to study the most important issues regarding the Catholic Church in China will meet in the Vatican from 11 to 13 April. The Commission shall be made up of the Superiors of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia competent in these matters, and various representatives of the Chinese Episcopate and religious congregations.

  "The first plenary meeting, held on 10-12 March 2008, took as its theme the letter Benedict XVI addressed to Chinese Catholics on 27 May 2007. The two subsequent meetings (30 March-1 April 2009 and 22-24 March 2010) were dedicated to the themes of the human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral formation of seminarians and consecrated persons, as well as the permanent training of priests.

  "The next plenary meeting will examine the pastoral situation of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions in China, with particular reference to the challenges the Church encounters in incarnating the Gospel under current social and economic conditions".
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VATICAN CITY, 9 APR 2011 (VIS) - On Saturday afternoon Benedict XVI attended a screening of the documentary "Pilgrim in White", by the Polish director Jaropslaw Szmidt and produced by Artrama. The film narrates key moments during the pontificate of John Paul II, with accounts from religious leaders and figures from the media and the fields of culture, science and politics. The screening was also attended by various cardinals and other guests, including the makers of the documentary, who the Holy Father thanked.

  He said, "For the seriousness with which it has been prepared and the quality of its production, this documentary constitutes one of the most valid contributions offered to the public on the occasion of my beloved predecessor's upcoming beatification".

  He continued, "There are by now numerous audiovisual works on the life of John Paul II ... This film ... sets out to faithfully render both the personality of the Pope and his tireless work throughout his long pontificate".

  Benedict XVI emphasised the "two pillars" of the life and ministry of the Polish Pope:  "prayer and missionary zeal. John Paul II was a great scholar and great apostle of Christ. God chose him for the Chair of Peter and granted him long life in order that he might accompany the Church into the third millennium. By his example, he guided us all in this pilgrimage and continues to do so from above".
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VATICAN CITY, 10 APR 2011 (VIS) - At midday today, before praying the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI remarked on the readings of today's Mass, dedicated to the Resurrection, "not yet that of Jesus Christ, which breaks through as something entirely new, but that of our own resurrection, to which we aspire and which Christ Himself gave us, rising from the dead", said the Pope.

  "In fact", the Holy Father continued, "death represents for us a wall we are unable to see over; even though our hearts reach out beyond, and even though we cannot know what it hides ... we imagine it, expressing our desire for eternity through symbols". However, "even among Christians, faith in the resurrection and in eternal life is often accompanied by many doubts and great confusion, as it concerns a reality beyond the limits of reason and requires an act of faith".

  "In today's Gospel, the resurrection of Lazarus, Jesus says to Martha, the dead Lazarus' sister, 'Your brother will rise again', and she answers, 'I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day'. Jesus replies, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die'. This is the real truth, which breaks through and overcomes every barrier!" exclaimed the Pope. "Christ breaks down the wall of death, and in Him there resides the fullness of God, which is life, eternal life. Therefore death had no power over Him; the resurrection of Lazarus is a sign of his full dominion over mortal death, which is like sleep before God".

  "But there is another death, against which Christ fought hard; and for which he paid on the cross: spiritual death, sin, which threatens to ruin the existence of every man. To defeat this death, Christ died, and his Resurrection was not a return to his previous life but the beginning of a new life, a 'new earth', finally reunited with God's heaven", the Pope concluded.

  After the Angelus prayer, Benedict XVI addressed the Polish pilgrims who today commemorate the anniversary on of the Smolensk air crash on April 10 last year, in which the president of Poland Lech Kazinsky and several other officials lost their lives while travelling to Katyn to pay homage to the Polish soldiers and civilians massacred in the area by the Soviet army during the Second World War. "I join you in your nation's prayer", the Pope said, "that Christ, who is our new life and resurrection, receive them in His glory and that he comfort you in this painful experience. I bless your country and the Polish people with all my heart".
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VATICAN CITY, 11 APR 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received the letters of credence of Filip Vucak, new ambassador of Croatia to the Holy See, a country he will visit on 4-5 June.

  Benedict XVI referred to the "beauty of its culture and the depth of its ancestors' faith", and highlighted the importance of "[fortifying] the current generations by showing them clearly their rich Croatian historical heritage and the Christian culture with which it is deeply permeated, and which has always supported the Croatian people in times of adversity".

  Recalling that "Croatia will soon fully enter the European Union", Benedict XVI remarked that "this integration must be achieved fully respecting Croatia's specific characteristics, regarding its religious life and culture. It would be illusory to repudiate this identity in favour of another born in circumstances different to those of the birth and construction of Croatia".

  "In entering the European Union", he continued "your country shall not only be the recipient of an economic and legal system with both advantages and limits, but should also bring its own, typically Croatian contribution. Croatia should not be afraid to make a determined claim for respect for its history and its religious and cultural identity. Dour voices dispute Europe's religious roots with bewildering regularity. Amnesia and the denial of historical evidence have become customary. To declare that Europe does not have Christian roots is like claiming that a man may live without oxygen or nourishment ... I am sure that your country will know how to defend its identity with conviction and pride and to avoid the new pitfalls as they appear which, under the pretext of a misunderstood religious freedom, are contrary to natural law, the family, and morality".

  The Pope expressed his satisfaction at the interest the country has shown in enabling "Croatians in Bosnia-Herzegovina to fulfil their role a sone of the three constituent peoples of that country". In this context, he confirmed that "Croatia contributes its specific experience to facilitate dialogue and comprehension between people of different traditions co-existing throughout the centuries" and encouraged them to "continue along this path of consolidating peace through respect for all". Likewise, he expressed his pleasure that Croatia "promotes religious freedom and respects the specific mission of the Church".

  "For all these reasons", he concluded his address to the ambassador, "I am most pleased to be able to visit your country in a few weeks' time... As you know, the theme chosen for the trip will be  'Together in Christ!'... Together in spite of the innumerable human differences, together in diversity! ... In the name of Christ, who accompanied the Croatian people throughout centuries with goodness and mercy, I wish to offer encouragement to your country and to the Church which accompanies you".
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VATICAN CITY, 11 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, archbishop of Barcelona, Spain, and retinue.

 - Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka, president emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

 - Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation.

 - Archbishop Gerald Cyprien Lacroix of Quebec, Canada.

  On Saturday the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

 - Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini S.J., archbishop emeritus of Milan, Italy.
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VATICAN CITY, 11 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Paul Donoghue, S.M., as bishop of Rarotonga (area 234, population 12,760, Catholics 2,531, priests 9, religious 12), Cook Islands. The bishop-elect was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1975. He succeeds Msgr Stuart France O'Connell, S.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

On Saturday, it was made public that the Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the apostolic vicariate of Machiques, Venezuala, presented by Msgr Ramiro Diaz Sanchez, O.M.I., upon having reached the age limit.

 - Elevated the apostolic vicariate of Machiques (area 25,350, population 325,000, Catholics 282,000, priests 20, permanent deacons 1, religious 52), Venezuala, to the rank of diocese, with the same name and territorial configuration, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan Church of Maracaibo. He nominated as first bishop of the diocese of Machiques Msgr. Jesus Alfonso Guerrero Contreras, O.F.M. The bishop-elect was born in Merida, Venezuela, in 1951, and was ordained a priest in 1977.

 - Appointed Msgr. Gyorgy Udvardy, auxiliary bishop of Esztergom-Budapest as Bishop of the diocese of Pecs (area 8,196, population 662,000, Catholics 438,000, priests 114, permanent deacons 3, religious 66), Hungary.

- Appointed Msgr. John Moolachira, bishop of Diphu, as coadjutor archbishop of Guwahati (area 17,551, population 7,040,000, Catholics 75,551, priests 126, religious 515), India.

 - Appointed Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, archbishop emeritus of Palermo, as Special Envoy to the Diocesan Pauline Jubilee Year celebrations in Pozzuoli Italy, on 30 May 2011, on the occasion of the 1950th anniversary of St. Paul's landing in the city.

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