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Monday, October 29, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Zoran Milanovic, prime minister of the Republic of Croatia. The prime minister subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

The cordial discussions enabled a productive exchange of opinions on the challenges the country finds itself having to face during the current economic crisis, as well as on issues of mutual interest within the framework of bilateral relations. On this subject, mention was made of a conference to be held this afternoon marking the twentieth anniversary of diplomatic relations. As regards the well-known case of Dajla, the two parties agreed to resolve the question as soon as possible, in the spirit of traditional friendship between the Holy See and the Republic of Croatia.

Finally, the Holy See reiterated its support for Croatia's legitimate aspirations to full European integration, and consideration was given to the regional situation, with particular reference to the situation of Croatians in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio and Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, presented the Pope's Message for the ninety-ninth World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which falls on 13 January 2013 and will have as its theme: "Migrations: Pilgrimage of Faith and Hope".

"Today the phenomenon of migration is striking for the vast number of people involved", said Cardinal Veglio. "Suffice it, for example, to read the International Organisation for Migration's World Migration Report 2011, which estimates a total of 214 million international migrants". To these must be added internally displaced persons, who numbered around 740 million in 2010. "Adding the two figures together, we see that nearly one billion human beings, a seventh of the global population, is today experiencing some form of migration", the cardinal said.

"On their existential pilgrimage towards a better future, migrants carry with them feelings of faith and hope, even if they are not yet aware exactly what they are searching for. To say that they are trying only to improve their economic or social situation would be to over simplify the issue. ... It is true that not all migrants - even if they have a profound faith that, in migrating, God will be at their side - consider their journey as a movement towards God; i.e., a journey animated by faith. Nonetheless, it is precisely the people who do not yet know that they can discover God Who stretches out his hand to them, who may experience (and especially in countries of ancient Christian tradition) the genuine goodness of many ecclesial institutions who welcome and help them.

"It is, in fact, here in the immense context of migration", the president of the pontifical council added, "that the Church is called to show her maternal solicitude without distinction. In his message, the Holy Father identifies two channels for activity, which are not parallel but complementary. On the one hand is the more tangible element which, we could say, is more easily identifiable by the mass media and takes form in 'the creation of programmes aimed at meeting emergencies'. ... This is the most immediate form of attention. ... The second element, more laborious and less 'media friendly' because it often requires a change of mentality, is: ... supporting and accompanying the integration of migrants into their new socio-cultural surroundings".

Cardinal Veglio then went on to point out that the message for this World Day is being presented soon after the Pope's journey to Lebanon. "Thus", he said, "our gaze can turn specifically to the countries of the Middle East where the presence of Christian migrants, among believers of other religions, has a significant role in creating the very special identity of that region. ... And this is true not only of the Middle East, but of the entire world. The phenomenon of migration obliges us to encounter different lifestyles and different cultures, stimulating the creation of new relationships".

"The Church plays an important role in the process of integration", the cardinal concluded. "She does this by accentuating the centrality and dignity of the person, emphasising the protection of minorities and appreciation for their cultures; the contribution of migration to universal peace; the ecclesial and missionary dimension of migration, and the importance of dialogue and encounter within civil society, the ecclesial community and different confessions and religions. Moreover, in her efforts to resolve the human, social and religious problems of emigration, the Church does not fail to give this increasingly significant phenomenon a distinctly humanist and Christian imprint".

Archbishop Kalathiparambil focused his remarks on the issue of refugees, highlighting the growing difficulties they face in seeking asylum. He made particular mention of the restrictive measures imposed by certain States "to hinder access to their territories", such as "the requirement of visas, sanctions applied to transporters, and lists of safe countries of origin. These measures", he said, "have encouraged the activities of smugglers and traffickers, and led to dangerous sea crossings during which far too many human lives have already been lost".

The archbishop went on: "All this comes about despite the international community's obligation to protect refugees and asylum seekers, out of respect for the Declaration and the spirit of human rights, refugees' rights and international humanitarian law. Access to requesting asylum comes first and foremost; this also includes such primary needs as food, shelter, clothing and medical assistance, but also the right to work and free movement. It cannot be over emphasised that asylum seekers find themselves having to travel beyond the frontiers of their own countries, and it is their right not to possess valid travel or identity documents".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "Migrations: Pilgrimage of Faith and Hope" is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is celebrated every year on 13 January. The text of the English-language version of the Message, given below, is dated from the Vatican, 12 October 2012.

"The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, in the Pastoral Constitution 'Gaudium et Spes', recalled that 'the Church goes forward together with humanity'; therefore 'the joys and the hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts'. The Servant of God Paul VI echoed these words when he called the Church an 'expert in humanity' , as did Blessed John Paul II when he stated that the human person is 'the primary route that the Church must travel in fulfilling her mission... the way traced out by Christ himself'. In the footsteps of my predecessors, I sought to emphasise in my Encyclical 'Caritas in Veritate' that 'the whole Church, in all her being and acting - when she proclaims, when she celebrates, when she performs works of charity - is engaged in promoting integral human development'. I was thinking also of the millions of men and women who, for various reasons, have known the experience of migration. Migration is in fact 'a striking phenomenon because of the sheer numbers of people involved, the social, economic, political, cultural and religious problems it raises, and the dramatic challenges it poses to nations and the international community', for 'every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance'.

"For this reason, I have chosen to dedicate the 2013 World Day of Migrants and Refugees to the theme 'Migrations: pilgrimage of faith and hope', in conjunction with the celebrations marking the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and the sixtieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution 'Exsul Familia', and at a time when the whole Church is celebrating the Year of Faith, taking up with enthusiasm the challenge of the new evangelisation.

"Faith and hope are inseparable in the hearts of many migrants, who deeply desire a better life and not infrequently try to leave behind the 'hopelessness' of an unpromising future. During their journey many of them are sustained by the deep trust that God never abandons his children; this certainty makes the pain of their uprooting and separation more tolerable and even gives them the hope of eventually returning to their country of origin. Faith and hope are often among the possessions which emigrants carry with them, knowing that with them, 'we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey'.

"In the vast sector of migration, the Church shows her maternal concern in a variety of ways. On the one hand, she witnesses the immense poverty and suffering entailed in migration, leading often to painful and tragic situations. This inspires the creation of programmes aimed at meeting emergencies through the generous help of individuals and groups, volunteer associations and movements, parochial and diocesan organisations in cooperation with all people of good will. The Church also works to highlight the positive aspects, the potential and the resources which migrations offer. Along these lines, programmes and centres of welcome have been established to help and sustain the full integration of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees into a new social and cultural context, without neglecting the religious dimension, fundamental for every person’s life. Indeed, it is to this dimension that the Church, by virtue of the mission entrusted to her by Christ, must devote special attention and care: this is her most important and specific task. For Christians coming from various parts of the world, attention to the religious dimension also entails ecumenical dialogue and the care of new communities, while for the Catholic faithful it involves, among other things, establishing new pastoral structures and showing esteem for the various rites, so as to foster full participation in the life of the local ecclesial community. Human promotion goes side by side with spiritual communion, which opens the way 'to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the only Saviour of the world'. The Church always offers a precious gift when she guides people to an encounter with Christ, which opens the way to a stable and trustworthy hope.

"Where migrants and refugees are concerned, the Church and her various agencies ought to avoid offering charitable services alone; they are also called to promote real integration in a society where all are active members and responsible for one another’s welfare, generously offering a creative contribution and rightfully sharing in the same rights and duties. Emigrants bring with them a sense of trust and hope which has inspired and sustained their search for better opportunities in life. Yet they do not seek simply to improve their financial, social and political condition. It is true that the experience of migration often begins in fear, especially when persecutions and violence are its cause, and in the trauma of having to leave behind family and possessions which had in some way ensured survival. But suffering, great losses and at times a sense of disorientation before an uncertain future do not destroy the dream of being able to build, with hope and courage, a new life in a new country. Indeed, migrants trust that they will encounter acceptance, solidarity and help, that they will meet people who sympathise with the distress and tragedy experienced by others, recognise the values and resources the latter have to offer, and are open to sharing humanly and materially with the needy and disadvantaged. It is important to realise that 'the reality of human solidarity, which is a benefit for us, also imposes a duty'. Migrants and refugees can experience, along with difficulties, new, welcoming relationships which enable them to enrich their new countries with their professional skills, their social and cultural heritage and, not infrequently, their witness of faith, which can bring new energy and life to communities of ancient Christian tradition, and invite others to encounter Christ and to come to know the Church.

"Certainly every state has the right to regulate migration and to enact policies dictated by the general requirements of the common good, albeit always in safeguarding respect for the dignity of each human person. The right of persons to migrate - as the Council’s Constitution 'Gaudium et Spes', No. 65, recalled - is numbered among the fundamental human rights, allowing persons to settle wherever they consider best for the realisation of their abilities, aspirations and plans. In the current social and political context, however, even before the right to migrate, there is need to reaffirm the right not to emigrate, that is, to remain in one’s homeland; as Blessed John Paul II stated: 'It is a basic human right to live in one’s own country. However this rights become effective only if the factors that urge people to emigrate are constantly kept under control'. Today in fact we can see that many migrations are the result of economic instability, the lack of essential goods, natural disasters, wars and social unrest. Instead of a pilgrimage filled with trust, faith and hope, migration then becomes an ordeal undertaken for the sake of survival, where men and women appear more as victims than as agents responsible for the decision to migrate. As a result, while some migrants attain a satisfactory social status and a dignified level of life through proper integration into their new social setting, many others are living at the margins, frequently exploited and deprived of their fundamental rights, or engaged in forms of behaviour harmful to their host society. The process of integration entails rights and duties, attention and concern for the dignified existence of migrants; it also calls for attention on the part of migrants to the values offered by the society to which they now belong.

"In this regard, we must not overlook the question of irregular migration, an issue all the more pressing when it takes the form of human trafficking and exploitation, particularly of women and children. These crimes must be clearly condemned and prosecuted, while an orderly migration policy which does not end up in a hermetic sealing of borders, more severe sanctions against irregular migrants and the adoption of measures meant to discourage new entries, could at least limit for many migrants the danger of falling prey to such forms of human trafficking. There is an urgent need for structured multilateral interventions for the development of the countries of departure, effective countermeasures aimed at eliminating human trafficking, comprehensive programmes regulating legal entry, and a greater openness to considering individual cases calling for humanitarian protection more than political asylum. In addition to suitable legislation, there is a need for a patient and persevering effort to form minds and consciences. In all this, it is important to strengthen and develop understanding and cooperation between ecclesial and other institutions devoted to promoting the integral development of the human person. In the Christian vision, social and humanitarian commitment draws its strength from fidelity to the Gospel, in the knowledge that 'to follow Christ, the perfect man, is to become more human oneself'.

"Dear brothers and sisters who yourselves are migrants, may this World Day help you renew your trust and hope in the Lord who is always at our side! Take every opportunity to encounter him and to see his face in the acts of kindness you receive during your pilgrimage of migration. Rejoice, for the Lord is near, and with him you will be able to overcome obstacles and difficulties, treasuring the experiences of openness and acceptance that many people offer you. For 'life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives. They are lights of hope. Certainly, Jesus Christ is the true light, the sun that has risen above all the shadows of history. But to reach him we also need lights close by – people who shine with his light and so guide us along our way'.

"I entrust each of you to the Blessed Virgin Mary, sign of sure hope and consolation, our 'guiding star', who with her maternal presence is close to us at every moment of our life. To all I affectionately impart my Apostolic Blessing".


Vatican City, 28 October 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Basilica, Benedict XVI presided at a celebration of the Eucharist with Synod Fathers for the closure of the thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which began on 7 October and has been examining the theme: "The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith". Extracts from the Holy Father's homily are given below.

"The whole of Mark’s Gospel is a journey of faith, which develops gradually under Jesus’ tutelage. The disciples are the first actors on this journey of discovery, but there are also other characters who play an important role, and Bartimaeus is one of them. His is the last miraculous healing that Jesus performs before His passion, and it is no accident that it should be that of a blind person, someone whose eyes have lost the light. We know from other texts too that the state of blindness has great significance in the Gospels. It represents man who needs God’s light, the light of faith, if he is to know reality truly and to walk the path of life. It is essential to acknowledge one’s blindness, one’s need for this light, otherwise one could remain blind for ever.

"Bartimaeus, then, at that strategic point of Mark’s account, is presented as a model. He was not blind from birth, but lost his sight. He represents man who has lost the light and knows it, but has not lost hope: he knows how to seize the opportunity to encounter Jesus and he entrusts himself to Him for healing. ... And when Jesus calls him and asks what he wants from Him, he replies: 'Master, let me receive my sight!' ... In the encounter with Christ, lived with faith, Bartimaeus regains the light he had lost, and with it the fullness of his dignity: he gets back onto his feet and resumes the journey, which from that moment has a guide, Jesus, and a path, the same that Jesus is travelling".

"St. Augustine, in one of his writings, makes a striking comment. ... 'Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, had fallen from some position of great prosperity, and was now regarded as an object of the most notorious and the most remarkable wretchedness, because, in addition to being blind, he had also to sit begging'. ... This interpretation ... invites us to reflect on the fact that our lives contain precious riches that we can lose, and I am not speaking of material riches. From this perspective, Bartimaeus could represent those who live in regions that were evangelised long ago, where the light of faith has grown dim and people have drifted away from God, no longer considering Him relevant for their lives. These people have therefore lost a precious treasure, they have “fallen” from a lofty dignity - not financially or in terms of earthly power, but in a Christian sense - their lives have lost a secure and sound direction and they have become, often unconsciously, beggars for the meaning of existence. They are the many in need of a new evangelisation, that is, a new encounter with Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, Who can open their eyes afresh and teach them the path".

"The new evangelisation applies to the whole of Church life. ... I would like here to highlight three pastoral themes that have emerged from the Synod. The first concerns the Sacraments of Christian initiation. It has been reaffirmed that appropriate catechesis must accompany preparation for Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. The importance of Confession, the Sacrament of God’s mercy, has also been emphasised. ... In fact it has often been said that the real protagonists of the new evangelisation are the saints: they speak a language intelligible to all through the example of their lives and their works of charity.

"Secondly, the new evangelisation is essentially linked to the 'Missio ad Gentes'. The Church’s task is to evangelise, to proclaim the message of salvation to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ. During the Synod, it was emphasised that there are still many regions in Africa, Asia and Oceania whose inhabitants await with lively expectation, sometimes without being fully aware of it, the first proclamation of the Gospel. So we must ask the Holy Spirit to arouse in the Church a new missionary dynamism, whose protagonists are, in particular, pastoral workers and the lay faithful".

"A third aspect concerns the baptised whose lives do not reflect the demands of Baptism. ... Such people are found in all continents, especially in the most secularised countries. The Church is particularly concerned that they should encounter Jesus Christ anew, rediscover the joy of faith and return to religious practice in the community of the faithful. Besides traditional and perennially valid pastoral methods, the Church seeks to adopt new ones, developing new language attuned to the different world cultures, proposing the truth of Christ with an attitude of dialogue and friendship rooted in God Who is Love".

"Bartimaeus, on regaining his sight from Jesus, joined the crowd of disciples, which must certainly have included others like him, who had been healed by the Master. New evangelisers are like that: people who have had the experience of being healed by God, through Jesus Christ. ... Let us put away, then, all blindness to the truth, all ignorance and, removing the darkness that obscures our vision like fog before the eyes, let us contemplate the true God".


Vatican City, 28 October 2012 (VIS) - At midday today, after presiding at Mass for the closure of the thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square.

The Pope began by mentioning the Synod. "For three weeks", he said, "we have discussed the realities of new evangelisation for the transmission of Christian faith. The entire Church was represented and, therefore, involved in this activity which, with God's grace, will not fail to bring forth fruit. First and foremost, however, a Synod is always a time of strong ecclesial communion and for this reason, together with you, I wish to thank God Who has once again allowed us to experience the beauty of being Church, and of being Church today in this world, as it is, in the midst of this humanity with all its weariness and its hopes".

The Holy Father then went on to refer to the "significant fact" that the Synod coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II, and with the beginning of the Year of Faith. "Turning our minds back to Blessed John XXIII, to Servant of God Paul VI, and to the period of the Council ... helped us to recognise that new evangelisation is not an invention of our own, but a dynamic that began to develop in the Church in the 1950s, when it became clear that even countries of ancient Christian tradition had become, so to speak, 'mission lands'. Thus emerged the need for a renewed announcement of the Gospel in secularised societies, in the dual certainty that, on the one hand, only He, Jesus Christ, is the true novelty that responds to the needs of man at all times and, on the other that His message needs to be suitably transmitted in changing social and cultural environments".

The intense efforts of the Synod Fathers led to "a commitment to the spiritual renewal of the Church in order to spiritually renew the secularised world. Such renewal will come about with the rediscovery of Jesus Christ, of His truth and His grace, of His 'face', at once human and divine, upon which shines the transcendent mystery of God".

After praying the Angelus, the Pope launched an appeal for Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica and the Bahamas, devastated by a hurricane which recently struck the Caribbean region leaving numerous dead and forcing many people to flee their homes. "I wish to give assurances of my closeness, and of my concern for those who have been struck by this natural disaster", he said. "At the same time, I invite everyone to pray and show solidarity in order to alleviate the suffering of the victims' families, and to help the many thousands who have suffered damage".

The Holy Father concluded by mentioning the inhabitants of the Italian regions of Basilicata and Calabria, which have been affected by a series of earthquakes in recent days.


Vatican City, 27 October 2012 (VIS) - During the twenty-second and final General Congregation of the Synod of Bishops, during which the participants voted on the final list of propositions, Benedict XVI addressed some brief remarks to the Synod Fathers.

"In the context of the discussion of the Synod of Bishops on 'The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith', and as the conclusion of a period of reflection on the themes of seminaries and catechesis, ... I have decided to transfer jurisdiction for seminaries from the Congregation for Catholic Education to the Congregation for the Clergy, and jurisdiction for catechesis from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation", the Pope announced.

"The relative documents - in the form of an Apostolic Letter 'Motu Proprio' defining the respective fields of competence - will follow", he said. "We pray to the Lord that He may accompany these three dicasteries of the Roman Curia in their important mission, with the collaboration of the entire Church.

"Since I am already speaking", the Holy Father added, "I would also like to express my cordial best wishes to the new cardinals. I chose to call this little consistory in order to complete the consistory of February, within the context of new evangelisation. It is a gesture towards the universality of the Church, showing that the Church is the Church of all peoples, that she speaks all languages, that she is always the Church of Pentecost; not the Church of one continent, but the universal Church. My intention was to express this universality of the Church. It will also be a fine expression of this Synod. I have found it truly edifying consoling and encouraging to see here the mirror of the universal Church, with her suffering, threats, dangers and joys, her experiences of the Lord's presence, even in difficult situations.

"We have seen how even today the Church lives and grows. ... And even if she faces headwinds yet does she feel above all the breath of the Holy Spirit, which helps us and shows us the right way. Thus, with renewed enthusiasm, I believe, we are on our journey and can thank God for having given us this truly catholic meeting", the Pope concluded.


VATICAN CITY,  (VIS) - The following English-language declaration was issued this morning by the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

"The Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei' takes this occasion to announce that, in its most recent official communication (6 September 2012), the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X has indicated that additional time for reflection and study is needed on their part as they prepare their response to the Holy See’s latest initiatives.

"The current stage in the ongoing discussions between the Holy See and the Priestly Fraternity follows three years of doctrinal and theological dialogues during which a joint commission met eight times to study and discuss, among other matters, some disputed issues in the interpretation of certain documents of Vatican Council II. Once these doctrinal dialogues were concluded, it became possible to proceed to a phase of discussion more directly focused on the greatly desired reconciliation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X with the See of Peter.

"Other critical steps in this positive process of gradual reintegration had already been taken by the Holy See in 2007 with the extension of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite to the Universal Church by the Motu Proprio 'Summorum Pontificum' and in 2009 with the lifting of the excommunications. Just a few months ago, a culminating point along this difficult path was reached when, on 13 June 2012, the Pontifical Commission presented to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X a doctrinal declaration together with a proposal for the canonical normalisation of its status within the Catholic Church.

"At the present time, the Holy See is awaiting the official response of the superiors of the Priestly Fraternity to these two documents. After thirty years of separation, it is understandable that time is needed to absorb the significance of these recent developments. As Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI seeks to foster and preserve the unity of the Church by realising the long hoped-for reconciliation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X with the See of Peter - a dramatic manifestation of the 'munus Petrinum' in action - patience, serenity, perseverance and trust are needed".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Archbishop Jules Mikhael Al-Jamil as a member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

- Appointed as members of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue: Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples; Archbishop Peter Takeo Okada of Tokyo, Japan; Archbishop Jean Benjamin Sleiman O.C.D. of Baghdad of the Latins, Iraq; Archbishop Daniel J. Bohan of Regina, Canada; Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation; Bishop Michel Dubost C.I.M. of Evry-Corbeil-Essonnes, France; Bishop Angelito R. Lampon O.M.I., apostolic vicar of Jolo, Philippines; Bishop Francesco Biasin of Barra do Pirai-Volta Redonda, Brazil; Bishop Joseph Chusak Sirisut of Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand; Bishop Sebastian Francis Shah O.F.M., auxiliary of Lahore, Pakistan; Bishop Michael Didi Adgum Mangoria, coadjutor of El-Obeid, Sudan; Bishop Tomo Vuksic, military ordinary of Bosnia Herzegovina, and Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto, Nigeria.

- Appointed as members of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum": Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga S.D.B., archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and president of Caritas Internationalis; Archbishop Alberto Taveira Correa of Belem do Para, Brazil; Archbishop Paolo Pezzi F.S.C.B. of the archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow; Bishop Tarcisius Isao Kikuchi S.V.D. of Niigata, Japan, and vice president for Asia of Caritas Internationalis; Msgr. Peter Neher, president of "Deutscher Caritasverband" (Germany); Fr. Francesco Antonio Soddu, national director of Caritas Italy; Baron Johannes Nepomuk Heereman Von Zuydtwyck, executive director of Aid to the Church in Need; Carolyn Y. Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services - U.S.C.C.(U.S.A), Maritza Sanchez Abiyud, director of Caritas Cuba.

- Appointed Michel Roy, secretary of Caritas Internationalis, as consultor of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".

- Appointed Fr. Pasquale Cascio of the clergy of the diocese of Teggiano - Policastro, Italy, pastor and professor of Sacred Scripture, as archbishop of Sant'Angelo dei Lombardi - Conza - Nusco - Bisaccia (area 1,290, population 84,000, Catholics 83,400, priests 65, permanent deacons 5, religious 101), Italy. The archbishop-elect was born in Castelcivita, Italy in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1983. He has worked in pastoral care and in teaching.

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Brindisi - Ostuni, Italy, presented by Archbishop Rocco Talucci, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Fr. Ramon Alberto Rolon Guespa of the clergy of the archdiocese of Nueva Pamplona, Colombia, rector of the the major archdiocesan seminary of "Santo Tomas de Aquino", as bishop of Monteria (area 14,500, population 1,647,000, Catholics 1,565,000, priests 107, religious 185), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in Arboledas, Colombia in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1984. He has served as pastor in a number of parishes.

- Appointed Bishop Ryszard Kasyna, auxiliary of Gdansk, Poland, as bishop of Pelplin (area 12,890, population 780,800, Catholics 731,000, priests 588, permanent deacons 1, religious 298), Poland.

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Pemba, Mozambique, presented by Bishop Ernesto Maguengue, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law, appointing Fr. Fernando Domingos Costa C.P. as apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the same diocese.

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