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Friday, November 23, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "Ever since the dawn of Christianity, the maritime world has been an effective vehicle for evangelisation. The Apostles and disciples of Jesus were able to go into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, partly thanks to maritime navigation; the journeys of St. Paul provide just one example. In this way they undertook their mission to spread the Word of God to 'the ends of the earth'".

With these words Benedict XVI this morning greeted participants in the twenty-third World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea, organised by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. The congress focused on themes such as the proclamation of the Gospel to the increasing number of seafarers belonging to the Oriental Churches, assistance to non-Christians and non-believers, and the intensification of ecumenical and inter-religious collaboration.

"Today too the Church sails across the seas to bring the Gospel to all nations, and your presence in ports throughout the world, your daily visits to ships docked in these ports and the fraternal welcome you give to the crews whilst in port are a visible sign of your concern for those who are not able to receive ordinary pastoral care. Nowadays the world of seafaring, with its continual movement of people, must take account of the complex effects of globalisation and, unfortunately, has to face situations of injustice, especially when crews are subject to restrictions on disembarkation, abandoned along with the vessels on which they work, face the threat of piracy at sea or suffer the consequences of illegal fishing. The vulnerability of seafarers, fishermen and sailors must encourage even greater concern on the part of the Church and stimulate the maternal care that, through you, she shows to those you meet in ports and on board ships, or assist during long periods at sea".

Benedict XVI then turned his attention to those who work in the fishing sector and their families, emphasising that more than other groups they have to "face the difficulties of the present time and the uncertainty of a future threatened by the negative effects of climate change and the excessive exploitation of resources. I guarantee the Church will remain close to fishermen who seek dignified and safe working conditions, safeguarding the value of the family and the environment and defending the dignity of each individual".

Finally, citing the Vatican Council II decree "Ad gentes" on the missionary activity of the Church, the Pope encouraged those who work "on the front line of the evangelisation of many men and women of various nationalities in your ports" to be "faithful apostles to the mission of proclaiming the Gospel" and to "show the caring face of the Church who welcomes and draws close also to this group of the People of God", responding "without hesitation to seafarers, who await you on board, in the hope that you may fulfil the deepest longings of their souls and that they may become an active part of the community".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The "King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Dialogue" (KAICIID) will be inaugurated on Monday 26 November in Vienna. Its name refers to the initiative of the King of Saudi Arabia and has three "founder States": the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Austria and the Kingdom of Spain. The Holy See has accepted the invitation to participate as a "founding observer" and a high level Vatican delegation will attend the inauguration ceremony.

Some questions have been raised regarding the motives and the meaning of the Holy See's adherence to this initiative. The Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. has offered the following clarifications:

"The centre, which will be inaugurated in Vienna on Monday, is a new institution the purpose of which is to foster dialogue among religions and cultures. This goal is to be regarded favourably with a view to fostering understanding and peaceful coexistence among populations, a matter of fundamental urgency for humanity today and in the future. The King of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, and the Holy Father discussed these aims during their meeting on 6 November 2007 in Vatican City.

"It is important to note that the new centre is not a proprietary institution of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but rather an independent international organisation recognised by the United Nations and founded by three States, two of which have centuries-old Christian traditions. It therefore provides an opportunity and space for dialogue, and it is right that the Holy See should avail herself of the opportunity to be present, in order to offer her experience and trusted expertise in the field of inter-religious dialogue. The status of founding observer is most apt to guarantee just such a presence, respecting the nature of the Holy See and permitting the Holy See to express her specific concerns and expectations.

"The Catholic Church is present among the various religions and religious communities on the Board of Directors, which is defined as the motor of the Centre's initiatives, and she will be represented from the outset by Fr. Miguel Ayuso Guixot M.I.I.C., secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. This will constitute an important opportunity to present the vision of the Church in matters of dialogue, the human person and vocation, ethics and religion, social relations, justice and peace in a prominent cultural and international context. This has certainly taken place, and continues to do so, in many contexts and on many different occasions, but the variety and pluralism of today's world necessitate a multiplicity of directions and opportunities in which the active and proactive role of the Church may be developed whenever possible.

"Naturally, the Holy See, as a founding observer, will make every effort to express her concerns regarding the effective respect for the basic rights of Christians living in countries with a Muslim majority, in order to promote authentic and integral religious freedom. The new centre in Vienna will offer a suitable space in which these concerns may be raised and heard, and in which appropriate solutions may be found to problems as they arise".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

- Michel Sleiman, president of the Republic of Lebanon.

- Eight prelates of the Episcopal Conference of France, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Pascal Roland of Belley-Ars.

- Bishop Guy de Kerimel of Grenoble-Vienne.

- Bishop Dominque Lebrun of Saint-Etienne.

- Archbishop Bernard Barsi of Monaco, Principality of Monaco.

- Archbishop Hippolyte Simon of Clermont.

- Bishop Henri Brincard of Le Puy-en-Velay.

- Bishop Bruno Grua of Saint-Flour.

- Fr. Jean-Pierre Millet, diocesan administrator of Moulins.

This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Fr. Jacek Pyl O.M.I., pastor of the parish of St. Michael the Archangel at Tyvriv in the diocese of Kyiv-Zhytomyr, Ukraine, as auxiliary of the diocese of Odessa-Simferopol (area 113,363, population 10,052,000, Catholics 18,211, priests 52, religious 65), Ukraine. The bishop-elect was born in Garwolin, Poland in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1988. He has served as master of novices for his order in Poland, and as superior of the delegation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Ukraine.

- Archbishop James Michael Harvey, prefect of the Pontifical Household as archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Vatican Information Service will transmit a special bulletin tomorrow for the consistory during which the Holy Father will create six new members of the College of Cardinals.
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