Archive of April 22, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI: May the Church become ‘a sacrament of unity’ for human race

Vatican City, Apr 22, 2005 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI met this morning with those cardinals still in Rome following Monday’s conclave. He expressed to them what he described as a mixture of gratitude and unworthiness for the task ahead of him as 265th Pope.

He said that "to the intense emotions I experienced on the occasion of the death of my venerated predecessor John Paul II and then during the conclave, especially its outcome, can be added an intimate desire for silence and two complementary feelings: a deep and heartfelt gratitude and a sense of human impotence in the face of the exalted task that awaits me."

The new Pope told them of his “need to give thanks to God Who, despite my human frailty, elected me as Successor to the Apostle Peter and entrusted me with the task of supporting and guiding the Church, that in the world she may become a sacrament of unity for the entire human race."

Likewise, he emphasized how "truly emotional" his first appearance in St Peter's Square two days ago, had been.

Noting the tremendous welcome he received stepping onto the balcony to greet the faithful for the first time Pope Benedict said, "May my most heartfelt thanks reach everyone: bishops, priests, male and female religious, young and old alike, for their spiritual solidarity."

The Pope also thanked members of the College of Cardinals, especially Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano and the camerlengo, Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, for "the active collaboration they gave to running the Church during the period of vacant see.”

“With special affection,” he said, “I would like to greet those cardinals who, for reasons of age or ill health, did not participate in the conclave."

The new spiritual shepherd for 1 billion Catholics also extended his personal thanks to the cardinals "for the trust you have placed in me by electing me as bishop of Rome and pastor of the Universal Church.”

“It was an act of faith”, he said, “that constitutes an encouragement to undertake this new mission with greater serenity, because I am convinced that I can count on both the indispensable help of God and your generous collaboration. I pray that your support for me may never fail!"

Pope Benedict called to mind his predecessors, Blessed John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, and especially John Paul II, "whose witness over the last days supported us more than ever, and whose ever-living presence we continue to feel."

He added that, "The light and the strength of the Risen Christ radiated in the Church by that kind of 'last Mass' that (John Paul II) celebrated in his agony, culminating in the 'Amen' of a life entirely offered, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the salvation of the world."

"For me,” he concluded, “your spiritual closeness, your enlightened counsel and your effective cooperation will be a gift for which I will be ever grateful and a stimulus to carry out the mandate entrusted to me with total faithfulness and dedication."

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Cardinal Sodano to Pope: “May God make you like St. Benedict”

Rome, Italy, Apr 22, 2005 (CNA) - In an emotional message to the new Pope in the name of the entire College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, expressed their hope that Pope Benedict XVI would be like St. Benedict, patron of Europe and inspiration behind the Pontiff’s name.

“We are here to say to you, Holy Father, that we are committed to fulfilling our mandate as well, which is to collaborate with your pastoral ministry.  Many of us have had the chance to individually manifest these sentiments immediately after your election.  But it was our common desire to express together, as the College of Cardinals, such intentions of cordial closeness,” Cardinal Sodano said.

Referring to the Church, the cardinal stated, “In these days, we have been witnesses of the help that, in the course of history, the Lord always grants to His Holy Church.  This is a tree that each day receives new life and grows vigorously.  Ever since Christ planted it, the little mustard seed, even today its branches extend out to the ends of the earth.”

Cardinal Sodano then quoted a book by the Pope: “In your book, ‘The Salt of the Earth,’ His Holiness states that, in Christianity, new and vigorous forms of Christian life are always possible, and then you said to the interviewer: ‘Think of St. Benedict who, towards the end of antiquity, created a form of life, thanks to which Christianity was able to reach and transform new peoples’.”  “May the Lord grant that you, Holy Father, imitate the work of St. Benedict for the good of the Church and the world!” the Cardinal concluded.

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Vatican invites worldwide Church to celebrate inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI

Vatican City, Apr 22, 2005 (CNA) - On Sunday, the eyes of the world will once again fall on Rome as Pope Benedict XVI is inaugurated as 265th Pope of the Catholic Church.

Yesterday, the Vatican announced that the solemn Eucharistic celebration to inaugurate Pope Benedict’s would take place in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, April 24 at 10 a.m.

It added that all cardinals currently in Rome would concelebrate the Mass.
"The Church in Rome and in various parts of the world," the Vatican statement reads, "is invited to give filial thanks and make a fervent supplication to God to obtain for the new Roman Pontiff, who will be given the Petrine pallium and the Ring of the Fisherman, copious graces for his ministry for the good of the entire Church."
The statement added that on Monday, April 25, at 6:30 p.m., the Holy Father will visit the tomb of the Apostle Paul in the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls on the Via Ostiense "to express the inseparable bond of the Church of Rome with the Apostle of the People together with the Fisherman from Galilee."
Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls, announced yesterday that the new Holy Father would receive pilgrims from Germany who have come to celebrate the inauguration on Monday at the Vatican.
The Pope, he noted, would welcome journalists, on Saturday, April 23 at 11 a.m. in the Paul VI Hall.
The Vatican also noted that Pope Benedict XVI would receive heads of the diplomatic missions accredited to the Holy See and the heads of delegations present for the inauguration Mass following the celebration on Sunday, April 24--not on Monday, April 25, as previously announced.

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Benedict XVI leaves Vatican for second time

Rome, Italy, Apr 22, 2005 (CNA) - In what was his second visit outside Vatican territory in less than 48 hours since his election as Pontiff, Benedict XVI spent three hours yesterday at his former residence, where he met with friends and collaborators.  He was met with applause and cheers as he made his way through the streets of Rome, to which the Pope responded with smiles and affectionate greetings.

The Pope made the same trip to his former apartment on Wednesday.

Benedict continues to reside temporarily at the St. Martha Residence, where the rest of the cardinals have been staying during the Conclave, until some minor remodeling of the papal apartments is completed.

The director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Joaquin Navarro Valls, announced that Benedict XVI will meet on Monday with the thousands of Germans expected to arrive over the weekend for his solemn inaugural Mass.

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Pontiff hopeful for continued dialogue and collaboration between Christians, Jews

Rome, Italy, Apr 22, 2005 (CNA) - In a message to the chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his hope for continued dialogue and collaboration between Christians and Jews.

“As I announce to you my election and the solemn inauguration of my pontificate on Sunday, April 24, I trust in the help of the Most High to continue the dialogue and strengthen the cooperation with the sons and daughters of the Hebrew people,” wrote the Pope, according to the Jewish community of Rome.

Likewise, the spokesman of the Jewish community revealed that Di Segni sent a telegram congratulating the Pontiff and expressing his gratitude for a “such a quick and significant” message from the Holy Father.

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Pope Benedict has ‘human touch,’ says cardinal

Vatican City, Apr 22, 2005 (CNA) - While everyone at the Vatican was caught up with the election of Pope Benedict XVI April 19, the new Pope remembered that Justin Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia turned 70 that day.

Amid all the commotion and excitement, he took a moment, to wish Cardinal Rigali a happy birthday.

"With all the things he had to think about, he had a very human touch," Cardinal Rigali commented.

The new Pope had been oblivious to his own birthday only three days earlier, April 16, before the conclave began.

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New Pope invites rabbi of Rome to installation ceremony

Rome, Italy, Apr 22, 2005 (CNA) - In an important sign of openness toward continued dialogue between Jews and Christians, Pope Benedict XVI invited the chief rabbi of Rome to his installation Sunday.

The rabbi’s spokesman, Riccardo Pacifici, said Rabbi Riccardo di Segni received the invitation Thursday. "The message that arrived brought with it surprise, pleasure and hope for the future," he said.

The Italian news agency ANSA reported that Benedict's letter read: "In announcing to you my election and my solemn inauguration of my Pontificate ... I confide in the help of the Almighty to continue the dialogue and strengthen the collaboration with the sons and daughters of the Jewish people."

However, the rabbi will not attend the ceremony, which falls on the first day of Passover. It is "obviously not as an act of impoliteness, but to fulfill Jewish practices," Pacifici said.

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Jewish community confident that Pope Benedict will continue to build relationship

, Apr 22, 2005 (CNA) - Many have praised the papacy of John Paul II for the tremendous strides it made in bridging the divide between the world’s Catholic and Jewish communities, and, in the days following the election of Pope Benedict XVI, Jews are expressing hope that the new shepherd of the Catholic Church will continue this work.

Gary Krupp, president of Pave the Way Foundation, a New York non-profit devoted to religious understanding, was reported by JTA, saying that, “As far as Jewish people are concerned, Cardinal Ratzinger is a friend.”

“He is going to be as effective, if not more, than John Paul II” in furthering Catholic-Jewish relations. “He’s not going to backtrack. I think he’s going to be advancing these causes even further.”

As head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then Cardinal Ratzinger was instrumental in the publication of ‘Memory and Reconciliation: The Church and the Faults of the Past’, which dealt with past errors in dealing with Jews, and ‘The Jewish People and their Sacred Scriptures.’

“He”, said Rabbi Israel Singer, head of the World Jewish Congress, “is the architect of the policy that John Paul II fulfilled with regard to relations with the Jews. He is the architect of the ideological policy to recognize, to have full relations with Israel.”

“He was the ideologist behind the last pope — the theologist and the ideologist,” Singer noted.

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said that, “Israel is hopeful that under this new papacy, we will continue to move forward in Vatican-Israel relations and we are sure that considering the background of this new pope, he, like his predecessor, will be a strong voice against anti-Semitism in all its forms.”

On Wednesday, Sam Ser published an article in the ‘Jerusalem Post’ responding to charges of Pope Benedict’s Nazi involvement during his youth, and anti-semitism.

He wrote that, “If [Ratzinger] were truly a Nazi sympathizer, then it would undoubtedly have become evident during the past 60 years. Yet throughout his service in the church, Ratzinger has distinguished himself in the field of Jewish-Catholic relations.”

The young Ratzinger was briefly enrolled in the Hitler youth Army in his home country of Germany while duty was compulsory and would have faced death otherwise. He later deserted the army, risking his life once again.

In a letter to Riccardo Di Sengi, Head Rabbi of Rome this week, Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “I entrust to the help of the Most High the continuance of our dialogue and the reinforcement of our collaboration with the sons and daughters of the Jewish people."

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Archbishop Burke: German Catholics should be proud

St. Louis, Mo., Apr 22, 2005 (CNA) - As the world watches to see what the first moves of Pope Benedict XVI will be, St. Louis’ Archbishop Raymond Burke is already convinced that the new Pope is worthy of his praise.

In a statement released Tuesday, the archbishop called the new Pope “a compassionate, brilliant and clear teacher of the faith. He has been a true blessing to the Church. Now, he will be even more so.”

“Pope Benedict XVI”, he said, “is an outstanding man of the Church. During my years of service of the Holy See, I was privileged to witness his extraordinary gifts as a pastor of souls. All of us have come to know his deep love of Christ and the Church through his faithful and highly qualified service of our late Holy Father in safeguarding and teaching the doctrine of the faith, which is the solid foundation of our life in the Church on earth and gives us certain hope of the fullness of life one day in the Church in Heaven.”

Archbishop Burke also noted the role of German-Catholics in the history of the Church in St. Louis, saying, “Our gratitude for the gift of Pope Benedict XVI is also gratitude for German Catholics who have so richly blessed the Church in Saint Louis and have played such a significant part in the history of the Church in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.”

“Our brothers and sisters in the Church of German heritage”, he wrote, “are rightly proud to have one of their own chosen to serve in the office of Saint Peter. We all congratulate you and share you joy.”

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Catholic group opposes honor for Senator Clinton

, Apr 22, 2005 (CNA) - Marymount Manhattan College has planned to honor Senator Hillary Clinton (D—N.Y.) with an honorary doctorate but a Catholic group is trying to convince the college to do otherwise. 

Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, said it would be a "scandal" for the college, which is associated to the Catholic Church, to confer the degree at the commencement exercises May 20, reported Clinton is also scheduled to deliver the commencement address to the school’s 430 graduates.

Reilly said Clinton should not be honored because she has supported legalized abortion, voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion, advocated for embryonic stem-cell research and declared contraception "basic health care for women."

In addition, the college's actions defy the "Catholics in Political Life" statement that was approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2004, which says Catholic institutions should not honor those who act against Church teaching, Reilly stated.

Reilly wrote to Marymount Manhattan College President Judson Shaver and New York Cardinal Edward Eagan seeking "immediate action to prevent scandal in the Archdiocese of New York."

The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary in Tarrytown, N.Y, founded the college. It received an independent charter in 1961, but it has maintained its ties with the Catholic Church and a number of Catholic organizations.

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Democrats reveal plan to reduce abortions

Washington D.C., Apr 22, 2005 (CNA) - Democrats unveiled a policy proposal yesterday, which is intended to reduce the number of abortions in the United States. The proposal, called the "95-10 Initiative", includes 15 different policy programs that, when fully funded and implemented, are expected to reduce abortions by 95 percent over 10 years.

The policy proposal strongly promotes the adoption option. It provides for permanent adoption tax credits, counseling for women with unplanned pregnancies and pregnancy resource centers, where women can receive information about adoption as well as support to carry the baby to term.

Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) announced at yesterday’s press conference that he plans to introduce legislation, modeled on the 95-10 Initiative, in Congress soon.

"Our party has made more progress on this issue in the last three months than we have in the last 10 years,” said former congressman and 9-11 Commissioner, Tim Roemer.

"The 95-10 Initiative is our number-one priority,” said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America, a nonprofit pro-life group that joined politicians at yesterday’s press conference. She said the proposal has been met favorably by both pro-life and pro-choice advocates and elected officials.

Among the elected officials behind the 95-10 Initiative are Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE), Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH), Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL) and Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN).

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Cell phone users receive first message from Benedict XVI

Rome, Italy, Apr 22, 2005 (CNA) - Thousands of cell phone users in Italy received a brief message from a unique sender yesterday:  Pope Benedict XVI.

The papal greeting came as a text message to all cell phone users in Italy.  The message was an excerpt from his first words in St. Peter’s Square:  “In the joy of the risen Lord, confident of his permanent help, let us go forward.”

The message was sent to all TIM cell phone users who subscribe to a daily service that sends text messages from the Pope.  Called, “A thought for today,” the service was created two years ago in order to distribute messages from John Paul II.  The service was used on April 2 and 19 to announce the death and John Paul II and the election of Benedict XVI respectively.

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Cardinal Lehmann confident media will correct unjust statements against Benedict XVI

Bonn, Germany, Apr 22, 2005 (CNA) - The President of the German Bishops Conference, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, expressed his hope that the commentators in the media who have criticized Pope Benedict XVI will correct their opinions after observing his pontificate, reading his books and better studying his past.  Pope Benedict XVI will “convince” the media through his pontificate, the cardinal told German television in an interview from the Vatican.

After the Holy Father expressed his commitment to ecumenism and the unity of Christians during his first Mass as Pope, we hope for “some correction” in the judgment of the media, the cardinal added.

Likewise, Cardinal Lehmann invited members of the media and anyone else intent on passing judgment on the new Pope to “attentively read” his books and better study his past.

Later on during the interview, Cardinal Lehmann described the new Pope as “the living symbol of the continuous witness of the Church.”

As Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger was responsible for the one of the most delicate tasks of the Church: that of maintaining the substance of the Catholic faith.  “It’s practically obvious that, with a variety of simultaneous opinions, even in the Church itself, not everyone would follow him.  Nevertheless, he gained the respect even of those who disagreed with him, through his theological achievements and the recognition of his uncompromising dialogue and confrontation with contemporary forces,” said Cardinal Lehmann.

The German cardinal said there was no doubt regarding the Ratzinger’s choice of the name Benedict XVI.  Benedict XV was a champion of the social teaching of the Church and worked for reconciliation in the modern world.

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Cuban bishops express joy at election of Benedict XVI

Havana, Cuba, Apr 22, 2005 (CNA) - “The Catholics of Cuba are very happy with this election,” said Bishop Jose Felix Perez, Adjunct Secretary of the Bishops Conference of Cuba.

The bishop said that with this election, the cardinals have ratified “the paths of strength and compassion” that then-Cardinal Ratzinger “had already laid out.”  He added that as soon as he returns from Rome, Cardinal Jaime Orgega of Havana will celebrate a Mass in honor of Benedict XVI.

“He is a man who has shown much wisdom, compassion and humanity, something today’s world needs greatly,” Bishop Perez told the AFP news agency.

On Tuesday, church bells rang out across Cuba upon the election of Benedict XVI, and hundreds gathered at the Cathedral square in old Havana.

Cuban television provided extensive coverage of the announcement of the election in St. Peter’s Square, including the first words of the new Pontiff.  However, during another marathon speech that night, Fidel Castro made no mention of the event.

The next day, Granma, the offical poublication of the Cuban regime, published five paragraphs on the election of Benedict XVI.

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