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Thursday, October 20, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 20 OCT 2011 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon the Pope travelled across Rome to inaugurate the "Domus Australia", a welcome centre for Australian pilgrims in the city. In his remarks he recalled the warm welcome he had received when he visited Australia for World Youth Day in 2008, and made mention of last year's canonisation of the first Australian saint, Mary MacKillop.

"Our earthly lives", the Holy Father said, "are spent journeying towards that ultimate goal, where 'no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him'. Here on earth, the Church's long tradition of pilgrimage to holy places serves to remind us that we are heavenward bound, it refocuses our minds on the call to holiness, it draws us ever closer to the Lord and strengthens us with spiritual food for the journey.

"Many generations of pilgrims", he added, "have made their way to Rome from all over the Christian world, in order to venerate the tombs of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and thereby to deepen their communion in the one Church of Christ, founded on the Apostles. In so doing, they strengthen the roots of their faith; and roots, as we know, are the source of life-giving sustenance. In that sense, pilgrims to Rome should always feel at home here, and the 'Domus Australia' will play an important part in creating a home for Australian pilgrims in the city of the Apostles. Yet roots are only a part of the story. According to a saying attributed to a great poet from my own country, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, there are two things that children should receive from their parents: roots and wings. From our holy Mother, the Church, we too receive both roots and wings: the faith of the Apostles, handed down from generation to generation, and the grace of the Holy Spirit, conveyed above all through the Sacraments of the Church".

Thus, the Holy Father concluded, "Pilgrims to this city return to their homelands renewed and strengthened in their faith, and borne aloft by the Holy Spirit in the journey onward and upward to their heavenly home".
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VATICAN CITY, 20 OCT 2011 (VIS) - The positive results of World Youth Day (WYD) 2008, celebrated in Sydney, Australia, and the recollection of the first country's saint, Mary MacKillop, were the central themes of remarks made this morning by Benedict XVI to prelates of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

The Pope mentioned the increased number of vocations to the priesthood and religious life in Australia in the wake of WYD 2008. This is proof, he said, of "the youthful vitality of the Church to which we all belong and the perennial relevance of the Good News which must be proclaimed afresh to every generation".

"St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop's "courageous response to the difficulties she faced throughout her life can also inspire today's Catholics as they confront the new evangelisation and serious challenges to the spread of the Gospel in society as a whole".

"It is true that yours is a pastoral burden which has been made heavier by the past sins and mistakes of others, most regrettably including some clergy and religious; but the task now falls to you to continue to repair the errors of the past with honesty and openness, in order to build, with humility and resolve, a better future for all concerned. I therefore encourage you to continue to be pastors of souls who, along with your clergy, are always prepared to go one step further in love and truth for the sake of the consciences of the flock entrusted to you, seeking to preserve them in holiness, to teach them humbly and to lead them irreproachably in the ways of the Catholic faith".

"You are conscious of your special duty to care for the celebration of the liturgy", Pope Benedict told the prelates in conclusion. "The new translation of the Roman Missal, which is the fruit of a remarkable cooperation of the Holy See, the bishops and experts from all over the world, is intended to enrich and deepen the sacrifice of praise offered to God by His people. Help your clergy to welcome and to appreciate what has been achieved, so that they in turn may assist the faithful as everyone adjusts to the new translation. As we know, the sacred liturgy and its forms are written deeply in the heart of every Catholic. Make every effort to help catechists and musicians in their respective preparations to render the celebration of the Roman Rite in your dioceses a moment of greater grace and beauty, worthy of the Lord and spiritually enriching for everyone".
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VATICAN CITY, 20 OCT 2011 (VIS) - Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, has written a message to Hindus for the feast of Deepavali. The message, which also bears the signature of Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, secretary of the pontifical council, is entitled: "Christians and Hindus: together in Promoting Religious Freedom". Deepvali celebrates the victory of truth over falsehood, of light over darkness, of life over death, of good over evil. The celebrations, which being this year on 26 October, last three days and mark the beginning of a new year, a time for family reconciliation, especially among brothers and sisters, and adoration of the divine.

Religious freedom, the text reads, currently takes "centre stage in many places, calling our attention to those members of our human family exposed to bias, prejudice, hate propaganda, discrimination and persecution on the basis of religious affiliation. Religious freedom is the answer to religiously motivated conflicts in many parts of the world. Amid the violence triggered by these conflicts, many desperately yearn for peaceful coexistence and integral human development".

The Message continues: "Religious freedom is numbered among the fundamental human rights rooted in the dignity of the human person. When it is jeopardised or denied, all other human rights are endangered. Religious freedom necessarily includes immunity from coercion by any individual, group, community or institution. Though the exercise of this right entails the freedom of every person to profess, practise and propagate his or her religion or belief, in public or in private, alone or in a community, it also involves a serious obligation on the part of civil authorities, individuals and groups to respect the freedom of others. Moreover, it includes the freedom to change one's own religion".
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VATICAN CITY, 20 OCT 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences eight prelates from the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, on their 'ad limina' visit:

- Archbishop Barry James Hickey of Perth, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Donald George Sproxton.

- Bishop Gerard Joseph Holohan of Bunbury.

- Bishop Justin Joseph Bianchini of Geraldton.

- Bishop Luc Julian Matthys of Armidale.

- Bishop Michael Joseph McKenna of Bathurst.

- Bishop David Louis Walker of Broken Bay.

- Bishop Geoffrey Hilton Jarrett of Lismore.
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