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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.
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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.
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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."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 15, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received bishops from the Slovak Episcopal Conference, who recently completed their "ad limina" visit.

  In his talk to the prelates, the Holy Father said that through them he wished to greet "the entire Slovak people, evangelized by Sts. Cyril and Methodius" and later "compelled to undergo harsh sufferings and persecutions by the totalitarian communist regime." He also recalled the strong ties to Slovakia of John Paul II who on his third visit there in 2003 chose as his motto: "Faithful to Christ, faithful to the Church."

  This motto, said Pope Benedict, "continues to be a real apostolic and missionary program, not only for the Church in Slovakia but for all the People of God, burdened as they are, especially in Europe, with an insistent ideological pressure that would like to see Christianity reduced to a merely 'private' dimension."

  The Pope indicated that, from a religious and cultural point of view, Slovakia is entering ever more deeply into "the dynamic typical of other European countries of ancient Christian tradition, strongly characterized in our time by a vast process of secularization. Christian communities, which maintained ancient and deep-rooted Catholic religious practices, having come out of the tunnel of persecution, now find themselves following the path of renewal promoted by Vatican Council II."

  "Slovakia and Poland, the two countries of Eastern Europe with the richest heritage of Catholic tradition, are currently exposed to the risk of seeing that heritage, which the communist regime did not manage to destroy, severely affected by characteristic elements of Western society: consumerism, hedonism, laicism, relativism, etc."

  "In order to respond to the new pastoral requirements," the Pope told the bishops, "you are currently drawing up a Plan for Pastoral Care and Evangelization ... for the years 2007 to 2011. ... In this way you aim to revive and renovate the evangelizing action" of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, "using as your starting point ... the rediscovery of the tradition and of the deep and living Christian roots of your people."

  "This is a pastoral undertaking that aims to embrace all areas of society, ... giving particular attention to the spiritual requirements of young people and families. ... Quality formation in the field of education is extremely important for the future of new generations and, in this area, a precious contribution comes from Catholic schools which are very numerous in Slovakia."

  The Pope recalled that the Slovak bishops could count "on the ministry of many young priests," and highlighted the importance to education of "always associating faith with life" in order "to form Christian consciences capable of resisting the lure of consumerism."

  "I have learned that Slovakia too is beginning to feel the crisis of marriage and of birthrates, in the first place because of economic questions which lead young engaged couples to delay their marriage. There is also a diminished social estimation of the value of matrimony, to which must be added a fragility of new generations, often afraid to assume ... lifelong commitments."

  In this context, the Holy Father invited the Church "to intensify its prayers and to continue to commit herself forcefully to support families in facing the challenges of the present." He also expressed his joy at Slovakia's "well structured administration of the Sacraments, associated with the pastoral care of the family."

  In conclusion, Benedict XVI praised "the abundant flowering of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life" since 1990, recalling that "the only seminary to remain open under the dictatorship has now been joined by five others."
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