October 17, 2005

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

The following, in it's entirety, is a copyrighted transcript of the Vatican Information Service.

SUMMARY OF SYNOD OF BISHOPS: OCTOBER 14 - 17

- Seventeenth General Congregation
- Eighteenth General Congregation
- Unification of the Propositions

OTHER NEWS:

- Pope to the FAO: Encourage Inter-Cultural Dialogue
- Papal Catechesis for Children Who Received First Communion
- Angelus, Benedict XVI Recalls John Paul II
- Hear the Cry of the Poor, Fight against Poverty
- Holy Father Visits Pontifical Ethiopian College
- Death of Cardinal Giuseppe Caprio
- Benedict XVI Grants Interview to Polish Television
- Other Pontifical Acts 

___________________________________________________________

 SEVENTEENTH GENERAL CONGREGATION

 VATICAN CITY, OCT 14, 2005 (VIS) - This afternoon, in the Vatican's Synod Hall in the presence of the Holy Father and of 233 Synod Fathers, the Seventeenth General Congregation took place of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Francis Arinze. During the meeting, the reports from the Working Groups (or language groups) were read out, after which the first round of voting was held to elect the 12 members of the post-synodal council.

   Following are excerpts from some of the reports:

 ENGLISH LANGUAGE GROUP B: BISHOP DONALD WILLIAM WUERL OF PITTSBURGH, U.S.A. "In discussing the need to celebrate the Eucharist in the circumstances of our day, we recognize a number of values at issue. First and most significant is the fact that the Eucharist is essential to the Church. ... Yet we must also take into account the seriousness of the shortage of priests in so many parts of the world. We also recognize the place of married clergy in the Eastern Churches. Our discussion highlighted that celibacy is not the principal and certainly not the sole reason for this shortage. In fact the culture of today is in crisis in a number of other areas including the nature, duration and vitality of marriage. The lack of lifelong commitment seems to be a fundamental "leitmotif' throughout our reflections on much of modem life. ... In looking at the situation we must now provide some observations on how to deal with it. A number of reflections surfaced. First was the obvious need to encourage vocations to priestly ministry. ... Local churches should be open to sharing priests. ... Finally we faced the issue of Eucharistic services that now often take the place of Mass. ... Our reflections reinforced the need to find some more clearly definable religious service in place of the Mass where this is necessary. ... We concluded that programs for priests, deacons and the laity on good liturgy are not only helpful but necessary. The involvement of well‑prepared laity and parish liturgical formation programs was encouraged."

 SPANISH LANGUAGE GROUP B: ARCHBISHOP ALBERTO GIRALDO JARAMILLO P.S.S., OF MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA. "The members drew up 27 propositions which may be briefly summarized up as follows: Priests should be given guidelines in order that their celebrations express an awareness of acting under the effect of the Holy Spirit; in this way they will ensure the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, with all the richness of His redeeming work. All bishops should give great importance to the formation of seminarians, accompanying them and their teachers. Special care and attention has to be given to the selection and formation of candidates to live the charism of celibacy. Dignified celebrations should be guaranteed in the cathedral, the parishes and the various churches of the diocese. The faithful should also be given the opportunity of being able to visit the Holy Sacrament at any time of day. Well-structured vocational pastoral care should be organized in the diocese, based on prayer for vocations and with the support of families, priests and seminarians. Special attention should be paid to the sick so as to ensure they receive the Eucharist. ... Special attention should be given to people who have formed their families on the basis of the Sacrament of Matrimony. Consideration should also be given to the difficult situation of those who have suffered the pains of separation, seeking to approach them with an attitude of compassion, and offering them guidance and support to enable them to resolve their situation with an appropriate canonical process. There should be renewed pastoral care of the Sacrament of Penance. ... Let us succeed in finding suitable catechistic ways for priests and faithful to understand the presence of Mary in every Eucharistic celebration. Let us succeed in understanding that, although the Eucharist is a gift, it is our pastoral duty to bring people close to this Sacrament, Helping them to receive the Lord Jesus in the Sacrament."

 ENGLISH LANGUAGE GROUP A: ARCHBISHOP DIARMUID MARTIN OF DUBLIN, IRELAND. "Eucharistic adoration outside Mass should spring from and lead back to the Eucharistic action. Eucharistic adoration, considered as a re-emerging sign of the times, can greatly sustain the holiness of individuals and communities. The group expressed particular appreciation, affirmation and encouragement to priests for their fidelity in the ministry of the Eucharist. Speaking of the 'ars celebrandi' it was stressed that what is involved is not some type of choreography of the liturgical rite but a way of entering into the mystery of the Eucharist and a longing to enter into communion with God, through the Paschal mystery. ... It was suggested that a listing of thematic homilies be prepared to cover the basic mysteries of Salvation with appropriate references to the Lectionary, the Fathers of the Church and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The group stressed the need to develop a lay Eucharistic spirituality. It was also suggested that a 'Eucharistic Companion' be drawn up with doctrinal, catechetical and devotional contents for the benefits of the faithful. The group stressed the bonds between the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Penance, especially as many people have lost the sense of sin. The acute shortage of priests in some areas is a matter of anguish to the entire Church. In the absence of priests, the group emphasized the value of the liturgy of the Word as sustenance for those who are deprived of access to the Eucharist. In certain parts of the world the drop in the numbers participating regularly Sunday Mass is a source of great concern."

 FRENCH LANGUAGE GROUP: BISHOP PAUL-ANDRE DUROCHER OF ALEXANDRIA-CORNWALL, CANADA. "Our attitude towards secularization must be more qualified. In fact, there are seeds of the Word in our world of today. The Eucharist may satisfy the thirst and the hope of our times. ... Faith celebrated in the Eucharist should also be lived on a daily basis. The contemplation of Christ's sacrifice, with which we are called to identify ourselves, could help us to achieve this unity of faith and life. However, one should understand this sacrifice as a mystery of love, a promise of life and a way of freedom. The shortage of priests saddens us and we strongly feel the anguish of many faithful who, because of this problem, have no access to the Sacraments. The idea to ordain 'viri probati' has been discussed, but has not reached majority approval. The group is unanimous in stating the invaluable worth of priestly celibacy for the Latin Church and wishes to engage the Church in more energetic and positive vocational pastoral care, one open to the gifts of God. Moreover, we think that a better placing of 'fidei donum' priests will help to gradually overcome this shortage."

 GERMAN LANGUAGE GROUP: BISHOP GERHARD LUDWIG MULLER OF REGENSBURG, GERMANY. "The presentation of the Eucharist as the source and summit of the life and mission of the Church remains the task of theology, spirituality and pastoral care. The lack of understanding of the liturgy and its practice can only be overcome by a positive orientation towards Jesus Christ. He is 'the true light, that enlightens every man.' However, Christians in Western civilization are affected by the secularization of conscience. This can lead to rendering real Christian truths banal, and to the profanation of liturgy and ways of life. Often, there is a discrepancy between the catechism we imagine in our heads and the temptations and pressures of collective life. ... The consequences of this can be indifference, or even aggression towards the doctrines and the morals of the Church, which appear strange to the world and hostile to life. ... How can the Church, in accordance with 'Gaudium et spes,' welcome and formulate the worries and needs of modern men and women and, at the same time, bear witness today to Christ as the answer to their fundamental existential questions? We may expect an authentic renewal of Christians - religious and lay people, and especially committed Christian youth - who allow themselves to be attracted to Christ, who live in the love of the Eucharistic Christ and are willing to accept Christian matrimony and life according to the evangelical counsels, to which they have been called by the Holy Spirit in order to build the Church with different charisms. It is not a question of numbers, but of quality."

 ITALIAN LANGUAGE GROUP: BISHOP RENATO CORTI OF NOVARA, ITALY. "We felt it right to draw attention to two questions: one concerning the education in Eucharistic faith, and one relative to the missionary commitment we are called to cultivate through Eucharistic celebration. ... As for the theme of educating the faithful to the centrality of Sunday Eucharistic celebrations, discussions dedicated ample space to Sunday, understood as 'Dies Christi' and 'Dies hominis,' also touching upon the theme of the Eucharist, and especially considering Sunday as 'Dies Ecclesiae.' ... The group also reflected on the experience with which those who come to the Sacraments should be presented, and how to give this experience the form of an itinerary, even that of a mystagogy. As for the pastoral care of those in irregular matrimonial situations, our reflections first concentrated on the period that precedes marriage, with reference to the education of young people and to pre-matrimonial courses, then on the conditions (often marked by solitude) that exist within families, observing an urgent need for direct contact with the families in our parishes. Finally, the group considered the specific position of those living an irregular matrimonial situations, and sought to indicate some possible answers so that people feel welcomed, entrust themselves to the Lord and take concrete steps in the light of the Gospel."

 

EIGHTEENTH GENERAL CONGREGATION

 VATICAN CITY, OCT 15, 2005 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican's Synod Hall, the Eighteenth General Congregation was held in the presence of the Holy Father and of 234 Synod Fathers, during which the draft of the final Message of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops was presented and discussed. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez.

   At the beginning of the session, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, informed those present that the Holy Father had decided to give all the Synod Fathers of episcopal rank a ring decorated with the image of a pelican. The pelican is a traditional Eucharistic symbol as, by pecking at its breast, it was said to draw blood from its own heart to feed its young. The experts and auditors will be given a Rosary.

   Since no Synod Father received an absolute majority in yesterday's first round of voting to elect the 12 members of the post-synodal council, a second ballot was held and the 12 Synod Fathers with the greatest number of votes were duly elected to form the council. The list of members, with additional members by pontifical appointment, will be made public during the next few days.

   In the afternoon, many of the Synod Fathers participated in the Pope's meeting in St. Peter's Square with children from all over the world who have just received First Communion.

 

UNIFICATION OF THE PROPOSITIONS

 VATICAN CITY, OCT 17, 2005 (VIS) - Today no General Congregation of the Synod on the Eucharist will be held held, but the relator general, the secretary general and the relators of the Working Groups (or linguistic groups) will continue work on the unification of the propositions.

   At 5 p.m., an hour-long Eucharistic adoration presided by Benedict XVI and attended by the Synod Fathers will begin at the altar of the Cathedra in the Vatican Basilica. Anyone who wishes may attend the event, which will include prayer, hymns, moments of silence and readings from Holy Scripture on the Eucharistic mystery.

 

POPE TO THE FAO: ENCOURAGE INTER-CULTURAL DIALOGUE

 VATICAN CITY, OCT 15, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was Benedict XVI's message to Jacques Diouf, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for the occasion of World Food Day, which is celebrated every year on October 16, the anniversary of the foundation of the organization in 1945.

   World Food Day, writes the Holy Father in his message to the director general, "reminds us that hunger and malnutrition are, unfortunately, one of most serious problems still affecting the life of the human family, and this makes the activity undertaken by the FAO under your mandate even more urgent."

   The Pope highlighted how "hunger does not depend only on conditions of geography and climate, or on unfavorable circumstances during harvest time. It is also provoked by human beings and by their selfishness, which are transformed into shortcomings of social organization: through the rigidity of economic structures, too often concerned only with profit, through practices hostile to human life, and through ideological systems that reduce people to the level of mere instruments, depriving them of their fundamental dignity."

   Going on the refer to the theme chosen for World Food Day, "Agriculture and inter-cultural dialogue," Benedict XVI observes how this represents an invitation "to consider dialogue as an effective instrument to create conditions of food security. ... Agreement among all protagonists, associated with effective cooperation, can contribute to building true peace and make it possible to overcome the recurring temptation to resort to conflict because of different cultural or ethnic standpoints."

   "It is likewise important to remain attentive to the various situations of humanity, in order to be able to maintain a variety of models of development and of forms of technical assistance depending on the particular conditions in each country and each community, be they economic or environmental conditions, or social, cultural and spiritual ones."

   "The Catholic Church," the Holy Father concludes, "which also participates in activities aimed at achieving truly harmonious development in collaboration with the associations present on the ground, wishes to encourage the activities and efforts of the FAO that it may, in its own way, give rise to true inter-cultural dialogue and contribute to increasing the capacity to nourish the world's population, while respecting bio-diversity. Indeed, human beings must not rashly compromise the natural balance, the fruit of the order of creation, but must protect it in order to leave future generations with a world capable of nourishing them."

 

PAPAL CATECHESIS FOR CHILDREN WHO RECEIVED FIRST COMMUNION

 VATICAN CITY, OCT 15, 2005 (VIS) - This afternoon 150,000 people, including 100,000 children from Italy and other parts of the world who took First Communion this year, crowded into St. Peter's Square for a meeting of prayer and catechesis with the Holy Father. The theme of the event was: "The bread of heaven."

   The children, accompanied by relatives and catechists, filled St. Peter's Square and part of Via della Conciliazione. Prior to the arrival of the Pope, they were entertained by a musical show in which a number of the youngsters participated.

   The culminating moment came with the Holy Father's off-the-cuff replies to questions on the Eucharist raised by some of the children sitting near him.

   In responding to the first question, the Pope recalled the day of his own First Communion: "It was a Sunday in March 1936, 69 years ago," he said, "the sun was shining, the church was beautiful, and there was music playing. ... But my most precious memory is that of having understood that Jesus had entered my heart, He visited me, and with Jesus, God Himself was with me. This is a gift of love that is truly worth more than all the rest of life. ... That day I made the promise: 'Lord, I always want to be with You, but above all I want You to be with me."

   A little girl asked the Pope why it is necessary to confess before receiving Communion, if our sins are always the same. Smiling at her question, Benedict XVI answered: "It is true that our sins are always the same. Yet do we not clean our house, our room, at least once a week, though the dirt is always the same? If we do not, we run the risk of the dirt accumulating, though we may not see it. The same is true of our souls. If we never confess, our souls are overlooked. I may be pleased with myself, yet I do not understand that I have to improve constantly in order to progress. Confession helps us to have a more open conscience and thus to mature in a spiritual and human way."

   To another question concerning Jesus' invisible presence in the Eucharist, he replied: "We cannot see Him, yet there are many things we cannot see but that exist and are essential. For example, we cannot see our own reason and intelligence ... yet they exist for we can speak and think. We cannot see electricity, but we feel its effects, such as light. We cannot see the most profound things, but we can see and feel their effects."

   Another little girl asked him what to do if her parents did not go to Sunday Mass. He suggested she speak with them "with great love and respect" saying, "dear mummy, dear daddy, did you know there is something very important for us all, for you too? Meeting Jesus."

  The meeting ended with the adoration and solemn blessing of the Eucharist. The Holy Father explained to the children that to adore "is to recognize that Jesus is the Lord, the center of our lives. To pray is to say: Jesus, I am Yours, I never want to lose this friendship, this communion with You. ... The absence of God, is a harmful deficiency, He is the light and the guide of our lives, of which we have need."

 

ANGELUS, BENEDICT XVI RECALLS JOHN PAUL II

 VATICAN CITY, OCT 16, 2005 (VIS) - Homage to John Paul II on the anniversary of his election as Pope and a summary of his pontificate were the central themes of Benedict XVI's remarks to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square for the praying of the Angelus.

   "On a day like today, 27 years ago," the Pope said, "the Lord called Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, archbishop of Krakow, to succeed John Paul I, who died just over a month after being elected."

   "John Paul II, 'who came from a far country,' was recognized as a moral authority even by many non-Christians and non-believers, as was clear from the many moving expressions of affection on the occasion of his illness and of profound condolence after his death. At his tomb in the Vatican Grottoes, the pilgrimage of the faithful continues uninterrupted, and this too constitutes an eloquent sign of how much the beloved John Paul II entered into people's hearts."

   "We could define John Paul II as a Pope completely consecrated to Christ through Mary, as was clear from his motto, 'Totus tuus.' He was elected in the heart of the month of the Rosary and the Rosary he often held in his hands became one of the symbols of his pontificate."

 

  Benedict XVI went on: "The Rosary does not run counter to meditation on the Word of God and to liturgical prayer, rather it represents their natural and ideal complement, especially as a form of preparation and thanksgiving for Eucharistic celebration. Christ, encountered in the Gospel and the Sacrament, is also contemplated with Mary in the various monuments of His life, thanks to the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries."

   "Contemplative and missionary: this was the beloved John Paul II. He achieved this thanks to his intimate bond with God, daily nourished by the Eucharist and by prolonged periods of prayer.

   "At the moment of the Angelus, which was so dear to him," the Holy Father concluded, "it is a pleasure and a duty to remember him on this anniversary, renewing our thanks to God for having given the Church and the world such a worthy successor of the Apostle Peter. May the Virgin help us treasure his precious heritage."

 

HEAR THE CRY OF THE POOR, FIGHT AGAINST POVERTY

 VATICAN CITY, OCT 16, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, after praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI referred to the World Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which will be celebrated tomorrow. The Day was established by Fr. Joseph Wresinski, founder of the movement "ATD, Aide a Toute Detresse - Quart Monde."

   "Poverty is plague against which humanity must fight without cease," said the Pope. "We are called to ever greater solidarity to ensure that no one remains excluded from society."

   The Holy Father gave assurances that his prayers were with "the poor who fight courageously to live with dignity, caring for their families and the needs of their fellows." He also greeted "everyone who puts themselves at the service of people in need."

   Finally, Benedict XVI called on the leaders of the international community "to hear the cry of the poor and intensify their activities in the fight against poverty."

   Later, Benedict XVI received a delegation from the Institute for the Rights of Man, of Auschwitz, Poland, for the occasion of awarding the John Paul II Prize. The prize was instituted following John Paul II's visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1979 and aims to defend and spread the papal message of peace and defense of human rights, recognizing people in the modern world who put these values into practice in their daily lives. The prizewinner is chosen by a jury, presided this year by Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, archbishop emeritus of Krakow, Poland.

   The prize has been awarded this year to Bishop Vaclav Maly, auxiliary of Prague, Czech Republic, who was a member of the dissident movement "Charter 77" during the years of the communist regime, and to Stefan Wilkanowicz, president of the ZNAK Foundation of Christian Culture of Krakow.

 

HOLY FATHER VISITS PONTIFICAL ETHIOPIAN COLLEGE

 VATICAN CITY, OCT 17, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father visited the Pontifical Ethiopian College, which is located within the walls of Vatican City, for the 75th anniversary of its inauguration.

   During the visit, the Pope delivered an address to prelates from the Ethiopian and Eritrean Episcopal Conference, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit. Mentioning the fact that the college is located within the Vatican, Benedict XVI pointed out how this "is an eloquent sign of the close bonds of communion linking the Church in your countries with the See of Rome."

   "Indeed, the united witness that you give, transcending all political and ethnic divisions, has a vital role to play in bringing healing and reconciliation to the troubled region in which you live."

   The Pope encouraged the bishops "to express solidarity in whatever way you can with your suffering brothers and sisters in Somalia, where political instability makes it almost impossible to live with the dignity that properly belongs to every human person."

   He continued: "In your countries, where Catholics are such a small minority, the work of ecumenical dialogue takes on particular urgency, and I am glad that your episcopal conference has been addressing this challenge. ... Since ecumenical progress also depends upon good theological formation, it should be greatly assisted by the establishment of a Catholic university in Ethiopia, and I give thanks to God that the long negotiations over this project have recently borne fruit."

   The Holy Father went on to recall how half the population of Ethiopia and Eritrea is under twenty, giving the prelates "numerous opportunities to harness the vitality and enthusiasm of the new generation." He also called on them to help young people "recognize and respond generously if God is calling them to serve Him in the priesthood and the religious life. In paying tribute to the work of generations of missionaries - including some of you here present - I pray at the same time that the seeds which have been planted will continue to bear fruit in a rich harvest of indigenous vocations."

   In closing, Benedict XVI said: "Your visit to Rome takes place in the closing days of this Year of the Eucharist. ... I urge you to deepen your personal devotion to this great mystery. ... Your people have experienced famine, oppression and warfare. Help them to discover in the Eucharist the central act of transformation that alone can truly renew the world, changing violence into love, slavery into freedom, death into life."

 

DEATH OF CARDINAL GIUSEPPE CAPRIO

 

VATICAN CITY, OCT 17, 2005 (VIS) - The Pope has sent a telegram of condolence for the death of Cardinal Giuseppe Caprio. The Italian cardinal, who passed away on Saturday a few weeks before his 91st birthday, was titular of the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, grand master emeritus of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and president emeritus of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

   In his telegram, addressed to Maria Caprio, the Pope recalls the "long and rich experience of the lamented cardinal, as a zealous collaborator of five Popes ... who entrusted him with important and delicate tasks," and gives thanks to God "for his faithful and generous service to the Church and the Holy See."

   At 11 a.m. tomorrow, Tuesday October 18, the Holy Father will preside at a funeral Mass at the altar of the Cathedra in the Vatican Basilica.

 

BENEDICT XVI GRANTS INTERVIEW TO POLISH TELEVISION

 VATICAN CITY, OCT 17, 2005 (VIS) - Following is the text of the interview granted by Benedict XVI to Polish State Television (TVP) for the occasion of the Day of the Pope, which has been celebrated in Poland on October 16 for the last five years.

   The interview, with Fr. Andrzej Majewski, head of Catholic programming at TVP, was recorded in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo and transmitted in Poland on Sunday October 16. From 8.30 p.m. on that day, the text was made available on the Internet site of Vatican Radio in the original Italian, and with translations in English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish. The English-language translation of Vatican Radio is given below:

   "Thank you, Holy Father, for granting us this brief interview on the occasion of the Pope's Day, which is being celebrated in Poland.

   "On October 16th, 1978, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla became Pope, and from that day Pope John Paul II, for more than 26 years, as the Successor of St. Peter, as you are now, led the Church together with the bishops and cardinals. Among the cardinals, your Holiness was also present, enjoying the appreciation and esteem of your predecessor: a person about whom Pope John Paul wrote in his book 'Arise, and let's be on our way' - and here I quote 'I thank God for the presence and help of Cardinal Ratzinger. He is a proven friend,' John Paul II wrote.

   "Holy Father how did this friendship begin and when did your Holiness meet Cardinal Karol Wojtyla?

   "A. I him personally during the two pre-Conclaves and Conclaves of 1978. Naturally I had heard about Cardinal Wojtyla, especially in the context of correspondence between the Polish and German Bishops in 1965. The German Cardinals told me about the great merits and contribution of the Cardinal of Krakow and how he was the soul of this historic correspondence. I had also heard from university friends about his stature as a philosopher and thinker. But as I said, the first personal encounter took place during the Conclave of 1978. I liked him from the beginning and, thanks to God, without any merit on my part, the then Cardinal immediately made friends with me. I am grateful for this trust that he showed me. Above all, when I watched him pray, I saw and understood, that he was a man of God. This was my first impression: a man who lives with God and in God. I was also impressed by the unprejudiced cordiality with which he made my acquaintance. On various occasions he addressed these pre-conclave meetings of the cardinals, and it was here I had the opportunity to experience his stature as a thinker. Without using big words, he created a heartfelt relationship and immediately after his election as Pope he called me to Rome several times for talks and in the end he appointed me Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

   "Q. So this appointment and convocation to Rome didn't come as a surprise?

   "A. It was hard for me, because when I was made Bishop of Munich, with a solemn consecration in Munich cathedral, I felt I had an obligation towards this diocese, almost like a marriage. So I felt bound to this diocese. There were several difficult unresolved problems and I didn't want to leave the diocese that way. I discussed all of this with the Holy Father, with great frankness and he was very paternal towards me. He gave me time to reflect and said he also wanted to reflect. Finally he convinced me that this was the will of God. Thus I could accept this calling and this great responsibility, which wasn't easy and which was beyond my capacity. But trusting in the paternal benevolence of the Pope and in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I could say yes.

   "Q. This experience lasted for more than 20 years...

   "A. Yes, I arrived in February 1982 and it lasted until the death of the Pope in 2005.

   "Q. In your opinion, Holy Father, what are the most significant moments of the Pontificate of John Paul II?

   "A. We can see it (the Pontificate) from two perspectives: one 'ad extra' - toward the world - and the other 'ad intra' - toward the Church. With regard to the world, it seems to me that through his speeches, his person, his presence, his capacity to convince, the Holy Father created a new sensitivity for moral values, for the importance of religion in the world. This has created a new opening, a new sensitivity towards religion and the need for a religious dimension in man. Above all, the importance of the Bishop of Rome has increased immensely. Despite the differences and despite their non-recognition of the Successor of Peter, all Christians have recognized that he is the spokesman of Christianity. No one else in the world, on an international level can speak in the name of Christianity like this and give voice and strength to the Christian reality in the world today. He was the spokesman of the great values of humanity for non Christians and other religions too. He managed to create a climate of dialogue among the great religions and a sense of common responsibility that we all have for the world. He also stressed that violence and religion are incompatible and that we must search for the path to peace together, taking common responsibility for humanity. Regarding the situation of the Church, I would say that, first of all, he knew how to infuse enthusiasm for Christ in young people. This is something new, if we think of the youth of late sixties and seventies. That youth has become enthusiastic for Christ and for the Church and for difficult values. It was his personality and charisma that helped mobilize the youth of the world for the cause of God and for the love of Christ. In the Church, he created a new love for the Eucharist. We are still in the Year of the Eucharist, called by him with so much love. He created a new awareness of the greatness of Divine Mercy; and he deepened devotion to Our Lady. In this way he guided us toward an internalizing of the faith and, at the same time, toward a greater efficiency. Of course we have to mention his essential contribution to the great changes in the world in 1989, contributing to the collapse of socialism.

   "Q. During the course of your personal encounters and your talks with John Paul II, what made the most impression on Your Holiness? Could you tell us about your last meetings, perhaps of this year, with John Paul II?

   "A. Yes. I had two encounters with him at the end: one was at the Gemelli Hospital, around February 5 or 6; and the second was the day before his death, in his room. During the first encounter, the Pope was visibly suffering but was perfectly lucid and very aware. I had gone to see him about work because I needed him to make certain decisions. Though visibly suffering the Holy Father followed what I was saying with great attention. He communicated his decisions in a few words, and gave me his blessing. He greeted me in German and confirmed his trust and friendship. I was very moved to see how he suffered in union with the suffering Lord, and how he bore his suffering with the Lord and for the Lord. I also saw his inner serenity and how totally aware he was. The second encounter was the day before his death: he was visibly in great pain, and was surrounded by doctors and friends. He was still very lucid and he gave me his blessing. He could not talk much. The patience he showed at this time of suffering was a great lesson for me: to see how he believed he was in the hands of God and how he abandoned himself to the will of God. Despite his visible pain, he was serene, because he was in the hands of Divine Love.

   "Q. Holy Father, often in your speeches you evoke the figure of John Paul II and of John Paul II you say he was a great Pope, a venerated late predecessor. We always remember the words you pronounced at the Mass last April 20, words dedicated precisely to John Paul II. It was you, Holy Father, who said - and here I quote - 'it seems as though he is tightly holding my hand, I see his laughing eyes and I hear his words, which at that moment he is directing to me in particular: 'do not be afraid!' Holy Father, finally a very personal question: do you continue to feel the presence of John Paul II, and if you do, in what way?

   "A. Certainly. I'll begin by answering the first part of your question. Initially, in speaking of the Pope's legacy, I forgot to mention the many documents that he left us - 14 encyclicals, many Pastoral Letters, and others. All this is a rich patrimony that has not yet been assimilated by the Church. My personal mission is not to issue many new documents, but to ensure that his documents are assimilated, because they are a rich treasure, they are the authentic interpretation of Vatican II. We know that the Pope was a man of the Council, that he internalized the spirit and the word of the Council. Through these writings he helps us understand what the Council wanted and what it didn't. This helps us to be the Church of our times and of the future. Now for the second part of your question. The Pope is always close to me through his writings: I hear him and I see him speaking, so I can keep up a continuous dialogue with him. He is always speaking to me through his writings. I even know the origin of some of the texts. I can remember the discussions we had about some of them. So I can continue my conversations with the Holy Father. This nearness to him isn't limited to words and texts, because behind the texts I hear the Pope himself. A man who goes to the Lord doesn't disappear: I believe that someone who goes to the Lord comes even closer to us and I feel he is close to me and that I am close to the Lord. I am near the Pope and now he helps me to be near the Lord and I try to enter this atmosphere of prayer, of love for our Lord, for Our Lady and I entrust myself to his prayers. So there is a permanent dialogue and we're close to each other in a new way, in a very deep way.

   "Q. Holy Father, now we are waiting for you in Poland. Many are asking when is the Pope coming to Poland?

   "A. Yes, if God wills it, and if my schedule allows for it, I have every intention of coming to Poland. I have spoken to Msgr. Dziwisz about the date and I am told June would be the best time. Naturally everything still has to be organized with the various institutions. It's early yet, but perhaps next June, God-willing, I could come to Poland.

   "Holy Father, in the name of all of our television viewers, thank you for this interview."

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 VATICAN CITY, OCT 17, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

  - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Sankt Gallen, Switzerland, presented by Bishop Ivo Furer, upon having reached the age limit.

  - Appointed Fr. Domenico Angelo Scotti of the clergy of the archdiocese of Chieti-Vasto, Italy, vicar general, as bishop of Trivento (area 1,234, population 57,210, Catholics 57,150, priests 72, permanent deacons 1, religious 70), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Pollutri, Italy in 1942 and ordained a priest in 1967. He succeeds Bishop Antonio Santucci, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

   On Saturday, October 15, it was made public that he:

   - Appointed Msgr. Hector Luis Morales Sanchez, vicar general of the diocese of Ciudad Valles, Mexico, as bishop-prelate of the territorial prelature of Huautla (area 1,284, population 134,300, Catholics 123,500, priests 19, permanent deacons 1, religious 14), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Tamuin, Mexico in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1979. He succeeds Bishop Hermenegildo Ramirez Sanchez M.J., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same territorial prelature the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

  - Appointed Bishop Jorge Solorzano Perez, auxiliary of Managua, Nicaragua, as bishop of Matagalpa (area 6,794, population 500,000, Catholics 480,000, priests 27, religious 70), Nicaragua.

  - Appointed Fr. Fortunato Pablo Urcey O.A.R., provincial prior of the province of "San Jose" in Madrid, Spain, as bishop-prelate of the territorial prelature of Chota (area 6,823, population 338,000, Catholics 316,000, priests 31, religious 33), Peru. The bishop-elect was born in Estollo, Spain in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1971.

 

 

Local site Links: