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Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Vatican City, 24 April 2012 (VIS) - The "Osservatore Romano" and the Italian newspaper "Il Sole e 24 Ore" are paying homage to the Holy Father for the seventh anniversary of his election with a book entitled "Benedict XVI, Theologian and Pontiff". The volume is being distributed with today's edition of "Il Sole e 24 Ore" and will shortly be available in digital format on the newspaper’s website, with addition multimedia content and English and Spanish translations. The Spanish newspaper "La Razon" will place the book on its own website on 26 April.

In the prologue to the work Giovanni Maria Vian, director of the "Osservatore Romano", explains that, for the Holy Father's eighty-fifth birthday and the beginning of the eighth year of his pontificate, it was decided to publish a book bringing together a number of little-known texts on the figure of Benedict XVI. These include a dialogue on secularism and religion between the philosopher Armando Massarenti and the journalist Giuliano Ferrara, some suggestions for reading the works of Joseph Ratzinger by the historiographer Lucetta Scaraffia, and a chronological summary of the life of "the theologian who became pontiff".

This initiative, Vian writes, "aims above all to contribute to an understanding of the person and works of an intellectual who has dedicated, and continues to dedicate his life to the tireless search for truth, engaging in continuous dialogue between faith and reason, and using a language accessible to everyone".


Vatican City, 24 April 2012 (VIS) - The Catholic news agency Fides has reported that 22,104 people were baptised in China on Easter Sunday. The statistics were collected by the Study Centre of Faith in the Chinese province of He Bei. The newly-baptised Catholics, 75 per cent of whom are adults, belong to 101 dioceses. In He Bei itself 4,410 people were baptised on Easter Day, 615 more than last year, while in Hong Kong, which has more than 360,000 faithful, there were 3,500 baptisms.

In evaluating these figures, it should be borne in mind that some dioceses do not celebrate all their baptisms at Easter. For example, in Shang Hai there were 379 Easter baptisms but the total figure could exceed 1,500 by the end of the year. According to Sr. Li Guo Shuang of the Study Center, "there are still some dioceses or communities which, due to communication difficulties, have not yet reported data to us. So we must emphasise that the figures are not complete, they may still increase".

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