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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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Friday, December 23, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 22 DEC 2011 (VIS) - Benedict XVI sent a telegram of condolence to the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, on the death this past Sunday of former president Vaclav Havel, whose funeral was celebrated this morning in the Cathedral of St. Vitus at the Prague Castle. President Havel was 75 years old.

  In the text, the Pope expressed his nearness to those attending the funeral, joining them in "commending the soul of the deceased to the infinite mercy of our heavenly Father" and recalling Vaclav Havel's courage in the defence of "human rights at a time when these were systematically denied to the people of your country". He paid tribute to his "visionary leadership in forging a new democratic policy after the fall of the previous regime" and gave thanks to God "for the freedom that the people of the Czech Republic now enjoy".

  The Holy Father concluded by imparting the Apostolic Blessing as "a pledge of spiritual strength and comfort" to all those mourning the deceased, "in hope of resurrection to new life".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 DEC 2011 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

  - Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals,

  - Archbishop Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and

  - Mr. Timothy Andrew Fischer, ambassador of Australia, accompanied by his wife, on his farewell visit.
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VATICAN CITY, 23 DEC 2011 (VIS) - The Vatican Information Service wishes its readers a very happy and holy Christmas. During the Christmas holiday there will be no VIS bulletin from Saturday 24 December through Tuesday 27 December. The next bulletin will be transmitted on Wednesday 28 December.
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