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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, September 29, 2006


VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Bishop Giacomo Lanzetti, auxiliary of Turin, as Bishop of Alghero-Bosa (area 2,012, population 106,400, Catholics 106,200, priests 91, permanent deacons 3, religious 208), Italy. He succeeds Bishop Antonio Vacca, in conformity with can. 401 paragraph 2 of the CIC.

 - Monsignor Sergio Pintor, Director of the CEI Office for the Pastoral of Health and Consultant of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, as bishop of Ozieri (area 2,288, population 57,000, Catholics 56,000, priests 58, religious 44), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Oristano, Italy, in 1937 and was ordained a priest in 1961.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2006 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in separate audiences three prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Felix Eugenio Mkhori of Lilongwe.

- Bishop Joseph Mukasa Zuza of Mzuzu.

- Bishop Thomas Msusa, S.M.M., of Zomba.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2006 (VIS) - Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, received the members of the diplomatic corps to the Holy See at noon today, in the Duke's Hall, in the Vatican.

  During his first meeting with the diplomats, Cardinal Bertone was pleased with the shows of friendliness and the messages received for his appointment this past September 15.

  He assured that the world hopes that the diplomats will be "artisans of peace, men of law, reason, sincere dialogue and promote a renewed impulse of solidarity between peoples, especially in rethinking the problem of debts of the poorest countries, so that no longer will any person, especially children, die of hunger or endemic illnesses, no longer will people be innocent victims of wars or local conflicts, nor poorly treated because of their convictions or beliefs".

  "Our main preoccupation - he continued - must be the dignity, the freedom and the unconditional respect of all human beings as to his fundamental rights, in particular his freedom of conscience and religion".

  Cardinal Bertone stated that "As diplomats, they are particularly attentive to these sensitive problems founds throughout the world. I am thinking especially about all forms of violence inflicted on women, children born and to be born. The defense of life, from its conception to its natural end, as well as the defense of the family based on marriage, are also essential themes in social life".

  The Cardinal mentioned the areas where the greatest difficulties lie, "difficulty of the bond between the prophetic aspect and the concrete necessities of life - which must also be considered by a humane ethos, especially in the context of violence, private or organized, marked also by the plurality of opinions confronting each other".

  These domains include "social defense to guarantee the objective order and the defense of human rights; the condemnation of war, on the ethical level and its exclusion as a means to resolve possible differences between nations; security, favoring the non -military members and in turn reinforce the political, economic and social structures; disarmament, which must include all types of weapons, and thus become a generality, also including the objective of 'unilateral disarmament', which contains a great ethical and positive value".

  He continued saying that "Research by intellectuals and reflection by the organisms of the Church and Christian communities must never stop looking at these themes".

  "The documents of the Holy See, and above all those of the Magisterium of the post-war Popes - the Secretary of State concluded - are not texts lightly read, or even worse, to be ignored. These are texts which must be read carefully and meditated upon, so that the ideas may be translated into practical acts, and that the world may recognize the force and actuality of the Christian message (...) with which the Christians act in favor of peace, today, for all men".
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2006 (VIS) - Today a letter written by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone was made public. This message was sent to the participants of the V European Symposium of university professors, which is being held in Rome from September 28 to October 1, on the theme: "Where is culture going? Culture, people and institutions".

  He writes that in continuation of what was proposed in the speech at the University of Regensburg last September 12, the Pope indicates the "objective of a full rationality, faithful to the integral human experience, as a duty of Christian university teachers and students, an objective to be achieved through constructive dialogue with all those sharing the same passion for truth and with mutual respect for the diversities".

  Cardinal Bertone states that "Based on this cultural foundation, one can work realistically towards the construction of a renewed European identity, apt to offer the world, faced with epochal challenges, a contribution of inestimable spiritual and cultural inheritance, able to forge a humanism that is rational and open to the revelation of Jesus Christ, tolerant but steadfast in its ethical principles".
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, the Pope received the credentials from the new ambassador from the Republic of Albania to the Holy See, Rrok Logu.

  In his speech, the Holy Father pointed out that the Albanian population's aspiration "to truth and freedom was never cancelled, not even by the long and weighty Communist dictatorship, just recently abolished. To grow in a climate of authentic freedom, an adequate ethnic-spiritual context is needed, founded upon a concept of man and of the world that mirrors nature and vocation".

  As well as supporting Albania's integration into the European Union, Benedict XVI expressed the hope that it "could offer a particular contribution to the harmonious process towards the continent's unification".

  The Pope referred to the past work of the Catholic Church in Albania "for the promotion of faith and spiritual values, as well as, the support in many situations of need". In this context he recalled the Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who during her lifetime "proclaimed to all that God is love and loves all men, especially the poor and the abandoned. (...) The Church wishes to testify this love with its educational and social work, open not only to the Catholics but open to all".

  He continued: "a primary form of charity is political activity, lived as a service to the 'polis', to the 'public good', a service belonging to the lay Catholics, with respect for the legitimate autonomy of politics and collaborating with other citizens for the building of a prosperous, brotherly and solidal nation".

  The Holy Father mentioned one of the other problems the country must face, emigration. "If on one hand this phenomenon must be fought, the conditions must be created for those who wish to return to their homeland".

  As concerns the official relations between the Catholic Church and the State, Benedict XVI asserted his appreciation for the law approved "to enact the 2002 Accord between the Holy See and the Republic of Albania, joined to the hope for opportune acts to regulate the financial aspects, which are very important".

  He concluded: "The Holy See, this way, wishes to contribute  in the consolidation in Albania of a state of law and the necessary juridical framework towards the real exercise of the citizens' rights in the religious area. This will also promote the diverse religious confessions present in the Nation to co-inhabit, offering an example of mutual respect and collaboration up until now, to be conserved and promoted".
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2006 (VIS) - The bishops of Malawi, in ending their "ad limina" visit, were received this morning by Benedict XVI. In his speech to the prelates, the Pope reminded that "the exuberance with which the peoples of Africa give praise to God in their liturgical worship is known all over the world, and the Church in Malawi is no exception".

  He continued saying: "Their joyful celebration expresses the great vitality of your Christian communities, and it reflects the predominance of young people in your population". The Holy Father exhorted the bishops to watch over and guide the faithful "with true fatherly care towards a deeper knowledge of their Crucified and Risen Lord, always providing them with sound catechesis in the faith" and stated his hope that the recent inauguration of the Catholic University in Malawi will contribute to this spurring the bishops "to provide it with sufficient resources and to maintain high-quality teaching in fidelity to the Church's Magisterium".

  "In a world dominated by secular and materialist values, it can be hard to maintain the counter-cultural manner of life that is so necessary in the priesthood and the religious life". He said: "The clergy in your country, like those to whom they minister, sometimes find themselves in situations of want, lacking the means necessary for their 'decent support ... and the exercise of works of the apostolate and of charity.'"

  The Holy Father said, "I am sure that you will do your utmost to provide for the legitimate needs of your co-workers, while at the same time warning them against excessive concern with material possessions.  Help your clergy not to fall into the trap of seeing the priesthood as a means of social advancement by reminding them that 'the only legitimate ascent towards the shepherd's ministry is the Cross'(...) The formation staff in the seminaries need to teach the students that a priest is called to live for others and not for himself."

  Benedict XVI also manifested his satisfaction because the teachings of the bishops of Malawi extend to matters of social interest, as can be seen in the Pentecost Pastoral Letter "Renewing Our Lives and Society with the Power of the Holy Spirit". The text "drew attention to some of the social and moral evils afflicting the nation", such as "food security is threatened not only by drought but also by inefficient and unjust management of agriculture" and "the spread of AIDS is increased by failure to remain faithful to one partner in marriage or to practise abstinence", as well as "the rights of women, children and the unborn are cynically violated by human trafficking, by domestic violence and by those who advocate abortion."

  "Never cease to proclaim the truth, and insist on it, 'in season and out of season' because "the truth will set you free", the Pope said. The Holy Father asked the bishops to follow the example of the Good Shepherd who "watches over his sheep and protects them always. (,,,) I pray that they will pay heed to your counsel, so that the face of the earth may be renewed and the Spirit of God may truly maintain the unity of your nation in the bond of peace."
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Thursday, September 28, 2006


VATICAN CITY, SEP 28, 2006 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received the following persons in separate audiences:

- Doctor Gunter Hirsch, President of the Supreme Court of the German Federal Republic, and wife.

- Doctor Henry Kissinger.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 28, 2006 (VIS) - Today, the Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announced that:

- On Sunday, October 1, at 6:30 p.m., Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap, Metropolitan Archbishop of Boston (United States), will take possession of the Title of Saint Mary of Victory, Via XX Settembre, 17 (Rome).

- On Sunday, October 8, at 6:30 p.m., Cardinal Jena-Pierre Ricard, Metropolitan Archbishop of Burdeos (France), will take possession of the Title of Saint Augustine, Via della Scrofa, 80 (Rome).
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 28, 2006 (VIS) - The speech made last September 21 during the second session of the Human Rights Council by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, permanent observer to the Office of the United Nations and Specialized Institutions in Geneva, was published today.

  Archbishop Tomasi said that the implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion and Belief "remains in many ways still a distant goal", and because of this requires "concerted action to promote the standards of religious freedom recognized by the international community".

  "Religion and the reason for religious tolerance are rooted in the person, believer or not. Focusing on ideologies rather than on people and communities of believers carries the risk of transforming religious claims into political self-interest".


VATICAN CITY, SEP 28, 2006 (VIS) - In New York, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, President of the Governatorate of the Vatican City State, intervened yesterday during the LXI Session of the United Nation's General Assembly.

  The once secretary for the Relations with States of the Secretary of State stated that the Holy See "favours its (United Nations) ongoing reform in the fields of peace-building, development and human rights". "The need to improve the system for effective humanitarian interventions in catastrophes brought on by war, civil conflict and ethnic strife will be an important test of the UN reform agenda".

  With reference to the theme of human rights, Monsignor Lajolo asserted that "the Holy See regards the promotion of human rights as one of the United Nations' primary forms of service to the world". In this context, he recalled the three most important fundamental rights: the right to life, the right to religious freedom and the right to freedom of thought and expression, "including freedom to hold opinions without interference and to exchange ideas and information and the consequent freedom of the press".

  "We must acknowledge, however, that not all fundamental rights - and in particular the three which I have mentioned - are adequately protected in every nation, and, in not a few, they are openly denied, even among States sitting on the Human Rights Council", he continued.

  In conclusion, Archbishop Lajolo, with reference to Muslim reactions to some passages of the Pope's academic address at the University of Regensburg, last September 12, stated: "His real intention was to explain that 'not religion and violence, but religion and reason go together', in the context of a critical vision of a society which seeks to exclude God from public life".

  "It falls to all interested parties - to civil society as well as to States - to promote religious freedom and a sane, social tolerance that will disarm extremists even before they can begin to corrupt others with their hatred of life and liberty. This will be a significant contribution to peace among peoples, because peace can be born only from the hearts of human beings".
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 28, 2006 (VIS) - Today, Benedict XVI received the credentials for Hans-Henning Horstmann, the new ambassador from the Federal Republic of Germany to the Holy See. In his speech to the diplomat, the Pope recalled his recent apostolic journey to his birthplace and, once again, thanked the German authorities who collaborated to its successful outcome.

  The Holy Father then referred to the strong community feeling of those sharing the same beliefs that he experienced during his travels and asserted: "Where a community prospers and persons become strong through the message of faith, also the common life of the person in society, reinforcing the citizen in his availability in taking on the responsibility for the sense of common good, is established".

  With reference to the universal mission of the Holy See, Benedict XVI stated that the "Holy See wants to work together with all those persons of good will to serve the person, his dignity, his integrity and his liberty". He also underlined that the center of the Church's pastoral solicitude is the salvation of man and the human society.

  "Faith in Jesus Christ, announced by the Church, can only be achieved through freedom. Therefore tolerance and cultural openness must be mutual. However, tolerance should never be confused with indifference, any type of indifference is radically opposed to the Christian interest on the human person and his salvation".

  He continued, quoting the words of the homily he gave in the Neue Messe of Munchen: "The tolerance which we urgently need includes the fear of God - respect for what others hold sacred. This respect for what others hold sacred demands that we ourselves learn once more the fear of God. But this sense of respect can be reborn in the Western world only if faith in God is reborn, if God become once more present to us and in us".

  Speaking about the relations between the German Federal Republic and the Holy See, the Pope first mentioned the safekeeping of matrimony and the family, and pointed out that the concept of married life has changed in public politics, since the legislator assigns new forms of family that endanger the integrity of the family. Another constant worry is abortion, as well as the ethical problems within the context of research on cell stems in modern therapy.

  Benedict XVI recalled that Germany was converted into a new nation for many peoples, endangered in their countries of origin for religious or political reasons. Because of this, the Pope asked that political asylum be guaranteed according to a principle of justice and reasserted the Holy See's solicitude for an adequate promotion of integration.
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Wednesday, September 27, 2006


VATICAN CITY, SEP 27, 2006 (VIS) - In concluding this Wednesday's General Audience, celebrated in Saint Peter's Square, the Pope said that today was World Tourism Day, "a very important social phenomenon in today's world". He continued saying he hoped "that tourism would promote dialogue and mutual respect between cultures, more all the time, thus becoming a door open to peace and harmonious co-existence".

  Recalling that today is the liturgical day dedicated to Saint Vincent de Paul, Benedict XVI asked that the "example of charity" of this saint "spur the young people to achieve the future projects in a joyful and uninterested service towards others. May it help you, dear ailing persons, in facing suffering as a special vocation of love, and spur you, dear newlyweds, in creating a family always open to the gift of life and to the poor".
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 27, 2006 (VIS) - Benedict XVI dedicated the catechesis of Wednesday's General Audience to the Apostle Thomas. The audience was celebrated in Saint Peter's Square, with 30,000 persons present.

  The Pope explained that Thomas's personality is characterized by "his determination in following the Master" and gave as an example the Apostle's exhortation to his companions to accompany Jesus to Jerusalem, even knowing the dangers involved. This determination "reveals total availability in adhering to Jesus, to the point of identifying one's fate with His (...) Christian life is defined as a life with Jesus Christ, a life to be lived with Him".

  Thomas also intervenes in the Last Supper when he asks Christ which is the way, because they do not know it, and Jesus responds "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life". The Holy Father said, "Every time we hear or read these words, we feel that our thoughts side with Thomas and imagine that the Lord speaks to us as He did to him. At the same time, the question also confers us the right, so to speak, to ask Jesus for explanations. This way we express the shallowness of our ability to understand, at the same time we set ourselves in an attitude of trust, like those who await the light and strength from the one able to give this to us".

  The most well-known scene is the one when Thomas is doubtful, when the Apostle says to the Risen Jesus that he cannot recognize Him until he places his hand in the wound in His side. "In the end, these words demonstrate the conviction that by now Christ is recognized not as much by His face but by His wounds. Thomas believes that the qualifying signs of Jesus are above all, now, the wounds, which reveal to what point He loved us. As to this, the Apostle is correct".

  Benedict XVI said: "The case of the Apostle Thomas is important for us for at least three reasons: first, because it comforts our insecurities; second, because it shows us that each doubt can achieve an enlightened result beyond any incertitude; and, finally, because the words said to him by Jesus remind us of the true meaning of mature faith and encourage us to follow, despite the difficulties, our path in adhering to Him".
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Tuesday, September 26, 2006


VATICAN CITY, SEP 26, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today released a communique concerning the present ecclesial position of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo. The text of the communique is given below:

   "With great concern, the Holy See has followed the recent activities of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, emeritus of Lusaka, Zambia, with his new association of married priests, spreading division and confusion among the faithful.

  "Church representatives of various levels have tried in vain to contact Archbishop Milingo in order to dissuade him from persisting in actions that provoke scandal, especially among the faithful who followed his pastoral ministry in favor of the poor and the sick.

  "Bearing in mind the understanding shown, also recently, by Peter's Successor towards this aged pastor of the Church, the Holy See has awaited with vigilant patience the evolution of events which, unfortunately, have led Archbishop Milingo to a position of irregularity and of progressively open rupture of communion with the Church, first with his attempted marriage and then with the ordination of four bishops on Sunday, September 24, in Washington D.C., U.S.A.

  "For this public act both Archbishop Milingo and the four ordinands have incurred excommunication 'latae sententiae,' as laid down in Canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law. Moreover, the Church does not recognize, nor does she intend to recognize in the future, these ordinations and all ordinations deriving from them; and she considers the canonical status of the four supposed-bishops as being that they held prior to this ordination.

  The Apostolic See, attentive to the unity and peace of the flock of Christ, had hoped that the fraternal influence of people close to Archbishop Milingo would cause him to rethink and return to full communion with the Pope. Unfortunately the latest developments have made these hopes more unlikely.

  "At times of ecclesial suffering such as these, may prayers intensify among all the community of the faithful."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 26, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message dated September 8, from Cardinal Angelo Sodano, then secretary of State, to Francesco Frangialli, secretary general of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), for the 27th World Tourism Day, which is due to be celebrated on September 27. The Message has been published in various languages including English.

  Cardinal Sodano passes on the "cordial greetings of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI," to the organizers of World Tourism Day, the theme of which this year is: "Tourism enriches." And he observes how this subject "offers the opportunity to reflect on how further to qualify a culture of travel and human mobility such as exists in the different types of contemporary tourism."

  "Tourism is an undisputed source of well-being," writes the cardinal, "because it helps to drive the economies of nations. ... Furthermore, in the diverse sectors connected with tourist activity millions of persons are employed," and "in the reciprocal welcome between visitor and host one can realize that exchange of the goods of the earth and of culture which renders human life more fraternal and united."

  Cardinal Sodano continues by recalling how the WTO "has on numerous occasions recalled that tourism is above all an affair of human beings. The enrichment that it can produce must not, therefore, be simply economic or material," rather it must "promote an authentic human and social development thanks to the growing opportunity that it offers for a sharing of goods, for rich cultural exchanges, for contemplating natural or artistic beauty, for a comparison between different mentalities, traditions and religions."

  In order for this to be possible, it is necessary that all individuals and groups active in the tourism sector "encourage the formation of specific competences and then offer dynamic guarantees for the welcoming of tourists."

  "Only thus will the 'new Areopagus' of tourism and leisure become a resource for true human enrichment for all, without excluding those who come from underprivileged conditions on account of their natural or socio-cultural origins."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 26, 2006 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, a conference was held to present the World Congress of Catholic Television, due to be held in Madrid, Spain, from October 10 to 12, on the theme: "Rapid Development." Participating in today's conference were: Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director the Vatican Television Center (CTV) and speaker at the forthcoming congress; Fr. Jose Maria Gil, executive secretary of the Spanish Episcopal Conference; and Leticia Soberon of the international organizational committee for the congress.

  Archbishop Foley affirmed that the aim of the congress is "to reflect upon the nature of television, study the opportunities it offers the Church, and evaluate the possibilities of combining these initiatives, bringing them together in the most effective way."

  For organizational reasons, said the archbishop, the number of participants in the congress has been limited to 250. They represent the television sector, Catholic production companies, episcopal commissions of social communication and communications faculties of universities in various countries.

  Apart from reflecting on themes associated with "the identity of Catholic television," the forthcoming congress will also have to consider, said the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, "practical matters such as the economic and administrative aspects of the television industry, the professional expertise of staff, the quality and variety of program formats, the quality of information, the possibilities offered by technological changes, etc."

  For his part, Fr. Lombardi affirmed that "Catholic television stations in the world - the majority of which are in Europe and America - are highly variegated. ... There are TV stations created and maintained by episcopal conferences or large dioceses (SAT2000 in Italy, Popular TV in Spain, KTO in France, etc.); and there are TV stations that have arisen from initiatives of religious movements or organizations, or of single individuals (EWTN in U.S.A., Cancao Nova in Brazil, etc.)."

  Apart from the television stations themselves, Fr. Lombardi highlighted the presence of "many production centers of Catholic-inspired television programs" that offer their services in regions or nations where Catholic television cannot exist, and of "institutions capable of providing financial support to ecclesial initiatives."

  With reference to CTV, of which he is the director, Fr. Lombardi indicated that one of its aims is "to serve Catholic TV stations, which are practically all interested in images and information on the activity of the Holy Father and the Vatican; however not all of them are currently informed about CTV's services, and not all have the technological possibilities to take advantage of them."

  "We in the Church," Fr. Lombardi concluded, "always wish to put communication at the service of communion, that is, of reciprocal understanding, of dialogue and of peace. We do so at various levels: a more specifically local level, another that covers a larger area - regional or national - and yet another that is universal (that of the Pope's service for the unity of the Church). These levels must come together, complementing one another, because each has its own specific competencies, experience and richness."

  Fr. Jose Maria Gil expressed his appreciation to the Holy See for having chosen Madrid as the location for the congress, and extended his thanks to Letizia Ortiz, Princess of Asturias, who will be president of honor, "the which," he said "demonstrates the interest of civil society in this important ecclesial event."

  Fr. Gil went on to confirm that the event will be attended by "around 250 participants" from some 50 countries on all continents, especially Latin America. "They will reflect upon the great aims of the congress," he said, "which will also be open to any Internet users who may wish to participate through the website: www.worldcongresstv.com.

  There will, Fr. Gil continued, "be representatives from all sectors involved in the audiovisual field: large telecommunications operatives (Telefonica, Hispasat); big networks (EWTN, Cancao Nova, TV Seculo 21, ESNE-El Sembrador); diocesan and private Catholic TV stations, from the strictly religious and devotional to the more generally Christian-inspired; religious programs from public television; ... university faculties of social communication (the Pontifical Salesian University, the Pontifical Universities of the Holy Cross, and of Chile, Colombia and Argentina, the University of Navarra, of Murcia, etc.); journalists; ... technicians; ... business people; ... Catholic communication associations (SIGNIS); as well as communication commissions and departments from episcopal conferences (Germany, Italy, Portugal, Mali, Croatia, Ecuador, Peru, Spain, etc.) and from dioceses.

  "Particular mention must be made," he added, "of the eagerly-awaited contribution of Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. on the service provided by the Vatican Television Center, a true point of reference for Catholic television all over the world."

  For her part, Leticia Soberon, expressed the hope that the congress may be "a starting point for the creation of a united and energetic network among Catholic organizations active in the field of television."

  "One of the most eagerly-anticipated aspects," she said, "is the 'program bank' which will facilitate the free exchange of TV programs between the various institutions. This project came into being following the concern felt by the larger television stations for the smaller and poorer ones, and with the aim of sharing productions of universal value. This initial move provoked a spontaneous desire, also on the part of the smaller operators, to share their own productions. This generosity on everyone's part has been clear since Medellin, at the Latin American Congress of Catholic TV, but it also involves may other institutions all over the world."
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Monday, September 25, 2006


VATICAN CITY, SEP 25, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences three prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Tarcisius Gervazio Ziyaye of Blantyre.

    - Bishop Peter Martin Musikuwa of Chikwawa.

    - Bishop Remi Joseph Gustave Sainte-Marie M. Afr., of Dedza.

  On Saturday, September 23, he received in audience Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka, president emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 25, 2006 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff made public today the calendar of celebrations to be presided over by the Holy Father in the month of October 2006:

- Sunday, 15: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 10 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, canonization of Blesseds Rafael Guizar Valencia, Filippo Smaldone, Rosa Venerini, Theodore Guerin..

- Thursday, 19: At 4 p.m. in the Bentegodi Stadium of Verona, Italy, Eucharistic celebration for the 4th National Ecclesial Meeting of the Italian Church.


- Sunday, 8: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 4 p.m. in the Roman amphitheater of Fiesole, Italy, beatification of Servant of God Maria Teresa di Gesu, nee Maria Scrilli.

- Sunday, 22: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 5 p.m. in the cathedral of Bilbao, Spain, beatification of Servant of God Margarita Maria Lopez de Maturana.

- Sunday, 29: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 2.30 p.m. in the cathedral of Speyer, Germany, beatification of Servant of God Paul Josef Nardini.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 25, 2006 (VIS) - This morning in the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI received Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, and representatives from Muslim-majority countries that maintain diplomatic links with the Holy See.

  Participating in the meeting were heads of mission from Kuwait, Jordan, Pakistan, Qatar, Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lebanon, Yemen, Egypt, Iraq, Senegal, Algeria, Morocco, Albania, the Arab League, Syria, Tunisia, Libya, Iran and Azerbaijan. Also present were 14 members of the Islamic Council of Italy and representatives from the Italian Islamic Cultural Center and the Office of the World Muslim League.

  Following a brief greeting by Cardinal Poupard, Benedict XVI explained how he had called the meeting "in order to strengthen the bonds of friendship and solidarity between the Holy See and Muslim communities throughout the world."

  "I should like to reiterate today all the esteem and the profound respect that I have for Muslim believers," he continued in his French-language address.

  "I have had occasion, since the very beginning of my pontificate, to express my wish to continue establishing bridges of friendship with the adherents of all religions, showing particular appreciation for the growth of dialogue between Muslims and Christians."

  "In a world marked by relativism and too often excluding the transcendence and universality of reason, we are in great need of an authentic dialogue between religions and between cultures, capable of assisting us, in a spirit of fruitful cooperation, to overcome all the tensions together.

  "Continuing, then, the work undertaken by my predecessor Pope John Paul II," he added, "I sincerely pray that the relations of trust which have developed between Christians and Muslims over several years, will not only continue, but will develop further in a spirit of sincere and respectful dialogue, based on ever more authentic reciprocal knowledge which, with joy, recognizes the religious values that we have in common and, with loyalty, respects the differences.

  "Inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue," the Pope continued, "is a necessity for building together this world of peace and fraternity ardently desired by all people of good will. In this area, our contemporaries expect from us an eloquent witness to show all people the value of the religious dimension of life.

  "Likewise, faithful to the teachings of their own religious traditions, Christians and Muslims must learn to work together, as indeed they already do in many common undertakings, in order to guard against all forms of intolerance and to oppose all manifestations of violence. As for us, religious authorities and political leaders, we must guide and encourage them in this direction."

  Benedict XVI then highlighted how "the lessons of the past" must "help us to seek paths of reconciliation, in order to live with respect for the identity and freedom of each individual, with a view to fruitful co-operation in the service of all humanity. As Pope John Paul II said in his memorable speech to young people at Casablanca in Morocco: 'Respect and dialogue require reciprocity in all spheres, especially in that which concerns basic freedoms, more particularly religious freedom. They favor peace and agreement between peoples'."

  The Holy Father concluded his address by expressing his profound conviction "that in the current world situation it is imperative that Christians and Muslims engage with one another in order to address the numerous challenges that present themselves to humanity, especially those concerning the defense and promotion of the dignity of the human person and of the rights ensuing from that dignity. When threats mount up against people and against peace, by recognizing the central character of the human person and by working with perseverance to see that human life is always respected, Christians and Muslims manifest their obedience to the Creator, Who wishes all people to live in the dignity that He has bestowed upon them."
AC/DIALOGUE:RESPECT MUSLIMS/POUPARD                VIS 20060925 (650)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, after praying the Angelus at Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father recalled that next Thursday is World Maritime Day, and he invited everyone to pray for men and women of the sea, and their families.

  "I thank the Lord," he said, "for the work of the Apostleship of the Sea, which for many years has offered human and spiritual support to those who live this difficult and challenging way of life. I particularly welcome the recent initiatives taken by the International Maritime Organization to contribute to the fight against poverty and hunger."

  Going on then to address bishops from various countries, who are participating in an ecumenical congress being organized by the Focolari Movement, Pope Benedict said: "I am delighted at the special efforts you put into the service of full unity among Christians, and I wish every success to the diocesan communities entrusted to your care."
ANG/WORLD MARITIME DAY/...                        VIS 20060925 (170)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2006 (VIS) - The "logic of Christianity" was the central theme of Benedict XVI's reflections before praying the Angelus today with pilgrims gathered in the internal courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo.

  The Holy Father quoted today's Gospel reading in which Jesus announces to His disciples, for the second time, His passion, death and resurrection. The evangelist Mark, said the Pope, "highlights the strong contrast between Jesus' mentality and that of the twelve Apostles, who not only do not understand the Master's words and refuse the idea that He may die, but discuss among themselves which of them is 'the greatest.'

  "Jesus patiently explains His logic to them," the Holy Father added, "the logic of love that is service even unto the giving of self. ... This is the logic of Christianity, which responds to the truth of man created in God' image, and at the same time contrasts man's egoism, a consequence of original sin. All human beings are attracted by love - which in the final analysis is God Himself - but often mistake the concrete ways to express that love. And thus from a tendency that in its origins is positive, though polluted by sin, evil intentions and actions can arise."

  Pope Benedict went on to recall the words of the Letter of James: "For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy. ... And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."

  He concluded: "these words make us think of the witness of so many Christians who ... dedicate their lives to the service of others for the sake of the Lord Jesus, working as servants of love and ... 'artisans' of peace. Sometimes, some of them are asked for the supreme witness of blood, as happened a few days ago to the Italian religious, Sr. Leonella Sgorbati, who fell a victim to violence. This sister, who for many years had worked serving the poor and defenseless of Somalia, died pronouncing the word 'forgiveness.' This is the most authentic Christian witness, a peaceful sign marking the victory of love over hatred and evil."
ANG/LOGIC CHRISTIANITY/SGORBATI                    VIS 20060925 (390)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 23, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop James Patrick Green, apostolic nuncio to South Africa, Namibia and Lesotho, and apostolic delegate to Botswana, as apostolic nuncio to Swaziland.
NN/.../GREEN                                    VIS 20060925 (40)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 23, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy See Press Office released the following communique:

  "With great sadness the Holy See has learned the news that the execution of Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva and Marinus Riwu has been carried out. The men were held responsible for violence in Poso, Indonesia, in 2000.

  "On this matter, the Secretariat of State has repeatedly intervened with the Indonesian authorities to ask, in the Holy Father's name, for a gesture of clemency in favor of the three condemned men. Apart from the telegram published on August 12, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, then secretary of State, sent the Indonesian head of State Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, two letters, one on December 5, 2005 and another on March 7, 2006. Further steps were taken through the Indonesian embassy to the Holy See on December 13, 2005, and on February 14 and September 20, 2006.

  "At a purely humanitarian level - inspired by the Catholic Church's well-known stance on the death penalty, and bearing in mind the circumstances of this painful case - the Holy See, through its interventions, aimed to contribute to the efforts being made in favor of the process of reconciliation in Indonesia, and to the traditional peaceful coexistence of members of different religions, which it is hoped will continue to distinguish that great country."
OP/EXECUTION CATHOLICS/INDONESIA                VIS 20060925 (240)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 23, 2006 (VIS) - This morning in Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father received 98 bishops from 44 countries on four continents. The prelates have been participating a course of "aggiornamento" organized annually by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the prefect of which is Cardinal Ivan Dias.

  In his address, the Pope dwelt upon the efforts that have to be made to ensure that the announcement of the Gospel reaches everyone, and upon the need to evangelize cultures and "encourage sincere and open dialogue with one and all, so that together we can build a more fraternal and united humanity.

  "Only when driven by the love of Christ," he added, "is it possible to bring to completion this apostolic labor, which demands the intrepid courage of those who, for the Lord's sake, do not fear even persecution and death." On this subject, he recalled the "heroic witnesses to the Gospel" of previous centuries, as well as the recent sacrifice of "Sr. Leonella Sgorbati, missionary sister of the Consolata, barbarously murdered in Mogadishu, Somalia," on September 17.

  Benedict XVI told his audience that in order to be good pastors, they had to set an example in all fields of life. It is likewise vital, he said, "that you give primary importance in your episcopal ministry to prayer and to the incessant striving for sanctity. It is also important that you concern yourselves with the serious formation of seminarians and with the permanent 'aggiornamento' of priests and catechists."

  He went on: "Maintaining the unity of the faith in the diversity of its cultural expressions is another precious service required of you. ... This means that you must remain united to your flock, following the example of Christ the Good Shepherd, and that the flock must always remain united to you. As sentinels of the People of God, avoid divisions with firmness and courage, especially when they are due to ethnic or socio-cultural reasons. They damage the unity of the faith and undermine the announcement and witness of the Gospel of Christ."

  After expressing his joy at "the continual flowering of vocations to the priesthood and the religious life," in many of their churches, the Pope called on the prelates to ensure that seminaries have "a sufficient number of formators, chosen and trained with care, who must first and foremost be examples and models for the seminarians. ... It is upon the training of future priests and of all other pastoral care workers, especially catechists, that the future of your communities and of the Universal Church depends."
AC/BISHOPS:EVANGELIZATION/DIAS                    VIS 20060925 (440)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 23, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict XVI received prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Chad, who have just completed their five-yearly "ad limina" visit. In his French-language talk to them, the Pope reminded the bishops how, "in the image of Christ the Good Shepherd," they have been sent "to be missionaries of the Good News," and he encouraged them to continue this task "with faithfulness and courage."

  "Through the proclamation of the Gospel," he said, "guide your communities to the meeting with the Lord, helping them to bear witness to their hope and contributing to the foundation of a more just society based on universal reconciliation and unity. The regular participation of the faithful in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, will give them the strength to follow Christ, and thus they will feel the need to share with their brothers and sisters their joy at meeting the Lord."

  The Pope then went on to refer to priests and to their "difficult but gratifying mission of announcing the Gospel and serving the people of God." He highlighted how "friendship with Christ requires a constant and joyful search for communion of thought, will and action with Him, in humble and faithful obedience," and he prompted the bishops to concern themselves "with the spiritual life of priests, encouraging them to remain faithful to the rule of priestly life, which will help them to conform their lives to the call they received from the Lord."

  "Among the pastoral challenges you are facing," he continued, "is that of proclaiming the integral truth of marriage and the family. It is, in fact, of primordial importance to show how the institution of marriage contributes to the real development of people and of society, and ensures the true dignity, equality and freedom of men and women, as well as the human and spiritual development of children."

  In this context, "the solid formation of young people will favor the renewal of the pastoral care of families and will contribute to overcoming the social, cultural and economic difficulties which are, for many faithful, an obstacle to Christian marriage. May the young people of your country, while preserving the essential values of the African family, welcome into their lives the beauty and grandeur of Christian marriage which, in its uniqueness, comprehends the faithful and indissoluble love of the spouses."

  "Charity work, the display of love to others rooted in the love of God, has an important place in the pastoral activities of your dioceses," the Holy Father observed. And he expressed his gratitude to the male and female religious involved in this field, affirming that, "while they promote true solidarity with the needy without distinction, they must not forget the specifically ecclesial nature of their activities, and must reinforce their awareness of being credible witnesses of Christ."

  "Strengthening fraternity between the different communities of which the nation is composed is an objective requiring everyone's commitment," he said, "so as to protect the country from confrontations that lead to new outbreaks of violence. Recognizing the dignity of each individual, the identity of each human and religious group, and their freedom to practice their religion, is part of the shared values of peace and justice which everyone must promote, and is a field in which the leaders of society must play a leading role."

  The Holy Father concluded his talk by expressing his joy for the fact that in Chad "relations between Christians and Muslims are generally good, above all thanks to the search for greater reciprocal understanding. I encourage you, then, to continue this collaboration in a spirit of sincere dialogue and mutual respect."
AL/.../CHAD                                    VIS 20060925 (620)

Friday, September 22, 2006


VATICAN CITY, SEP 22, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval C.SS.R., archbishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.

 - Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of Synod of Bishops.

 - Bishop Andreas Laun O.S.F.S., auxiliary of Salzburg, Austria.

 - Carl A. Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus.

  This evening, he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
AP/.../...                                        VIS 20060922 (90)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 22, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy See will once again participate in the celebration of European Heritage Days, an initiative of the Council of Europe in which more than 40 countries on the continent take part. The celebrations this year will take place on Sunday, September 24.

  The Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, the Vatican Museums and the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archeology are all collaborating in the event.

  On September 24, entrance to the Vatican Museums will be free, and visitors will have the opportunity of seeing the recently-restored Christian Museum of Pope Benedict XIV.

  All catacombs in Rome that are normally open to the public will also be free of charge. At the San Callisto Catacombs on the Old Appian Way a photographic exhibition will be inaugurated entitled "Charity, solidarity and the catacombs."
.../EUROPEAN HERITAGE DAYS/...                        VIS 20060922 (150)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 22, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy See Press Office made it known that in Castelgandolfo at 11.45 a.m. on Monday, September 25, the Holy Father will receive Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, and certain representatives of Muslim communities in Italy. Ambassadors to the Holy See from countries with Muslim majorities have also been invited to the meeting.
OP/MEETING POPE:MUSLIMS/...                        VIS 20060922 (80)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 22, 2006 (VIS) - This morning in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, the Pope received participants in the 22nd plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, which is presided by Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko. The theme of the gathering is: "The Parish Rediscovered. Paths for Renewal."

  "During my years of service in the Roman Curia, I have had the opportunity of witnessing the growing importance of the Pontifical Council for the Laity within the Church," said the Holy Father. He then went on to mention some of the events promoted by the council which he had presided as pope, such as the 2005 World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, or this year's meeting with ecclesial movements and new communities held in St. Peter's Square on the eve of Pentecost.

  Going on to consider the work of participants in the 22nd plenary assembly, Benedict XVI recalled how, having analyzed "in your last meeting the theological and pastoral nature of the parish community, ... you are now pondering the question from an operational point of view, seeking elements useful towards favoring authentic parish renewal."

  "Indeed," he continued, "theological-pastoral aspects and operational aspects cannot be disassociated from one another if we wish to understand the mystery of communion, of which the parish is called to be an ever greater sign and instrument." He then outlined certain "essential criteria" for "understanding the nature of Christian communion and, therefore, of each parish," referring to the first Christian community of Jerusalem, which was "devoted to listening to the teaching of the Apostles, to fraternal union, to the 'breaking of bread' and to prayer, a welcoming and united community, even to the point of sharing everything they had.

  "The parish can relive this experience, and grow in understanding and fraternal cohesion through prayer ... and listening to the Word of God, especially if it participates with faith in the celebration of the Eucharist presided by a priest. ... The hoped-for renewal of the parish cannot, then, arise only from pastoral initiatives, useful though they are, nor from programs worked out at a theoretical level.

  "Drawing inspiration from the apostolic model," the Pope added, "the parish 'rediscovers' itself in the encounter with Christ. ... Nourished by the Eucharistic bread, it grows in Catholic communion and walks in complete faithfulness to the Magisterium," while "the constant union with Christ gives it the strength to commit itself ... to serving our brothers, especially the poorest for which its often the primary point of reference."

  The Pope concluded his address expressing the hope that the work of the plenary assembly may contribute "to making the lay faithful ever more aware of their mission in the Church, especially within the parish community, which is a 'family' of Christian families."
AC/PARISHES/RYLKO                            VIS 20060922 (470)

Thursday, September 21, 2006


VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Antonio Francisco dos Santos, auxiliary of Braga, Portugal, as bishop of Aveiro (area 1,537, population 309,495, Catholics 270,000, priests 108, permanent deacons 28, religious 187), Portugal. He succeeds Bishop Antonio Baltasar Marcelino, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
NER:RE/.../DOS SANTOS:MARCELINO                    VIS 20060921 (70)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

 - Three prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Chad, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Joachim Kouraleyo Tarounga of Moundou.

    - Bishop Edmond Djitangar of Sarh.

    - Fr. Henry Coudray S.J., apostolic prefect of Mongo.
AP:AL/.../...                                    VIS 20060921 (70)


THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE LAITY is celebrating its 22nd plenary assembly in Rome, from September 21 to 24. During this year's gathering, which is considering the theme of the parish, a report will be delivered presenting a general overview of parish renewal and its future prospects. A number of participants will speak on the specific experiences of lay people and priests, on movements and new communities, and on pastoral plans and grassroots organization for parish renewal.

AT 11.30 A.M. ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference will be held to present the World Congress of Catholic Television, due to be held in Madrid, Spain, from October 10 to 13. Participating in Tuesday's conference will be: Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director the Vatican Television Center and speaker at the forthcoming congress; Fr. Jose Maria Gil, executive secretary of the Spanish Episcopal Conference; and Leticia Soberon of the international organizational committee for the congress.
.../IN BRIEF/...                                    VIS 20060921 (180)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2006 (VIS) - This morning in the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, in a traditional encounter for this time of year, the Pope received a group of recently-appointed bishops who are participating in a meeting in Rome.

  "Following Christ's example," the Pope told them, "each of you, in the daily nurture of your flock, must become 'all things to all men,' presenting the truth of faith, celebrating the sacraments of our sanctification and bearing witness to the Lord's charity. Welcome with an open heart those who knock at your door, advise them, console them and support them on the way of God."

  "Demonstrate this care, in the first place, towards priests. Always act towards them as fathers and elder brothers who know how to listen, accept, comfort and, when necessary, also correct."

  Benedict XVI then went on to remind the bishops that, by virtue of their power to govern, they are called "to judge and discipline the life of the people of God entrusted to their pastoral care, with laws, indications and suggestions, in accordance with what is laid down by the universal discipline of the Church. This right and duty of bishops is absolutely vital in order that the diocesan community may be internally united and progress in profound union of faith, of love and of discipline with the Bishop of Rome and with the entire Church. ... Building ecclesial communion," he said, "must be your daily duty."

  "Serenity in relationships, delicacy in dealings with others and simplicity of life are gifts that without doubt enrich the human personality of a bishop. ... The total giving of self, which the care of the Lord's flock requires, needs the support of an intense spiritual life nourished by assiduous individual and community prayer."

  The Holy Father called on the bishops to ensure that their days be characterized by "a constant contact with God," and explained how "living in intimate union with Christ will help you to strike that vital balance between inner meditation and the exertions required for the multiple occupations of life, avoiding the danger of excessive activism."

  "Following Christ, the Pastor and Bishop of your souls," he concluded, "you will be encouraged to tend tirelessly towards sanctity, which is the fundamental aim of the life of all Christians."
AC/NEW BISHOPS/...                                VIS 20060921 (390)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father gave his assent to the canonical election carried out by the Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church, meeting on August 21, of Fr. Jose Pandarassery, vicar for the region of Malabar of the archeparchy of Kottayam, India, as auxiliary of the same archeparchy (area 560,665, population 3,595,650, Catholics 170,200, priests 214, religious 1,346). The bishop-elect was born in Ettumanoor, India, in 1961, and ordained a priest in 1987.
NEA/.../PANDARASSERY                            VIS 20060920 (90)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2006 (VIS) - Yesterday evening, Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, participated in a meeting organized by Walter Veltroni, mayor of the city of Rome. The meeting was also attended by Sami Salem, imam of the Rome mosque, and by the city's chief rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni.

  "At this difficult moment," said the cardinal, "our presence here aims to be an invitation to authentic dialogue among those who believe in the one God. The alternative route to terrorism and violence is dialogue, and this involves the recognition of differences."

  After recalling the invitation launched last Sunday by Benedict XVI "to frank and sincere dialogue with great mutual respect," the cardinal highlighted how "the need for dialogue between cultures and religions is becoming ever more deeply felt and, for this reason, the pontifical council joyfully welcomes today's initiative."

  The meeting also served to present a new magazine, "Conoscersi e convivere," the first edition of which will come out in January 2007.
.../DIALOGUE:RESPECT/POUPARD                        VIS 20060920 (180)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2006 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square, the Pope expressed his concern over the latest news from Hungary.

  Benedict XVI told faithful from the archdioceses of Budapest and Bratislava-Trnava, that he was praying to the Lord "so that all sides may find a just and peaceful solution. Calling for the intercession of Blessed Sara Salkahazi, I impart my heartfelt apostolic blessing."
AG/HUNGARY/...                                VIS 20060920 (90)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2006 (VIS) - As he announced in last Sunday's Angelus, Benedict XVI dedicated his general audience today to commenting upon his recent apostolic trip to Bavaria. The audience, held in St. Peter's Square, was attended by more than 40,000 people.

  The Pope affirmed how his journey to the land of his birth had been not just "a simple return to the past, but also a providential opportunity to look with hope to the future. The motto of my visit, 'those who believe are never alone,' was meant as an invitation to reflect upon the involvement of all the baptized in the one Church of Christ, within which we are never alone but in constant communion with God and with all the faithful."

  After recalling his stay in Munich, where he used to be archbishop, and his visit to the Marian shrine of Altotting, the Holy Father went on to refer to his meeting with students and professors of the University of Regensburg.

  "I chose the theme," he said, "of the relationship between faith and reason. In order to introduce my audience to the dramatic nature and current importance of the subject, I quoted some words from a Christian-Muslim dialogue from the 14th century in which the Christian - the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus - presented to his Muslim interlocutor, in a manner we find incomprehensibly brusque, the problem of the relationship between faith and violence.

  "This quotation, unfortunately, has lent itself to misunderstandings. However, to an attentive reader of my text it is clear that in no way did I wish to make my own the negative words pronounced by the medieval emperor, and that their polemical content does not express my personal convictions. My intentions were quite otherwise: on the basis of what Manuel II subsequently said in a positive sense ... concerning the reason that must guide us in transmitting the faith, I wished to explain that not religion and violence, but religion and reason, go together.

  "The theme of my talk was, then, the relationship between faith and reason," he added. "I wished to call for a dialogue of the Christian faith with the modern world and for dialogue between all cultures and religions. I hope that at various moments of my visit - when, for example, in Munich I underlined how it important it is to respect what is sacred for others - what emerged was my deep respect for all the great religions, and in particular for Muslims who 'worship the one God,' and with whom we are committed to promoting 'peace, liberty, social justice and moral values for the benefit of all humanity.'

  "I trust, therefore, that following the initial reactions, my words at the University of Regensburg may constitute an impulse and encouragement towards positive, even self-critical, dialogue both among religions and between modern reason and Christian faith."

  Benedict concluded his reminiscences of his Bavarian trip by recalling his meeting with clergy in the cathedral of Freising, where he was ordained a priest.
AG/GERMANY TRIP:MUSLIMS/...                        VIS 20060920 (520)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2006 (VIS) - Benedict XVI sent a telegram of condolence, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., to Mother Gabriella Bono, superior general of the Consolata Missionary Sisters, following the murder in Mogadishu, Somalia, last Sunday of Sr. Leonella Sgorbati, a member of that order. The text of the telegram is given below.

  "Informed of the tragic death of Sr. Leonella Sgorbati, barbarously murdered in Mogadishu, the Supreme Pontiff wishes to convey an expression of his closeness to your missionary institute, as well as to the relatives of the lamented religious, who joyfully performed her valuable work in the service of the Somali people, especially in favor of nascent life and in the field of healthcare education. In reasserting his firm condemnation for all forms of violence, His Holiness hopes that the blood spilt by such a faithful disciple of the Gospel may become a seed of hope to build true fraternity between peoples in reciprocal respect for the religious convictions of each. And as he raises fervent prayers for this worthy missionary sister, he imparts his comforting apostolic blessing to her consoeurs, her relatives and to everyone weeping her violent demise."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


VATICAN CITY, SEP 19, 2006 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Bishop Jose Mauro Pereira Bastos C.P., of Guaxupe, Brazil, on September 14, at the age of 51.

 - Bishop Antonio Forte O.F.M., emeritus of Avellino, Italy, on September 11, at the age of 78.

 - Bishop Oscar Garcia Urizar, emeritus of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, on September 5, at the age of 84.

 - Archbishop Petar Perkolic, emeritus of Bar, Serbia, on September 7, at the age of 84.

 - Bishop Alberto Setele of Inhambane, Mozambique, on September 7, at the age of 70.
.../DEATHS/...                                    VIS 20060919 (100)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 19, 2006 (VIS) - Yesterday, Archbishop Celesino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, delivered a talk to the "High-level Meeting on the midterm comprehensive global review of the implementation of the Program of Action for the Least Developed Countries (BPoA) for the Decade 2001-2010." The meeting was held in New York on September 18 and 19.

  "The Catholic Church," said the archbishop speaking English, "has undertaken many initiatives in the last decade with a view to bringing both her own members and all people of good will to a greater awareness of the shared responsibility in relation to the problems derived from international trade and finance. ... The Holy See continues to encourage the international community, especially the more developed and medium income countries, to support the implementation of the BPoA, and appeals for a surge of solidarity."

  "Twenty years ago, public opinion was moved by those who risked their lives climbing fences that kept them prisoners of dictatorial regimes. Today, millions risk their lives to escape from the dictatorship of poverty. Fences will not stop them. For their good and for the prosperity of all of us, developed countries and least developed countries must implement effective policies such as those found in the BPoA, so that the citizens of least developed countries will choose freely to remain at home, where they can attain ... employment and living conditions that can truly be called dignified."
DELSS/BPOA/MIGLIORE                            VIS 20060919 (260)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 19, 2006 (VIS) - The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church is holding its ninth plenary session in Belgrade, Serbia, from September 18 to 25.

  A communique issued by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity explains how yesterday evening Patriarch Pavle of the Serbian Orthodox Church welcomed Catholic and Orthodox members of the commission to the headquarters of his patriarchate.

  With its Belgrade meeting, the commission resumes its work following the plenary session held in Baltimore, U.S.A., in July 2000. "From December 13 to 15, 2005," the communique reads, "official theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, coordinated for the Orthodox by the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, inaugurated its current new phase with the meeting of the commission's 'joint coordinating committee,' which had the task of preparing the plenary session of Belgrade and of establishing the theme to be discussed.

  "The resumption of dialogue," the communique adds, "has been possible thanks to the constant activity of mediation and persuasion encouraged by Pope John Paul II, by Pope Benedict XVI, by the commitment of the ecumenical patriarchate, and by many forms of contact and collaboration between the Catholic Church and the individual Orthodox Churches. It is based upon a decision taken at the Church of St. George in Fanar in September 2005 during a pan-Orthodox meeting called by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I."

  The communique goes on to recall how in Rome last December, the coordinating committee established "that in accordance with the documents already agreed by the commission, the general context of its work is the theology of 'koinonia,' or communion, and that this context needs to be reinforced with further study in order to enable more profound debate on two interconnected questions central to relations between the two Churches: the primacy of the Bishop of Rome and the theme of 'uniatism,' in addition to other questions that remain open."

  The Belgrade meeting, then, "will study the draft document prepared during the 1990 meeting of the joint coordinating committee in Moscow and not yet discussed by the plenary session of the commission: 'The ecclesiological and canonical consequences of the sacramental nature of the Church - authority and conciliarity in the Church'."

  On September 21, the 29 Catholic members participating in the plenary will attend an Orthodox liturgical celebration for the Feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God. On September 23, the Orthodox members will participate in a Mass at the Catholic cathedral of Belgrade, and on September 24, the Catholic members will attend a divine liturgy celebrated by the Orthodox.

  The commission is presided by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and by Ioannis, metropolitan of Pergamo. It has two secretaries: Gennadios, metropolitan of Sassima, and Msgr. Eleuterio F. Fortino, under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Monday, September 18, 2006


VATICAN CITY, SEP 18, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Five prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Chad, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Matthias N'Garteri Mayadi of N'Djamena.

    - Bishop Michele Russo M.C.C.I., of Doba.

    - Bishop Rosario Pio Ramolo O.F.M. Cap., of Gore.

    - Bishop Miguel Angel Sebastian Martinez M.C.C.I., of Lai.

    - Bishop Jean-Claude Bouchard O.M.I., of Pala.

 - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., accompanied by members of his family.

  On Saturday, September 16, he received in separate audiences:

 - Benoit Cardon de Lichtbuer, Belgian ambassador, on a farewell visit.

 - Gerhard Friedrich Karl Westdickenberg, German ambassador, on a farewell visit.

 - Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop of Santiago de Chile, Chile.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 18, 2006 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received the Letters of Credence of Martin Bolldorf, the new Austrian ambassador to the Holy See.

  In remarks to the diplomat, the Pope recalled how "Austria and the Holy See have a long history of fruitful union. This union is much more than a mere historical truth, it is founded on the fact that the vast majority of Austrian people belong to the Catholic Church. And this itself influences orientations, choices and common interests that significantly concern man, his freedom and his dignity, as well as his future in time and in society.

  "The State and the Church, from different points of view, both have at heart the good of man ... whose interests and dignity must never be made subject to parameters of feasibility, utility and productivity.

  "One of these common interests is Europe," the Holy Father added, "especially as regards developments in the process of European unification. Nowhere else in the world as in Europe do history and culture bear the mark of Christianity. The regional and national field - the homeland ... whence the majority of people draw the most important elements of their own cultural identity - is becoming ever more incorporated into the European field, the common homeland that is Europe."

  The continent of Europe benefits from the "great contribution arising from human mobility and the means of social communication," said the Holy Father. "The Church looks favorably on these developments. Where men and peoples consider themselves members of one family then the opportunities for peace, solidarity, and mutual exchange and enrichment increase." And Austria, "with its rich history as a State made up of many peoples ... is predestined to have a strong commitment for Europe."

  On the road towards integration, much depends "on the citizens' faith in this project. In discussions on the expansion of Europe and on its Constitution, the question constantly arises of the identity and spiritual roots upon which the community of European States and peoples rests. The most profound sources for a crisis-proof European 'whole' are to be found in shared convictions and in the values of history and of the Christian and humanist tradition of the continent."

  The Holy Father concluded his talk by recalling how, by virtue of the agreement with the Holy See, the Austrian State is committed to religious education, which is an obligatory subject in schools. "The State has the duty," he said, "of presenting children and young people - bearing in mind the growing number of pupils who belong to no specific confession - the roots of western thought and of the 'civilization of love' sustained by the Christian spirit."


VATICAN CITY, SEP 17, 2006 (VIS) - Before praying the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in the internal courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI recalled his recent trip to Bavaria, describing it as "a deep spiritual experience," that brought together "personal memories linked to places well known to me and pastoral initiatives towards an effective proclamation of the Gospel for today."

  He then went on: "At this time, I wish also to add that I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims. These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought.

  "Yesterday, the Cardinal Secretary of State published a statement in this regard in which he explained the true meaning of my words. I hope that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect."

  The Pope then referred to the recent liturgical feasts of the Exaltation of the Cross (September 14) and of Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15) which come together, he said, "in the traditional image of the Crucifixion, with the Virgin Mary at the foot of the Cross."

  "What does it mean to exalt the Cross? Is it not a scandal to venerate so shameful a gibbet?" asked the Pope. Yet, "Christians do not exalt any cross, but that particular Cross which Jesus sanctified with His sacrifice, fruit and witness of immense love. Christ on the Cross spilt all His blood to free humanity from the slavery of sin and death. And thus, from a sign of iniquity, the Cross has been transformed to a sign of blessing, from a symbol of death to the symbol par excellence of the Love that overcomes hatred and violence, and generates immortal life."

  In the same way, Mary's suffering "forms a single whole with that of her Son. It is a suffering full of faith and love. The Virgin at Calvary participates in the salvific power of Christ's suffering, uniting her 'fiat' to that of her Son."

  "Let us too renew our 'yes' to God Who chose the way of the Cross to save us. It is a great mystery that is still taking place, until the end of the world, and that also needs our collaboration."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 16, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Cardinal Agostino Vallini, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, as a member of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 16, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. released the following declaration:

  "Given the reaction in Muslim quarters to certain passages of the Holy Father's address at the University of Regensburg, and the clarifications and explanations already presented through the Director of the Holy See Press Office, I would like to add the following:

  "The position of the Pope concerning Islam is unequivocally that expressed by the conciliar document Nostra Aetate: 'The Church regards with esteem also the Muslims. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, Who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.'

  "The Pope's option in favor of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue is equally unequivocal. In his meeting with representatives of Muslim communities in Cologne, Germany, on 20 August 2005, he said that such dialogue between Christians and Muslims 'cannot be reduced to an optional extra,' adding: 'The lessons of the past must help us to avoid repeating the same mistakes. We must seek paths of reconciliation and learn to live with respect for each other's identity.'

  "As for the opinion of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus which he quoted during his Regensburg talk, the Holy Father did not mean, nor does he mean, to make that opinion his own in any way. He simply used it as a means to undertake - in an academic context, and as is evident from a complete and attentive reading of the text - certain reflections on the theme of the relationship between religion and violence in general, and to conclude with a clear and radical rejection of the religious motivation for violence, from whatever side it may come. On this point, it is worth recalling what Benedict XVI himself recently affirmed in his commemorative Message for the 20th anniversary of the Inter-religious Meeting of Prayer for Peace, initiated by his predecessor John Paul II at Assisi in October 1986: ' ... demonstrations of violence cannot be attributed to religion as such but to the cultural limitations with which it is lived and develops in time. ... In fact, attestations of the close bond that exists between the relationship with God and the ethics of love are recorded in all great religious traditions.'

  "The Holy Father thus sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful, and should have been interpreted in a manner that in no way corresponds to his intentions. Indeed it was he who, before the religious fervor of Muslim believers, warned secularized Western culture to guard against 'the contempt for God and the cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom.'

  "In reiterating his respect and esteem for those who profess Islam, he hopes they will be helped to understand the correct meaning of his words so that, quickly surmounting this present uneasy moment, witness to the 'Creator of heaven and earth, Who has spoken to men' may be reinforced, and collaboration may intensify 'to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom'."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 16, 2006 (VIS) - This morning at Castelgandolfo, the Pope received participants in a congress being promoted by the Pontifical Academy for Life and by the International Federation of Catholic Doctors' Associations, which is meeting to consider the theme: "Stem cells, what future for therapy?"

  Benedict XVI began his remarks by observing how "research into somatic stem cells merits approval and encouragement when it brings together scientific knowledge, the most advanced technology in the field of biology, and the ethic that postulates respect for human beings at every stage of their existence." In this context, he mentioned the promising horizons being opened in the cure of illnesses involving "the degeneration of tissues with consequent risks of invalidity and death for those affected."

  The Holy Father encouraged those working in Catholic-inspired scientific institutions to increase research in this field and "to establish closer contact among themselves and with others who seek, using appropriate methods, to relieve human suffering.

  "In the face of the frequent and unjust accusations of insensitivity directed against the Church," he added, "I would like to underline the constant support she has given over the course of her two thousand-year history to research aimed at the cure of illnesses and at the good of humanity. If there has been - and there still is - resistance, it was and is against those forms of research that involve the planned suppression of human beings who are already alive, though they may not yet have been born."

  The Pope then highlighted how history "has condemned such science in the past, and will condemn it in the future, not only because it is devoid of the light of God, but also because it is devoid of humanity."

  "In the face of the direct suppression of human beings," he continued, "there can be no compromise or prevarication; it is inconceivable for a society to fight crime effectively when it itself legalizes crime in the field of nascent life."

  The fact that the congress has expressed commitment to and hope of "achieving new therapeutic results by using cells from the adult body without having to suppress newly-conceived human beings, and the fact that your work is being rewarded with results, confirm the validity of the Church's constant call for full respect for human beings from the moment of conception. ... A good end," he concluded, "can never justify intrinsically illicit means."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 16, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, the Pope received the Letters of Credence of Ivan Rebernik, the new ambassador of Slovenia to the Holy See. In his address to the diplomat, the Holy Father observed how Slovenia "cultivates a fruitful dialogue with the ecclesial structures present on the ground, recognizing their positive contribution to the life of the nation."

  "From the earliest centuries of Christianity, the power of the Gospel was at work in the land of Slovenia," said the Holy Father, mentioning Sts. Victorinus and Maximianus. He also recalled Blessed Anton Maria Slomsek who "promoted national resurgence, undertaking valuable work in the formation of the Slovenian people."

  In Slovenia, Pope Benedict went on, "Christianity and national identity are closely linked. It is therefore natural that there should be such profound harmony with the Bishop of Rome." This "constructive dialogue was not interrupted by the sad events of last century," and in 2001 led to the signing of the Agreement between the Republic of Slovenia and the Holy See on juridical matters.

  "This is an important agreement," he added, "the faithful implementation of which cannot but strengthen mutual relations and collaboration for the promotion of the individual and the common good, while fully respecting the laicism of the State." However, "open questions" still exist, "which await a solution."

  Benedict XVI went on: "Knowing the respect and affection nourished by Slovenians for the Pope, I am certain that their political representatives will know how to interpret their traditions, sensibilities and culture. The Slovenian people have the right to affirm and assert the Christian spirit that formed their identity."

  "The task facing today's leaders is that of identifying appropriate ways to acquaint the new generations with a knowledge and appreciation of the values of the past, enabling them to bring the rich patrimony they have inherited into the millenium that has just begun. ... It would be truly shortsighted not to seek to open young people to a knowledge of their historical roots whence flows the lymph necessary to ensure the nation new seasons rich in fruit.

  "In this context," he added, "the question of [young people's] education - also in the religious values shared by the majority of the population - must not be avoided, if we do not wish to risk progressively losing the specific characteristics of national identity. What is at issue is respect for the very freedom of citizens, over which the Republic of Slovenia watches carefully, and which the Apostolic See also wishes to see promoted in the spirit of the aforementioned agreement."

  The Holy Father concluded by referring to "the experience of other peoples on the continent of Europe, in particular the Slavonic peoples, who, aware of the importance of Christianity for their social identity and of the valid contribution the Church can offer in this field, have not evaded the duty of ensuring, also through legislation, that their rich ethical and religious heritage may continue to bring abundant fruits to young generations."


VATICAN CITY, SEP 16, 2006 (VIS) - At the end of yesterday's ceremony at Castelgandolfo marking the resignation from the office of secretary of State of Cardinal Angelo Sodano, and the appointment of his successor, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope pronounced some off-the-cuff remarks.

  After expressing his appreciation for Cardinal Sodano's competence and will to serve the Church, the Holy Father thanked all the collaborators of the Secretariat of State, present at the audience, and of pontifical representations around the world.

  "I have learnt even more clearly," said the Pope, "how only this great collaborative network makes it possible to respond to the Lord's command: 'Confirma fratres tuos in fide'." It is thanks to such collaboration, he added, "that the Pope can ... accomplish his mission."

  Benedict XVI highlighted how "this curial work is in fact pastoral activity in its most eminent sense, because it truly helps to guide the people of God."

  The Pope told Cardinal Sodano how happy he was to have had his company on the recent papal visit to Bavaria, and he gave the outgoing secretary of State a copy of the Virgin of Altotting, "as a sign not only of my enduring gratitude but also of our communion in prayer. May the Virgin Mary always accompany you, protect and guide you. This is the expression of my sincere gratitude."
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