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Archive of March 11, 2007

All mankind must choose between continued conversion or death, Pope says

Vatican City, Mar 11, 2007 (CNA) - Thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square on a sunny Spring-like day to hear the words of Pope Benedict XVI at his weekly Angelus address.  The Holy Father examined the mortality of all men and reminded those present that true conversion is the only path to conquering evil and death.

The Holy Father focused on Jesus' comments about two current events of his time, one involving the unjust death of a few Galileans at the hands of Pontius Pilate, the other a disaster in which several people in Siloam were crushed under a falling building.

Jesus asked those around him, "Do you think those Galileans were the worst sinners in all of Galilee…or that those 18 people were the most blameworthy of all the inhabitants of Jerusalem? (Lk 13:2,4)"  Jesus’ answer to both questions, the Pope pointed out, is the same: "No, I say to you, if you do not convert you will perish in the same way. (Lk 13: 3,5)"

"This, then, is the point that Jesus wants to make to his listeners: the necessity of conversion,” the Pope said.

"True wisdom is understanding the precariousness of life and assuming an attitude of responsibility."  That is, he clarified, "doing penance and improving our lives."

Cautioning all those listening to his words, the Pope added that all must undertake such penance and conversion, "otherwise, we will perish, we will all perish in the same way."

According to Pope Benedict, this conversion takes place not only on the personal level, but applies to all society as well. "In effect, people and societies that live without ever questioning themselves about these things have the same final destiny: total ruin."

"Conversion, then, though it will not preserve us from problems, will allow us to confront them in a different way," he added.  Concretely, this means that conversion "allows us to conquer evil with good, if not always in a material sense, then certainly on the spiritual level."

Before closing with a Marian prayer, the Pope synthesized his address, reemphasizing for all present that "conversion conquers evil at its root, which is sin, even if it does not always avoid its consequences."

In his closing prayer, the Pope asked Mary to "accompany us and sustain us on our Lenten journey so that all Christians may rediscover the greatness and the beauty of conversion."

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Diocese of Rome concludes examination of John Paul II’s holiness

Rome, Italy, Mar 11, 2007 (CNA) - The Diocese of Rome has concluded its examination of the life and virtues of the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II.  Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar General for the diocese, announced on Saturday that the important investigation had been concluded and will be marked by a ceremony at Rome’s Cathedral, the Basilica of St. John Lateran on April 2nd, the AP reports.

The study of those who are candidates for being declared “Blesseds” and Saints usually begins at a diocesan level before being passed on to a Vatican congregation which conducts its own study.  

Whereas all Popes serve as the Bishop of Rome, the study of John Paul II’s life began both there and in Poland, where the young Karol Wojtyla grew up and served as a priest and bishop before being elected Pope.  In January, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the late Pope’s longtime secretary and current Archbishop of Krakow announced that the Polish investigation was nearly complete.

Cardinal Ruini emphasized that diocesan officials investigated “the life, virtues and reputation for holiness” of the late Pope.  During the diocesan inquiry, church officials interviewed those who knew the Pope and examined documentation.

Although the conclusions of diocesan investigations are only one step, they are an important one on the way to the beloved Pope’s eventual Beatification and Canonization as a Saint.  The Congregation for the Causes of Saints must now conduct a similar investigation and verify miracles attributed to the intercession of Pope John Paul II.

Shortly after John Paul's death, with scores of faithful clamoring for quick canonization, Pope Benedict XVI, the Pontiff's successor, waived the customary five-year waiting period to open the case for possible sainthood.

According to the AP, in addition to the presentation of the Rome Diocese’s study at St. John Lateran, Pope Benedict will preside at a Mass in memory of John Paul in the late afternoon of April 2nd in St. Peter's Basilica.  The date marks the 2nd anniversary of Pope John Paul’s death.

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