Wednesday, April 16, 2008
PAEDOPHILIA IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH THE PRIESTHOOD
VATICAN CITY, 15 APR 2008 (VIS) - During a meeting with journalists accompanying him on the flight to the U.S.A., where he arrived at 4 p.m. local time (10 p.m. in Rome), the Pope answered a number of questions.
Referring to the case of paedophile priests that has affected the Catholic Church in America, Benedict XVI said: "I am deeply ashamed. We will do everything possible to ensure it does not happen again".
"We will rigorously exclude paedophiles from priestly ministry", he said. "The two things are absolutely incompatible and someone who is truly guilty of paedophilia cannot be a priest".
"Only healthy people, ... only people with a profound personal life in Christ and who also have a profound sacramental life can be admitted to the priesthood ... It is more important to have good priests than to have many priests". We hope, he insisted, "to do everything possible in the future to heal this wound".
Going on to speak about his forthcoming visit to U.N. headquarters, on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Pope said: "It seems important to me that the foundation of the United Nations should be the idea of human rights, of rights which express non-negotiable values, which come before all institutions and are the foundation of all institutions".
"It is important", the Pope went on, "to renew the awareness that the United Nations, with its peace-bringing role, can work only if it has a shared basis of values, which are expressed as 'rights' and must be observed by everyone. To confirm this fundamental concept and as far as possible bring it up to date is one aim of my mission".
Asked whether the public recognition of religion in the United States could be a model for secularised Europe, Benedict XVI recalled how the U.S. "began with a positive concept of laicism", but that the laicism of the State existed "precisely for love of religion in all its authenticity, which can only be lived in freedom. ... Of course", he concluded, "in Europe we cannot just copy the United States. We have our own history. But we must learn from one another".
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MEETING WITH U.S. PRESIDENT, VESPERS WITH BISHOPS
VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2008 (VIS) - This morning the Pope, who celebrates his 81st birthday today, celebrated a private Mass in the chapel of the apostolic nunciature in Washington D.C.
At 10.10 a.m. local time (4.10 p.m. in Rome) Benedict XVI will travel by car to the White House for the welcome ceremony, during which he is scheduled to deliver an address and, subsequently, to hold a private meeting with U.S. President George Bush.
The Holy Father will lunch with American cardinals and with the president, vice-president and secretary general of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), respectively Cardinal Francis E. George O.M.I., Bishop Gerald Kicanas and Msgr. David Malloy. At 4.45 p.m. local time (10.45 p.m. in Rome) he will meet with leaders of five charitable organisations: the Knights of Columbus, the Patrons of the Arts, Centesimus Annus Pro Pontefice, the Papal Foundation and the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land.
At 5.30 p.m. local time (11.30 p.m. in Rome) the Holy Father will go to Washington's National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception where he will preside at the celebration of Vespers with United States bishops.
Following the ceremony, the Pope will return to the apostolic nunciature in Washington D.C., where he will dine in private and spend the night.
PV-U.S.A./WELCOME CEREMONY VESPERS/WASHINGTONVIS 080416 (230)