.- Pope Benedict XVI’s final approval for the publication of the final document of the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM) was announced today by the Vatican. The document is the summation of the teachings of the bishops from their recent meeting that the Pope inaugurated this past May.
In his letter authorizing the publication of the document, the Holy Father noted that it contains, "many useful pastoral indications motivated with rich reflections in the light of the faith and of the current social situation.
"Among them," the Pope adds, "I read with particular appreciation the exhortation for priority to be given, in pastoral programs, to the Eucharist and the sanctification of the Day of the Lord, as well as the expressed wish to strengthen the Christian formation of the faithful in general and of pastoral workers in particular. In this context I was happy to learn of the desire to create a 'Continental Mission,' which episcopal conferences and dioceses are all called to study and put into effect, channeling all their vital energies to this end."
In a separate development, during the first session of the 31st Ordinary CELAM Assembly, which began yesterday in Havana, Cuba, the new leaders of that institution for the next four-year period (2007-2011) were elected.
The new president is Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil, the first vice-president is Baltazar Porras Cardozo of Merida, Venezuela, and the second vice president is Bishop Andres Stanovnik O.F.M. Cap. of Reconquista, Argentina.
The new president, at 70 years old, brings much experience with him having been the Secretary General for CELAM for the past 15 years.