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Pope defends ‘gift’ of priestly celibacy

VATICAN CITY (CNS): At a Mass to close the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, Pope Benedict XVI defended priestly celibacy and expressed his “deep sadness” that Chinese bishops were not allowed to attend the assembly.

The synod’s work called on all Catholics to revive their commitment of faith and understand that “no dichotomy is admissible between faith and life”, the Pope said in a sermon on October 23.

The Mass, celebrated in a packed St Peter’s Square, brought together several threads that have tied together the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict.

The Pope formally ended the Year of the Eucharist and the synod, both projects convened by his predecessor to refocus on the basic elements of the faith.

For the first time, Pope Benedict presided at a canonisation, creating five new saints.

The newly canonised were: St Jozef Bilczewski, 1860-1923; St Zygmunt Gorazdowski, 1845-1920; St Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, 1901-52; St Felice da Nicosia, 1715-87 and St Gaetano Catanoso, 1879-1963.

The Pope also celebrated World Mission Sunday, an event for which Pope John Paul wrote a message before his death, and reminded Catholics of the sacrifice made by missionaries around the globe.

Catholic Church Insurance

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