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Friday, October 29, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 29 OCT 2010 (VIS) - For the occasion of Benedict XVI's apostolic trip to the Spanish cities of Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona, due to take place on 6 and 7 November, statistics have been published concerning the Catholic Church in that country. The information, updated to 31 December 2009, comes from the Central Statistical Office of the Church.

  Spain has a surface area of 505,992 square kilometres and a population of 45,929,000 of whom 42,470,000 (92.5 percent) are Catholic. There are 70 ecclesiastical circumscriptions and 22,674 parishes. Currently there are 124 bishops, 24,849 priests, 54,599 religious, 2,786 lay members of secular institutes and 101,261 catechists. Minor seminarians number 1,943 and major seminarians 1,963.

  A total of 1,596,429 students attend 5,585 centres of Catholic education, from kindergartens to universities. Other institutions belonging to the Church or run by priests or religious in Spain include 93 hospitals, 72 clinics, 788 homes for the elderly or disabled, 435 orphanages and nurseries, 301 family counselling centres and other pro-life centres, 3,036 centres for education and social rehabilitation, and 400 institutions of other kinds.
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VATICAN CITY, 29 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for November is: "That victims of drugs or of other dependence may, thanks to the support of the Christian community, find in the power of our saving God strength for a radical life-change".

  His mission intention is: "That the Churches of Latin America may move ahead with the continent-wide mission proposed by their bishops, making it part of the universal missionary task of the People of God".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Giovanni d'Aniello, apostolic nuncio to Thailand and Cambodia, and apostolic delegate to Myanmar and Laos.

 - Eight prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Jose Belisario da Silva O.F.M. of Sao Luis de Maranhao.

    - Bishop Armando Martin Gutierrez of Bacabal F.A.M., accompanied by Bishop emeritus Henrique Johanpotter O.F.M.

    - Bishop Enemesio Angelo Lazzaris F.D.P. of Balsas.

    - Bishop Jose Valdeci Santos Mendes of Brejo.

    - Bishop Jose Soares Filho O.F.M. Cap. of Carolina.

    - Bishop Vilson Basso S.C.J. of Caxias do Maranhao, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Luis D'Andrea O.F.M. Conv.

 - Participants in a congress promoted by the "Romano Guardini" Foundation of Berlin, Germany.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in separate audiences seven prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Sebastiao Bandeira Coelho, coadjutor of Coroata.

    - Bishop Franco Cuter O.F.M. Cap. of Grajau, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Serafino Faustino Spreafico O.F.M. Cap.

    - Bishop Gilberto Pastana de Oliveira of Imperatriz.

    - Bishop Ricardo Pedro Paglia M.S.C. of Pinheiro.

    - Bishop Xavier Gilles de Maupeou d'Ableiges, emeritus of Viana.

    - Bishop Carlos Ellena of Ze Doca.
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VATICAN CITY, 29 OCT 2010 (VIS) - We would like to remind our readers that there will be no VIS bulletin on Monday 1 November or Tuesday 2 November, respectively All Saints Day and All Souls Day, and holidays in the Vatican. Service will resume on Wednesday 3 November.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Northeast region 5) who have just complete their five-yearly "ad limina" visit were received this morning by the Holy Father.

  "I wish to speak to you today", the Pope told them, "about how the Church's mission to serve as the leavening of human society through the Gospel teaches human beings their dignity as children of God, and their vocation to the unity of all mankind, whence derive the need for justice and social peace in accordance with divine wisdom".

  "First, the duty of direct action to ensure a just ordering of society falls to the lay faithful who, as free and responsible citizens, strive to contribute to the just configuration of social life, while respecting legitimate autonomy and natural moral law", the Holy Father explained. "Your duty as bishops, together with your clergy, is indirect because you must contribute to the purification of reason, and to the moral awakening of the forces necessary to build a just and fraternal society. Nonetheless, when required by the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls, pastors have the binding duty to emit moral judgments, even on political themes".

  "When forming these judgements, pastors must bear in mind the absolute value of those ... precepts which make it morally unacceptable to chose a particular action which is intrinsically evil and incompatible with human dignity. This decision cannot be justified by the merit of some specific goal, intention, consequence or circumstance, Thus it would be completely false and illusory to defend, political, economic or social rights which do not comprehend a vigorous defence of the right to life from conception to natural end. When it comes to defending the weakest, who is more defenceless than an unborn child or a patient in a vegetative or comatose state?"

  "When political projects openly or covertly contemplate the depenalisation of abortion or euthanasia, the democratic ideal (which is truly democratic when it recognises and protects the dignity of all human beings) is betrayed at its very foundations. For this reason, dear brothers in the episcopate, when defending life we must not fear hostility or unpopularity, rejecting all compromise and ambiguity which would conform us to the mentality of this world".

  In order to help lay people live their Christian, social and political commitments in a unified and coherent fashion it is necessary, said the Holy Father, to ensure appropriate "social catechesis and an adequate formulation of Church Social Doctrine. ... This also means that on some occasions, pastors must reminds all citizens of the right, which is also a duty, freely to use their vote to promote the common good".

  "At this point politics and faith come together", he went on. "The specific nature of faith certainly lies in the meeting with the living God, Who opens new horizons far beyond the sphere of reason. ... Only by respecting, promoting and indefatigably teaching the transcendent nature of the human being can a just society be built. ... 'God has a place in the public realm, specifically in regard to its cultural, social, economic, and particularly its political dimensions'", said the Holy Father quoting his Encyclical "Caritas in veritate".

  Benedict XVI concluded his discourse by joining the Brazilian bishops' appeal for religious education and, "more specifically, for the pluralistic and confessional education of religion in State schools". He also indicated that "the presence of religious symbols in public life is both a recollection of man's transcendence and a guarantee of its respect. They have particular value in the case of Brazil where the Catholic religion is a component part of the country's history".
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VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received participants in the plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, who have been meeting to reflect on the theme: "The Scientific Legacy of the Twentieth Century".

  Addressing the group in English, the Holy Father affirmed that "on the one hand, science is posited by some as a panacea, proven by its notable achievements in the last century. Its innumerable advances ... seemed to confirm the point of view that science might answer all the questions of man's existence, and even of his highest aspirations. On the other hand, there are those who fear science and who distance themselves from it, because of sobering developments such as the construction and terrifying use of nuclear weapons.

  "Science, of course", he added, "is not defined by either of these extremes. Its task was and remains a patient yet passionate search for the truth about the cosmos, about nature and about the constitution of the human being. In this search, there have been many successes and failures, triumphs and setbacks".

  "Nonetheless, even provisional results constitute a real contribution to unveiling the correspondence between the intellect and natural realities, on which later generations may build further", the Pope said.

  "Our meeting here today", he went on, "is a proof of the Church's esteem for ongoing scientific research and of her gratitude for scientific endeavour, which she both encourages and benefits from. In our own day, scientists themselves appreciate more and more the need to be open to philosophy if they are to discover the logical and epistemological foundation for their methodology and their conclusions. For her part, the Church is convinced that scientific activity ultimately benefits from the recognition of man's spiritual dimension and his quest for ultimate answers that allow for the acknowledgement of a world existing independently from us, which we do not fully understand and which we can only comprehend in so far as we grasp its inherent logic.

  "Scientists do not create the world; they learn about it and attempt to imitate it, following the laws and intelligibility that nature manifests to us. The scientist's experience as a human being is therefore that of perceiving a constant, a law, a 'logos' that he has not created but that he has instead observed: in fact, it leads us to admit the existence of an all-powerful Reason, which is other than that of man, and which sustains the world. This is the meeting point between the natural sciences and religion. As a result, science becomes a place of dialogue, a meeting between man and nature and, potentially, even between man and his Creator".

  In closing his remarks the Pope proposed "two thoughts for further reflection. First, as increasing accomplishments of the sciences deepen our wonder of the complexity of nature, the need for an interdisciplinary approach tied with philosophical reflection leading to a synthesis is more and more perceived. Secondly, scientific achievement in this new century should always be informed by the imperatives of fraternity and peace, helping to solve the great problems of humanity, and directing everyone's efforts towards the true good of man and the integral development of the peoples of the world. The positive outcome of twenty-first century science will surely depend in large measure on the scientist's ability to search for truth and apply discoveries in a way that goes hand in hand with the search for what is just and good".
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VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, has written a message to Hindus for the feast of Deepavali, which this year falls on 5 November.

  The text, which also bears the signature of Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, secretary of the pontifical council, calls for reflection "on how best we can strengthen our friendship and co-operation by mutually ensuring and enhancing respect and trust".

  "Mutual respect", the message reads, is "one of the fundamentals for peaceful and harmonious co-existence as well as progress in society. Trust, on the other hand, nourishes every genuinely human relationship, both personal and communitarian".

  "Applying the above to our engagement in appreciating and promoting inter-religious dialogue and relations, we well know that respect and trust are not optional extras but the very pillars on which the edifice of our engagement itself stands".

  The message concludes by stating that "the greater our engagement in inter-religious dialogue, the fuller our respect and trust become, leading us to an increase in co-operation and common action. ... As people who hold in common the wellbeing of individuals and communities, may we give greater visibility with every means in our power to a culture that promotes respect, trust and co-operation".
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VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, Germany.
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VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Lionel Gendron P.S.S., auxiliary of Montreal, Canada, as bishop of Saint-Jean - Longueuil (area 2,075, population 696,000, Catholics 591,000, priests 115, permanent deacons 2, religious 437), Canada. He succeeds Bishop Jacques Berthelet C.S.V., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Jacques Habert of the clergy of Creteil, France, episcopal vicar with responsibility for the pastoral sector of Charenton-le-Pont / Joinville-le-Pont / Saint-Maurice, as bishop of Sees (area 6,103, population 292,879, Catholics 272,200, priests 166, permanent deacons 17, religious 326), France. The bishop-elect was born in Saint-Malo, France in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1989.
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 27 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. released the following declaration yesterday afternoon:

  "The Catholic Church's position on the death penalty is well known. It is hoped, therefore, that the sentence against Tariq Aziz will not be implemented, precisely in order to favour reconciliation and the reconstruction of peace and justice in Iraq after the great sufferings the country has experienced. As concerns the possibility of a humanitarian intervention, the Holy See is not accustomed to operate publicly but through the diplomatic channels at its disposal".
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VATICAN CITY, 27 OCT 2010 (VIS) - St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373), whom John Paul II proclaimed as co-patroness of Europe, was the subject of Benedict XVI's catechesis during his general audience held this morning in St. Peter's Square.

  The life of the saint, born in at Finister in Sweden, may be divided into two periods. During the first period she lived as a happily married woman and mother of eight children. She also began to study Sacred Scripture and, together with her husband, adopted the lifestyle of the Third Order of St. Francis. She also gave generously to the poor and founded a hospital.

  This first period of Bridget's life, said the Pope, "helps us to appreciate what we could define today as authentic 'conjugal spirituality'. Christian couples can follow the path of sanctity together, upheld by the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage. ... May the Holy Spirit arouse the sanctity of Christian couples, so as to show the world the beauty of marriage lived according to the Gospel values of love, tenderness, mutual support, fruitfulness in the generation and education of children, openness and solidarity towards the world, and participation in the life of the Church".

  With Bridget's widowhood began the second period of her life. She rejected a second marriage in order to concentrate on "union with the Lord through prayer, penitence and works of charity. ... Having distributed all her goods to the poor, and although she never underwent religious consecration, she moved to the Cistercian convent of Alvastra". There she began to receive the divine revelations which, differing greatly in content and style, would accompany her for the rest of her life.

  "The value of St. Bridget's 'Revelations', which have been the subject of some doubt, was defined by the Venerable John Paul II in his Letter 'Spes aedificandi' where he wrote that the Church 'recognised Bridget's holiness without ever pronouncing on her individual revelations, [and] has accepted the overall authenticity of her interior experience'".

  Pope Benedict went on: "Reading these Revelations we are challenged by many important questions. For example, she frequently describes ... the Passion of Christ, ... seeing therein the infinite love of God for mankind. ... Mary's painful maternity, which made her Mediator and Mother of Mercy, is another oft recurring theme of the Revelations".

  St. Bridget was firmly convinced that "all charisms are destined to build the Church. It was for this reason that many of her revelations were addressed, in the form of sometimes severe admonitions, to the believers of her time including the political and religious authorities, to live their Christian lives coherently. But she always did this with an attitude of respect and complete faithfulness towards Church Magisterium, and especially towards the Successor of the Apostle Peter".

  In 1349 Bridget left Sweden never to return, travelling to Rome to participate in the Jubilee Year 1350 and to ask the Pope to approve the rule of her religious order, which she intended should be made up of monks and nuns under the authority of an abbess, and dedicated to the Blessed Saviour.

  "This must not surprise us", said the Holy Father. "During the Middle Ages there were religious orders in which a female branch and a male branch practiced the same monastic rule under the direction of an abbess. In the great Christian tradition the woman is recognised as having her own dignity and - following the example of Mary, Queen of the Apostles - her own place in the Church which, though not coinciding with the ordained priesthood, is equally important for the spiritual growth of the community".

  Bridget also made pilgrimages to Assisi and the Holy Land. She died in 1373 and was canonised by Boniface IX in 1391. Her sanctity, characterised by the multiplicity of her gifts and experiences, "makes her an outstanding figure in the history of Europe", because she "bore witness to how deeply Christianity has permeated the life of all the peoples of this continent.

  "By proclaiming her as co-patroness of Europe", Pope Benedict added in conclusion, "Pope John Paul II expressed the hope that St. Bridget - who lived in the fourteenth century when Western Christianity had still not been wounded by division - may intercede effectively with God to obtain the longed-for grace of full unity among all Christians, ... and to ensure that Europe may always nourish itself from its Christian roots".

  At the end of today's audience the Holy Father received a delegation from the European Court of Auditors.
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VATICAN CITY, 27 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Following his catechesis at today's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square, the Pope launched the following appeal:

  "In the last few hours another terrible tsunami has struck the coasts of Indonesia, which has also suffered a volcanic eruption, leaving many dead and missing. I express my deepest sympathy to the families of the victims for the loss of their loved ones, and give assurances of my closeness in prayer to all the Indonesian people.

  "I also remain close to the dear people of Benin, who have suffered continuous floods which have left many people homeless and living in unhygienic and unsanitary conditions. Upon the entire nation I invoke the blessing and comfort of the Lord.

  "I call upon the international community to strive to supply the aid necessary to alleviate the distress of the people who have suffered these disasters".
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 26 OCT 2010 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning a press conference was held to present the Message of the Holy Father for the ninety-seventh World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is due to be celebrated on 16 January 2011.

  Participating in today's conference were Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, and Fr. Gabriele Bentoglio C.S., under secretary of the same dicastery.


VATICAN CITY, 26 OCT 2010 (VIS) - "One human family" is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for the ninety-seventh World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is due to be celebrated on 16 January 2011.

  Some extracts from the English-language translation of the Pope's Message are given below:


VATICAN CITY, 26 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Damian Santiago Bitar, auxiliary of San Justo, Argentina, as bishop of Obera (area 8,717, population 270,000, Catholics 200,000, priests 27, permanent deacons 15, religious 17), Argentina.
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Monday, October 25, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 23 OCT 2010 (VIS) - During yesterday's Thirteenth General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, the Synod Father's approved their Final Message.

  Extracts from the English-language version of the Message are given below:


VATICAN CITY, 23 OCT 2010 (VIS) - During today's Fourteenth General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, held this morning in the presence of the Pope and 162 Synod Fathers, the final list of propositions was presented and voted upon.

  Subsequently the names of the members of the Special Council for the Middle East of the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops were announced. They are:

 - Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.
 - Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
 - His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt.
 - His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon.
 - His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, patriarch emeritus of Jerusalem of the Latins.
 - Archbishop Cyrille Salim Bustros M.S.S.P. of Newton of the Greek-Melkites, U.S.A.
 - Archbishop Boutros Marayati of Aleppo of the Armenians, Syria.
 - Archbishop Joseph Soueif of Cyprus of the Maronites, Cyprus.
 - Bishop Bechara Rai O.M.M. of Jbeil, Byblos of the Maronites, Lebanon.
 - Bishop Antoine Audo S.J. of Aleppo of the Chaldeans, Syria.
 - Bishop Shlemon Warduni, auxiliary of Babylonia of the Chaldeans, Iraq.
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VATICAN CITY, 23 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The working sessions of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops concluded this morning with the approval of forty-four propositions which the Synod Fathers have presented to Benedict XVI.

  By order of the Pope, a provisional and unofficial version of the propositions has been made public by the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops. The propositions are given to the Holy Father for him to consider while preparing the Apostolic Exhortation, the official closing document of a Synod.

  The propositions are divided into three sections: The Christian Presence in the Middle East, Ecclesial Communion, and Christian Witnesses of the Resurrection and Love.

  The Synod Fathers recall how "in a world marked by division and extreme positions, we are called to live communion in the Church, remaining open to everyone and avoiding the trap of confessionalism". They also note that "the attention of the whole world should be focused on the tragic situation of certain Christian communities in the Middle East which suffer all manner of trials sometimes even to the point of martyrdom".

  On the subject of migration, they suggest creating "an office or commission entrusted with the study of the phenomenon ... and the factors behind it, so as to find ways of stopping it", and doing everything possible "to boost the presence of Christians in their own countries of origin".

  "To better welcome and guide immigrants to the Middle East", reads another proposition, "their Churches of origin are asked to maintain regular contact with the host Churches, assisting them to set up the structures the immigrants need".

  The section dedicated to the subject of ecclesial communion speaks of communion in the bosom of the Church and calls for greater pastoral care of vocations. It is also suggested that greater use be made "of the Arabic language in the major institutions of the Holy See and official meetings, so that Christians of Arab culture have access to information from the Holy See in their mother tongue".

  "With a view to the pastoral service of our faithful, wherever they are to be found, and to respect the traditions of the Eastern Churches", reads another proposition "it would be desirable to study the possibility of having married priests outside the patriarchal territory".

  The proposition dedicated to the question of ecumenism suggests "working for a common date for the celebrations of Christmas and Easter", and expresses the desire "to inaugurate an annual feast in common for all the martyrs of the Churches of the Middle East".

  In the section dedicated to Christian Witness, the Synod Fathers suggest "the creation of catechetical centres where they are lacking" and highlight the vital importance of "ongoing formation and collaboration between the different Churches at the level of the laity, seminaries and universities".

  Reiterating the importance of the communications media "for Christian formation in the Middle East, as well as for the proclamation of the faith", the Synod Fathers advocate "the aid and maintenance of the existing structures in this area".

  On the question of the family, they stress the need "to make better provisions in centres for marriage preparation, counselling and guidance centres, and in the spiritual and human guidance of young families. ... Child bearing and the good education of children should be encouraged. The practice of home visiting by pastors should be revived", they write.

  The Synod Fathers "commit themselves to ensure young people have the spiritual and theological formation they need" and "to build with them bridges of dialogue so as to bring down the walls of division and separation in societies".

  Inter-religious dialogue must be strengthened so as "to strive for the purification of memory through forgiveness for the events of the past, and to seek a better future together".

  "Initiatives of dialogue and co-operation with Jews are to be encouraged so as to foster human and religious values, freedom, justice, peace and fraternity. Reading the Old Testament and getting to know Jewish traditions lead to a better understanding of the Jewish religion. We reject anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism, while distinguishing between religion and politics", the Synod Fathers say.

  On the subject of relations with Muslims, the Synod Fathers highlight the importance of promoting "the notion of citizenship, the dignity of the human person, equal rights and duties and religious freedom, including both freedom of worship and freedom of conscience". They note how "Christians in the Middle East are called to pursue a fruitful dialogue of life with Muslims, ... leaving every negative prejudice aside, ... and together combating every sort of fundamentalism and violence in the name of religion".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 OCT 2010 (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. today in St. Peter's Basilica, Benedict XVI presided at the celebration of the Eucharist to mark the closure of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which has been held in the Vatican for the past fortnight on the theme: "The Catholic Church in the Middle East. Communion and Witness. Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul".

  The Pope concelebrated Mass with 177 Synod Fathers (nineteen cardinals, nine patriarchs, seventy-two archbishops, sixty-seven bishops and ten priests) and sixty-nine collaborators.

  Participating in the Eucharistic prayer were His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon, president delegate "ad honorem"; His Beatitude Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq, president delegate "ad honorem"; Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, president delegate; His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon, president delegate; His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt, relator general; Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, and Archbishop Joseph Soueif of Cyprus of the Maronites, Cyprus, special secretary.

  In his homily, the Holy Father noted how today's first reading and responsorial psalm "stress the theme of prayer, emphasising that it is much more powerful in God's heart when those who pray suffer want and affliction. ... Our thoughts go to our many brothers and sisters who live in the region of the Middle East and who find themselves in trying situations, at times very burdensome, both because of material poverty and because of discouragement, tension and, sometimes, fear.

  "Today", Benedict XVI added, "the Word of God also offers us a light of consoling hope where it presents prayer, personified, that 'will not desist until the Most High responds and does justice for the righteous, and executes judgement'. This link between prayer and justice makes us think of many situations in the world, particularly in the Middle East. The cry of the poor and the oppressed finds an immediate echo in God, Who desires to intervene to create a way out, to restore a future of freedom, a horizon of hope".

  "The synodal assembly which concludes today always kept in mind the icon of the first Christian community described in the Acts of the Apostles: 'The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul'. This is a reality we experienced over these days, in which we shared the joys and pains, the concerns and hopes of Christians in the Middle East. We experienced the unity of the Church in the variety of Churches present in that region. ... Thus have we enhanced the liturgical, spiritual and theological wealth of the Eastern Catholic Churches, as well as of the Latin Church. ... We hope that this positive experience may be repeated in the various communities of the Middle East, encouraging the participation of the faithful in liturgical celebrations of other Catholic rites, thus opening themselves to the dimensions of the universal Church.

  "Joint prayer also helped us to face the challenges of the Catholic Church in the Middle East. One of these challenges is communion within each 'sui iuris' Church, as well as the relationships between the various Catholic Churches of different traditions. As today's Gospel reminded us, we need humility in order to recognise our limitations, our errors and omissions, in order to be able to be truly 'united, heart and soul' Fuller communion within the Catholic Church also favours ecumenical dialogue with other Churches and ecclesial communities. During this synodal assembly the Catholic Church has reiterated its profound desire to pursue such dialogue".

  "The words of the Lord Jesus may be applied to Christians in the Middle East: 'There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom'. Indeed, even if they are few, they are bearers of the Good News of the love of God for man, love which revealed itself in the Holy Land in the person of Jesus Christ. This Word of salvation, strengthened with the grace of the Sacraments, resounds with particular strength in the places where, by Divine Providence, it was written. It is the only Word able to break the vicious circle of vengeance, hate, and violence. From a purified heart, at peace with God and neighbour, arise intentions and initiatives for peace at the local, national, and international level. In these actions, to whose accomplishment the whole international community is called, Christians as full-fledged citizens can and must do their part in the spirit of the Beatitudes, becoming builders of peace and apostles of reconciliation for the benefit of all society".

  The Pope continued: "Conflicts, wars, violence and terrorism have gone on for too long in the Middle East. Peace, which is a gift of God, is also the result of the efforts of men of goodwill, of national and international institutions, in particular of the States most involved in the search for a solution to conflicts. We must never resign ourselves to the absence of peace. Peace is possible. Peace is urgent. Peace is the indispensable condition for a life of dignity for individuals and society. Peace is also the best remedy to avoid emigration from the Middle East".

  Another contribution Christians can make to society is to promote "authentic freedom of religion and conscience, one of the fundamental human rights that each State should always respect. In numerous countries of the Middle East there exists freedom of belief, while the space given to the freedom of religious practice is often quite limited. Increasing this space of freedom is essential in order to guarantee that all members of the various religious communities may enjoy the true freedom to live and profess their faith. This topic could become the subject of dialogue between Christians and Muslims, a dialogue whose urgency and usefulness was reiterated by the Synod Fathers".

  At the end of his homily, the Holy Father recalled how the synodal assembly "often underlined the need to present the Gospel anew to people who do not know it well or who have even moved away from the Church. Frequent mention was made of the need for a new evangelisation in the Middle East. ... For this reason, having consulted with the episcopacy of the whole world and listened to the Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, I have decided to dedicate the next Ordinary General Assembly, in 2012, to the following theme: 'Nova evangelizatio ad christianam fidem tradendam - The new evangelisation for the transmission of the Christian faith'".

  And the Pope concluded: "Dear brothers and sisters of the Middle East! May the experience of these days assure you that you are never alone, that you are always accompanied by the Holy See and the whole Church, which, having been born in Jerusalem, spread through the Middle East and then the rest of the world".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Following this morning's concelebration of the Eucharist to mark the end of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  Referring once again to the theme of the synodal assembly - "The Catholic Church in the Middle East. Communion and Witness" - the Pope noted how today also marks World Mission Day, which has as its theme: "Building Ecclesial Communion is the Key to the Mission".

  "There is", he explained, "a surprising similarity between the themes of these two ecclesial events. Both invite us to see the Church as a mystery of communion which, by her nature, is destined for all of man and for all mankind. ... For this reason the next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, due to be held in 2012, will be dedicated to the theme: 'The new evangelisation for the transmission of the Christian faith'. At any time and in any place - also in the Middle East today - the Church is present and works to welcome each human being and offer him Christ, the fullness of life".

  "In today's liturgy", the Pope went on, "we read St. Paul's testimony concerning the final reward the Lord will give 'to all who have longed for his appearance'. This is not a passive or solitary period of waiting; quite the contrary, the apostle lived in communion with the risen Christ, so that 'the message might be fully proclaimed' and that 'all the Gentiles might hear it'. The missionary task is not to revolutionise the world but to transfigure it, drawing strength from Jesus Christ".

  "Christians today, as the Epistle to Diognetus says, also 'show that life is wonderful, and that their shared life is extraordinary. They spend their time on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey established laws, but with their lives they surpass those laws. They are killed and thereby they are given life. Even when they do good they are persecuted and every day their numbers grow'.

  "To the Virgin Mary, who from the crucified Christ received the new mission of being Mother to all those who wish to believe in Him and follow Him, we entrust the Christian communities of the Middle East and all missionaries of the Gospel".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed as members of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organisational and Economic Problems of the Holy See, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico, Mexico, and Cardinal Francis Eugene George O.M.I., archbishop of Chicago, U.S.A.

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the territorial abbey of Santissima Trinita di Cava de' Tirreni, Italy, presented by Dom Benedetto Maria Chianetta O.S.B., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Bishop John G. Noonan, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Miami, U.S.A., as bishop of Orlando (area 28,814, population 4,002,000, Catholics 400,923, priests 253, permanent deacons 172, religious 181), U.S.A.
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VATICAN CITY, 25 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience James Alix Michel, president of the Republic of the Seychelles. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "Having expressed their contentment at the cordiality of bilateral relations, the two parties exchanged opinions on questions of mutual interest. In this context, attention focused particularly on commitment and collaboration for the promotion of human dignity, especially in fields of great social importance such as the family, education of the young and protection of the environment".
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VATICAN CITY, 25 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiberg im Breisgau, Germany, president of the German Episcopal Conference.

 - Participants in an international symposium on Erik Peterson.
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  "Brothers and sisters, in closing, we say with St. John the Apostle: ... 'This life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us - we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us'. ... This Divine Life ... will always remain the life of our Churches in the Middle East and the object of our witness, sustained by the promise of the Lord: 'Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age'. Together we proceed on our journey with hope".

  "We confess that thus far we have not done everything in our power to experience better communion in our communities. We have not done everything possible to confirm you in your faith and to give you the spiritual nourishment you need in your difficulties. The Lord invites us to conversion as individuals and communities. Today we return to you full of hope, strength and resolution, bringing the message of the Synod and its recommendations, that we might study them together and put them into practice in our Churches, each according to its state. We hope also that this new effort may be an ecumenical effort".
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Friday, October 22, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT 2010 (VIS) - No General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops was held this morning. Instead, the relator general met with the special secretary and the relators of the various language groups to study the collective amendments to the Synod Fathers' propositions.

  During the Thirteenth General Congregation, due to be held this afternoon in the presence of the Holy Father, the final Message of the Special Assembly for the Middle East will be presented and voted upon.

  During the fourteenth and final General Congregation, scheduled to take place tomorrow morning, Saturday 23 October, the final list of propositions will be presented. This will be followed by a vote using the procedure "placet" or "non placet".

  At 1 p.m. tomorrow, the participants in the synodal assembly will have lunch with the Pope in the atrium of the Vatican's Paul VI Hall.
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VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Luis Dositeo Latorre Tapia, the new ambassador of Ecuador to the Holy See.

  "In your country - which in 1978 I had the good fortune to visit as my venerated predecessor Pope John Paul I's special envoy to the Third National Marian Congress - the Word of Christ was sown generously and has flowered magnificently", the Pope told the diplomat. "The ecclesial community ... also joys when it sees that social harmony is being fomented, to which end it supports the efforts the Ecuadorian authorities have been making over recent years to rediscover the foundations of democratic coexistence, strengthen the rule of law and give new impulse to solidarity and fraternity".

  "I appeal to the Almighty", the Pope went on, "to ensure that this shining horizon of hope becomes ever wider with new projects and judicious decisions, so that the common good may prevail over partisan and class interests, the ethical imperative may remain an essential point of reference for all citizens, wealth may be equitably distributed, and sacrifices equally shared, not weighing exclusively on the most needy".

  "In the past of your beloved nation, so close to the Pope's heart, there have been moments of difficulty and tension, but the human and Christian virtues of its inhabitants have not been lacking, nor has their desire to prevail. ... The Ecuadorian authorities will do a great service to their country by augmenting this important human and spiritual heritage, whence energy and inspiration may be drawn to continue building those bastions that underpin all human communities, ... such as the defence of life from conception until natural end, religious freedom, freedom of expression and other civil liberties, because these are the authentic conditions for real social justice. This justice, in its turn, cannot be affirmed save on the basis of support and protection - also in juridical and economic terms - for the original cell of society which is the family, founded on the matrimonial bond of a man with a woman".

  "Another aspect of fundamental import are the policies that aim to eradicate unemployment, violence, impunity, illiteracy and corruption. In reaching these commendable goals, the pastors of the Church are aware that they must not enter into the political debate, proposing concrete solutions or imposing their presence. Yet they cannot remain neutral before the great human problems and aspirations, nor be inactive when the time comes to fight for justice. With due respect for the plurality of legitimate opinions, their role rather consists in using the Gospel and Church Social Doctrine to illuminate the minds and will of the faithful, so that they may make responsible decisions that lead to the building of a more harmonious and well-ordered society".

  Benedict XVI completed his address to the new ambassador by referring to the question of education. "The Church in Ecuador", he said, "has a rich history in the area of educating children and young people, having undertaken teaching activities with particular abnegation in distant, remote and impoverished areas of the nation. It is right and just that this arduous ecclesial task, example of healthy collaboration with the State, should not be ignored. ... The public authorities must guarantee the law that helps parents, both to educate their children according to their own religious convictions and ethical criteria, and to found and support educational institutions. In this perspective, it is also important for the public authorities to respect the specific identity and autonomy of educational institutions and of the Catholic university, in accordance with the 'modus vivendi' signed seventy years ago by the Republic of Ecuador and the Holy See".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT 2010 (VIS) - "Slovenia's integration into the European Union, which has been achieved in an increasingly organic way over recent years, has one of its fundamental premises in the shared Christian roots of the 'old continent'". Benedict XVI told Maja Marija Lovrencic Svetek, the new ambassador of Slovenia to the Holy See, as he received her Letters of Credence today.

  "Looking at the history of the Slovenian people, what clearly emerges is the imprint of the moral and spiritual values of Christianity. ... This heritage has constituted, even in the most difficult and painful times, a constant ferment of comfort and hope and has supported Slovenia on its journey towards independence following the fall of the communist regime.

  "In that period the Holy See was particularly close to the Slovenian nation", the Pope added, going on to note that in her address the new ambassador had "underlined how relations between the Republic of Slovenia and the Holy See have been good since their inception, and still continue so today. In this context", he said, "it is my hope that solutions may be found to all the problems still unresolved by the Agreement signed on 14 December 2002".

  The Holy Father continued: "In exercising her democratic prerogatives, Slovenia has achieved a certain economic wellbeing, which has enabled her to consolidate peaceful civil and social coexistence. It was with pleasure that I learned the news of the recent approval of a law concerning the question of the so-called 'Erased'. ... This is an important step forwards in the attempt to solve the cases of those people who lost the right to residency, work and healthcare assistance. I encourage you to continue in this direction and hope efforts will be made to alleviate their suffering".

  Referring then to the ambassador's words concerning "the commitment to the good of mankind, which unites the activities of the Apostolic See and of the Republic of Slovenia", the Holy Father explained how "the Apostolic See encourages initiatives adopted in the international arena to promote peace and justice, in order to overcome disagreements and intensify constructive relations". In this context he described Slovenia's recent entry into the Organisation for Co-operation and Economic Development as "a positive step" and "an important testimony of openness and of the desire to collaborate with other countries".

  "The Catholic Church's specific mission, which she undertakes in Slovenia as in all other parts of the world, is that of announcing the Gospel, and bringing all mankind to the salvation that comes from the Lord Jesus. One sign of the vivacity of the Church in Slovenia is the National Eucharistic Congress, celebrated recently ... in Celje", the culmination of which was "the beatification of the young Lojze Grozde, martyred in hatred for the faith during a very difficult period in the country's history.

  "Other signs of the vitality of the ecclesial community in Slovenia are its numerous pastoral and charitable activities in various social contexts", the Pope concluded. "I take this opportunity to send a warm greeting to all Catholics in your country. Through various initiatives they seek to help everyone, and to deepen the spiritual meaning of life, and wish to contribute to building an ever more just and united society, while respecting the beliefs and religious practices of each individual".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT 2010 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Manuel Tomas Fernandes Pereira, the new ambassador of Portugal to the Holy See.

  Beginning his address, the Pope recalled his own visit to Portugal last May. "I will never forget", he said, "the warm welcome I was given, and the friendly and respectful way in which my words were received. I believe that this also has social importance, for when society grows and people are strengthened thanks to the message of faith, then social coexistence also benefits, and citizens are more disposed to serve the common good".

  "Through her presence in the international arena", he went on, "the Holy See makes every effort to serve the cause of the integral promotion of individuals and peoples. It should be made clear that the obstacles to such promotion are not only economic; rather, they depend on the most deep-seated attitudes and values, the moral and spiritual values that determine the behaviour of each human being towards himself, towards others and towards all creation".

  When the Church in Portugal "promotes the awareness that these same values must inspire public and private life, she does not do so for political ambition, but in order to remain faithful to the mission entrusted to her by her Divine Founder", said the Pope.

  "The Church", he continued, "does not represent partial or transitory models of society; rather, she seeks to transform hearts and minds so that human beings can discover and recognise themselves in the complete truth of their humanity. Bearing in mind that her mission is moral and religious in nature, the Church respects the area that is the specific responsibility of the State".

  Moreover, the Holy Father went on, the Church "encourages Christians fully to shoulder their responsibilities as citizens so that, together with others, they may effectively contribute to the common good and the great causes of humanity".

  "Respectful collaboration and faithful understanding between the Church and the civil authorities brings benefits to Portuguese society. Animated by this hope, six years ago a new Concordat between the Holy See and Portugal came into being. ... In that juridical instrument Pope John Paul II saw confirmation of 'the feelings of esteem that animate our mutual relations', and expressed the hope that 'the new Concordat may favour ever greater understanding between the State authorities and the pastors of the Church, for the common good of the nation'. I am pleased", the Pope told the ambassador, "that you mentioned the desire to encourage the efforts being made for a complete and faithful application of the Concordat in the various ambits of the Catholic Church and of Portuguese society".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Jaime Munoz Pedroza of the clergy of the archdiocese of Tunja, Colombia, rector of the major seminary, as bishop of Arauca (area 32,490, population 279,000, Catholics 249,000, priests 49, religious 52), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in Cienaga, Colombia in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1984.
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Thursday, October 21, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 21 OCT 2010 (VIS) - During the Twelfth General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, held this morning in the Vatican's Synod Hall, the unified list of propositions was presented. The president delegate on duty was His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon. Subsequently the Synod Fathers, meeting in language groups, began to prepare their amendments to the propositions.

  This afternoon the Synod Fathers will again meet in language groups to continue work on preparing the amendments. At the end of the day they will deliver the collectively amended propositions to the secretary general of the Synod.
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VATICAN CITY, 21 OCT 2010 (VIS) - News of the confirmation of a decision by an Italian court to impose a precautionary freeze on a deposit held by the IOR (Institute for Works of Religion) at the Credito Artigiano Bank "was received with amazement", Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. said yesterday.

  "We believe this is an interpretative and formal problem", he explained. "The directors of the IOR are certain they will very soon be able clarify the question with the competent authorities".
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VATICAN CITY, 21 OCT 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Han Hong-soon, the new ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Holy See.

  Addressing the diplomat in English, the Pope noted "the remarkable economic growth that your country has experienced in recent years, which has transformed Korea from a net recipient of aid into a donor country".

  He also recalled words used by the Korean president on his visit to the Vatican last year, to the effect that "there are dangers involved in rapid economic growth which can all too easily bypass ethical considerations, with the result that the poorer elements in society tend to be excluded from their rightful share of the nation's prosperity. The financial crisis of recent years has exacerbated the problem, but it has also focused attention on the need to renew the ethical foundations of all economic and political activity.

  "I wish to encourage your government", the Holy Father added, "in its commitment to ensure that social justice and care for the common good grow side by side with material prosperity, and I assure you that the Catholic Church in Korea is ready and willing to work with the government as it seeks to promote these worthy goals".

  Referring then to the Catholic Church's commitment in Korean society, the Pope highlighted how, "by means of her network of schools and her educational programmes she contributes greatly to the moral and spiritual formation of the young. Through her work for inter-religious dialogue she seeks to break down barriers between peoples and to foster social cohesion based on mutual respect and growth in understanding. In her charitable outreach she seeks to assist the poor and the needy, particularly refugees and migrant workers who so often find themselves on the margins of society".

  The Church's role, he went on, "involves proclaiming the truths of the Gospel, which continually challenge us to look beyond the narrow pragmatism and partisan interests that can so often condition political choices, and to recognise the obligations incumbent upon us in view of the dignity of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God. This requires of us an unambiguous commitment to defend human life at every stage from conception to natural death, to promote stable family life in accordance with the norms of the natural law and to build peace and justice wherever there is conflict".

  Having then expressed the Holy See's appreciation "for the active role played by the Republic of Korea within the international community", Benedict XVI noted that, "by promoting the peace and stability of the peninsula, as well as the security and economic integration of nations throughout the Asia-Pacific region, through its extensive diplomatic links with African countries, and especially by hosting next month's G20 Summit in Seoul, your government has given ample proof of its role as an important player on the world stage, and has helped to guarantee that the process of globalisation will be directed by considerations of solidarity and fraternity".

  The Holy Father concluded his remarks to the ambassador by referring to the Congress of Asian Catholic Laity, held recently in the Korean capital Seoul. "I see in this important event a clear sign of the fruitful co-operation that already exists between your country and the Holy See and that bodes well for the future of our relations", he said. "It was only right that the congress's focus was on the lay faithful, who ... not only sowed the first seeds of the Gospel on Korean soil but bore witness in great numbers to their firm faith in Christ through the shedding of their blood. I am confident that, inspired and strengthened by the witness of the Korean martyrs, lay men and women will continue to build up the life and wellbeing of the nation".
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VATICAN CITY, 21 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Bogadan Tataru-Cazaban, the new ambassador of Romania to the Holy See, this morning presented his Letters of Credence to Benedict XVI who, in his address to the diplomat, recalled how "twenty years ago Romania decided to write a new chapter in its history".

  However, the Pope went on, "so many years passed under the yoke of a totalitarian ideology leave deep scars in people's mentality, and in their political and economic life. Following the euphoria of freedom, your nation is solidly committed to a process of reconstruction. Its entry in to the European Union also marked an important stage in the search for true democratisation".

  "In order to continue this profound renewal", he went on, "new challenges must be faced so as to ensue that your society does not focus exclusively on the search for wellbeing and the thirst for profit, understandable consequences of a period of more than forty years of privation. However it is important to ensure that integrity, honesty and sincerity prevail. These virtues must inspire and guide all members of society".

  "Romania is made up of a mosaic of peoples", the Pope remarked. "This variety could be seen as an obstacle to national unity, but also as a factor that characterises and enriches national identity. ... Administering the legacy of communism is difficult due to the fact that it favoured the disintegration of society and of individuals. Indeed, authentic values were obscured in favour of false ideologies, in the name of the national interest. For this reason you now have to start the difficult task of ordering human affairs correctly, making good use of your freedom".

  "The family occupies a primary place in this process of rebuilding social cohesion,. ... Family and education are the starting point for combating poverty and so contributing to respect for all people: respect for minorities, respect for the family and for life itself. Family and education are the soil in which basic ethical values sink their roots and where religious life grows".

  The Pope then went on to speak of the nation's "long and rich religious tradition" which, he said, "was also injured during the dark decades. Some of these wounds are still open and must be cured, using means acceptable to each community. It is, indeed, appropriate that injustices inherited from the past should be repaired without being afraid of doing justice. To this end the situation should be tackled at two levels: at the State level by promoting genuine dialogue between the State and the various religious leaders and, in the second place, by fomenting harmonious relations between the different religious communities". In this context the Holy Father also referred to the new Law of Worship and the Mixed Commission, established in 1998, the work of which "must be reactivated", he said.

  The Catholic Church sees ecumenical dialogue "as the best way to know her brothers in the faith, and to build the Kingdom of God with them, while respecting the specific identify of each. Witness of fraternity between Catholics and Orthodox, in a spirit of charity and justice, must prevail over difficulties and open hearts to reconciliation. In this context, many were the fruits of John Paul II's historic visit a decade ago, his first to a nation with an Orthodox majority. Commitment to dialogue in charity and truth must be strengthened, and joint initiatives promoted. This dialogue will not cease to be a ferment for unity and harmony, not only in your country but also in Europe", Benedict XVI concluded.
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VATICAN CITY, 21 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
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VATICAN CITY, 21 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Jose Alejandro Castano Arbelaez O.A.R., auxiliary of the archdiocese of Cali, Colombia, as bishop of Cartago (area 4,000, population 481,000, Catholics 471,000, priests 88, religious 197), Colombia.

 - Appointed Dom Diego Gualtiero Rosa O.S.B., abbot of the monastery of S. Maria del Pilastrello in Lendinara, Italy, as abbot of the territorial abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore (area 49, population 495, Catholics 495, priests 15, religious 30), Italy. He succeeds Dom Michelangelo Riccardo Tiribilli, O.S.B., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same territorial abbey the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with the statues of the Benedictine Olivetan Congregation.
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VATICAN CITY, 21 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Bishop Jorge Ardila Serrano, emeritus of Girardot, Colombia, on 12 October at the age of 85.

 - Bishop Charles Caruana, emeritus of Gibraltar, on 1 October at the age of 77.

 - Bishop Julio Parise Loro C.S.I., former apostolic vicar of Napo, Ecuador, on 5 October at the age of 90.

 - Bishop Franz Xaver Schwarzenbock, former auxiliary of Munich and Freising, on 10 October at the age of 87.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 20 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Following today's general audience, the Holy Father announced the names of twenty-four prelates who will be created cardinals in a consistory due to be held on 20 November, eve of the Solemnity of Christ the King. The consistory will be the third of his pontificate.

  "Cardinals", said the Pope, "have the task of helping Peter's Successor carry out his mission as permanent and visible source and foundation of the Church's unity of faith and communion".

  Twenty of the new cardinals, being under the age of eighty, will be electors. Their names are:

 - Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

 - His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt.

 - Archbishop Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".

 - Archbishop Francesco Monterisi, archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls.

 - Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli, penitentiary major of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

 - Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

 - Archbishop Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

 - Archbishop Paolo Sardi, vice chamberlain of Holy Roman Church.

 - Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.

 - Archbishop Velasio De Paolis C.S., president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

 - Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

 - Archbishop Medardo Joseph Mazombwe, emeritus of Lusaka, Zambia.

 - Archbishop Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga, emeritus Quito, Ecuador.

 - Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

 - Archbishop Paolo Romeo of Palermo, Italy.

 - Archbishop Donald William Wuerl of Washington, U.S.A.

 - Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil.

 - Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw, Poland.

 - Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

 - Archbishop Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany.

  Having pronounced the names of the new cardinal electors, the Pope then indicated that he had also decided to elevate to the dignity of cardinal "two prelates and two priests", all over the age of eighty and hence non-electors, for their "generosity and dedication in the service of the Church." Their names are:

 - Archbishop Jose Manuel Estepa Llaurens, military ordinary emeritus of Spain.

 - Bishop Elio Sgreccia, former president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

 - Msgr. Walter Brandmuller, former president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.

 - Msgr. Domenico Bartolucci, former director of the Pontifical Choir.
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VATICAN CITY, 20 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Today Wednesday 20 October no General Congregation of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East will be held, but the relator general, the secretary general and the relators of the language groups will continue work on the unification of the propositions. Once complete, these propositions will be presented to the Pope to use as he sees fit in preparing the Apostolic Exhortation, the document which officially closes the Synod.
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VATICAN CITY, 20 OCT 2010 (VIS) - In the general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square, the Pope dedicated his attention to St. Elizabeth of Hungary who, he remarked, "is also known as Elizabeth of Thuringia".

  The Holy Father explained how St. Elizabeth was born in the year 1207. She lived the first four years of her life in the Hungarian royal court before being promised in marriage to Ludwig of Thuringia. "Although their match was decided for political reasons", said the Holy Father, "a sincere love arose between the two young people, animated by faith and by their desire to do the will of God".

  Elizabeth, who "behaved before God as she behaved towards her subjects", is "a true example for everyone who holds positions of leadership", said Pope Benedict. "The exercise of authority at all levels must be practiced as a service to justice and charity, in the constant search for the common good".

  Having highlighted the fact that the saint "assiduously practiced works of mercy", Benedict XVI spoke of the "profound happiness" of her marriage. "Elizabeth helped her spouse to elevate his human qualities to a supernatural level while he, for his part, protected his wife in her generosity towards the poor and in her religious observances. ... This is clear testimony of how faith and love for God and for others strengthen family life and make the marriage bond even more profound".

  Elizabeth found support in the Friars Minor, something which helped her "become even more resolute in following the poor and crucified Christ, Who is present in the poor".

  Following her husband's death in 1227, Elizabeth "had to face another trial: her brother-in-law usurped the government of Thuringia, declaring himself Ludwig's heir and accusing Elizabeth of being a pious woman, incompetent to rule. The young widow with her three children was driven from the castle of Wartburg and had to look for refuge elsewhere. ... During this ordeal, which she bore with great faith, patience and dedication to God, some relatives who had remained faithful and considered her brother-in-law's government illegitimate, re-established her good name. Thus, at the beginning of 1228, Elizabeth was given a pension and retired to the family castle at Marburg".

  The Holy Father indicated that "Elizabeth spent her last three years in the hospital she founded, serving the sick and attending the dying. She always sought the most humble and repugnant tasks. She became what we could call a consecrated woman living in the world ('soror in saeculo') and formed a religious community with a number of grey-clad companions. It is no coincidence that she is patron of the Third Regular Order of St. Francis and of the Secular Franciscan Order".

  In November 1231 she fell into a high fever and died a few days later. "The testimonies of her sanctity were so many that just four years later Pope Gregory IX proclaimed her a saint. In the same year a beautiful church was built in her honour at Marburg".

  "In the figure of St. Elizabeth", Pope Benedict concluded his catechesis, "we see how faith and friendship with Christ, create a sense of justice, of universal equality, of the rights of others, and foment love and charity. From this charity comes hope, the certainty that we are loved by Christ, that the love of Christ awaits us, thus making us capable of imitating Christ and of seeing Him in others".
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VATICAN CITY, 20 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Yesterday 19 October the Holy Father received in audience Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke O.S.B. of Eichstatt, Germany.
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VATICAN CITY, 20 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Pedro Brito Guimaraes of Sao Raimundo Nonato, Brazil, as archbishop of Palmas (area 29,938, population 196,000, Catholics 150,000, priests 75, permanent deacons 16, religious 84), Brazil. The archbishop-elect was born in Eliseu Martins, Brazil in 1954, he was ordained a priest in 1986 and consecrated a bishop in 2002.

 - Appointed Bishop Dirceu Vegini, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Curitiba, Brazil, as bishop of Foz do Iguacu (area 7.062, population 494,000, Catholics 393,000, priests 44, religious 82), Brazil. He succeeds Bishop Laurindo Guizzardi C.S., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Sabino Ocan Odoki, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Gulu, Uganda, as bishop of Arua (area 10,561, population 1,810,000, Catholics 735,000, priests 96, permanent deacons 1, religious 220), Uganda.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 19 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, the Synod Fathers who are currently participating in the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops met in language groups. During the course of today they are due to come together to prepare and approve the propositions on the theme of the synodal assembly.
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Monday, October 18, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 15 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Ninth General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops took place this afternoon in the Synod Hall of the Vatican. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. The Holy Father was present for the period of free discussion at the end of the session.

  Extracts from some of the Synod Father's speeches are given below:


VATICAN CITY, 18 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Eleventh General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops was held this morning in the Synod Hall in the presence of the Holy Father. The sitting was dedicated to the presentation of the "Relatio post disceptationem" (report after the discussion), and the president delegate on duty was Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

  The "Relatio post disceptationem" was delivered by His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt. Extracts from the document are given below:



VATICAN CITY, 16 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Tenth General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops was held this morning in the Vatican's Synod Hall. During the session, the draft of the final message was presented and discussed, and a first round of voting took place for members of the Special Council for the Middle East of the General Secretariat of the Synod. The president delegate on duty was His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon.
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VATICAN CITY, 16 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Bronislaw Komorowski, president of the Republic of Poland. The President subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "The cordial discussions began by recalling the felicitous coincidence of the president's visit with the thirty-second anniversary of the election to the papacy of Servant of God Pope John Paul II. Attention then turned to the importance of dialogue between Church and State, each according to its own competencies, for the promotion of the common good. The parties expressed their mutual desire to continue effective co-operation in areas of joint interest - for example, in education and in promoting the fundamental values of society - and emphasis was given to the importance of defending human life in all its stages. The meeting closed with an exchange of opinions on the current situation in Europe".
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VATICAN CITY, 16 OCT 2010 (VIS) - This evening in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI and the Synod Fathers attended a concert given in the Pope's honour by the composer Enoch zu Guttenberg. He conducted the Klang Verwaltung orchestra and the Neubeuern choir in Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem Mass.

  At the end of the concert the Holy Father arose to address some remarks to those present.

  "Giuseppe Verdi", he said, "spent his life scrutinising the heart of man, and in his works he highlighted the drama of the human condition. ... His theatre is full of unhappy souls, of the persecuted, of victims. This tragic vision of human destiny is echoed in many parts of his Requiem Mass, where we touch the inescapable reality of death and the fundamental question of the transcendent world".

  Verdi, "who in a famous letter to the publisher Ricordi, defined himself as being 'a bit atheist', wrote this Mass which seems to like a great appeal to the Eternal Father, an attempt to overcome the cry of desperation in the face of death, to rediscover the breath of life which becomes the silent and heartfelt prayer: 'Libera me, Domine'".

  "This 'musical cathedral'", the Pope concluded, "thus appears as a description of the spiritual drama of man before Almighty God, of man who cannot escape the eternal question concerning his own existence".
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VATICAN CITY, 17 OCT 2010 (VIS) - At 10 a.m. today Benedict XVI celebrated the Eucharist in the atrium of the Vatican Basilica, and canonised the following six blesseds: Stanislao Soltys, called Kazimierczyk, Polish professed religious of the Order of Canons Regular Lateranense (1433-1489); Andre Bessette (ne Alfred), Canadian professed religious of the Congregation of the Holy Cross (1845-1937); Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola (nee Juana Josefa), Spanish founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus (1845-1912); Mary of the Cross MacKillop (nee Mary Helen), Australian founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart (1842-1909); Giulia Salzano, Italian founder of the Congregation of Sisters Catechists of the Sacred Heart (1846-1929), and Battista da Varano (nee Camilla), professed nun of the Order of Poor Clares (1458-1524).

  At the beginning of his homily the Pope explained how "this Sunday's liturgy offers us a fundamental teaching: the importance of ceaseless prayer. Sometimes we get tired of praying, we have the impression that prayer is not very useful in life, that it is not terribly effective. So we are tempted to dedicate ourselves to activity, to using human means to achieve our aims, without turning to God. However, Jesus affirms that we must always pray".

  "Faith is essential as the basis for prayerful behaviour", said the Holy Father, noting that "this was the approach of the six new saints who today are being proposed for veneration by the Universal Church".

  On the subject of the Polish Stanislao Kazimierczyk, recalled how "his entire life was tied to the Eucharist", particularly "through his ardent love for Christ present in the species of bread and wine" and "through love for others, of which Communion is the source and the sign".

  Andre Bessette from the Canadian city of Quebec was "doorman at the Notre Dame College in Montreal, where he showed boundless charity and did everything possible to soothe the despair of those who confided in him", said the Pope. "He was witness to many healings and conversions. ... For him, everything spoke of God and His presence. May we, following his example, search for God with simplicity to discover Him always present at the centre of our lives".

  On the subject of the Spanish Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola, Benedict XVI highlighted how "she lived for God and for what He most loves: to reach all people and bring them the hope that does not waver, especially those who need Him most. ... Though possessing few resources, she managed to inspire other sisters to follow Jesus and dedicate themselves to teaching and to the promotion of women. This is how the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus was founded, which today sees in its founder a model of sublime life to be imitated, and a mission to be continued in the many countries already reached by the spirit and apostolic zeal of Mother Candida".

  Mother Mary MackKillop, the first Australian saint, "dedicated herself as a young woman to the education of the poor in the difficult and demanding terrain of rural Australia. ... She attended to the needs of each young person entrusted to her, without regard for social position or wealth, providing both intellectual and spiritual formation. Despite many challenges, her prayers to St. Joseph and her unflagging devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to whom she dedicated her new congregation, gave this holy woman the graces she needed to remain faithful to God and the Church. Through her intercession, may her followers today continue to serve God and the Church with faith and humility".

  Giulia Salzano "well understood the importance of catechesis in the Church and, uniting educational skill to spiritual zeal, she dedicated herself to this with generosity and intelligence, contributing to the formation of people of every age and social class. She repeated to her fellow sisters that she wanted to teach catechism until the last hour of her life, showing with her whole being that if 'God created us to know, love and serve Him in this life', nothing should take precedence over that task. May the example and intercession of St. Giulia Salzano sustain the Church in her perennial task of proclaiming Christ and forming authentic Christian consciences".

  The Pope concluded his homily by referring to Battista Camilla da Varano, who "bore profound witness to the evangelical significance of life, especially by her perseverance in prayer. ... Completely immersed in the depths of the divine, hers was a constant ascent along the path of perfection, demonstrating heroic love for God and neighbour. Her journey was marked by great sufferings and mystical consolations, for she had in fact decided, as she herself wrote, 'to enter into the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and to drown in the ocean of His most bitter sufferings'. In an age in which the Church was experiencing a relaxation of customs, she decisively followed the way of penitence and prayer, animated by the ardent desire for renewal of the Mystical Body of Christ".
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VATICAN CITY, 17 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Following Mass this morning, during which he canonised Stanislao Soltys, Andre Bessette, Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola, Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Giulia Salzano and Battista da Varano, the Holy Father prayed the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  Addressing French-speaking pilgrims, the Pope encouraged them to follow in the footsteps of St. Andre Bessette, "in order to accept freely and lovingly the will of God in your lives", and to show the same charity that the new saint showed "towards your brothers and sisters who are suffering hardship".

  Speaking English he then called for the example of St. Andre Bessette and St. Mary MacKillop to inspire people "by the example of their holy lives". Saints, he said to German faithful, "are the living image of God's love, ... models to follow and advocates for our lives as Christians".

  Speaking Spanish he entrusted the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus to the intercession of their founder, St. Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola, and expressed the hope that young people "may increasingly welcome the Lord's call and commit their lives entirely to proclaiming the greatness of His love".

  "From Stanislao Soltys (called Kazimierczyk)", said the Pope in Polish, "we learn the spirit of prayer, of contemplation and of sacrifice for others. May he always maintain the Church in Poland in the presence of the Lord".

  Finally, the Holy Father greeted Italian pilgrims celebrating the canonisation of Sts. Battista da Varano and Giulia Salzano. He reminded them that today marks the closure of the forty-sixth Social Week of Italian Catholics, and expressed the hope that "the search for the common good may always be the firm foundation for the commitment of Catholics in social and political activities".
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VATICAN CITY, 18 OCT 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Cesar Mauricio Velasquez Ossa, the new ambassador of Colombia to the Holy See.


VATICAN CITY, 18 OCT 2010 (VIS) - "The ties binding the faithful people of El Salvador to the Chair of the Prince of the Apostles are proof of a noble tradition and cannot be separated from the history and customs of that blessed land", the Holy Father said this morning to Manuel Roberto Lopez Becerra, El Salvador's new ambassador to the Holy See.


VATICAN CITY, 18 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Given below are ample extracts from the English-language version of a Letter to Seminarians, written by the Pope to mark the end of the Year for Priests and dated 18 October.

  "When in December 1944 I was drafted for military service, the company commander asked each of us what we planned to do in the future. I answered that I wanted to become a Catholic priest. The lieutenant replied: 'Then you ought to look for something else. In the new Germany priests are no longer needed'. I knew that this 'new Germany' was already coming to an end, and that, after the enormous devastation which that madness had brought upon the country, priests would be needed more than ever. Today the situation is completely changed. In different ways, though, many people nowadays also think that the Catholic priesthood is not a 'job' for the future, but one that belongs more to the past. You, dear friends, have decided to enter the seminary and to prepare for priestly ministry in the Catholic Church in spite of such opinions and objections. You have done a good thing. Because people will always have need of God, even in an age marked by technical mastery of the world and globalisation: they will always need the God Who has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, the God Who gathers us together in the universal Church in order to learn with Him and through Him life's true meaning and in order to uphold and apply the standards of true humanity. Where people no longer perceive God, life grows empty; nothing is ever enough".


VATICAN CITY, 18 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Milwaukee, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Richard J. Sklba, upon having reached the age limit.

  On Saturday 16 October it was made public that he appointed:

 - Fr. Jaime Rafael Fuentes, teacher at the "Mons. Mariano Soler" Faculty of Theology of Uruguay, as bishop of Minas (area 17,776, population 76,100, Catholics 69,900, priests 17, permanent deacons 1, religious 12), Uruguay. The bishop-elect was born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1945 and ordained a priest in 1973.

 - As members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., perfect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and Archbishop Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

 - Fr. Massimo Palombella S.D.B., professor at Rome's Pontifical Salesian University and founder and director of the Inter-University Choir of Rome, as director of the Pontifical Choir.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

  On Saturday 16 October he received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland, accompanied by Jozef Michalik of Przemysl of the Latins, president of the Polish Episcopal Conference; Bishop Stanislaw Budzik, auxiliary of Tarnow and secretary general of the Polish Episcopal Conference, and Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw.

 - Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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Friday, October 15, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 15 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Eighth General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops was held this morning in the Synod Hall in the presence of the Holy Father and of 168 Synod Fathers. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

  Extracts from some of the Synod Father's speeches are given below:


VATICAN CITY, 14 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Seventh General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops was held this afternoon in the Vatican's Synod Hall in the presence of the Holy Father. The president delegate on duty was His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon.

  Extracts from some of the Synod Father's speeches are given below:


VATICAN CITY, 15 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a Message to Jacques Diouf, director general of the United Nation's Rome-based Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) for the occasion of World Food Day.

  "The theme of this year's World Food Day, 'United against Hunger'", writes the Pope in his English-language Message, "is a timely reminder that everyone needs to make a commitment to give the agricultural sector its proper importance. Everyone - from individuals to the organisations of civil society, States and international institutions - needs to give priority to one of the most urgent goals for the human family: freedom from hunger. In order to achieve freedom from hunger it is necessary to ensure not only that enough food is available, but also that everyone has daily access to it: this means promoting whatever resources and infrastructures are necessary in order to sustain production and distribution on a scale sufficient to guarantee fully the right to food".

  "If the international community is to be truly 'united' against hunger, then poverty must be overcome through authentic human development, based on the idea of the person as a unity of body, soul and spirit. Today, though, there is a tendency to limit the vision of development to one that satisfies the material needs of the person, especially through access to technology; yet authentic development is not simply a function of what a person 'has', it must also embrace higher values of fraternity, solidarity and the common good".

  "In this context, FAO has the essential task of examining the issue of world hunger at the institutional level and proposing particular initiatives that involve its member States in responding to the growing demand for food. Indeed, the nations of the world are called to give and to receive in proportion to their effective needs, by reason of that 'pressing moral need for renewed solidarity, especially in relationships between developing countries and those that are highly industrialised'".
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