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5/23/2009 2:21 PM
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May 23

St. Felix of Cantalice (Italy, 1515-1587)
Franciscan lay brother and reformer
Companion to St. Philip Neri

OR for 5/22-5/23:

The papal story on Page 1 is about the Pope's meeting with the Presidents of Bulgaria (left photo above) and Macedonia (right photo above) who are in Rome to honor Saints Cyril and Methodius (see story in the post above), and there is a story on St. Benedict, who like the brother saints, is a Patron of Europe, and whom Benedict XVI honors tomorrow by his pastoral visit to Cassino and Montecassino. The main Page 1 news story is a statement by Israeli PM Netanyahu that Israel cannot compromise on Jerusalem which it claims as the 'eternal and undivided capital' of Israel; and a story on opposing approaches to terrorism in the United States.


The Holy Father met today with

- Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
- Bishops of Peru (Group 6) on ad-limina visit
- Mons. Beniamino Stella, President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, and members of the Academy.
Address in Italian.


VATICAN CITY (Zenit) - Vatican diplomats should have spiritual strength in order to dialogue with the modern world while safeguarding their Christian and priestly identity, Benedict XVI told members of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy Saturday, May 23.

The academy is responsible for training candidates for the Holy See diplomatic service, and the Pope met with its students at the Vatican and the academy president, Archbishop Beniamino Stella.

The Pontiff said that the students' upcoming service in various apostolic nunciatures may "be considered as a specific priestly vocation, a pastoral ministry that involves a particular approach to the world and to its often highly complex social and political problems."

He continued, "The dialogue with the modern world that is asked of you, as well as your contact with people and the institutions they represent, require an inner strength and a spiritual firmness capable of safeguarding -- indeed of giving ever more prominence to -- your Christian and priestly identity."

The Holy Father explained that this is necessary so as to avoid "the negative effects of the worldly mentality" and to keep from being "attracted or contaminated by an overly earthly logic."

"In moments of darkness and inner difficulty," he said, "turn your gaze to Christ."

Benedict XVI added, "Always remember that it is vital and fundamental for the priestly ministry, however practiced, to maintain a personal bond with Christ; he wants us as his 'friends,' friends who seek intimacy with him, who follow his teaching and who undertake to make him known and loved by everyone."

"The Lord wants us to be saints," he affirmed, "in other words, entirely his, not concerned with building a career that is interesting and comfortable in human terms, not seeking success and the praise of others, but entirely dedicated to the good of souls, ready to do our duty unto the end, aware of being 'useful servants' and happy to offer our poor contribution to the spreading of the Gospel."

The Pope urged the priests to be "men of intense prayer who cultivate a communion of love and life with the Lord."

He continued: "Without this solid spiritual base, how would it be possible to continue our ministry? Those who work in the Lord's vineyard in this way know that what is achieved with dedication, with sacrifice and for love, is never lost."

The Pontiff spoke about the Year for Priests, which will begin June 19, as a "valuable occasion to renew and strengthen your generous response to the Lord's call, in order to intensify your relationship with him."

"Use this opportunity to the utmost," he said, "so as to be priests in accordance with the dictates of Christ's heart, like St. Jean Marie Vianney, Cure of Ars," whose 150th anniversary of death we are preparing to celebrate.

The diplomats fulfill various roles for the Holy See, including the fostering of relationships with the various heads of states.

They also assist in the process of naming bishops, participating in the selection of candidates to be proposed to the Holy Father.


The Vatican Press Office released this statement today:

On 27 May 2007, the Solemnity of Pentecost, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI sent a Letter to the Bishops, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful of the Catholic Church in the People’s Republic of China.

"Through this Letter", the Holy Father intends "to offer some guidelines concerning the life of the Church and the task of evangelization in China", in order to help Chinese Catholics discover what the Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, "the key, the centre and the purpose of the whole of human history", wants from them (No. 2).

The usefulness of the Letter has been confirmed by the highly favourable reception given to it by the Chinese Catholics who had access to it. From the information that is arriving from China, it is clear that the Papal Document has given rise not only to study sessions exploring its content but also to many pastoral initiatives: it is becoming a reliable point of reference for the resolution of the various problems that the Catholic community is having to address on both the doctrinal level and the practical, disciplinary level.

On the second anniversary of the publication of the Papal Letter, the Holy See is offering the Church in China a "Compendium" which, following the catechetical literary genre of questions and answers, presents once again the basic elements expressed by Pope Benedict XVI.

The "Compendium" faithfully reproduces, both in structure and language, the content of the original Letter, quoting extended passages from it. With the addition of some footnotes and two short Appendices, the "Compendium" is presented as an authoritative tool facilitating a deeper understanding of His Holiness’ thought on some particularly delicate points.

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has approved the "Compendium" and has authorized its publication as a document of the Apostolic See.

The document will be available on the official website of the Holy See in Chinese (using simplified and traditional characters) and English, from 24 May 2009

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 5/27/2009 7:34 PM]
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