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Wednesday, May 4, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 4 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today, Benedict XVI began a series of catecheses that will focus on the theme of Christian payer.

  Addressing the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope explained that, beginning this Wednesday, "drawing near to Sacred Scripture, the great tradition of the Church Fathers, the masters of spirituality, and the liturgy, we will seek to learn how to live even more intensely our relationship with the Lord, as if it were a type of "School of Prayer".

  "We know", he said, "that prayer should not be overlooked. It is necessary to learn how to pray, almost learning this art ever anew. Even those who are very advanced in their spiritual lives always feel the need to attend the school of Jesus in order to learn how to truly pray".

  In this first catechesis, Benedict XVI offered a few examples of prayer that were present in ancient cultures, "to highlight how, almost always and everywhere, we have turned to God. In ancient Egypt, for example, a blind man asking the divinity to return his sight, testifies to something universally human, which is the pure and simple prayer of someone who is suffering".

  "In those sublime, all-time masterpieces of literature that are the Greek tragedies, even today, after 25 centuries, prayers expressing the desire to know God and adore His majesty are read, reflected on, and performed".

  The Pope emphasized that "every prayer always expresses the truth of human creatures, who on the one hand experience a certain weakness and indigence and who, therefore, ask assistance from heaven and, on the other, who are endowed with an extraordinary dignity because able to prepare themselves to receive divine Revelation, discovering themselves capable of entering into communion with God".

  "Persons of every age pray because they cannot stop asking themselves the meaning of their existence, which remains obscure and discouraging if they are unable to enter into relationship with the mystery of God and His plan for the world. Human life is a mixture of good and evil, of unwarranted suffering and of joy and beauty that, spontaneously and irresistibly, move us to ask God for the inner light and strength to sustain us on earth, revealing a hope that goes beyond the limits of death".

  Benedict XVI concluded, asking that the Lord, "at the beginning of this journey in the School of Prayer, enlighten our minds and our hearts so that our relationship with Him in prayer be always more intense, affectionate, and constant. One more time let us ask Him: 'Lord, hear our prayer'".
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VATICAN CITY, 4 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today was made public the Pope's message to Mary Ann Glendon, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, and the members of that institution at the closure of their seventeenth plenary assembly held in Rome from 29 April to 3 May on the theme: "Universal Rights in a World of Diversity: The Case of Religious Freedom".

  The Holy Father writes that the freedom of religion and of worship that suffered the "systematic denial by atheistic regimes of the twentieth century ... are again under threat from attitudes and ideologies which would impede free religious expression. Consequently, the challenge to defend and promote the right to freedom of religion and freedom of worship must be taken up once more in our days".

  "Since man enjoys the capacity for a free personal choice in truth, and since God expects of man a free response to his call", he writes, "the right to religious freedom should be viewed as innate to the fundamental dignity of every human person, in keeping with the innate openness of the human heart to God.  In fact, authentic freedom of religion will permit the human person to attain fulfillment and will thus contribute to the common good of society".

  Benedict XVI emphasized that "every state has a sovereign right to promulgate its own legislation and will express different attitudes to religion in law. So it is that there are some states which allow broad religious freedom in our understanding of the term, while others restrict it for a variety of reasons, including mistrust for religion itself. The Holy See continues to appeal for the recognition of the fundamental human right to religious freedom on the part of all states, and calls on them to respect, and if need be protect, religious minorities who, though bound by a different faith from the majority around them, aspire to live with their fellow citizens peacefully and to participate fully in the civil and political life of the nation, to the benefit of all".

  This afternoon, in the Holy See Press Office, the president of the academy, Mary Ann Glendon, summarized the plenary's acts of these days, which focused on four main areas. The first, she said was the "state coercion and persecution of religious believers"; the second, "state restrictions upon the religious liberties of religious minorities; third, "societal pressure on religious minorities that may or may not be state sanctioned, but nonetheless curtails the liberties of those minorities", and fourth, "the growth of secular fundamentalism in Western counties which considers religious believers a threat to secular, liberal democratic politics".
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VATICAN CITY, 4 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father appointed:

- Archbishop Janusz Bolonek, apostolic nuncio to Bulgaria, as apostolic nuncio to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

- as members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints: Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, C.S., president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See; Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers; Bishop Ambrogio Spreafico, of Frosinone-Veroli-Ferentino, Italy; and Archbishop Santos Abril y Castello, vice-chamberlain of the Apostolic Chamber.

- Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P., secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, as consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

- Bishop Dimas Lara Barbosa, auxiliary bishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, as metropolitan archbishop of Campo Grande (area 43,762, population 2,336,000, Catholics 1,763,000, priests 110, permanent deacons 1, religious 292), Brazil. He succeeds Archbishop Vitorio Pavanello, S.D.B., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Fr. Wilson Luis Angotti Filho, of the clergy of the diocese of Jaboticabal, as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Belo Horizonte (area 7,240, population 4,767,000, Catholics 3,411,312, priests 645, religious 2,007), Brazil. The bishop-elect, previously assessor of Commission for the Doctrine of the Faith of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, was born in Tarquaritinga, Sao Paulo in 1958 and was ordained a priest in 1982.

- Fr. Julio Endi Akamine, S.A.C., provincial superior of the Sao Paulo province of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottines), as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Sao Paulo (area 1,645, population 7,511,000, Catholics 5,484,000, priests 858, permanent deacons 50, religious 2,735), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Garca, Sao Paulo in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1988.

- Fr. Jose Aparecido Hergesse, C.R., procurator general of the Congregation of Clerics Regular (Theatines) in Rome, Italy, as auxiliary bishop of Vitória (area 7,234, population 3,210,000, Catholics 2,010,000, priests 138, religious 264), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Paranapanema, Sao Paulo in 1957 and was ordained a priest in 1985.

- Fr. Edgar Aristizabal Quintero, of the clergy of the diocese of Cartago, Colombia and Fr. Hugo Alberto Torres Marin, of the clergy of the diocese of Santa Rosa de Osos, Colombia, as auxiliary bishops of the archdiocese of Medellin (area 687, population 3,416,000, Catholics 2,969,000, priests 1,037, permanent deacons 44, religious 4,025), Colombia. Bishop-elect Aristizabal, previously director of the Department of Doctrine and Ecumenism of the Colombian Bishops' Conference, was born in Cartago, Colombia in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1990. Bishop-elect Torres, previously rector of the major seminary of the diocese of Santa Rosa de Osos, was born in Briceno, Colombia in 1960 and was ordained a priest in 1987.
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