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Ultimo Aggiornamento: 22/02/2009 21.58
19/05/2007 22.53
 
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PLEASE BEAR WITH ME - I AM TRYING TO KEEP THIS THREAD 'COMPLETE' AND UP-TO-DATE.

PLACEHOLDER FOR ADDRESS TO BISHOPS OF SERBIA-MONTENEGRO
ON 5.4.07
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19/05/2007 22.55
 
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PLACEHOLDER FOR ADDRESS TO SWISS GUARDS ON 5/5/07
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19/05/2007 22.55
 
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PLACEHOLDER FOR ADDRESS TO 'FIDEI DONUM' MISSIONARIES, 5/5/07
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19/05/2007 22.56
 
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PLACEHOLDER FOR ADDRESS TO INTERNATIONAL UNION OF SUPERIORS-GENERAL, 5/7/07
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19/05/2007 22.58
 
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ALL ADDRESSES AND HOMILIES DELIVERED DURING THE TRIP TO BRAZIL MAY 9-14 ARE IN THE THREAD 'APOSTOLIC VOYAGE TO BRAZIL'
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20/05/2007 00.15
 
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ADDRESS TO THE BISHOPS OF MALI, 5/18/07
Here is a translation of the remarks delivered in French by the Holy Father to the Bishops of Mali whom he received in audience at Castel Gandolfo for their ad-limina visit on Friday, May 18.


Dear brothers in the Episcopate!


I welcome you with joy, dear bishops of the Church of Mali, as you carry out your visit 'ad limina apostolorum.'

For yourselves, as well as for the life of your diocesan communities, it is an important occasion which manifests the communion of your local churches with the Successor of Peter and with the universal Church, and which will help you persevere in your missionary dynamism.

Let your churches know that they have a place in the heart and in the prayers of the Pope!

I thank Mons. Jean Diarra, president of your bishops' conference, for the kind words he said in your name and for his presentation of the realities within our country.

Pleased to hear about the esteem that the Catholic community of Mali has from your national leaders and from the general population, I would like to greet warmly the priests, the religious, the catechists and all the lay faithful in your dioceses. I encourage them to live generously the Gospel of Christ which they received from their Fathers in the faith.

I also greet all the inhabitants of Mali, asking God to bless each family and to grant that everyone may live in peace and brotherhood.

Dear brothers in the Episcopate, in seeking for your own internal unity and a source of energy for your pastoral charity, which is the soul of your apostolate, as well as in the affection that you show for the flock that is entrusted to your care, your ministry will find its full development and renewed effectiveness.

Be ardent ministers who guide the people of God to become men of faith, with confidence and courage, sure of their proximity to others, which can inspire hope even in the most difficult situation.

In effect, "imitating Jesus Christ and in his footsteps, the bishop steps forth to announce Him as the Savior of the world, of the whole world. As missionary for the Gospel, the bishop acts in the name of the Church, expert in humanity and close to the men of our times" (Pastores gregis, n. 66)

Guided by sincere charity and by particular solicitude, you are also for each of your priests a father, a brother and a friend. They cooperate generously in your apostolic mission, even while often living in difficult human and spiritual conditions.

Now that the diocesan clergy is called on to take a bigger role in evangelization, in fraternal and confident collaboration with the missionaries - whose courageous work I salute - it is necessary that priests live their priestly identity by giving themselves totally to the Lord, in unselfish service to their brothers, without being discouraged by the difficulties they must face.

In a communion ever more intimate with Him who has called them to their task, they will find the strength for their ministry in the service of the men and women entrusted to them, despite the distraction of their daily concerns.

A life of prayer and a sacramental life are an authentic pastoral priority for priests to aid them in responding with determination to the call for holiness from the Lord and in their mission of guiding the faithful along the same path.

May they never forget, as I wrote in the encyclical Deus caritas est, that "he who prays is not wasting his time, even when the situation appears truly urgent and seems to require action only" (n. 36).

So that priests may work effectively in evangelization and contribute to the spiritual growth of the Christian community, their formation should be planned with great care. Indeed, such formation should not be limited to abstract notions. It should prepare the candidates for priestly ministry by being effectively tied to the realities of priestly mission and life.

Human formation itself is the basis for priestly formation. Particular attention to their emotional maturity will allow them to freely accept a life of celibacy and chastity, a precious gift from God, and to have a solidly established consciousness about this for the rest of their lives.

AS the Church in your continent prepares to celebrate the second Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Africa, the involvement of the faithful towards the tasks of reconciliation, justice and peace is an urgent imperative.

The lay faithful should have a renewed awareness of their particular mission within the Church and of the spiritual exigencies that this will mean in their own lives. In committing themselves resolutely towards the edification of a just, united and fraternal society, they will be authentic messengers of the Good News of Jesus Christ, and they will contribute to the coming of the Kingdom of God in sanctifying the world and instilling into it the spirit of the Gospel.

In order that this participation in the transformation of society may be effective, it is indispensable to train laymen who will be competent in such service for the common good. This formation, in which knowledge of the social doctrine of the Church is an essential element, must take into account their involvement in civilian life, in ways that will enable them to meet daily challenges in the different domains in which they qualify - political, economic, social or cultural, and showing that probity [scrupulous honesty] in public life opens the way for trust on the part of the public and for the healthy management of public affairs.

Through the work of religious communities and committed laymen, the Church also brings an appreciable contribution to the life of society, especially in its educational mission for the younger generations, its attention to those who suffer, and in general, by its charitable work.

In any case, such work must be an effective expression of the loving presence of God among men in need. As I underscored in the encyclical, the Church's charitable activity has a specific profile, and it is important that it 'maintains all its splendor and not turn into just another social help organization or a variant of it" (n. 31).

The effective support of your national authorities for these educational, social and health activities in the service of the entire population, without exclusions, can only be valuable help for the development of society itself.

Dear brothers in the Episcopate, your five-year reports show that the marriage ministry is a major concern int he life of your dioceses. Even though the number of Christian marriages remains relatively small, it is the duty of the Church to help those who are baptized, particularly young people, to understand the beauty and dignity of the sacrament of matrimony in Christian life.

In response to the fear often expressed about the definitive character of matrimony, a solid preparation, with the help of lay counselors, will help Christian couples to remain faithful to their marriage vows.

They will realize that the faithfulness of spouses and the indissolubility of their alliance - of which the model is the faithfulness of God himself to the indestructible alliance he has made with man - are a source of happiness for those who are thus united. And that this happiness will be their children's as well, who are reflections of the love their parents have for each other.

In this spirit, I also give thanks for the youth who have heard the call of God to serve int he priesthood and the consecrated life.

Finally, I would like to express my satisfaction to learn that the Catholic faithful of Mali have cordial relations with their Muslim brothers. Therefore it is also primordial to devote appropriate attention to deepening these relations in order to promote friendship and fruitful collaboration between Christians and Muslims.

For that, it is legitimate that the identity of each community may be visibly expressed, with mutual respect, acknowledging the religious diversity of the national community and promoting peaceful coexistence at all levels of society. Thus it will be possible to walks together in a common commitment for justice, harmony and peace.

T conclude, dear brothers in the Episcopate, I extend to you my warm encouragement for your mission of service to the Gospel of Christ. The Christian hope that inspires you is a support for faith and a stimulus for charity.

May Our Lady of Mali protect all the families in your nation. To each of you, to priests, religious, seminarians, catechists and all the lay faithful of your dioceses, I grant you from my heart an affectionate apostolic blessing.


[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 20/05/2007 0.16]

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20/05/2007 01.11
 
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ADDRESS TO 'CENTESIMUS ANNUS' FOUNDATION, 5/19/07
Here is a translation of the remarks delivered in Italian by the Holy Father to participants of an international conference promoted by the "Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontefice" foundation, whom he met at the Sala Clementina at noon today:



Lord Cardinal,
venerated brothers in the Episcopate and priesthood,
dear friends!


It is with great pleasure that I welcome you on your visit which follows a Eucharistic celebration that you took part in this morning at St. Peter's Basilica.

I greet each of you most cordially, starting with Cardinal Attilio Nicora, Administrator of the Patrimony of the Holy See, and I thank you all for the words addressed to me in your name.

I also greet Count Lorenzo Rossi di Montelera, your president, the bishops and priests present, and all the members of your meritorious sodality, even those who are not present today, and your families.

During your meeting this year, you reflected on the fundamental commitment which characterizes your Foundation: namely, to explore in depth the most relevant aspects of the social doctrine of the Church applied to the problems and challenges that are most urgent today.

In the second place, you have come to present to the Pope the fruits of your generosity, so they may be used to respond to so many requests for aid that reach him from all other the world. I assure you, there are indeed so many. So I thank you for your contribution, I thank you for what you do and for the commitment which you dedicate to the activities of your association, which was inspired by my venerated predecessor John Paul II.

I will take the occasion to offer you some reflections for your consideration on the wide and stimulating social theme that has occupied you during your current sessions. You have analyzed through an economic and social profile the changes that are taking place in the so-called emerging nations, with the cultural and religious repercussions of such changes.

In particular, you have focused on the nations of Asia that are characterized by strong dynamics of economic growth which do not always bring about real social development, and on the nations of Africa where, unfortunately, economic growth and social development encounter too many obstacles and challenges.

What these peoples need - as do everyone else in the world - is social and economic progress that is harmonious and with a truly human dimension. In this regard, let me quote an incisive passage from the encyclical Centesimus annus of the beloved John Paul II, in which he affirms that "development should not be understood exclusively in economic terms, but in an integrally human sense."

He adds, "it does not have to do only with raising everyone to the economic level that the richer nations now enjoy, but rather with constructing through fraternal work a more worthy life, to effectively promote the growth of the dignity and creativity of every single person, his capacity to respond to his individual calling, and therefore to God's call which is contained in it" (n. 29).

We find here a constant teaching of the social doctrine of the Church, which has been reiterated very often by my predecessors in the last several decades.

In fact this year is the 40th anniversary of the publication of a great social encyclical by the Servant of God Paul VI, Populorum progressio. In this text which is cited many times in subsequent documents, that great Pope already stated forcefully that "development cannot be reduced only to simple economic growth," that, "in order to be authentic development, it should be integral, which means directed towards the promotion of every man and of the whole man" (n. 14).

This attention to the true exigencies of the human being, respect for the dignity of every person, the sincere search for the common good, are the inspiring principles that must be kept in mind when planning development for a nation. Unfortunately, it doesn't always happen that way.

Today's globalized society often manifests paradoxical and tragic disequlibria. In fact, when one considers the increase in rates of economic growth, when one stops to analyze the problems connected with modern progress - not excluding excessive pollution and irresponsible consumption of natural and environmental resources - it is evident that only a globalization process that is attentive to the needs of universal harmony can assure humanity of a future of authentic welfare and stable peace for all.

Dear friends, I know that you - who are professionals and faithful laymen actively engaged in the world - wish to contribute to resolve these problems in the light of the social doctrine of the church. It is also your purpose to promote a culture of solidarity and to promote economic development attentive to the real expectations of individuals and peoples.

While I encourage you to proceed with your commitment, let me reiterate that a free and harmonious society can only be born through the orderly interweaving of the three indispensable elements of development - economic, social and human.

I gladly echo the words Papa Montini expressed with such passionate clarity in his encyclical Populorum progressio: "If the pursuit of development requires an ever increasing number of technicians, it needs even more thinking men capable of profound reflection and devoted to the quest for a new and integrally human humanism, which will allow modern man to find himself by taking on the superior values of love, friendship, prayer and meditation." (n. 20).

This is your mission; this is the task that the Lord entrusts to you in the service of the Church and of society, and I know that you are carrying it out with zeal and generosity.

In this respect, I have learned with great pleasure that your Foundation has been extending its presence to various nations of Europe and the Americas. I am truly glad to hear that.

On you and your initiatives, as well as on your families, I invoke the abundant blessings of God.

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25/05/2007 23.09
 
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25/05/2007 23.26
 
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ADDRESS TO ITALIAN BISHOPS, 5/24/07
Here is a translation of the Holy Father's address to the General Assembly of Italian bishops on 5/24/07.

Dear brother Italian Bishops,

On the occasion of your 57th General Assembly, we have a new and happy opportunity today to be together and live a moment of intense communion.

I greet your new President, Mons. Angelo Bagnasco, and thank him for the kind words he addressed to me in your name. I renew my expressions of gratitude to Cardinal Camillo Ruini who served your conference for so many years as President. And I greet the three vice-presidents and the secretary-general.

I greet each of you affectionately, reliving the sentiments of friendship and communion that I personally experienced during your ad-limina visits.

For me, the encounters with all the pastors of the Church in Italy have been a most beautiful memory. That way, I learned what we might call the 'exterior' geography of Italy but above all its spiritual geography. I was truly able to enter intimately into the life of the Church, where there is still so much wealth and vitality of faith; where, in this difficult time when we do not lack for problems, one can still see the power of faith profoundly at work in the souls of the faithful; and that even where the faith appears extinguishes, a small flame remains and we can revive it.

It is precisely about the ad-limina visits which you have all completed in the past few months that I wish to speak to you, because they were for me a great comfort and an experience of joy, as an occasion to know you better personally as well as your dioceses, and to share with you the satisfactions and the concerns which accompany pastoral care.

All these encounters with you have confirmed my certainty that in Italy, the faith is alive and profoundly rooted, and that the Church is a reality for the people, one that relates closely to persons and families in specific particular ways.

Doubtless there are different situations in a country that is so rich in history, including religious history, and that is characterized by a manifold heritage as well as different conditions of life, work and income. But the Catholic faith and the presence of the Church remain as the great unifying factor for this beloved nation and a valuable deposit of moral energies for its future.

Naturally these comforting positive realities will not make us ignore or under-estimate the difficulties that are present and the hidden traps that could grow with the passage of time and of generations. We can observe everyday, in the images offered in public discourse and amplified by mass communications - but also, if to a different degree, in the life and behavior of individuals - the weight of a culture marked by moral relativism, poor in certainties but rich in claims that are often unjustified.

We also note the need for a strengthening of Christian formation through a more substantial catechesis, for which the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church could be of great service.

But we also need the constant commitment to place God ever more in the center of the life of our communities, giving primacy to prayer, to personal friendship with Jesus, and therefore, to his call for holiness.

In particular, we must have great concern for the vocation of priesthood and the consecrated life, as well as for the permanent formation and the conditions in which our priests live and work. Especially in some regions, the low number of young priests is already a serious problem for pastoral work.

Together with the whole Christian community, let us ask the Lord, trustingly and humbly, for the gift of new and holy laborers for his harvest (cfr Mt 9,37-38). We know that sometimes the Lord makes us wait, but we also know that whoever knocks at his door does not knock in vain. Therefore, let us continue, with trust and patience, to pray that the Lord may give us these new and holy 'laborers'.

Dear brother bishops, shortly before the start of your ad-limina visits, these topics were taken up at the convention which assembled the Italian Church in Verona last October. I keep a great and grateful memory of the day that I spent with you on that occasion, and I am happy at the results of the Convention that have since matured.

Basically, we now have to go ahead in order to make ever more effective and concrete that great Yes which God, in Jesus Christ, gave to man, to his life, to human love, to our freedom and our intelligence. The very sense of that Convention is summarized in that Yes.

To start from that fact and to make it perceptible to all - namely, that Christianity is a great Yes, a Yes from God himself and concretized in the Incarnation of the Son - seems to me very important. Only if we situate our Christian existence within that Yes, if we penetrate profoundly the joy of that Yes, is it possible to realize Christian living in every aspect of our existence, even in those aspects that are difficult for Christians today.

I am therefore happy that your Assembly has approved the pastoral note which summarizes and restates the fruits of the work done at the Convention. It is very important that the hope in the Risen Christ, that spirit of communion and that willingness for missionary testimony, continue to nourish the life and the multi-form task of the Church in Italy.

The principal theme of your Assembly links closely to the objectives of the Convention in Verona. You have been reflecting on 'Jesus Christ, the only Savior of the world: the Church in mission, ad gentes and among us'.

This way, you are addressing - from a perspective of directed evangelization which is ultimately unitary because it always involves announcing and bearing witness to Jesus Christ - those who are opening up to the faith for the first time, the children of those peoples who now come to live and work in Italy, and our own people, some of whom have strayed far from the faith and are subject to the pressures of those secularizing tendencies which would dominate the society and culture of this nation as well as all of Europe.

To all of them and to each one must be addressed the mission of the Church and our concerns as pastors, as I think I must remind you in this 50th anniversary year of Pius XII's encyclical Fidei donum.

I am happy that you have placed as the basis of your missionary effort the fundamental truth that Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world: the certainty of this truth was, from the beginning, the decisive impulse for the Christian mission.

Even today, as the declaration Dominus Iesus affirmed, we should have full awareness that from the mystery of Jesus Christ, true God and true man, living and present in the Church, comes the uniqueness and the redeeming universality of Christian revelation, and therefore, the irrenounceable task of announcing to all, without tiring or giving up, the same Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14,16).

It seems to me that if we look at the panorama of the world situation today, one can understand - humanly, almost without recourse to faith, I would say - that the God who took on a human face, the God who became flesh, who has the name of Jesus Christ and who suffered for us, that this God is needed by everyone, that He is the only answer to all the challenges of our time.

The regard and respect towards other religions and cultures, with the seeds of truth and goodness present in them and which represent a preparation for the Gospel, are particularly necessary today, in a world that is becoming more 'together.' But that cannot diminish our awareness of the originality, fullness and uniqueness of the revelation of the true God who was definitively given to us in Christ, nor can it attenuate or weaken the missionary vocation of the Church.

The relativistic cultural climate which surrounds us makes it ever more important and urgent to implant and mature in the whole ecclesial body the certainty that Christ, God with the human face, is our true and only Savior. The book JESUS OF NAZARETH - a very personal book, not of the Pope, but of this man, myself - was written with that intention: that we may once again, with the heart and with reason, see that Christ is really Him whom the human heart awaits.

Dear brothers, as Italian bishops you have a precise responsibility not only towards the Churches entrusted to you but also to the entire nation. In full and cordial respect of the distinction between Church and politics, between that which is Caesar's and that which is God's (cfr Mt 22,21), we cannot not concern ourselves with what is good for man, creature and image of God, and concretely, with the common good of Italy.

You gave clear testimony of your attention to the common good with the pastoral note approved by your Permanent Council regarding the family based on matrimony and the legislative initiatives regarding de facto unions, moving in full consonance with the constant teaching of the Apostolic See.

In this context, the recent demonstration in support of the family, carried out at the initiative of Catholic laity but also shared by many non-Catholics, was a great and extraordinary feast of the people, which confirmed how the family itself is profoundly rooted in the heart and the life of the Italian people.

This event certainly contributed to make visible to all the significance and the role of the family in society which must be understood and acknowledged today, in the face of a culture which deludes itself in promoting individual happiness by insisting unilaterally on individual freedom. That is why every initiative of the State in favor of the family as such can only be appreciated and encouraged.

The same attention to the true needs of people is expressed in daily service to the many kinds of poverty, old and new, visible or hidden. It is a service in which so many church agencies - starting with your dioceses, the parishes, Caritas and many other volunteer organizations - have been doing the best they can.

You must persist, dear brother bishops, in promoting and inspiring this service, so that the true love of Christ may shine through it and everyone may palpably sense that there is no separation whatsoever between the Church that is the custodian of moral law, inscribed by God in the hearts of man, and the Church that invites the faithful to be good Samaritans who recognize their neighbor in every suffering person.

I wish, finally, to remind you of the appointment that will bring us all together again in Loreto, at the start of September, for the pilgrimage and encounter that is called the 'Agora of Italian youth', which is intended to place our youth more profoundly within the path of the Church after the Verona convention and to prepare them for World Youth Day of Youth next year in Sydney.

We all know that the Christian formation of the new generations is probably the most difficult task - but supremely important - that faces the Church. Therefore, let us go to Loreto with our young people, and may the Virgin Mary help them to love Christ ever more, to be within a Church they trust, and to communicate to their brothers the joy of being loved by God.

Dearest bishops of Italy, in the exercise of our ministry we will encounter today as always, not a few difficulties, but also abundant consolations from the Lord, if only through the testimony of affection from our people. Let us thank God for all these, and proceed along our way, fortified by the communion which unites us and which we experienced again today.

In this spirit, I assure you of my prayers for yourselves, your Churches and Italy, and from the heart, I impart the Apostolic Blessing to all of you and your faithful.


[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 25/05/2007 23.30]
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28/05/2007 17.33
 
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28/05/2007 17.34
 
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28/05/2007 17.44
 
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ADDRESS TO SIRO-MALANKAR SYNOD, 5/28/07

Here is the text of the Holy Father's remarks at the aaudience this morning with His Beatitude Baselios Mar Cleemis, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum of the Siro-Malankara Church (India). The audience as held at the Redemptoris Mater chapel. The address was delivered in English.


Your Beatitude,
Faithful, Brothers and Sisters, Those of the Syro-Malankara Synod,

I am pleased to welcome you on your first visit to Rome since your election as Major Archbishop of the beloved Catholic Syro-Malankara Church. I am most grateful to Your Beatitude for your affectionate and respectful greetings, and I thank you sincerely for your eager wish to "see Peter" (cf. Gal 1:18). Together let us give thanks to God for this providential opportunity to confirm that bond of communion with the See of Rome of which your community is justly proud.

My thoughts turn to the distinguished Pastors that the Holy Spirit has called forth to lead your people to rediscover unity with Peters Successor. I think especially of Mar Ivannios, who in 1930 solemnly professed the Catholic faith, and set out generously upon an ecclesial path rich in blessings. This made it possible for my predecessor, the Servant of God John Paul II, to raise the Syro-Malankara Church to the level of a Major Archbishopric in February 2005.

The Venerable Cyril Mar Baselios, Metropolitan sui juris of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars, thus became your first Major Archbishop. In this capacity, he travelled to Rome to represent the Malankara community, as the Church and the world took leave of that beloved Pontiff, who had since been called to the Fathers House. Soon afterwards, Mar Baselios himself was to follow him.

Today we sense the closeness of these unforgettable Pastors, as the Syro-Malankara Church continues her generous mission, filled with confidence in Gods grace.

The precious heritage of your ecclesial tradition was placed in the hands of Your Beatitude through the act of canonical election conducted by the Fathers of the Syro-Malankara Synod. May the Lord grant you an abundance of spiritual gifts so that this heritage may continue to bear much fruit, according to the Lords will.

As Peters Successor, I happily confirmed the Synods decision. Now the universal Church, together with all those who belong to your ecclesial tradition, is counting upon Your Beatitude to ensure that the Malankara community can proceed along a twofold path.

On the one hand, through faithfulness to the Apostolic See you will always participate fully in the universal breath of the one Church of Christ; on the other hand your fidelity to the specifically Eastern features of your tradition will enable the whole Church to benefit from what in his manifold wisdom "the Spirit is saying to the Churches" (cf. Rev 2:7 et passim).

In your capacity as Head and Shepherd of the Syro-Malankara Church, Your Beatitude has been entrusted with the mission of leading and sustaining the Christian witness and ecclesial life of the faithful of that noble Church throughout the vast Indian Sub-Continent and the other regions where Syro-Malankara Catholics are found.

At the same time you are seeking to address the major challenges that present themselves at the start of this Third Christian Millennium.

Now is a time of new evangelization, a time of constantly renewed and convinced dialogue with all our brothers and sisters who share our Christian faith, a time of respectful and fruitful encounter between religions and cultures for the good of all, and especially the poorest of the poor.

Our commitment to evangelization needs to be constantly renewed, as we strive to build peace, in justice and solidarity, for the whole human family. May you always draw strength from the Lord and from the collegial support of your Brother Bishopsthe members of the Synod. Please assure them of my prayers and convey my special greetings to them on the happy occasion of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Syro-Malankara hierarchy.

We are still breathing the atmosphere of Pentecost and we wish to linger with the Holy Mother of God and the Apostles in the Upper Room of Jerusalem, docile to the action of the Spirit. To the Holy Virgin I entrust my prayers for Your Beatitude and for the whole Syro-Malankara Church, asking that the gift of the Spirit may continue to nourish and strengthen you as you bear witness to the Gospel of Christ.

With these sentiments I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing to you, my Venerable Brother, and to all the sons and daughters of the Syro-Malankara Church.

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03/06/2007 14.42
 
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HOMILY ON TRINITY SUNDAY AND CANONIZATION MASS, 6/3/07
On the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity today, the Holy Father celebrated a Mass during which he canonized four new saints: Giorgio Preca (1880-1962), Maltese, founder of the Societas Doctrinæ Christianæ; Szymon z Lipnicy (1435 ca.-1482), Polish, of the Order of Friars Minor; Karel van Sint Andries Houben (1821-1893), Dutch, of the Passionist Congregation; Marie Eugénie de Jésus Milleret (1817-1898), French, founder of the Sisters of the Assumption institute.

Here is a translation of the Holy Father''s homily:



Dear brothers and sisters:


Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. After the Eastertime, after having relived the event of Pentecost, which renews the baptism of the Church in the Holy Spirit, we turn towards 'the open heavens' to enter with the eyes of faith into the depth of God's mystery: One substance and three Persons- Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

As we allow ourselves to be wrapped in this supreme mystery, let us admire the glory of God which is reflected in the life of saints. We contemplate it, above all, in those whom I have just proposed for veneration by the universal Church:: Giorgio Preca, Szymon di Lipnica, Karel van Sint Andries Houben and Marie Eugénie de Jésus Milleret.

To all the pilgrims who have gathered here to render homage to these exemplary witnesses to the Gospel, I address my cordial greeting. I greet particularly the lord Cardinals, the Presidents of the Philippines, Ireland, Malta and Poland, my venerated brothers in the priesthood, the government delegations and other civilian authorities who are taking part in this celebration.

In the first Reading, taken from the Book of Proverbs, we see Wisdom, beside God as assistant, as 'architect' (8,30). The panorama of the cosmos observed through the eyes of Wisdom is stupendous. Wisdom confesses: "Playing on the surface of the earth, I found delight in the human race."

Wisdom dwells among men with love, because in them she recognizes the image and likeness of the Creator. This preferential relationship of Wisdom with men recalls a celebrated passage from another Wisdom book, the Book of Wisdom itself: "For she is an aura of the might of God& And she, who is one, can do all things, and renews everything& And passing into holy souls from age to age, she produces friends of God and prophets" (Wis 7, 25-27).

This last suggestive expression invites us to consider the multiform and inexhaustible manifestations of sanctity in the people of God through the centuries. The Wisdom of God is manifested in the cosmos, in the variety and beauty of its elements, but her masterwork are the saints.

In the passage from the apostolic letter of Paul to the Romans, we find a similar image: that of the love of God 'poured out into the hearts' of the saints, namely, the baptized, "through the Holy Spirit" that is given to them (cfr Rm 5,5).

It is through Christ that the gift of the Holy Spirit comes. "Person-love, Person-gift", as defined by the Servant of God John Paul II (Enc Dominum et vivificantem, 10). Through Christ, the Spirit of God reaches us as the principle of new life, of 'holy' life.

The Spirit places the love of God in the hearts of believers in the concrete form that it took in the man Jesus of Nazareth. Thus is realized what Paul says in the Letter to the Colossians: "Christ in you, hope of glory" (1,27). 'Tribulations' are not a contradiction of this hope, rather, they are part of its realization, through 'patience' and 'proven virtue' (Rom 5,3-4): such was the life of Christ, the way of the Cross

In the same perspective, from the Wisdom of God incarnate in Christ and communicated by the Holy Spirit, the Gospel suggests to us that God the Father continues to manifest his plan of love through the saints. This too shows what we have already noted about Wisdom: the Spirit of truth reveals the design of God in the multiplicity of the elements of the cosmos, above all, through human beings, and in a special way, through the saints... the creative Logos, who finds delight in dwelling among the sons of men, in the midst of whom he has pitched his tent (cfr Jn 1,14).

In fact, 'the image of the invisible God' (Col 1,15) is Jesus Christ alone, 'the Holy and the Righteous' (Acts 3,14). He is Wisdom incarnate. In Him, it was God's pleasure to place 'all fullness' (cfr Col 1.19), or as He himself says in today's Gospel: "Everything that the Father has is mine" (Jn 16,15).

Every single saint takes part in the richness of Christ, coming from the Father and communicated at the right time. It is always the sanctity of Jesus himself, it is always Him, the 'Holy', whom the Holy Spirit imprints in 'holy souls', making them friends of Christ and witnesses to his holiness.

A friend of Christ and witness of the holiness that comes from him was Giorgio Preca, born in La Valletta on the island of Malta. He was a priest dedicated totally to evangelization: through preaching, writing, spiritual guidance, administration of the Sacraments, and above all, through the example of his life.

The expression from the Gospel of John "the Word was made flesh" always oriented his spirit and his actions, and so the Lord was able to make use of him to give life to a meritorious work, the Society of Christian Doctrine, which aims to assure parishes of the qualified services of generous and well-prepared catechists .

A profoundly priestly and mystical soul, he would lose himself in surges of love towards God, towards Jesus, towards the Virgin Mary and the saints. He loved to say, "Lord God, how much I owe you! Thank you, Lord God, and forgive me, my Lord God." St. George Preca, help the Church to always be, in Malta and in the word, the faithful echo of the voice of Christ, Word incarnate.

In Polish, he said:

The new saint, Simone of Lipnica, great son of the Polish land, witness of Christ and follower of St. Francis of Assisi, lived long ago, but today the Church offers him as a present model of a Christian who, animated by the spirit of the Gospel, is ready to dedicate his life for his brothers.

Thus, filled with the mercy that he drew from the Eucharist, he did not hesitate to bring help to the sick who were struck with the plague, which, having contracted it himself, led to his own death. Today, in a special way, let us entrust to his protection those who suffer because of poverty, of sickness, of loneliness and of social injustice. Through his intercession, let us ask for ourselves the grace of an active and persevering love for Christ and for our brothers.

In English, he said:

The love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us. Truly, in the case of the Passionist priest, Charles of Saint Andrew Houben, we see how that love overflowed in a life totally dedicated to the care of souls.

During his many years of priestly ministry in England and Ireland, the people flocked to him to seek out his wise counsel, his compassionate care and his healing touch. In the sick and the suffering he recognized the face of the Crucified Christ, to whom he had a lifelong devotion. He drank deeply from the rivers of living water that poured forth from the side of the Pierced One, and in the power of the Spirit he bore witness before the world to the Father's love.

At the funeral of this much-loved priest, affectionately known as Father Charles of Mount Argus, his superior was moved to observe: "The people have already declared him a saint."

In French, he said:

Marie-Eugenie Milleret reminds us above all of the importance of the Eucharist in Christian life and for spiritual growth. In fact, as she herself said, her first Communion was a great moment, even if she did not realize it herself at the time. Christ, present in the very depth of her heart, worked within her, allowing her to proceed at her own rhythm, to follow the interior quest that would lead her to give herself totally to the Lord in the religious life, in response to the call of her times.

She saw the importance of transmitting to the young generations, especially to girls, an intellectual, moral and spiritual formation which would make them adults capable of taking charge of their families, and knowing how to make their contribution to the Church and to society. All throughout her life, she found strength for her mission through a life of prayer, to which she always associated meditation and action.

May the example of St. Marie-Eugenie invite the men and women of today to transmit to the young the values which will help them become strong adults and joyous witnesses to the Risen Christ. May young people have no fear in welcoming these spiritual and moral values, to live them with patience and faithfulness. In this way, they will build their personality and prepare their future.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us thank God for the wonders that he has accomplished in the saints, in whom his glory shines. Let us allow ourselves to be drawn to their examples, guided by their teachings, so that all our existence becomes, like theirs, a song of praise and glory to the Most Holy Trinity.

May this grace be obtained for us by Mary, Queen of the Saints, and the intercession of these four new 'older brothers' whom we venerate joyously today. Amen.
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 03/06/2007 15.03]
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08/06/2007 13.24
 
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HOMILY ON THE FEAST OF CORPUS DOMINI, 6/7/07
The Holy Father celebrated Mass in front of St. John Lateran Basilica on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (referred to as the feast of Corpus Domini, or more commonly earlier, Corpus Christi) at 7 pm Thursday. This was followed by a Eucharistic procession from the Lateran to the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.

Here is a translation of the Holy Father's homily:



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Dear brothers and sisters!

A short while ago, we sang in the Sequence: "Dogma datur christianis, / quod in carnem transit panis, / et vinum in sanguinem" - For us Christians it is certain: Bread is transformed to flesh and wine to blood.

We reaffirm today with great joy our faith in the Eucharist, the mystery which constitutes the heart of the Church. In the recent post-Synodal exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, I wrote that the Eucharistic mystery "is the gift that Jesus Christ makes of himself, revealing himself as God's infinite love for man" (n. 1).

That is why Corpus Domini is a singular feast and is an important occasion of faith and praise in very Christian community. It is a feast that had its origin in a specific historical and cultural context. It was born with the specific purpose of openly reaffirming the faith of the People of God in Jesus Christ who lives and is really present in the most blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist.

It is a feast to publicly adore, praise and thank the Lord who "in the Eucharistic sacrament continues to love us 'to the very end', up to the gift of his own body and blood" (Sacramentum caritatis, 1).

The eucharistic celebration tonight brings us back to the spiritual climate of Maundy Thursday, the day on which Christ, on the eve of his passion, instituted the most holy Eucharist in the Cenacle. Thus Corpus Domini is a reprise of the mystery of Maundy Thursday, almost a literal obedience to Jesus's call to 'proclaim on the rooftops' what he had transmitted in secret (cfr Mt 10,27).

The Apostles received the gift of the Eucharist from the Lord in the intimacy of the Last Supper, but it was destined for all, for the entire world. That it is why the Eucharist is proclaimed and exposed openly, so that everyone may encounter "Jesus who walks by' as he did through the roads of Galilee, Samaria and Judea, so that everyone, receiving it, may be made whole and renewed with the strength of His love.

This, dear friends, is the perpetual living legacy that Jesus has left us in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. A legacy that demands to be constantly rethought, revisited, so that, as the venerated Paul VI said, it may "imprint its inexhaustible effect on all the days of our mortal life" (Teachings, V([967], p. 779).

In the post-Synodal exhortation, commenting on the priest's exclamation after Consecration: "Mystery of the faith!", I observed that with these words, he "proclaims the mystery being celebrated and shows his wonder before the substantial conversion of bread and wine into the body and blood of the Lord Jesus, a reality that passes all human comprehension" (n. 6).

Precisely because we are dealing with a mysterious reality that passes our understanding, we should not wonder that even today, many find it difficult to accept the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. It cannot be otherwise. It has been that way since that day in which, at the synagogue in Capharnaum, Jesus openly declared that he had come to give us his flesh and blood as nourishment (cfr Jn 6,26-58).

The words appeared hard to take, and many indeed turned away. Then as now, the Eucharist remains 'a sign of contradiction" and it cannot be otherwise, because a God who takes on human flesh and sacrifices himself for the life of the world places man's wisdom in crisis.

But with humble trust, the Church assumes the faith of Peter and the other Apostles, and with them proclaims, as we proclaim, "Lord, who would we go to? You have the words of eternal life" (Jn 6,68).

Let us renew ourselves tonight this profession of faith in Christ who lives and is present in the Eucharist. Yes, "for us Christians, it is certain - bread becomes flesh and wine becomes blood."

We sing, in the culminating point of the Sequence , "Ecce panis angelorum, / factus cibus viatorum: / vere panis filiorum" - Here is the bread of angels, bread of pilgrims, true bread for the children."

Through God's grace, we are his children. The Eucharist is the food reserved for those who in Baptism were freed from slavery and became children - it is the food that sustains them in the long road of exodus through the desert of human existence.

Like the manna for the people of Israel, the Eucharist has been for every generation of Christians, the indispensable nourishment which sustains them while they go through the desert of the world, bled dry by economic and ideological systems which do not promote life bur rather mortify it; a world in which the logic of power and possession dominates rather than that of service and love; a world where often the culture of violence and death triumphs.

But Jesus comes to us and give us security: He himself is the Bread of Life (Jn 6,35,48). He says this in the chant of the Gospel: "I am the living bread descended from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live in eternity" (cfr Jn 6,51).

In the Gospel passage proclaimed earlier, St. Luke, narrating the miracle of the multiplication of five loaves and two fishes with which Jesus fed the crowd 'in an arid zone', concludes by saying, "Everyone ate and had his fill" (cfr Lc 9, 11b-17).

I would like to underline first of all this world 'everyone'. It was indeed the Lord's wish that every human being be nourished by the Eucharist, because the Eucharist is for all.

If on Maundy Thursday, the close relationship between the Last Supper and the mystery of Christ's death on the Cross was made evident, today, the feast of Corpus Domini, with the procession and the communal adoration of the Eucharist, calls attention to the fact that Christ immolated himself for all humanity.

His passage among the houses and through the streets of our city will be for those who live here an offering of joy, of immortal life, of peace and of love.

In the Gospel today, a second element leaps to view: the miracle done by the Lord contains an explicit invitation to each one to offer his own contribution. The five loaves and the two fishes stand for our contribution, humble but necessary, that he transforms into a gift of love for all.

"Christ even now", I wrote in the exhortation, "continues to exhort his disciples to be personally involved" (n. 88). The Eucharist is a call to sanctity and to giving oneself to our brothers, because "the calling for each of us is that of being, together with Jesus, bread that is shared for the life of the world" (ibid.).

Our Redeemer addresses this invitation particularly to us, dear brothers and sisters of Rome, gathered tonight around the Eucharist in this historic Piazza. I salute you all with affection.

I greet, above all, the Cardinal Vicar and the Auxiliary Bishops, the other venerated brother cardinals and bishops, as well as the numerous priests and deacons, religious and so many faithful laymen.

At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, we will join in procession, almost as though carrying the Lord through all the streets and quarters of Rome. We will immerse him, so to speak, in the daily routine of our life, so that He walks where we walk, so that He lives where we live.

Indeed we know, as the Apostle Paul reminds us in his Letter to the Corinthians, that in every Eucharistic celebration, as this one tonight, we "announce the death of the Lord until He comes"(cfr Cor 11,26). We walk through the roads of the world knowing that we have Him beside us, sustained by the hope of one day seeing his face revealed in our definitive encounter.

Meanwhile we hear his voice which repeats, as we read in the Book of the Apocalypse: "I am knocking at your door. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come to him, I will sup with him and he with me" (Ap 3,20).

The feast of Corpus Domini is meant to make us perceive this knocking by the Lord, even if we have become interiorly hard of hearing. Jesus knocks on the door of our heart and asks to come in not just for a day but for always.

Let us welcome him with joy, raising to him the choral invocation of the Liturgy: "Good Shepherd, true bread,/o Jesus,. have mercy on us (...)/ You who know everything and can do everything,/ who feeds us on earth,/ lead your brothers/ to the feast in heaven/ in the joy of your saints." Amen.
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 08/06/2007 16.51]
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08/06/2007 13.28
 
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ADDRESS TO CARITAS INTERNATIONAL ,6/8/07
Here is the address delivered in English by the Holy Fatherat noon today to the participants in the 18th General Assembly of Caritas International.


Dear Friends,

It is a special joy for me to welcome the participants in the Eighteenth General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis. I extend particular greetings to Doctor Denis Viénot and to the President of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, thanking them for their kind words a few moments ago. I also offer prayerful best wishes to the newly elected President of the Confederation, Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga.

You have all come together in Rome during these days for a significant moment in the life of the Confederation, so that your member organizations can reflect, in an atmosphere of fraternal communion, on the challenges facing you at the present time.

Moreover, you have taken important steps shaping your immediate future by electing the major officers of Caritas Internationalis. I am confident that your deliberations during these days have been of great benefit for you personally, for the work of your member organizations worldwide, and for all those you serve.

First of all, let me take this opportunity to thank you for the outstanding witness that your Confederation has given to the world, ever since the founding of the first national Caritas in Germany over a century ago.

Since that time, there has been a great proliferation of organizations bearing the name - on parish, diocesan and national levels - and these have been gathered, through the initiative of the Holy See, into the Confederation Caritas Internationalis, which today numbers more than 150 national organizations.

It was because of the public character of your charitable activity, rooted in the love of God, that my predecessor the Servant of God John Paul II conferred public and canonical legal personality upon Caritas Internationalis through the Pontifical Letter 'During the Last Supper' of 16 September 2004.

This status seals your organization's ecclesial membership, giving it a specific mission within the Church. It means that your Confederation does not simply work on behalf of the Church, but is truly a part of the Church, intimately engaged in the exchange of gifts that takes place on so many levels of ecclesial life.

As a sign of the Holy See's support for your work, Caritas Internationalis has been granted its wish to be accompanied and guided by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.

So what is the particular mission of your Confederation? What aspect of the Churchs task falls to you and to your member organizations?

You are called, by means of the charitable activity that you undertake, to assist in the Church's mission to spread throughout the world the love of God that has been "poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit" (Rom 5:5).

The very concept of caritas draws us into the heart of Christianity, into the heart of Christ, from which "rivers of living water" flow (cf. Jn 7:38). In the work of charitable organizations like yours, we see the fruits of Christ's love.

I developed this theme in my Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, which I commend to you once more as a reflection on the theological significance of your action in the world. Charity has to be understood in the light of God who is caritas: God who loved the world so much that he gave his only Son (cf. Jn 3:16). In this way we come to see that love finds its greatest fulfilment in the gift of self.

This is what Caritas Internationalis seeks to accomplish in the world. The heart of Caritas is the sacrificial love of Christ, and every form of individual and organized charity in the Church must always find its point of reference in him, the source of charity.

This theological vision has practical implications for the work of charitable organizations, and today I should like to single out two of them.

The first is that every act of charity should be inspired by a personal experience of faith, leading to the discovery that God is Love. The Caritas worker is called to bear witness to that love before the world.

Christian charity exceeds our natural capacity for love: it is a theological virtue, as Saint Paul teaches us in his famous hymn to charity (cf. 1 Cor 13). It therefore challenges the giver to situate humanitarian assistance in the context of a personal witness of faith, which then becomes a part of the gift offered to the poor.

Only when charitable activity takes the form of Christ-like self-giving does it become a gesture truly worthy of the human person created in God's image and likeness. Lived charity fosters growth in holiness, after the example of the many servants of the poor whom the Church has raised to the dignity of the altars.

The second implication follows closely from the first. God's love is offered to everyone, hence the Church's charity is also universal in scope, and so it has to include a commitment to social justice. Yet changing unjust structures is not of itself sufficient to guarantee the happiness of the human person.

Moreover, as I affirmed recently to the Bishops gathered in Aparecida, Brazil, the task of politics "is not the immediate competence of the Church" (Address to the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, 13 May 2007). Rather, her mission is to promote the integral development of the human person.

For this reason, the great challenges facing the world at the present time, such as globalization, human rights abuses, unjust social structures, cannot be confronted and overcome unless attention is focused on the deepest needs of the human person: the promotion of human dignity, well-being and, in the final analysis, eternal salvation.

I am confident that the work of Caritas Internationalis is inspired by the principles that I have just outlined. Throughout the world there are countless men and women whose hearts are filled with joy and gratitude for the service you render them. I wish to encourage each one of you to persevere in your special mission to spread the love of Christ, who came so that all may have life in abundance.

Commending all of you to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, I am pleased to impart my Apostolic Blessing.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 08/06/2007 13.30]
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