Archive of June 4, 2010

CUA president appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Trenton

Washington D.C., Jun 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Fr. David M. O'Connell, the outgoing president of Catholic University of America, to serve as the Coadjutor Bishop of Trenton, New Jersey.  The appointment was announced today in Washington D.C. by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S.

As Coadjutor Bishop, O’Connell will assist and then automatically succeed the current bishop of Trenton, Bishop John M. Smith, when Pope Benedict accepts his resignation as required by canon law at a date yet to be determined. Bishop Smith will turn 75 on June 23 of this year.
Bishop-elect O'Connell has served as the president of The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C. since  1998.  He holds a licentiate (1987) and a doctorate (1990) in canon law from CUA, with a specialization in Catholic higher education.

Bishop Smith graduated from CUA with a  bachelor’s degree in theology in 1961 and a doctorate in canon law in 1966.

“I am deeply humbled by the Holy Father’s confidence in me and feel extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve the Church,” said O'Connell on Friday. “I am especially delighted by this assignment to Trenton, an area very close to my family home in Langhorne, Pa. Bishop Smith is a wonderful bishop and I look forward to the opportunity to work closely with and to learn from him.”

The Diocese of Trenton spans four counties across central New Jersey and contains a  population of approximately 805,000 Catholics in 113 parishes.  Trenton is also the state capital.

For his episcopal motto, Bishop-elect O'Connell has chosen the Latin phrase from Mark 10:45, “Ministrare non ministrari,” which means, “to serve and not to be served.”  He explained, “This was the text used at Mass during my ordination as a priest. It hit me in such a powerful way that I never forgot it.”

Bishop-elect O'Connell will be the tenth bishop of Trenton when he is ordained at St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral on August 6, 2010.

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Venezuelan bishop denounces media coverage of sex-abuse in Catholic Church

Caracas, Venezuela, Jun 4, 2010 (CNA) - Auxiliary Bishop Luis Armando Tineo of Caracas recently praised Pope Benedict XVI for his decision to confront the issue of clerical sex abuse and denounced the tabloid journalism of some media outlets that seek to denigrate the Church’s image.

“Benedict XVI is being transparent, firm and calm in this sense. His Letter to Catholics in Ireland is proof that he has opted for a pastoral and not a ‘tactical’ approach,” the bishop said.

However, media outlets such as the New York Times “have demonstrated a marked, unprofessional tendency to disproportionately cover the few unfortunate cases of abuse of minors by Catholic priests, most of which took place in the past,” he added.

Bishop Tineo noted that in 2004, the U.S. bishops commissioned the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, which is unaffiliated with the Catholic Church, to carry out a study on the issue.  According to the report, “There is no objective data that supports the claim that child abuse is more common among Catholic clergy than among other sectors of the populace.”  “Moreover, over the same period of time in which 100 Catholic priests in the U.S. were convicted of sexually abusing minors, the number of gym teachers and coaches ... who were convicted of the same crime by U.S. courts has reached nearly 1,000.”

“This was reported by Newsweek in its analysis of the problem in its April 8 edition this year,” the bishop said.

To call for objective analysis does not mean justifying sexual abuse, he stated, adding that analysis reveals that “the only institution that has investigated and provided data about itself in this area is the Catholic Church.”

In 42 years, of the more than 109,000 priests who have served in the U.S., 958 were accused and 54 were convicted.  However, the bishop said, The New York Times intends “to lead readers to make a connection between being a Catholic priest and these unfortunate incidents committed by a few, thus creating a profoundly distorted perception of reality” and to make Benedict XVI responsible. 

“The Pope is standing up and showing interest in the suffering of people and using the means at his disposal to keep these unfortunate sins and crimes from occurring again. In other words, he is dealing with the issue head-one by confronting and resolving the problem,” Bishop Tineo concluded.

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Archbishop denounces accusations against late Colombian prelate

Bogotá, Colombia, Jun 4, 2010 (CNA) - Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro of Tunja has strongly criticized the accusations of a retired military leader against the late Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cancino of Cali, Colombia, who was murdered in 2002.

Archbishop Duarte was gunned down on March 16, 2002, after celebrating Mass in the popular neighborhood of Cali, in Colombia.

Speaking on Colombian radio, Archbishop Castro said General Rito Alejo del Rio only wants to “divert attention away from the investigation he is currently undergoing and denigrate the name of someone who worked for peace in one of the most complex regions of Colombia.”

During the general’s trial for the murder of a rural leader, he argued that Archbishop Duarte was killed by the guerrillas because he accepted land from paramilitary groups.  While the late archbishop “did receive some land from paramilitaries, with the permission of the government at that time,” he later “distributed the land to the displaced victims of Uraba,” Archbishop Castro clarified.

Archbishop Castro also pointed out that according to the investigation, “Archbishop Duarte was not killed by the guerrillas but by the drug cartels.” 

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Christ is 'the true and effective priest,' declares Pope at Corpus Christi Mass

Vatican City, Jun 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Christ “transformed extreme violence and extreme injustice into a supreme deed of love and justice,” said the Holy Father at Mass in the Basilica of St. John Lateran on Thursday evening. During the homily, he spoke of the relationship between the Eucharist and Christ’s priesthood.

The atmosphere of the celebration, already dampened because of the rain, was further sobered by the news of the murder of Bishop Luigi Padovese, the President of the Turkish Bishops Conference and Apostolic Delegate to the country, earlier in the afternoon.

The Holy Father spoke of transformation of Christ, through the suffering of his life, death and resurrection, into the “supreme priest.” The Passion was for Jesus “a sort of priestly consecration,” he explained.

“He gave Himself up in atonement and the Father, by exalting Him above every creature, made Him the universal mediator of salvation,” the Pope continued. Referring to the Eucharist and the consecration to take place during the celebration of the Mass, the Holy Father pointed out that, “in it Jesus anticipated His sacrifice, not a ritual one but a personal sacrifice.

"This love," he explained, "is none other than the Holy Spirit … that consecrates the bread and wine and changes their substance into the Body and blood of the Lord, making present in the Sacrament the same Sacrifice that is brought about in a vicious way on the Cross.

It can be seen that Christ is "the true and effective priest," said Benedict XVI, because in spite of the betrayal in "his darkest hour," he was full of the Spirit, the height and fullness of God's love.

“It is this divine strength … that transformed the extreme violence and the extreme injustice into a supreme deed of love and justice. This is the work of the priesthood of Christ, which the Church has inherited and extends through history, in the dual form of the common priesthood of the baptised and the ordained priesthood of ministers, so as to transform the world with the love of God.”

He added that “all of us, priests and faithful, are nourished in the same Eucharist, we all prostrate ourselves to adore It, because in It is present our Master and Lord, is present the true Body of Jesus, Victim and Priest, salvation of the world.”

Rain kept the Mass for the Solemnity of Corpus Domini from being held in the square outside the basilica and also prevented the Eucharistic procession to the nearby Basilica of St. Mary Major afterwards for the first time since John Paul II started the event in the 1980s.

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Pontifical council kicks off convention for deaf ministry

Vatican City, Jun 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - In response to Pope Benedict's call to promote the dignity of the deaf and work for their “full social integration,” the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Workers, who is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, has organized a convention in Rome this weekend.

“Effata! The deaf person, herald and witness of the evangelical announcement” is the theme of the convention being held June 4-6.

The program of events includes addresses from the top officials in the Vatican dicastery for health as well as international Church and lay representatives who specialize in the care and formation of deaf individuals. Hearing-impaired deacon Dr. Josef Rothkopf, president of the Association of Deaf Catholics, is among the speakers and gave his talk titled, "The Gospel of life proclaimed to the Deaf by a Deaf Man" to approximately 100 participants on Friday morning.

The dicastery’s secretary, Bishop Jose Redrado, explained in a statement announcing the initiative that it “constitutes a first concrete act” based on the recommendations given by Pope Benedict XVI during an audience with the 400 participants in an International Conference on “Deaf people in the life of the Church” in the Vatican last November.

On Nov. 20, after noting that “hearing-impaired people do not always meet with ready acceptance, committed solidarity and affectionate communion,” the Holy Father made an appeal to political and civil authorities and international organizations for the necessary support in promoting “due respect for the dignity and rights of deaf people, favoring ... their full social integration.”

On Thursday, Bishop Redrado expressed the commitment of the Vatican council to follow up on the Pope’s words quickly, “because, as already amply demonstrated, non-hearing people have the right to enter fully in the ecclesial community.”

The council’s secretary further referred to their full inclusion as both a right and duty because of the grand “contribution of testimony, spirituality and capacity that they can share with others and put in service of the community starting with formation of the youngest who must learn to coexist with the same disability.”

During his November address, the Holy Father concluded his message, saying, "Dear hearing-impaired brothers and sisters, you are not only recipients of the announcement of the Gospel but, by virtue of your Baptism, also its announcers. Live every day, then, as witnesses of the Lord in the environments in which you live, making Christ and His Gospel known."

Speaking to participants on Friday morning to open the conference, Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, head of the Council, said that the convention constitutes "a new important stage" to integrate the hearing impaired into the Church and society.

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Church cannot accept criminalization of immigrants, says Archbishop Marchetto

Vatican City, Jun 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The second-in-command of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrant and Itinerant Peoples, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto spoke with CNA on Wednesday about the Church's position on migration. He mentioned his "admiration" for the U.S. bishops in their efforts to support human rights and work against the criminalization of "irregular" migrants.

The archbishop explained first off that the council, which specializes in pastoral care for people on the move in any form, held its plenary meetings last week. Those meetings, he said, focused on the "co-responsibility" of the Church and states for the care of migrant and itinerant people.

During the meetings, he said, "admiration" was expressed for the U.S. bishops, "for their attitudes in relation with ... the presence in the States of a lot of what we call 'irregular' migrants - we would not say 'illegal' migrants, no other word is worse for us."

Their work, he continued, is a sign of "concretization, of realization" of the human rights of migrants.

Further discussion at the assembly focused on the recognition of the role of states in regulating "fluxes," and the necessity of securing respect for all people's human rights, the common good of the nation and the importance of placing it in the broader context of the universal common good.

"We confirmed that there are fundamental rights which must be respected, and this is valid also in the United States," he said about the meeting's results.

Archbishop Marchetto also commented on Arizona's recently approved legislation SB1070, which, when passed into law on July 29, will allow police to question individuals based on "reasonable suspicion" about their legal status.

Bishop of Salt Lake City John C. Wester, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration has said that it "gives law enforcement officials powers to detain and arrest individuals based on a very low legal standard, possibly leading to the profiling of individuals based upon their appearance, manner of speaking, or ethnicity.”

The pontifical council secretary told CNA, "I think for us, this criminalization of irregular migrants is something wrong." He recalled that a similar law regarding migrants and security has come up in Italy and that they took a "strong approach" to opposing it.

"I think it is a fundamental battle ... on the part of the Church, about the fact that we cannot accept the criminalization of irregular migrants,” he said.

"Unfortunately it is a tendency these days, I must recognize, among some states. And if we can speak in general terms, there is a tendency to diminish throughout the world the attention to fundamental human rights, and this is a very pitiful situation."

He added, "I'm always saying, if we are not defending human rights in a time of peace, how will we manage when there will be a time of war."

Recalling his trip last year to 15 U.S. universities to speak on the pastoral care of foreign students and to present the dicastery's John Paul II-approved document “Erga migrantes caritas Christi” (The Love of Christ towards Migrants), he said that he noted the difficulty Catholics have in accepting this vision of the social doctrine of the Church

It's not only a question in the United States, he explained, but often "Catholic social doctrine is considered optional and this is against what is preached and (against) the insistence by John Paul II to try to help the people understand that it is a dimension of the moral teaching of the Church. It is a part of the ethical attitude of the good Christian, Catholic member of the Church," Archbishop Marchetto said.

The archbishop spoke of the "great effort" that must be carried out to promote Church teaching on issues such as life, abortion, and other important questions. "But," he added, "we cannot forget also other aspects of Catholic teaching and we cannot accept these difficulties from a part of the Catholic population in accepting some (other) aspects of the Catholic social teaching of the Church … ”

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Archbishop: Venezuelans have right to freedom of expression

Caracas, Venezuela, Jun 4, 2010 (CNA) - Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardozo of Merida, Venezuela, said this week that the media must serve the truth and that Venezuelans have the right to freedom of expression in a pluralist society.

"The manner in which freedom of expression is exercised is an indication of the value that society and those in power place on the right of citizens to exercise their human dignity," the archbishop said during a speech at Cecilio Acosta Catholic University.

He noted that a 2007-2008 report indicated that during that year, there were 147 cases of violations against freedom of expression affecting 186 individuals. The data demonstrates a certain level of “impunity and arbitrariness on the part of government officials,” the archbishop said.

“The most common violation was aggression (40.14%), followed by intimidation from security agents (32.65%), threats (19.73%) and verbal harassment from politicians (11.56%),” the archbishop said.

He also criticized the government for forcing radio and television stations to air government propaganda, calling it another way of restricting freedom of expression in Venezuela.

Archbishop Porras called on the Venezuelan media to build consensus “in the search for what is good and true.”

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Solving illegal immigration requires fixing economic causes, stresses Bishop Wester

Washington D.C., Jun 4, 2010 (CNA) - Meeting with other bishops in a conference on immigration reform on Thursday, Bishop John C. Wester underlined the need “to address the economic root causes of migration and seek economic policies which would help create jobs” in other countries. This, he stressed, “is the lasting and humane solution to the challenge of illegal immigration.”  

Bishop Wester, who leads the Diocese of Salt Lake City and is Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, made his remarks at the fourth regional consultation on migration. Today's meeting was the first meeting held in the United States.

“Our purpose is to work together to fashion a multi-national pastoral and advocacy response to the millions of persons in this hemisphere who are compelled, either by fear of violence or poverty, to migrate in search of safety or a better life,” he explained.

“As a global institution, the Catholic Church plays an important role in advancing humane responses to the issue of migration and its impact on the human dignity and basic human rights of the person. We are present in both sending and receiving countries and see the forces which compel persons to migrate, and thus approach the issue from both sides.”

“Often,” he noted, “the global nature of migration is lost in our national debate, as many do not acknowledge the economic, political, or social push factors which drive persons to risk their lives to move to another nation,” Bishop Wester said.

After stressing that other countries should implement economic policies that benefit their citizens so that they aren't pushed to migrate, the bishop said, “we believe that all governments, not only the U.S., should look at their immigration laws and reform them in a manner which respects basic human rights.”   

“We live in a globalized world,” he added, “in which capital, communication, and even goods are exchanged regularly, but the movement of labor has not been regularized, and its impact on human beings not acknowledged or addressed.  As the most powerful country in our hemisphere and a destination for migrants, the United States should lead the way in this effort by reforming immigration laws as soon as possible.   

The Salt Lake City bishop also addressed the need for nations within the hemisphere to “redouble their efforts against the scourge of human trafficking, which continues in all of our nations.”  

“Although there have been strides made in raising awareness of this issue, we must continue to work together on all fronts – law enforcement, service, and reduction of poverty which can lead to trafficking,” he said.

Bishop Wester also referenced earthquake-ravaged Haiti, “which is still struggling to overcome natural disaster and poverty” following catastrophic earthquakes in January. “We call upon governments to continue to help in rebuilding that nation and to welcome Haitians who cannot remain in Haiti.”

In his concluding remarks, the bishop emphasized that the “Church must continue to play an active role in protecting the rights of persons on the move and to be their advocate.  Too often they are abused, exploited, even killed, as they transit in an attempt to survive.”  

“While we understand and recognize the right of our governments to maintain their borders and serve the interests of their citizenry, we believe these goals can be met without sacrificing the basic human rights of vulnerable persons.”

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Georgia pro-life groups launch ‘Black and Unwanted’ billboard campaign

Atlanta, Ga., Jun 4, 2010 (CNA) - A pro-life billboard campaign called “Black and Unwanted” has been launched in Georgia to increase awareness of the “devastating” impact of abortion on Georgia’s black community and to highlight the need for more adoptions.

The new campaign is co-sponsored by Georgia Right to Life and the Radiance Foundation.

The billboard shows a teary-eyed young black child’s face on a dark black background. The words “Black & Unwanted” run across the top of the billboard while the website address is displayed at its base.

Over 60 billboards have been placed in Augusta, Macon and Savannah, Georgia Right to Life reports. The pro-life group says that Georgia is among the leading states in the number of reported abortions performed on black women, with 18,901 in 2008 alone.

"This project is going to continue as long as women are being lied to and the killing of black children is seen as our 'best' way to end poverty,” explained Catherine Davis, Director of Minority Outreach for Georgia Right to Life. “Women need to know all their options and expose the lies that Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers have been spreading for years."

"Our children are our heritage, our strength and the abortion community has reduced our legacy to the status of a parasite, something to be eliminated rather than cherished,” she continued, predicting that the campaign will begin to restore value to black children in Georgia and the U.S. as a whole.

The billboard was created by Ryan Bomberger, co-founder of the Radiance Foundation. He said the emphasis of the campaign on black Americans and abortion is that Centers for Disease Control figures show African-Americans have abortions at three times the rate of white women and twice the rate of all other races combined.

"Abortion is being used as birth control and increasingly encouraged by groups like Planned Parenthood,” he commented.

According to Bomberger, in 2008 Planned Parenthood “aborted 65 children for every 1 client they referred for adoption; that's 305,310 abortions to 4,912 adoption referrals."

The website of the campaign,, provides more information as well as professionally made videos.

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New York student suspended for wearing rosary may return to class, judge rules

Schenectady, N.Y., Jun 4, 2010 (CNA) - A federal judge has issued an order allowing a New York 13-year-old boy suspended for wearing a rosary to return to school immediately. The student may also wear his rosary when he returns.

School officials contended that wearing a rosary that included religious beads violated the school district’s dress code policy. They said the rosary is considered a gang-related symbol.

Oneida Middle School student Raymond Hosier was suspended under the policy.

His attorneys from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) argued that Hosier wore the rosary to express his faith in God and to honor the memory of a deceased uncle and a brother who died with the same rosary in his hands. He has reportedly worn the rosary since September 2009 without disruption to the school environment.

His attorneys asserted that Hosier is not a member of any criminal gang and does not wear the rosary to promote gang membership or violence.

Challenging the constitutionality of the dress code, the ACLJ filed a suit on behalf of Hosier and his mother Chantell Hosier against Schenectady School District and other school officials, including the principal of Hosier’s school. The student’s lawyers also sought a temporary restraining order to stop the school district from enforcing its dress code policy against Hosier in order to allow him to return to class.

U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence E. Kahn issued a restraining order soon on June 1.

“We're extremely delighted that Raymond can now return to school with his Rosary in place,” the ACLJ said in a statement. “This is an important first step in the legal process in what we believe will ultimately result in the federal district court determining that the punishment inflicted by the school district by suspending Raymond for wearing a Rosary not only was wrong, but violated his constitutionally-protected rights of free speech and free exercise of religion.”

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Pope encourages Cyprus Christians to remain strong in difficult circumstances

Paphos, Cyrpus, Jun 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Upon arrival to the Paphos airport in Cyprus, the Holy Father greeted the people of the nation and explained his purpose for the journey. He reflected on the scope of the coming Synod for the Middle East and hoped for the inspiration of Cypriots in their quest for a peaceful resolution to the division of their island nation.

The Holy Father’s visit is the first of any Pope to the Mediterranean island and will take place over the course of the next three days. The highlight of the trip is the consignment of the “instrumentum laboris,” or working document, for the coming Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops in October.

“As the Successor of Peter,” he said from the airport, “I come in a special way to greet the Catholics of Cyprus, to confirm them in the faith and to encourage them to be both exemplary Christians and exemplary citizens, and to play a full role in society, to the benefit of both Church and state.”

Arriving among the people of Cyprus as “a pilgrim and the servant of the servants of God,” Pope Benedict first greeted His Beatitude Chrysostomos II, Orthodox Archbishop of Nea Justiniana and All Cyprus and a “brother in the faith” and then anticipated some of the moments of the coming days.

Referring to island as an “appropriate place” to distribute the working document, Pope Benedict said the synod “will examine many aspects of the Church’s presence in the region and the challenges that Catholics face, sometimes in trying circumstances, in living out their communion within the Catholic Church and offering their witness in the service of society and the world.”

The assembly, he explained, will reflect on the historic role of Catholic communities in the Middle East, solidarity with all of the area’s Christians “and our conviction that they have an irreplaceable role to play in peace and reconciliation among its peoples.”

The Holy Father also expressed his hope that the Cypriots’ love of family and homeland as well as their desire to live in harmony with their neighbors will inspire them “to patiently resolve the remaining concerns that you share with the international community for the future of your island.”

On Thursday, Vatican Radio highlighted the difficult situation on the island, shedding light on the “so-called ‘Cypriot question.’” They reported that the country continues to suffer “still today” from the 1974 division of the Turkish-occupied north, inhabited by predominantly Muslim Turk-Cypriots and the Greek-Cypriot south, which is for the large part Orthodox Christian.

"In everyone (there is) the hope that the presence of the Pope might serve to encourage the negotiations underway between the president of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias and the Turk-Cypriot leader Dervish Eroglu for a solution," they reported.

Following the greeting from the airport, the Holy Father went to the Church of Agia Kiriaki Chrysopolitissa for an ecumenical celebration, blessing an olive tree en route.

To read the Pope's full address, click here.

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Holy Father urges Catholics and Orthodox to bear witness to the Gospel

Paphos, Cyrpus, Jun 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Speaking at an ecumenical celebration in Cyprus, the Holy Father explained that like the original evangelizers of the island, every Christian is called to witness to the Lord and his Gospel.

Members of the Orthodox Church, led by His Beatitude Chrysostomos II, and many Catholic Church representatives including Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, were present for the celebration at the Church of Agia Kiriaki Chrysopolitissa for the ecumenical encounter on Friday afternoon. Other representations included those from the Armenian, Lutheran and Anglican communities.

Recalling the original evangelizers of Cyprus in Sts. Barnabas, Mark and Paul to the island, Pope Benedict said “from this place, the Gospel message began to spread throughout the Empire, and the Church, grounded in the apostolic preaching, was able to take root throughout the then-known world.”

He observed that the Church in the nation can “rightly be proud” of its connection to these preachers and its links with all churches through the communion in the apostolic faith. “This is the communion,” he explained, “real yet imperfect, which already unites us, and which impels us to overcome our divisions and to strive for the restoration of that full visible unity which is the Lord’s will for all his followers.”

Our communion in the faith, he went on, “is both a gift and a summons to mission” and “like Paul and Barnabas, every Christian, by baptism, is set apart to bear prophetic witness to the Risen Lord and to his Gospel of reconciliation, mercy and peace.”

Turning to the upcoming Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, he noted that, “enriched by the presence of fraternal delegates from other Churches and Christian communities in the region,” it will examine the “vital role” of the Christian communities in the Middle East and encourage their witness, dialogue and cooperation.

Benedict XVI also cited the role and commitment of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches of Cyprus, as the "bridge between East and West," to the advancement of dialogue and fraternal cooperation, praying that “the Holy Spirit enlighten our minds and strengthen our resolve, so that together we can bring the message of salvation to the men and women of our time…”

At the conclusion of the celebration, the Holy Father blessed a plaque for a new retirement home built by the Latin Rite Catholic community of Paphos and moved on to the capital city of Nicosia where he is scheduled to consign the Instrumentum laboris tomorrow.

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Killing of bishop in Turkey won't affect dialogue with Muslims, Pope states

Aboard the papal plane, Jun 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - In his remarks to journalists during his flight to Cyprus today, the Holy Father clarified that the theme of his apostolic visit to the country has nothing to do with the recent killing of a Catholic bishop in Turkey nor with Islamic fundamentalism in general.

The Pontiff's comments follow the death of Bishop Luigi Padovese, Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia, who was reportedly stabbed to death in Iskendurun, Turkey on Thursday by his driver, who also served as his aide. According to Italy's ANSA news agency, Turkish police have detained the alleged killer and have not yet established a motive. The accused is said to be Muslim.

Benedict XVI clarified for reporters on the papal plane that the bishop's death had nothing to do with either the Apostolic Journey to the Mediterranean, which he was about to attend, nor Islamic fundamentalism, according to L'Osservatore Romano.

Pope Benedict also told journalists that he was convinced that the murder was without political or religious motive and highlighted the necessity of a full investigation.

The Pope made sure to stress that the recent events in no way change dialogue with Islam.

Transmitting his sorrow over the murder, he remembered the bishop for his efforts in helping craft the working document that will be consigned during this papal journey.

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