Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

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...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Thursday, June 28, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Peter F. Christensen of the clergy of the archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, U.S.A., pastor of the parish of the Nativity of Our Lord, as bishop of Superior (area 40,701, population 443,209, Catholics 81,885, priests 71, permanent deacons 57, religious 104), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Pasadena, U.S.A., in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1985. He succeeds Bishop Raphael Michael Fliss, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Luigi Renzo of the clergy of the archdiocese of Rossano-Cariati, Italy, vicar general and pastor of the cathedral, as bishop of Mileto-Nicotera-Tropea (area 943, population 156,900, Catholics 151,000, priests 136, permanent deacons 10, religious 158), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Cosenza, Italy in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1971. He succeeds Bishop Domenico Tarcisio Cortese O.F.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Pietro Santoro of the clergy of the archdiocese of Chieti-Vasto, Italy, pastor and episcopal vicar, as bishop of Avezzano (area 1,700, population 115,137, Catholics 109,000, priests 109, permanent deacons 5, religious 160), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Vasto in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1970.

 - Appointed Fr. Soane Patita Paini Mafi, vice rector of the regional seminary of the Pacific in Fiji, as coadjutor of Tonga (area 748,000, population 110,000, Catholics 16,221, priests 30, religious 54), Kingdom of Tonga. The bishop-elect was born in Nuku'alofa, Kingdom of Tonga in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1991.

 - Appointed Fr. Anthony Ademu Adaji M.S.P., bursar of St. Paul's Seminary in Abuja, Nigeria, as auxiliary of Idah (area 12,898, population 1,409,000, Catholics 188,617, priests 56, religious 167), Nigeria. The bishop-elect was born in Ukpaba, Nigeria in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1995.

 - Appointed Msgr. Novatus Rugambwa, nunciature counsellor in Indonesia, as under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.
NER:RE:NEC:NEA:NA/.../...                    VIS 20070628 (360)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Jozef Tomko, president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.

 - Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

 - Eight prelates from the Puerto Rican Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Roberto Octavio Gonzalez Nieves O.F.M., of San Juan de Puerto Rico, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Hector Manuel Rivera Perez and Daniel Fernandez Torres, and by Cardinal Luis Aponte Martinez, archbishop emeritus

    - Bishop Inaki Mallona Txertudi C.P., of Arecibo.

    - Bishop Ruben Antonio Gonazalez Medina C.M.F., of Caguas.

    - Bishop Ulises Aurelio Casiano Vargas of Mayaguez.

    - Bishop Felix Lazaro Martinez Sch. P., of Ponce.
AP:AL/.../...                                VIS 20070628 (130)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2007 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a communique released today by the Holy See Press Office concerning Benedict XVI's forthcoming "Motu Proprio" on the use of the Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962.

  "Yesterday afternoon in the Vatican, a meeting was held under the presidency of the Cardinal Secretary of State in which the content and spirit of the Holy Father's forthcoming 'Motu Proprio' on the use of the Missal promulgated by John XXIII in 1962 was explained to representatives from various episcopal conferences. The Holy Father also arrived to greet those present, spending nearly an hour in deep conversation with them.

  "The publication of the document - which will be accompanied by an extensive personal letter from the Holy Father to individual bishops - is expected within a few days, once the document itself has been sent to all the bishops with an indication of when it will come into effect."
OP/MOTU PROPRIO/...                        VIS 20070628 (180)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father Benedict XVI has called the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. The event, which is due to be held in the Vatican from October 4 to 25, 2009, has as its theme: "The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. 'You are the salt of the earth. ... You are the light of the world'."
.../AFRICA SYNOD/...                        VIS 20070628 (90)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JUN 27, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Denis Kiwanuka Lote of Kotido, Uganda, as archbishop of Tororo (area 8,837, population 2,662,000, Catholics 586,000, priests 85, religious 150), Uganda. The archbishop-elect was born in Pallisa, Uganda in 1938, he was ordained a priest in 1965 and consecrated a bishop in 1991. He succeeds Archbishop James Odongo, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Emmanuel Obbo A.J., rector of the minor seminary of the Congregation of the Apostles of Jesus in Nadiket Moroto, as bishop of Soroti (area 12,864, population 1,417,000, Catholics 915,000, priests 49, religious 52), Uganda. The bishop-elect was born in Nagoke/Kirewa, Uganda in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1986. He succeeds Bishop Erasmus Desiderius Wandera, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Aloisio Alberto Dilli O.F.M., master of novices in the province of "Sao Francisco de Assis" and guardian of the fraternity of "Daltro Filho" in the diocese of Caxias do Sul, Brazil, as bishop of Uruguaiana (area 38,795, population 445,000, Catholics 330,000, priests 25, religious 81), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Montenegro, Brazil in 1948 and ordained a priest in 1977. He succeeds Bishop Angelo Domingos Salvador O.F.M. Cap., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Arturo Eduardo Fajardo Bustamante of the clergy of the diocese of Minas, Uruguay, rector of the diocesan seminary, as bishop of San Jose de Mayo (area 10,136, population 113,000, Catholics 85,800, priests 18, religious 21), Uruguay. The bishop-elect was born in Aigua, Uruguay, in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1988.

 - Appointed Msgr. Francisco Mendoza de Leon of the clergy of the archdiocese of Manila, Philippines, rector of the shrine of Divine Mercy, as auxiliary of the diocese of Antipolo (area 1,859, population 3,250,000, Catholics 2,410,000, priests 126, religious 794), Philippines. The bishop-elect was born in Paranaque, Philippines in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1975.

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, presented by Cardinal Carlo Furno, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Archbishop John Patrick Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, as pro-grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

 - Appointed Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, secretary of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), as president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
NER:RE:NEA:NA/.../...                        VIS 20070627 (460)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 27, 2007 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, celebrated in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope addressed some remarks to participants in an international congress on adult stem cells, being organized by the "La Sapienza" University of Rome.

  The Holy Father noted how the congress "sets itself the aim of developing autologous cell therapy in the treatment of cardiac problems, through the use of adult stem cells. On this matter the position of the Church, supported by reason and by science, is clear: scientific research must be encouraged and promoted, so long as it does not harm other human beings, whose dignity is inviolable from the very first stages of existence."
AG/ADULT STEM CELLS/...                    VIS 20070627 (130)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 27, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father dedicated his catechesis during today's general audience to St. Cyril of Jerusalem (ca. 315-387), whom he described as a bishop of a great "ecclesiastical culture, centered on the study of the Bible." The general audience, Benedict XVI's hundredth, began with his greeting pilgrims in St. Peter's Basilica, then continued in the Paul VI Hall. It was attended by around 7,000 people.

  Cyril, the Pope explained, was consecrated a bishop in 348 by Acacius, metropolitan of Caesarea in Palestine and a supporter of Arianism. However, soon afterwards the two men came into contrast, "not only in the doctrinal field, but also in the area of jurisprudence, because Cyril claimed the autonomy of his see from the metropolitan see of Caesarea." He was exiled thee times and only in 378, following the death of the emperor Valens, could Cyril return to his see, "restoring unity and peace among the faithful." Of this saint we have his "Catecheses," 24 catechetical lectures introduced by a prologue.

  "Catechesis," the Holy Father explained, "was an important moment, inserted into the broad context of the entire life - and especially the liturgical life - of the Christian community" where "the future faithful were gestated, accompanied by the prayer and witness of their brethren. This was a very important moment, it was not just an intellectual catechesis, but a way of learning to live in the Christian community. As a whole, Cyril's homilies constitute a systematic and pragmatic catechesis on the rebirth of Christians through Baptism."

  From a doctrinal point of view, Cyril uses his work - through "a 'symphonic' relationship between the two Testaments" - to reach "Christ, center of the universe." In his moral catechesis, he invites people "to transform pagan forms of behavior on the basis of the new life in Christ." In his "mystagogic" catechesis, he brings the newly baptized "to discover the hidden mysteries ... contained in the baptismal rites."

  "The mystery to be understood is the design of God which is accomplished through the salvific action of Christ in the Church. The mystagogic dimension is, in turn, accompanied by the dimension of symbols which express the spiritual experience they bring about."

  "This is, then," the Pope concluded, "an integral catechesis which - involving body, soul and spirit - remains emblematic for the catechetical formation of Christians today. Let us ask the Lord to help us understand a Christianity that truly embraces all of our existence and makes us credible witnesses of Christ, true God and true man."
AG/CYRIL OF JERUSALEM/...                    VIS 20070627 (440)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was a "Motu Proprio," written in Latin, with which the Holy Father Benedict XVI restores the traditional norm concerning the majority required for the election of the Supreme Pontiff. According to this norm, in order for the election of a new Pope to be considered valid it is always necessary to reach a majority of two thirds of the cardinals present.

With this document, Benedict XVI substitutes the norm established by John Paul II who, in his 1996 Apostolic Constitution "Universi Dominici gregis," laid down that the valid quorum for electing a new Pope was initially two thirds but that, after three days of voting without an election, there would be a day dedicated to reflection and prayer, without voting. Thereafter, voting would resume for seven additional ballots, another pause for reflection, another seven ballots, another pause and yet another seven ballots. After which an absolute majority was to decide how to proceed, either for a vote by absolute majority or with balloting between two candidates. This was to happen only in the event that the cardinals arrived at the 33rd or 34th ballot without a positive result.


VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father gave his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Church meeting in Ain Traz, Lebanon, from June 18 to 23, of Fr. Yasser Ayyach, pastor of the Melkite parish of Amman-Alwabdi in Jordan, as archbishop of Petra and Philadelphia of the Greek-Melkites (Catholics 31,300, priests 28, religious 21), Jordan.
NER/.../AYYACH                            VIS 20070626 (70)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2007 (VIS) - Given below is a list of the metropolitan archbishops who will receive the pallium from Benedict XVI in the course of a Eucharistic celebration due to be held in the Vatican Basilica on Friday June 29, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles:

1. Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi S.V.C., of Piura, Peru.

2. Archbishop Robert Le Gall O.S.B., of Toulouse, France.

3. Archbishop Dominic Lumon of Imphal, India.

4. Archbishop Douglas Young S.V.D., of Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea.

5. Archbishop Barthelemy Djabla of Gagnoa, Ivory Coast.

6. Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga of Kampala, Uganda.

7. Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, Italy.

8. Archbishop Paul-Simeon Ahouanan Djro O.F.M., of Bouake, Cote d'Ivoire.

9. Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Bombay, India.

10. Archbishop Javier Augusto del Rio Alba of Arequipa, Peru.

11. Archbishop Edward Ozorowski of Bialystok, Poland.

12. Archbishop Romulo Geolina Valles of Zamboanga, Philippines.

13. Archbishop Calogero La Piana S.D.B., of Messina-Lipari-Santa Lucia del Mela, Italy.

14. Archbishop Antonio Muniz Fernandes O. Carm., of Maceio, Brazil.

15. Archbishop Rafael Romo Munoz of Tijuana, Mexico.

16. Archbishop Jose Guadalupe Martin Rabago of Leon, Mexico.

17. Archbishop Pedro Aranda Diaz-Munoz of Tulancingo, Mexico.

18. Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera Lopez of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico.

19. Archbishop Evariste Ngoyagoye of Bujumbura, Burundi.

20. Archbishop Filipe Neri Antonio Sebastiao do Rosario Ferrao of Goa and Damao, India.
21. Archbishop Paul R. Ruzoka of Tabora, Tanzania.

22. Archbishop Gerard Pettipas C.Ss.R., of Grouard-McLennan, Canada.

23. Archbishop Paul Cremona O.P., of Malta, Malta.

24. Archbishop Marcel Madila Basanguka of Kananga, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

25. Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins of Toronto, Canada.

26. Archbishop Paolo Romeo of Palermo, Italy.

27. Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello S.D.B., of Concepcion, Chile.

28. Archbishop Orlando Antonio Corrales Garcia of Santa Fe de Antioquia, Colombia.

29. Archbishop Jose Alberto Moura C.S.S., of Montes Claros, Brazil.

30. Archbishop Dionisio Guillermo Garcia Ibanez of Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.

31. Archbishop Albert D'Souza of Agra, India.

32. Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw, Poland.

33. Archbishop Csaba Ternyak of Eger, Hungary.

34. Archbishop Odilo Pedro Scherer of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

35. Archbishop Richard William Smith of Edmonton, Canada.

36. Archbishop Pierre d'Ornellas of Rennes, France.

37. Archbishop Reinaldo Del Prette Lissot of Valencia en Venezuela, Venezuela.

38. Archbishop Hipolito Reyes Larios of Jalapa, Mexico.

39. Archbishop Geraldo Lyrio Rocha of Mariana, Brazil.

40. Archbishop Oscar Julio Vian Morales S.D.B., of Los Altos, Quetzaltenango-Tontonicapan, Guatemala.

41. Archbishop Terrence Thomas Prendergast S.J., of Ottawa, Canada.

42. Archbishop Joao Bosco Oliver de Faria of Diamantina, Brazil.

43. Archbishop Brendan Michael O'Brien of Kingston, Canada.

44. Archbishop Buti Joseph Tlhagale O.M.I. of Johannesburg, South Africa.

45. Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz of Louisville, U.S.A.

46. Archbishop Leo Cornelio S.V.D., of Bhopal, India.

  In addition to these 46 archbishops, a further five will receive the pallium in their respective sees:

47. Archbishop Telesphore George Mpundu of Lusaka, Zambia.

48. Archbishop John Choi Young-su of Daegu, Korea.

49. Archbishop Vincentius Sensi Potokota of Ende, Indonesia.

50. Archbishop Denis Komivi Amuzu-Dzakpah of Lome, Togo.

51. Archbishop Denis Kiwanuka Lote of Tororo, Uganda.
.../PALLIUM/...                            VIS 20070626 (530)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2007 (VIS) - "In Solidarity with the People of the Sea as Witnesses of Hope, through Proclamation of the Word, Liturgy and Diakonia," is the theme of the 22nd World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea, which is being held in Gdynia, Poland from June 24 to 29 under the patronage of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

  The Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) is an ecclesial organization that has more than 110 maritime centers and chaplaincies in almost all the main ports of the world. It is estimated that seafarers in the merchant marine number more than 1.2 million, most of them Catholics from poor countries, while those who work in the fishing industry number 41 million.

  The AOS congress is held every five years, the last one having been in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In his opening address to the current congress, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, pointed out that "the milieu in which we as the AOS are called to bear witness ... remains today one of the most difficult, demanding and dangerous."

  "In no other age have we seen such prosperity, wealth and technological advances in the maritime industry and yet countless workers of the sea are in extreme need, as so many of them are faced with new forms of slavery in their living and working conditions.

  "Our apostolate in the AOS is one of presence and service. Our vocation is to incarnate Christ's love for those who suffer, the sick, the marginalized and the poor. We are also often called to stand alongside seafarers in defense of their rights and in doing so we are exercising the prophetic mission of the Church, because for us at the heart of social justice lies love of God and love of neighbor."

  "The choice of theme," the archbishop concluded, "reflects our conviction that, in order to remain faithful to its tradition and identity, the AOS must carry out its role within the historical context in which the people of the sea live and work today. It is in this world that we are called to commit ourselves, to live the Gospel fully by being faithful witnesses of the Risen Christ. ... The Church as a community is dedicated to the spreading of this Gospel of hope in a world which has lost many of its landmarks and references."
CON-SM/APOSTLESHIP SEA/MARCHETTO            VIS 20070626 (430)

Monday, June 25, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JUN 23, 2007 (VIS) - From July 9 to 27, Benedict XVI is due to spend a period of rest at Lorenzago di Cadore in the Italian province of Belluno, where he will stay in a villa belonging to the diocese of Treviso.

  At midday on Sunday July 15, the Pope will pray the Angelus at the Castle of Mirabello and, on Sunday July 22, at the main square of Lorenzago di Cadore.

  During this period, the Wednesday general audiences of July 11, 18 and 25 will be suspended.

  On Friday, July 27, the Holy Father will travel to the Apostolic Place of Castelgandolfo where he will remain until late September.

  Over the summer period, all private and special audiences are suspended. The general audiences will resume regularly from Wednesday, August 1.
OP/PAPAL HOLIDAY/LORENZAGO                VIS 20070625 (150)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 23, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy See Press Office released the following communique to journalists:

  "Today, June 23, 2007, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Tony Blair, prime minister of the United Kingdom. The prime minister subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "In the course of the meeting, certain significant contributions made by Prime Minister Blair during his ten years in office were examined. There followed a frank discussion on the current international situation, including certain particularly delicate questions such as the conflict in the Middle East and the future of the European Union in the wake of the Brussels summit.

  "Finally, following an exchange of views on certain laws recently approved by the UK parliament, Tony Blair was offered best wishes as he is about to leave the office of prime minister, also bearing in mind the fact that he has expressed a strong desire to commit himself particularly to peace in the Middle East and to inter-religious dialogue."
OP/AUDIENCE/BLAIR                        VIS 20070625 (200)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 25, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Martin Su Yao-wen of the clergy of the diocese of Taichung, Taiwan, director of campus ministry at Providence University, as bishop of the same diocese (area 7,836, population 4,134,000, Catholics 36,836, priests 74, religious 122). The bishop-elect was born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1989. He succeeds Bishop Joseph Wang Yu-jung, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Elevated the diocese of Niamey (area 200,000, population 6,349,000, Catholics 15,532, priests 26, religious 82), Niger, to the rank of metropolitan archdiocese, giving it as suffragan the diocese of Maradi. He appointed Bishop Michel Christian Cartateguy S.M.A., of Niamey, as metropolitan archbishop of the new circumscription. The archbishop-elect was born in Hasparren, France in 1951, he was ordained a priest in 1979 and consecrated a bishop in 1999.

 - Appointed Fr. Venant Bacinoni of the clergy of Bururi, Burundi, professor at the inter-diocesan major seminary "Jean Paul II" in Gitega, as bishop of Bururi (area 6,500, population 902,000, Catholics 400,000, priests 97, religious 111). The bishop-elect was born in Kirisi, Burundi in 1940 and ordained a priest in 1965.

 - Appointed Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church, as president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

 - Appointed Bishop Raffaele Farina S.D.B., prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library, as archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Ariano Irpino, Italy in 1933, ordained a priest in 1958 and consecrated a bishop in 2006.

 - Appointed Msgr. Cesare Pasini, vice-prefect of the Ambrosian Library in Milan, Italy, as prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library.

  On Saturday, June 23, it was made public that he:

 - Appointed Bishop Edward Dajczak, auxiliary of Zielona Gora-Gorzow, as bishop of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg (area 14,640, population 925,000, Catholics 910,900, priests 527, religious 374), Poland.

 - Appointed Fr. Murray Chatlain of the clergy of Saskatoon, Canada, pastor of St. Patrick's church, as coadjutor of MacKenzie-Fort Smith (area 1,523,400, population 43,047, Catholics 22,000, priests 10), Canada. The bishop-elect was born in Saskatoon in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1987.
NER:RE:ECE:NA:NEC/.../...                        VIS 20070625 (390)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 25, 2007 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict XVI visited the Vatican Apostolic Library and the Vatican Secret Archives. From July 14, the Library is due to close its doors to the public for a period of three years in order to enable restoration work to take place in one of the wings of the Renaissance building in which it is housed.

  In his address, the Pope highlighted how the Library is called "Apostolic" because "it is an institution considered since its foundation as the 'Pope's library'." Today, he said, it is "a welcoming home of learning, culture and humanity which opens its doors to scholars from all over the world without distinction of origin, race or culture. The job of those of you who work here every day is to safeguard the synthesis between culture and faith that emerges from the precious documents and treasures you hold."

  In the Vatican Secret Archives, which opened their doors to scholars in 1881 by order of Pope Leo XIII, said the Holy Father, "it is possible to undertake not only scholarly research, of itself most laudable and praiseworthy, concerning periods distant from us in time, but also to pursue interests concerning epochs and times close to us, even very close. Proof of this are the first fruits produced by the recent opening to scholars of the pontificate of Pope Pius XI, ordered by me in June 2006."

  Referring to the "polemics" that have arisen following the publication of certain items of research, the Pope praised "the disinterested and impartial service provided by the Vatican Secret Archives," which "steer clear of sterile and often weak partisan historical viewpoints and give researchers, without hindrance or prejudice, the documents in its possession, cataloged with seriousness and competency."

  Both the Library and the Archives receive "expressions of appreciation and respect from cultural institutes and individual scholars from various countries," said Pope Benedict. "To me, this seems the best recognition to which the two institutions can aspire," he added.

  Benedict XVI told the Library staff that on his own 70th birthday he "would have liked the beloved John Paul II to have granted me the chance of dedicating myself to study and research on the interesting documents ... you safeguard so carefully, real masterworks that help us to follow the story of humanity and of Christianity."

  "In your multifarious activities, you make use of the most advanced techniques in computers, cataloging, restoration, photography and, more generally, in everything that concerns the protection and usage of the immense heritage you preserve."

  The Holy Father concluded by exhorting his audience "always to consider your work as a real mission to be undertaken passionately and patiently, with courtesy and a spirit of faith. Let it be your concern always to offer a welcoming image of the Apostolic See, aware that the evangelical message also passes through your own coherent Christian witness."
BXVI-VISIT/VATICAN LIBRARY:ARCHIVE/...            VIS 20070625 (500)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 24, 2007 (VIS) - "Today's liturgy invites us to celebrate the birth of St. John the Baptist whose life, like Mary's, was entirely oriented towards Christ," the Pope told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square at midday today, prior to praying the Angelus.

  St. John the Baptist, the Pope went on, "was the precursor, the 'voice' sent to announce the incarnate Word. Therefore, commemorating his birth really means celebrating Christ, the fulfillment of all the promises of all the prophets."

  "All the Gospels begin their account of Jesus' public life with the story of His Baptism by John in the River Jordan. ... Like a true prophet, John bore witness to the truth without compromise. He denounced transgressions of God's commandments, even when the transgressors were powerful. ... We invoke his intercession, together with that of Mary Most Holy, that in our own time the Church may know how to remain faithful to Christ and to bear courageous witness to His truth and His love for everyone."

  After praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI indicated that today, the Sunday preceding the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, marks in Italy the Day of the Pope's Charity, and he thanked the Italian faithful "for the prayers and for the material support with which you participate in the Successor of Peter's activities of evangelization and charity throughout the world."
ANG/JOHN THE BAPTIST:PAPAL CHARITY/...        VIS 20070625 (250)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 23, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka, president emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

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

 - Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
AP/.../...                                VIS 20070625 (70)

Friday, June 22, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JUN 22, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Fra' Andrew Bertie, prince and grand master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

 - Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

 - Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, Peru.

 - Cardinal Godfried Danneels, archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium.

  This evening, he is scheduled to receive in audience, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
AP/.../...                                VIS 20070622 (90)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 22, 2007 (VIS) - According to a communique published today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, in the Vatican Basilica at 9.30 a.m. on Friday, June 29, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, Benedict XVI will preside at a Eucharistic concelebration with a number of metropolitan archbishops appointed during the course of the year, upon whom he will impose the pallium.
OCL/ST. PETER:ST. PAUL/...                    VIS 20070622 (80)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 22, 2007 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Pope received prelates of the Episcopal Conference of Togo, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  The Holy Father began his address to the bishops by thanking them for "your perseverance and courage in the face of the numerous difficulties your country has had to face over past years. On many occasions," he told them, "you have contributed to dialogue for national reconciliation, reminding everyone of the requirements of the common good, in faithfulness to the truth of God and of humanity. I ask the Lord to render your efforts fruitful that your country may enjoy a prosperous life in harmony and fraternity."

  After highlighting the African prelates' commitment "to protecting and respecting life," Benedict XVI explained that "the promotion of the truth and dignity of marriage, and the defense of essential family values, must be one of your major priorities. The pastoral care of families is an essential element of evangelization that brings young people to discover the meaning of a unique and faithful commitment." In this context, he exhorted the bishops "to pay particular attention to the formation of couples and families."

  The Pope also encouraged them "to continue in efforts to promote Catholic schools, which are places of integral education at the service of families and of the transmission of the faith. Despite the difficulties they may encounter, the schools' role is essential to ensure that young people receive a solid human, cultural and religious formation. May the educators and professors themselves," he exclaimed, "be models of Christian life for the young!"

  Going on to refer to the urgent need for evangelization, the Holy Father recalled the work of catechists and other pastoral care operatives. "Inculturation of the evangelical message and faithfulness to the doctrine of the Church," he said, "contribute to the effective foundation of the faith among your people, allowing them to welcome the figure of Jesus Christ into all dimensions of their lives. ... While respecting the rich traditions that are a living expression of your people's soul, Christians must decisively reject anything that runs counter to the liberating message of Christ and entraps and alienates mankind and society."

  Benedict XVI also stressed the importance of the formation of priests, consecrated people and the laity, so as to help them "face the difficult situations with which they are confronted and transmit the contents of the faith through the witness of their lives, upheld by strong personal convictions. Such formation must help the lay faithful to acquire skills that enable them to commit themselves to social life and to working towards the common good. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church is a valuable instrument for the formation of everyone and particularly of the laity."

  At the end of his address, the Holy Father referred to the need "to pursue and develop the cordial relations that exist with Muslims in Togo. Such relations, he concluded, "are indispensable for ensuring concord and harmony among all citizens, and for promoting the shared values of humanity."
AL/.../TOGO                                VIS 20070622 (530)

Thursday, June 21, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Francisco Cerro Chaves, diocesan delegate for youth pastoral care and director of the diocesan center of spirituality in Valladolid, Spain, as bishop of Coria-Caceres (area 10,052, population 263,430, Catholics 251,701, priests 170, permanent deacons 1, religious 332), Spain. The bishop-elect was born in Malpartida de Caceres, Spain in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1981.
NER/.../CERRO                            VIS 20070621 (70)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Oriental Churches.

  This evening, he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care (for Healthcare Ministry).
AP/.../...                                VIS 20070621 (60)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2007 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that at 5.30 p.m. on June 28, eve of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, Benedict XVI will preside at the celebration of first Vespers in the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls.

  During the ceremony, the Pope will proclaim a year especially dedicated to St. Paul, to mark the 2000th anniversary of the birth of the "Apostle of the Gentiles."
OCL/VESPERS:PAULINE YEAR/...                VIS 20070621 (100)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2007 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has written a Letter to Cardinal Renato R. Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, for the occasion of the golden anniversary of his priestly ordination. Cardinal Martino was ordained on June 20, 1957.

  Yesterday evening, to celebrate his 50 years in the priesthood, Cardinal Martino celebrated Mass at the altar of the Cathedra in St. Peter's Basilica.

  The Holy Father has also written a Letter to Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, for the 25th anniversary of his consecration as a bishop on June 19 1982. In his Letter, the Pope praises the cardinal's efforts as an "attentive and faithful pastor," and "promoter of evangelization."


VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2007 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received participants in the annual Meeting of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (ROACO), telling them that he shared their "pain and concern for the delicate situation affecting vast areas of the Middle East."

  "Peace," said the Pope, "becomes even more fragile because of injustices, old and new. Thus it is extinguished altogether and gives way to violence which often degenerates into more or less open war until it ends up, as in our own time, as an urgent international problem."

  "I appeal to the hearts of those who have specific responsibilities, that they may accept the vital duty of guaranteeing peace for everyone, without distinction, freeing [peace] from the mortal illness of religious, cultural, historical or geographical discrimination."

  Benedict XVI repeated his assurances that "the Holy Land, Iraq and Lebanon are present, with the urgency and constancy they deserve, in the prayers and activities of the Apostolic See and of the entire Church." He also called on the Congregation for Oriental Churches and its associated institutions to ensure that their "intervention in favor of so many of our brothers and sisters becomes more incisive."

  To His Beatitude Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, who was present at the audience, the Pope renewed his condolences "for the barbarous killing of a defenseless priest and three sub-deacons in Iraq at the end of Sunday liturgy on June 3. The entire Church accompanies all her sons and daughters with affection and admiration, and supports them at this time of true martyrdom in the name of Christ."

  The Holy Father thanked members of ROACO for their collaboration with the Congregation for Oriental Churches, encouraging them to continue their endeavors, "so that the priceless support you give to the witness of ecclesial charity may be fully developed in the community. ... Teamwork and collaboration is always a guarantee of a more ordered and evenhanded service."

  "As we appeal to the Lord to speed the day of full unity among Christians, and the long-awaited moment of serene inter-religious coexistence animated by mutual respect, we ask Him to bless our efforts and to illuminate us so that what we do is never to the detriment but always to the advantage of the ecclesial community. May He make us attentive so that, rejecting all forms of indifference, we never forget, in exercising charity, the mission of the local Catholic community."

  Benedict XVI concluded his talk by highlighting how "in prayer we will always find the true source of commitment to charity, and in prayer we will verify its authenticity."
AC/.../ROACO                            VIS 20070621 (450)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, the Holy Father received His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, accompanied by an entourage.

  In his address, the Pope recalled the patriarch's 1994 visit to John Paul II when the two men signed a joint declaration concerning Christology, which included "the decision to establish a Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East."

  That commission, said the Holy Father continuing his English-language talk, "has undertaken an important study of the sacramental life in our respective traditions and forged an agreement on the Anaphora of the Apostles Addai and Mari. I am most grateful for the results of this dialogue, which hold out the promise of further progress on other disputed questions."

  "The Assyrian Church of the East is rooted in ancient lands whose names are associated with the history of God's saving plan for all mankind. .... Today, tragically, Christians in this region are suffering both materially and spiritually. Particularly in Iraq, the homeland of so many of the Assyrian faithful, Christian families and communities are feeling increasing pressure from insecurity, aggression and a sense of abandonment. Many of them see no other possibility than to leave the country and to seek a new future abroad.

  "These difficulties," the Pope added, "are a source of great concern to me, and I wish to express my solidarity with the pastors and the faithful of the Christian communities who remain there, often at the price of heroic sacrifices.

  "As a result of successive waves of emigration, many Christians from the Eastern Churches are now living in the West. This new situation presents a variety of challenges to their Christian identity and their life as a community. At the same time, when Christians from the East and West live side by side, they have a precious opportunity to enrich one another and to understand more fully the catholicity of the Church, which, as a pilgrim in this world, lives, prays and bears witness to Christ in a variety of cultural, social and human contexts."

  "New hopes and possibilities sometimes awaken new fears, and this is also true with regard to ecumenical relations." Nonetheless, "it is to be hoped that the fruitful labor which the commission has accomplished over the years can continue, while never losing sight of the ultimate goal of our common journey towards the re-establishment of full communion."

  "However long and laborious the path towards unity may seem, we are asked by the Lord to join our hands and hearts, so that together we can bear clearer witness to Him and better serve our brothers and sisters, particularly in the troubled regions of the East, where many of our faithful look to us, their pastors, with hope and expectation."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JUN 20, 2007 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Bishop Marion Francis Forst, titular of Leavenworth, on June 2, at the age of 96.

 - Bishop Marcelo Mendiharat Pommies, emeritus of Salto, Uruguay, on June 12 at the age of 93.
.../DEATHS/...                            VIS 20070620 (50)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 20, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Cincinnati, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Carl K. Moeddel, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Fr. Daniel Kozelinski Netto of the clergy of the eparchy of Sao Joao Batista em Curitiba of the Ukrainians, Brazil, as auxiliary of the same eparchy (Catholics 161,500, priests 81, permanent deacons 2, religious 553). The bishop-elect was born in Colonia Paraiso, Brazil in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1980.
RE:NEA/.../MOEDDEL:KOZELINSKI                VIS 20070620 (110)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 20, 2007 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, held in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope recalled the fact that today marks World Refugee Day, an initiative promoted by the United Nations "to ensure that public opinion does not lose sight of those who have been obliged to abandon their countries in the face of a real danger to their lives.

  "Welcoming refugees and giving them hospitality," the Holy Father added, "is for everyone a vital gesture of human solidarity, in order to help them feel less isolated by intolerance and disinterest. For Christians, moreover, it is a concrete way to express evangelical love.

  "It is my heartfelt wish that these brothers and sisters of ours, who have suffered such harsh trials, may be guaranteed refuge and the recognition of their rights, and I invite the leaders of nations to offer protection to all those who find themselves in such delicate situations of need."
AG/APPEAL REFUGEES/...                    VIS 20070620 (170)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 20, 2007 (VIS) - Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis during this morning's general audience to the figure of St. Athanasius of Alexandria (circa 300-373), calling him a "column of the Church," and a "model of orthodoxy in both East and West." Before the audience, which was held in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope visited the Vatican Basilica where he greeted faithful gathered there.

  After noting how St. Athanasius' statue was placed by Bernini, alongside statues of other doctors of the Church (St. John Chrysostom, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine), around the cathedra of St. Peter in the apse of the Vatican Basilica, the Pope described the Alexandrian saint as a "passionate theologian of the incarnation of the 'Logos,' the Word of God," and "the most important and tenacious adversary of the Arian heresy which then threatened faith in Christ by minimizing His divinity, in keeping with a recurring historical tendency which is also evident in various ways today."

  Athanasius participated in the Council of Nicaea, when bishops established "the symbol of faith ... which has remained in the tradition of the various Christian confessions and in the liturgy as the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed." There it is affirmed that "the Son is 'of one substance' with the Father, precisely in order to highlight His full divinity which was denied by the Arians. ... The fundamental idea behind St. Athanasius theological labors was precisely that God is accessible, ... and that though our communion with Christ we can truly unite ourselves to God."

  Nonetheless, the Arian crisis did not end with the Council of Nicaea "and on five occasions over a period of 30 years, ... Athanasius [bishop of Alexandria from 328] was forced to abandon his city, spending 17 years in exile." In this way, however, "he was able to support and defend in the West ... the Nicene faith and the ideals of monasticism."

  This saint's most famous work "is his treatise 'On the Incantation of the Word'," in which he affirms that the Word of God "was made man that we might be made God; and He manifested Himself by a body that we might receive the idea of the unseen Father; and He endured the insolence of men that we might inherit immortality."

  Athanasius is also the author of meditations upon the Psalms and, above all, of one of the most popular works of ancient Christian literature, "the 'Life of St. Anthony,' the biography of St. Anthony Abbot which ... made a great contribution to the spread of monasticism in East and West."

  The life of Athanasius, like that of St. Anthony, the Pope concluded, "shows us that 'those who draw near to God do not withdraw from men, but rather become truly close to them'."
AG/ATHANASIUS/...                        VIS 20070620 (470)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 20, 2007 (VIS) - At 5 p.m. yesterday at the altar of the Cathedra in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father presided at the funeral of Cardinal Angelo Felici, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and president emeritus of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," who died on Sunday June 17 at the age of 87.

  In his homily, Benedict XVI recalled the words Servant of God John Paul II wrote to Cardinal Felici on the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest, the 25th of his consecration as a bishop. "Your episcopal ministry, Pope John Paul affirmed, has been entirely dedicated to the good of the faithful, and to the beneficial mission of the Roman Pontiffs and the Apostolic See.

  "Today," Pope Benedict added, "we wish to give thanks to the Lord for the abundant harvest of apostolic fruits that Cardinal Felici, with the help of divine grace, was able to gather in the various areas of his enlightened and valuable pastoral and diplomatic activity." The late cardinal worked in the Secretariat of State before being appointed pro-nuncio in the Netherlands, later becoming pontifical representative in Portugal and in France. Subsequently he was appointed as prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei."

  The Holy Father noted how among the late cardinal's papers was a print of the Virgin, "Mater Salvatoris, as venerated in the chapel of the Pontifical Leonine College where he studied as a young man. On the back it bears this invocation: 'I trust in you, Lord, and in Your Most Holy Mother, that I may not be eternally confused.' How many times must he have repeated the words of this prayer, written in his own handwriting with a view to his final departure. We may consider this as the spiritual legacy he left us: words which, better than anything else, today help us to reflect and to pray."
HML/FUNERAL/FELICI                        VIS 20070620 (350)


THE CEREMONY FOR THE REOPENING OF THE CATHEDRAL of Noto, Italy took place yesterday morning. For the occasion, the Pope sent a message to Bishop Giuseppe Malandrino of Noto thanking everyone who participated in the rebuilding work following the sudden collapse of the building 11 years ago. The Holy Father also expresses the hope that the reconstructed cathedral, "a true masterpiece of the Sicilian Baroque and heritage of humanity, ... may, in its beauty, be an invitation for the diocesan community of Noto to grow in communion and in apostolic fervor."

NEW HUMANISM FOR EUROPE, the role of universities, is the theme of a European meeting of university professors which is due to be held in Rome from June 21 to 24 to mark the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome (1957-2007). The congress is being promoted by the president of the Italian Republic, the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) and the Office for the Pastoral Care of Universities of the Vicariate of Rome.

"THE HUMAN FAMILY, COMMUNITY OF PEACE," is the theme of the Pope's Message for the 41st World Day of Peace, due to be celebrated on January 1, 2008. A communique made public today affirms that the theme chosen by Benedict XVI "is based on his conviction that the perception of a common destiny and the experience of communion are essential factors in the realization of the common good."
.../IN BRIEF/...                            VIS 20070619 (240)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JUN 19, 2007 (VIS) - A communique made public today announced that the commission of cardinals which oversees the activities of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), meeting on 13 June under the chairmanship of Cardinal Angelo Sodano, approved the appointment of Paolo Cipriani, vice-director general of the IOR, as director general of that institution.

  Lelio Scaletti, the current director general, having reached the age of 80, will leave office on October 1 maintaining the title of director general emeritus.

  Paolo Cipriani was born in Rome in 1954. He has worked in the "Banco di Santo Spirito" and the "Banca di Roma", also acting as representative of these institutions in Luxembourg, New York and London.


VATICAN CITY, JUN 19, 2007 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, the official presentation took place of the document "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road," published by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. Participating in the press conference were Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino and Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, respectively president and secretary of that pontifical council.

  The document - published in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian - is divided into four sections: The pastoral care of road users, pastoral ministry for the liberation of street women, the pastoral care of street children, and the pastoral care of the homeless.

  Cardinal Martino indicated that the idea of preparing this document arose during the First European Meeting of National Directors of the Pastoral Care of the Road, held in 2003. "Its aim," he said, "is to guide and coordinate all the ecclesial bodies in the world of the pastoral care of the road, and to encourage and stimulate episcopal conferences of countries in which this form of pastoral care does not exist, to organize it."

  Commenting on the first part of the document, Cardinal Martino expressed the view that "Church and State, each in its own field, must work to create a generalized public awareness on the question of road safety and promote, using all possible means, ... an adequate education among drivers, travelers and pedestrians."

  Referring to the evangelization of the road, the president of the pontifical council recalled that the Church also aims at "the religious formation of car drivers, professional transporters, passengers, and all those people who, in one way or another, are associated with roads and railways." In this context, he recalled the fact that in many countries there are "fixed or mobile highway chapels, and pastoral workers who visit motorway service areas and periodically celebrate liturgies there."

  For his part, Archbishop Marchetto explained the remaining three parts of the document: pastoral ministry for the liberation of street women, the pastoral care of street children, and the pastoral care of the homeless.

  In order to respond effectively to the first of these, said the archbishop, "it is important to understand the factors that push ... women into prostitution, the strategies used by intermediaries and traffickers to make them submit to their will, the paths along which they move from their countries of origin to those of destination, and the institutional resources needed to face the problem. Fortunately the international community and many non-governmental organizations are seeking ever more energetically to combat criminal activities and to protect the victims of human trafficking, developing a vast range of resources to prevent the phenomenon and to rehabilitate its victims back into social life.

  "The Church," he added, "has the pastoral responsibility to defend and promote the human dignity of those exploited by prostitution, and to work towards their liberation, providing economic, educational and formative support to this end. She ... must also prophetically denounce the injustices and violence perpetrated against street women and invite people of good will to commit themselves to the defense of their human dignity, ... putting an end to sexual exploitation."

  Archbishop Marchetto described the issue of street children, as "a phenomenon of unimaginable proportions, ... 150 million according to the International Labor Organization." He identified its causes in "the increasing disintegration of families, ... immigration which uproots people from their familiar environment and disorientates them, and conditions of extreme poverty."

  "In order for children to have a future in life, it is of fundamental importance to infuse in them a feeling of self-confidence, self-respect and dignity, ... in order for them to develop a genuine desire to resume studying ... and to create dignified and gratifying life projects, through their own efforts and not dependent upon others." In this area, he continued, "it is necessary to seek out and meet the young people in the places they gather, on the streets, ... and in the 'hotspots' of our metropolises."

  "Generally speaking, street dwellers are considered with diffidence and suspicion, and the fact of not having a house becomes the start of a progressive loss of rights. Thus they become a multitude without a name and without a voice, incapable of defending themselves or of finding the resources to improve their future." Fortunately, "there is no lack of pastoral responses, ... though insufficient, by parishes Catholic organizations ecclesial movements and new communities. There are people who go out to seek these brothers and sisters in need, creating a network of friendship and support and giving life to generous initiatives of solidarity."

  In closing, Archbishop Marchetto highlighted "the close link of the pastoral care of the road with its source, Christ the Lord in the mystery of His incarnation, and with the Church and her preferential option for the poor, who must be evangelized while respecting everyone's freedom of conscience and letting oneself, in turn, be evangelized by them."

Monday, June 18, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JUN 18, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Six prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Togo, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Philippe Fanoko Kossi Kpodzro, emeritus of Lome, accompanied by Archbishop-elect Denis Komivi Amuzu-Dzakpah.

    - Bishop Jacques Nyimbusede Tukumbe Anyilunda of Dapaong.

    - Bishop Benoit Comlan Messan Alowonou of Kpalime, apostolic administrator of Atakpame.

    - Bishop Ambroise Kotamba Djoliba of Sokode.

    - Msgr. Isaac Jogues Kodjo Agbemenya Gaglo, diocesan administrator of Aneho.

  On Saturday, June 16, he received on separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care (for Healthcare Ministry).

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
AP/.../...                                VIS 20070618 (120)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 18, 2007 (VIS) - At 5 p.m. tomorrow Tuesday, March 19, at the altar of the Cathedra in St. Peter's Basilica, Benedict XVI will preside at the funeral of Cardinal Angelo Felici, who died yesterday at the age of 87. The Italian cardinal was prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and president emeritus of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei."
.../DEATH FELICI/...                            VIS 20070618 (80)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 16, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Domenico Cancian F.A.M., superior general of Sons of Merciful Love, as bishop of Citta di Castello (area 820, population 60,060, Catholics 58,900, priests 71, permanent deacons 9, religious 142), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Mareno di Piave, Italy in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1972. He succeeds Bishop Pellegrino Tommaso Ronchi O.F.M. Cap., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
NER:RE/.../CANCIAN:RONCHI                    VIS 20070618 (90)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 16, 2007 (VIS) - Following this morning's private meeting, and their exchange of speeches, the Pope and His Beatitude Chrysostomos II, signed a Joint declaration in the presence of the Catholic and Cypriot Orthodox delegations.

  In the declaration, Benedict XVI and the archbishop of New Justiniana and All Cyprus declare their "sincere and firm desire, in obedience to the will of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to intensify the search for full unity among all Christians. ... We wish the Catholic and Orthodox faithful of Cyprus to live fraternally and in full solidarity. ... Furthermore, we wish to support and promote theological dialogue which, through the competent international commission, is preparing to consider the most onerous questions that marked the historical event of division. It is necessary to reach substantial agreement over full communion in the faith, in sacramental life and in the exercise of pastoral ministry."

  The Holy Father and His Beatitude Chrysostomos II affirm that during their meeting they "examined the situation of the divisions and tensions which, for more than 30 years, have characterized the island of Cyprus, with the tragic everyday problems that also affect the lives of our communities and of individual families." They also considered "the situation in the Middle East, where war and contrasts between peoples risk spreading, with disastrous consequences. We have invoked the peace 'that comes from above.' Our Churches intend to play a role of pacification in justice and in solidarity and, in order for this to come about, it is our desire to promote fraternal relations between all Christians and faithful dialogue between the various religions that are present and operate in the region."

  After making a call for all those who raise their hands "against their brothers" to lay down their arms, the joint declaration calls for "every effort to be made to ensure that human rights are always defended, in all countries." Of these, "the primary right is that of freedom of religion. Not to respect it constitutes a grave offence to the dignity of man. ... And hence, to profane, destroy or plunder the places of worship of any religion is an act against humanity and the civilization of peoples."

  "At a time of growing secularization and relativism, Catholics and Orthodox in Europe are called to offer renewed witness on ethical values," write the Pope and Chrysostomos II. Referring to the European Union, they highlight how "it cannot be limited to merely economic cooperation, it needs solid cultural foundations, shared ethical positions and openness to the religious dimension. It is necessary to revive the Christian roots of Europe, which have made its civilization great over the centuries, and to recognize that the Western and Eastern Christian tradition have, in this sense, a joint task to accomplish."

  The Pope and the archbishop of New Justiniana and All Cyprus indicate that "the rich heritage of faith and the solid Christian tradition of our lands must encourage Catholic and Orthodox to a renewed determination to announce the Gospel in our time, in order to be faithful to our Christian vocation and to respond to the needs of today's world."

  On the subject of bioethics, the two men express their "serious concern" for the way in which this question is handled. And they affirm that "the exploitation of human beings, abusive experimentation and genetic experiments that do not respect ethical values, are an offense to life, threaten the wellbeing and dignity of each human being and cannot and must not be justified or permitted at any moment of existence."

  The Holy Father and His Beatitude Chrysostomos II invite the leaders of nations "to favor and promote a fair distribution of the earth's resources, in a spirit of solidarity with the poor and with all the deprived people of the world."

  At the end of the declaration, they express their concern for "the risk of the destruction of creation" highlighting in this context how the environment "needs respect and protection from all those who live in it."


VATICAN CITY, JUN 17, 2007 (VIS) - Departing from the cathedral of San Rufino, Benedict XVI travelled by car to the basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. Along the route he blessed disabled people from Assisi's Seraphic Institute.

  At 5.45 reached the square in front of the basilica. There he was greeted by the custodian, the rector and the pastor before going on to visit the Shrine of Porziuncola and the chapel of St. Francis. At 6 p.m., the Holy Father delivered an address to the young people awaiting him in the square.

  "It was here," said the Pope, that Francis "established the 'headquarters' of his order, where the friars could come together, as if in a maternal bosom, regenerating themselves before starting out again full of apostolic energy." Pope Benedict then went on to give a broad outline of the saint's biography, focussing on the "special attraction" his figure has for the young.

  Francis' conversion at the age of 25 "came about when he at the peak of his vitality, his experiences, his dreams," said Benedict XVI. He also dwelt on Francis' character before his conversion, describing him as a "carefree and generous," person "who wandered the city of Assisi day and night with his friends."

  "How can it be denied," the Pope went on, "that may people are tempted to follow the life of the young Francis before his conversion? That lifestyle hides the desire for happiness that dwells in every human heart." Yet the saint did not find "true joy" there, because "the truth is that finite things can give glimmers of joy but only the infinite can fill the heart."

  Another feature of St. Francis was "his ambition, his thirst for glory and adventure," said the Pope, noting how the Lord used this characteristic in order to attract the saint "showing him the path of a saintly ambition projected towards the infinite."

  "As He did to Francis, Christ also speaks to our heart. We risk passing our entire lives being deafened by loud but empty voices. We risk missing His voice, the only one that counts because it is the only one that saves."

  "Do not be afraid to imitate Francis," said the Holy Father to the young people, "above all in your capacity to go back to yourselves. He knew how to create a silence within himself, listening to the Word of God. Step by step he let himself be guided by the hand towards the full encounter with Jesus, to the point of making this the treasure and light of his life."

  "Francis was truly enamoured of Jesus. He met Him in the Word of God, in his fellow man, in nature, but above all in His presence in the Eucharist. ... The nativity scene of Greccio well expresses his need to contemplate [the Lord] in the tender human form of a baby. ... His experience on the mountain of La Verna where he received the stigmata shows what level of intimacy he reached in his relationship with the crucified Christ."

  "Precisely because he was a man of Christ, Francis was also a man of the Church. From the crucifix of St. Damian he received the command to repair the house of Christ, in other words the Church. ... In the final analysis, that task was nothing other than the responsibility attributed by Christ to all the baptized. The Church grows and is repaired, above all, in the measure to which each of us converts and seeks sanctification."

  "Like concentric circles, Francis' love for Jesus expands not only over the Church but over all things, seen in Christ and for Christ. Here are the origins of his 'Canticle of the Sun' in which his eye rests upon the splendor of the Creation" and which "even before being an exalted piece of poetry and an implicit invitation to respect creation, is a prayer."

  "Francis' commitment to peace is also to be seen as a form of prayer. This aspect of his life is of great contemporary importance in a world which has so much need of peace yet does not manage to achieve it. Francis was a man of peace and an architect of peace. He showed as much in the mildness with which he approached men of other faiths, yet without silencing his own faith. ... If inter-religious dialogue today, and especially after Vatican Council II, has become a shared and indispensable patrimony of Christianity, Francis can help us to discover true dialogue without lapsing into a position of indifference towards the truth or lessening our Christian announcement."

  After the meeting, the Pope travelled to the Migaghelli sports field where he boarded the helicopter that took him back to the Vatican
PV-ITALY/YOUNG PEOPLE/ASSISI                VIS 20070618 (800)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 17, 2007 (VIS) - At 4.30 p.m. today, Benedict XVI travelled to Assisi's cathedral of San Rufino where he met with priests, deacons, religious, superiors and students of the pontifical seminary of Umbria.

  In his talk to them, the Holy Father insisted that "it is not enough" for the millions of faithful who come to Assisi to admire St. Francis, rather they must "be attracted by Francis' charism, they must be helped to accept the essential nucleus of Christian life and to tend towards its 'highest measure,' which is sanctity."

  "Ever more often, Christians in our time find themselves facing the tendency to accept a diminished Christ, admired in His extraordinary humanity but rejected in the profound mystery of His divinity. Francis himself suffers a kind of mutilation when he is called upon as a witness to certain values - certainly important and appreciated by modern culture - but forgetting that his profound choice, what we could call the heart of his life, was his commitment to Christ."

  "The name of Francis, together with that of Clare, call out for this city to distinguish itself for its particular missionary energy," said the Holy Father. And as a consequence, "it is necessary for this Church to live an intense experience of communion."

  In this context, the Pope recalled his Motu Proprio "Totius orbis," promulgated two years ago, in which he established that "the two great papal basilicas of St. Francis and of St. Mary of the Angels, while continuing to enjoy the special attention of the Holy See through the pontifical legate [Cardinal Attilio Nicora], from a pastoral point of view passed under the jurisdiction of the bishop of the city," Bishop Domenico Sorrentino. "I am truly happy," he went on, "to know that the new arrangement has begun with a show of great willingness and collaboration, and I am certain it will bring abundant fruits."

  "The appropriateness of a unitary structure such as that ensured by the Motu Proprio," the Pope continued, "was also suggested by the need for coordinated and effective pastoral action." If communities of consecrated life "have the right to expect acceptance and respect for their charism, they must nonetheless avoid living as 'islands,' and integrate themselves with conviction and generosity in service and in the pastoral plan adopted by the bishop for the whole diocesan community."

  Addressing himself directly to priests and deacons, the Holy Father said: "Your enthusiasm and your communion, your life of prayer and your generous ministry are indispensable. It can happen that we feel tired or afraid in the face of new challenges and new difficulties, but we must have faith that the Lord will give us the strength necessary to put into effect what He asks of us. He will ensure that vocations do not fail if we implore them with faith, and if together we undertake to seek and defend them with ... a pastoral care rich in ardor and inventiveness, capable of showing the beauty of priestly ministry."

  Benedict XVI concluded his talk by addressing consecrated men and women. "You are a great resource for the Church," he told them, "both in the field of pastoral care in parishes and in the support you provide for so many pilgrims, who often come to ask your hospitality" but "also expect to find a spiritual witness." To cloistered nuns he said: "Know how to hold high the flame of contemplation. ... Be signs of Christ's love, to whom all your brothers and sisters can look as they struggle with the fatigue of apostolic life and of lay commitment in the world."
PV-ITALY/PRIESTS:RELIGIOUS/ASSISI                VIS 20070618 (610)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 17, 2007 (VIS) - In the hall of the convent of Assisi at 4.15 p.m. today, the Holy Father greeted German Poor Clare Capuchin Sisters from the Holy Cross Convent.

  The Pope then went to the Upper Basilica of St. Francis where he met with participants in the general chapter of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor Conventual, led by their minister general Fr. Marco Tosca, and with the community of the convent.

  In a Message he presented to the fathers of the general chapter, the Pope expresses his gratitude "for the ready obedience with which, together with the Friars Minor," they accepted "the stipulations of the Motu Proprio 'Totius orbis' concerning the new relationship of the two papal basilicas of St. Francis and of St. Mary of the Angels with this particular Church."

  The Pope recalled how the theme of the 199th general chapter concerns "formation for the mission," and he pointed out that formation is never complete "but must rather be considered a permanent journey. ... At its roots must be the act of listening to the Word in a climate of intense and continuous prayer."

  "It is necessary," the papal message continues, "for each friar to be a true contemplative," capable of "seeing the face of Christ in his suffering fellows and bringing the announcement of peace to everyone."

  Benedict XVI calls on the religious to ensure that St. Francis' words - "the Rule and life of the Friars Minor is this: observe the Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ" - remain as a "firm principle" for each one of them.

  St. Francis' prophecy "teaches us to make the Gospel our criterion in facing the challenges of all ages, including our own, resisting the deceptive lure of passing fashions to root ourselves in God's plan and thus discern the true needs of mankind. My hope is that the friars know how to accept this 'program' with renewed drive and courage, trusting in the strength that comes from on high."
PV-ITALY/MESSAGE/ASSISI                    VIS 20070618 (350)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 17, 2007 (VIS) - Before praying the Angelus today with the faithful who had participated in the Eucharistic concelebration in the Lower Square of St. Francis in Assisi, Benedict XVI recalled the World Day of Prayer for Peace called by John Paul II in 1986, an event attended by representatives from other Christian confessions and leaders of various religions.

  "I consider it my duty," said the Pope, "to launch from here an urgent and heartfelt appeal for all the armed conflicts bloodying the earth to cease, for arms to fall silent and everywhere for hatred to give way to love, offense to forgiveness and discord to union.

  "Here we feel the spiritual presence of all those who weep, suffer and die because of war and its tragic consequences, in all parts of the world, Our thoughts go out particularly to the Holy Land, so beloved by St. Francis, to Iraq, to Lebanon, to the entire Middle East. The peoples of those countries know, and have long known, the horrors of combat, of terrorism, of blind violence, the illusion that force can resolve conflicts, the refusal to listen to the other's reasons and to do them justice. Only responsible and sincere dialogue, supported by the generous support of the international community, can put an end to so much pain and restore life and dignity to individuals, institutions and peoples.

  "May St. Francis, man of peace, obtain for us from the Lord an increase in the number of people ready to become 'instruments of His peace,' through the thousand small acts of everyday life. May those in positions of responsibility be animated by a passionate love for peace and by an indomitable will to achieve it, seeking appropriate means to that end."

  The Mass over, Benedict XVI greeted a delegation from the convent. Then, accompanied by Fr. Vincenzo Coli, the custodian, he visited the tomb of St. Francis in the lower basilica. the Pope then returned to the convent, where he had lunch.
PV-ITALY/ANGELUS/ASSISI                    VIS 20070618 (350)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 17, 2007 (VIS) - At 8.30 a.m. today, following an hour-long helicopter journey from the Vatican, the Pope arrived in the Italian town of Assisi to begin a visit commemorating the eighth centenary of the conversion of St. Francis.

  After a brief visit to the Shrine of Rivotorto, where St. Francis lived for two years with his first followers, the Holy Father travelled to the Shrine of St. Damian. From there he journeyed by car to the Basilica of St. Clare where he prayed before the Blessed Sacrament and venerated the crucifix of St. Damian where St. Francis heard the words that changed his life: "Go, Francis, and repair my house."

  At 10 a.m., Benedict XVI presided at a Eucharistic concelebration in the Lower Square of St. Francis.

  In his homily the Holy Father considered the figure of St. Francis, who in his first 25 years of life "pursued vain dreams of worldly glory." However, "his conversion led him to practice mercy. ... Serving lepers even to the point of kissing them was not only a philanthropic gesture - what might be called a 'social' conversion - but a true religious experience, directed by the initiative of grace and by the love of God."

  "To convert ourselves to love is to pass from bitterness to 'sweetness,' from sadness to true joy. Humans are truly themselves, and realize themselves fully, in as much as they live with God and of God, recognizing and loving Him in their fellow man."

  "The life of the converted Francis," said the Pope, was "a great act of love," as is shown by "his choice of poverty and his search for Christ in the face of the poor."

  Francis was "a true master" in the "search for peace, the protection of nature, and the promotion of dialogue among mankind," said the Holy Father and he recalled John Paul II's initiative that brought together representatives from Christian confessions and from other religions of the world for a meeting of prayer for peace in Assisi in 1986. "That was," said Pope Benedict, "a prophetic intuition and a moment of grace."

  "The light of the 'Poverello' on that initiative was a guarantee of its Christian authenticity," said the Pope, "because his life and his message are so visibly founded upon his choice of Christ. What must be rejected a priori is any form of religious indifferentism, which has no connection with authentic inter-religious dialogue.

  "The spirit of Assisi," Pope Benedict added, "which from that [1986 initiative] continues to spread out around the world, is opposed to the spirit of violence and to the abuse of religion as a pretext for violence. Assisi tells us that faithfulness to one's own religious convictions, faithfulness above all to the crucified and risen Christ, is not expressed in violence and intolerance but in sincere respect for others, in dialogue, and in an announcement that appeals to freedom and reason while remaining committed to peace and reconciliation.

  "Failing to bring together acceptance, dialogue and respect for everyone with the certainty of faith that all Christians, like the saint of Assisi, are called to cultivate, would be neither evangelical nor Franciscan," the Pope concluded. We must all "announce Christ as the way, the truth and the life of man; the only Savior of the world."
PV-ITALY/MASS/ASSISI                        VIS 20070618 (560)

Saturday, June 16, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JUN 16, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received His Beatitude Chrysostomos II, archbishop of New Justiniana and All Cyprus. The archbishop affirmed that he had come to Rome to give the Pope "a fraternal kiss of peace and, after a centuries-long non-fraternal journey, to build new bridges of reconciliation, collaboration and love."

  In his turn, the Holy Father delivered a talk in which he described the archbishop's visit as "a gift from the God of steadfastness and encouragement mentioned by St. Paul as he addressed people in Rome listening to the message of salvation for the first time."

  He continued: "We are experiencing that gift of steadfastness today because, notwithstanding the presence of centuries-old divisions ... and despite the effort of closing painful wounds, the Lord has not ceased to guide our steps along the way of unity and reconciliation. And this is, for all of us, a cause for encouragement, because our meeting today is part of an ever more intense search for that full communion for which Christ so longed.

  "We well know," he added, "that adherence to this ardent desire of the Lord cannot and must not be proclaimed only in words or in a purely formal way. Hence, Your Beatitude ... has not come from Cyprus to Rome simply for an exchange of ecumenical courtesy, but to underline the firm decision to persevere in prayer, so that the Lord may show us how to achieve full communion."

  "Thank you, Beatitude, for this gesture of esteem and friendship. In you I greet the pastor of an ancient and illustrious Church, a splendid tile in that magnificent mosaic, the East, ... which constitutes one of the two lungs with which the Church breathes. ... I would like to pay homage to the ancient and venerable Church of Cyprus, rich in saints," such as "Epiphanius, bishop of Constantia, once known as Salamis, ... who undertook his ministry for 35 years in a period of great turbulence for the Church."

  "As a good pastor, Epiphanius showed the flock entrusted to him by Christ the truths in which to believe, the path to follow and the snares to avoid. This is a method that is still valid for announcing the Gospel today, especially to the young generations," because "the Church finds herself finds herself, at the beginning of the third millennium, facing challenges and problems not dissimilar to those faced by Epiphanius."

  "Today too it is necessary ... to warn the People of God against false prophets, against the errors and superficiality of proposals that do not conform to the teaching of the divine Master. ... It is vital to find a new language to proclaim the faith that unites us, ... a spiritual language capable of faithfully transmitting revealed truths" in order "to build, in truth and charity, communion among all the members of the one Body of Christ.

  "This need, of which we are all aware," the Holy Father added, "encourages us to continue, undiscouraged, theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church as a whole. It indicates to us that we should use valid and stable means in order to ensure that the search for communion is not a discontinuous and intermittent element in the life and mission of our Churches.

  "Faced with the enormous task before us, ... we must entrust ourselves above all to prayer," though not forgetting to use "all valid human means that may help to reach the objective."

  The Pope concluded his discourse to the archbishop of New Justiniana and All Cyprus: "From this point of view, I consider your visit an extremely useful initiative in helping us progress towards the unity Christ wished. We know that this unity is the gift and fruit of the Holy Spirit, but we also know it requires ... constant efforts, animated by a firm will and an unshakeable faith in the power of the Lord."
AC/CYPRUS CHURCH/CHRYSOSTOMOS II            VIS 20070616 (670)

Friday, June 15, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JUN 15, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Loja, Ecuador, presented by Bishop Hugolino Cerauolo Stacey O.F.M., upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Leo Cornelio S.V.D., of Khandwa, India as archbishop of Bhopal (area 25,000, population 3,922,000, Catholics 18,550, priests 115, religious 572), India. The archbishop-elect was born in Kukkunje, India in 1945, he was ordained a priest in 1972 and consecrated a bishop in 1999. He succeeds Archbishop Paschal Topno S.J., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Ferenc Cserhati, ad interim delegate of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops' Conference for the pastoral care of Hungarians abroad, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest (area 1,543, population 2,100,000, Catholics 1,264,867, priests 398, permanent deacons 19, religious 775), Hungary. The bishop-elect was born in Turterebes, Romania in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1971.
RE:NER:NEA/.../...                            VIS 20070615 (170)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 15, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

 - Msgr. Livio Melina, president of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.

  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 20070615 (80)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 15, 2007 (VIS) - On Sunday, June 17, Benedict XVI will make a pastoral visit to Assisi, Italy, for the eighth centenary of the conversion of St. Francis.

  The Pope will leave the Vatican by helicopter at 7.30 a.m. After landing at the heliport of Rivotorto, he will make a private visit to the Shrine of St. Damian. At 10 a.m., he will preside at a Eucharistic concelebration in the Lower Square of St. Francis then pray the Angelus. At 12.30 p.m., he will make a private visit to the tomb of St. Francis.

  At 4 p.m., he will meet the German Poor Clare Capuchin Sisters in the hall of the convent before going on to the Upper Basilica of St. Francis to meet participants in the general chapter of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor Conventual and the community of the convent.

  Following a meeting with priests, deacons, religious, superiors and students of the pontifical seminary of Umbria in the Cathedral of San Rufino, he will make a private visit to the shrine of Porziuncola and the chapel of St. Francis.

  At 6 p.m., he will meet with young people on the square in front of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels.

  His return to the Vatican is scheduled for 7 p.m.


VATICAN CITY, JUN 15, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI received participants in a congress organized for the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

  The Holy Father recalled how Servant of God John Paul II created the council on May 20, 1982 with the aim "of giving renewed impulse to the Church's commitment to ensure the Gospel encounters the plurality of cultures in the various parts of the world."

  After expressing his thanks to Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture since 1988, for the results achieved over this period, the Holy Father recalled that, "in its dealings with the world of culture, the Church always places man at the center, both as the instigator of cultural activity and as its ultimate recipient."

  "As the world has become even more interdependent, thanks to the great development of communications technology and the consequent intensification of social networks," said the Pope, "it is more vital than ever for the Church to promote cultural development, while focussing on the human and material quality of messages and their contents."

  Benedict XVI then recalled that to celebrate its 25th anniversary, the pontifical council has organized this congress "to meditate upon the relationship between evangelization and culture," and "to consider how that relationship presents itself today in Asia, America and Africa."

  "The history of the Church is - also and inseparably - the history of culture and art," said the Pope. "Works such as St. Thomas Aquinas' 'Summa theologiae,' the Divine Comedy, Chartres Cathedral, the Sistine Chapel and the Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach are syntheses, each peerless in its way, between Christian faith and human expression. But if those are, so to say, pinnacles of the fusion between faith and culture, these qualities also come together every day in the life and work of all the baptized, in that hidden work of art which is the story of love of each of us with the living God and with our fellow man, in the joy and fatigue of following Jesus Christ in our daily lives.

  "Today more than ever," the Holy Father added, "reciprocal openness between cultures is a privileged terrain for dialogue between men and women committed to the search for a true humanism, over and above the differences that separate them. Also in the field of culture, Christianity offers everyone the most powerful force for renewal and elevation: the Love of God that becomes human love."

  "May the Holy See, and in particular thanks to the service of your dicastery, continue to promote throughout the Church the evangelical culture that is leavening, salt, and light of the Kingdom among humanity."
AC/CULTURE/POUPARD                        VIS 20070615 (460)

Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service