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Vatican

Trust in God to help change society, pope says in Mexico's heartland

SILAO, Mexico (CNS) -- Celebrating Mass in the Catholic heartland of Mexico, Pope Benedict XVI told a nation and a continent suffering from poverty, corruption and violence, to trust in God and the intercession of Mary to help them bring about a "more just and fraternal society."

"When addressing the deeper dimension of personal and community life, human strategies will not suffice to save us," the pope said in his homily during the outdoor Mass at Guanajuato Bicentennial Park March 25, the second full day of his second papal visit to Latin America. "We must have recourse to the one who alone can give life in its fullness, because he is the essence of life and its author."

Ratzinger altered canon law to soften Maciel punishment, book argues

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On Saturday, as Pope Benedict XVI makes the first appearance on his March 23-28 trip to Mexico and Cuba, three authors will hold a news conference in the same city, Leon, Mexico, discussing a book that quotes Vatican files on the pedophilia and drug abuse accusations that trailed Fr. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ, for decades until his death in 2008.

Pope arrives in Mexico as 'pilgrim of faith, of hope, and of love'

SILAO, Mexico (CNS) -- Arriving in Mexico on his second papal visit to Latin America March 23, Pope Benedict XVI said he came as a "pilgrim of faith, of hope, and of love," promoting the cause of religious freedom, social progress and the Catholic Church's charitable works.

Bells tolled and the assembled crowd cheered as Pope Benedict XVI appeared through the door of his Alitalia plane at Guanajuato Internal Airport in central Mexico. He was greeted by Mexican President Felipe Calderon and other dignitaries, including Archbishop Jose Martin Rabago of Leon and Archbishop Carlos Aguilar Retes of Tlalnepantla, president of the Mexican bishops' conference and the Latin American bishops' council, CELAM.

Waiting for the pope: Vatican flags, human wall -- and hope for peace

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LEON, Mexico (CNS) -- Thousands of Catholics formed a human wall lining parts of the highway and boulevards leading into and through this industrial city of shoe factories and tanneries in anticipation of Pope Benedict's arrival March 23 -- his first visit to Mexico since being elected in 2005.

Many dressed in white T-shirts and waved Vatican flags as they waited in the hot sun. Others chanted support slogans and screamed as motorists honked horns while passing. Some even began lining up in the predawn hours.

Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Cuba benefits both Vatican and the Castros

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When Pope John Paul II visited Cuba in 1998, he called for the island nation "to open to the world and for the world to open to Cuba."

Pope Benedict XVI now will walk in that wider doorway.

The official reason for the trip is pastoral. Just weeks before his 85th birthday, Benedict is mustering his strength to bring encouragement to the Cuban flock after his first stop in Mexico this week.

The pope will bless the patroness of Cuba, La Caridad, the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre, on the 400th anniversary of her statue found floating in the sea.

Experts say his two-day visit to Cuba benefits the Vatican with increased opportunity to promote the faith in a country that once imprisoned priests, confiscated church property, shuttered religious schools and deprived active Catholics of education and job opportunities.

In turn, the visit benefits the Castro brothers -- ailing revolutionary Fidel and his now-ruling brother Raul -- who know the Roman Catholic Church has always opposed the half-century-old U.S. trade embargo.

Pope tells Cubans to look beyond Marxism

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI on Friday (March 23) urged Cuba's communist government to look for "new models" beyond its "Marxist ideology," saying it is clear that Marxism "no longer responds to reality."

Speaking on the plane taking him to Mexico for his first visit to Spanish-speaking Latin America, the pontiff also stressed that though the church "is not a political power," Catholics must do more to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor and to promote "social justice."

Pope names bishop once accused of improprieties to Vatican council

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI has appointed a German bishop who had been accused of financial irregularities and hitting children to the Vatican's health care council.

Retired Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg was named a member of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry on Wednesday.

It is the 70-year-old bishop's first appointment as a member of a Vatican dicastery. He served as the bishop of Augsburg and the German Military Ordinariate until he resigned in 2010.

Mixa's resignation was accepted a few weeks after he offered it, after accusations surfaced that he had hit children during his time as a priest in charge of a children's home near Augsburg. He originally denied the claims, then admitted that he had perhaps "boxed the ears" of some of his wards.

Mixa also faced accusations of misappropriation of funds from the children's home.

German prosecutors also investigated Mixa for alleged sexual abuse of a minor when he was bishop of Eichstatt from 1996 to 2005, but dropped the investigation for lack of evidence.

Pope to find mixed political messages in Mexico trip

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SILAO, Mexico (RNS) Pilgrims ply a winding mountain to the summit of the Cerro del Cubilete in the western state of Guanajuato, visiting a statue of "Christ the King" erected as an act of defiance during a period of church-state conflict.

The Cristo Rey, as it is known, stands as a reminder of the Roman Catholic rebels who fought forces of an anti-clerical central government during the Cristero Rebellion of the 1920s, when churches and seminaries were shut down and the Catholic Church lost its legal standing and the right to own property.

Vatican announces investigations into document leaks

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI has established a commission to investigate a series of leaks of letters exchanged among Vatican officials and between the officials and the pope himself.

Archbishop Angelo Becciu, Vatican substitute secretary of state, said March 16 that the papal commission would try "to shed light on the whole affair," while a Vatican tribunal would look into taking legal action against those who gave the documents to reporters, and the Vatican Secretariat of State would carry out an administrative review of every Vatican office.

While some of the leaked letters are gossipy, others include allegations of serious financial misconduct.

The leaks being investigated by the Vatican began in January with the publication of letters written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano when he was secretary-general of the Governor's Office of Vatican City State. The archbishop, who now is nuncio to the United States, warned of corruption, abuse of power, a lack of transparency in awarding contracts and opposition to financial reforms.

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September 12-25, 2014

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