November 15, 2005

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY:

- John Paul II Commemorated by the Italian Parliament
- International Conference on the Human Genome
- Holy See Diplomacy
- Cardinal Furno to Take Possession of his Titular Church
- Other Pontifical Acts

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 JOHN PAUL II COMMEMORATED BY THE ITALIAN PARLIAMENT

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 15, 2005 (VIS) - In a solemn ceremony held yesterday morning, the Italian parliament commemorated the visit, made there three years ago, by John Paul II. During the celebration, a plaque was unveiled recalling the late Pope's meeting with Italian deputies and senators on November 14, 2002, upon whom he invoked divine blessings.

   To mark the occasion, Benedict XVI sent a Message to Pier Ferdinando Casini, president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. The Message was read out during the ceremony by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.

   "The visit of my beloved predecessor to the Italian parliament," writes the Pope in his Message, "was without precedent, and was made possible through the consolidation of a serene vision of relations between Church and State; in the awareness - as the Pontiff said in his address - of the 'highly positive results' which over the course of time these relations have brought both to the Church and to the Italian nation."

   The Pope continues his Message: "On this happy anniversary, then, all that remains to me to do is to express the hope that this spirit of sincere and loyal collaboration may become ever deeper. In assuring the Holy See's constant commitment to this end, I would like once more to stress that the Church - in Italy, in all other countries, and in the various international organizations - does not intend to claim any privilege for herself, but only to secure the opportunity to carry out her mission, with respect for the legitimate lay nature of the State. This, moreover, if well understood, does not contrast with the Christian message, rather it is indebted thereto, as scholars of the history of civilizations know well."

   The Holy Father ends his Message by calling on the parliamentarians to remember John Paul II, "drawing real inspiration from his teachings and promoting the formation of the human person, culture, the family, schools and full and dignified employment, with careful attention for the weakest and for old and new forms of poverty."

 

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE HUMAN GENOME

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 15, 2005 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, presented the 20th international conference promoted by his dicastery. The meeting is due to be held in the Vatican from November 17 to 19, 2005, and will consider the theme of the human genome.

    Also present at this morning's  press conference were Bishop Jose L. Redrado O.H., and Fr. Felice Ruffini M.I., respectively secretary and under-secretary of the pontifical council; Maria Luisa Di Pietro, associate professor of bioethics at Rome's Sacred Heart Catholic University, and Fr. Angelo Serra S.J., professor emeritus of human genetics at the same university.

   Cardinal Lozano affirmed that the conference will begin "by considering the genome as a structural element that organizes the human body into its individual and hereditary dimensions; it comprehends the entirety of the genes, but goes further to embrace all the other elements that, with the genes, constitute the original energy, developing throughout an entire existence and representing the key mystery of human life."

   This subject, he went, on, "is very broad and is to a large extent subject to new research and discoveries," but our aim is to discuss it "from the specific perspective of health," stressing its therapeutic aspects.

   Work will begin, the cardinal said, "with scientific, philosophical and theological reflections to orient the rest of the conference towards the theme of life. ... >From this starting point, our journey will be divided into three stages: reality, illumination, action."

   The cardinal went on: "In the first part of our conference we will consider the current reality of genetics, genomic studies and post-genomic studies; chromosome aberrations and congenital disorders; ... genetic predisposition to cancer; ... medical care for patients with these diseases and their families; judgement, error and negligence in genetic aspects of maternal fetal medicine; ... human genetics and its international juridical status; genetic research and international cooperation."

   During the second part of the conference, the cardinal said, reflection will focus on "the historical process of human genetics; ... the ethics of medical genetics; the path of liberal eugenics and the ethics of medical consultancy in the field of genetics." Attention will also be given to "the application of the knowledge of human genetics according to Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as genetics according to the ideas of post-modernity."

   In the last stage of the conference, said the president of the pontifical council, "we will examine genetics and the new culture, the pastoral vision of genetic research, medical genetics and ethical committees in hospitals, law and genetics, ... education and the updating of pastoral workers in the field of genetics, and the prevention of genetic diseases from the point of view of pastoral care."

   Cardinal Lozano concluded by highlighting the presence at the conference of top international experts in the field of science and theology, from 17 different countries: Italy, United Kingdom, Greece, France, Burkina Faso, U.S.A., Iceland, Switzerland, Holland, Colombia, Germany, Spain, India, Japan, Slovakia, Cuba and Mexico.

 

HOLY SEE DIPLOMACY

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 15, 2005 (VIS) - Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for Relations with States delivered a speech today at a congress promoted by the Polish embassy to the Holy See on the theme: "The Diplomacy of the Holy See in the Twentieth Century: Types of Concordats."

   Archbishop Lajolo began by recalling that "the first concordat of history is conventionally considered as being that of Worms in 1122. The 'Concordia' or 'Pax Wormatiensis' between Pope Callistus II and the Emperor Henry V put an end to the harsh controversy over the investiture of bishops, who at the time were also temporal princes and feudal lords."

   "It is to the beginning of the modern age that we can date the various concordats with sovereigns, who asserted their right to broad control over the organization and life of the Church, especially as regarded the appointment of ecclesiastical officials, beginning with diocesan bishops. In this sense, one emblematic concordat was that stipulated between Leo X and Francis I of France on August 18, 1516."

   The secretary for relations with States indicated that in the period between the French Revolution and the First World War, "the Church found herself facing a new kind of State, no longer confessional and, at times, no longer monarchical." A particularly important agreement from the beginning of this period, he said, is "the Convention between Pius VI and the French government of 1801, the so-called 'Napoleonic Concordat,' which regulated relations between Church and State in France."

   Later in his talk, Archbishop Lajolo turned to consider the period between Benedict XV (1914 - 1922) and Vatican Council II (1962 - 1965). The pontificate of Benedict XV "did not see the conclusion of many agreements," but in 1917 he promulgated the Code of Canon Law in 1917, and "the concordats and agreements of the following years had the aim of regulating Church life in various countries in accordance with the norms contained in that text."

   Under Pius XI, Archbishop Lajolo went on, the Lateran Pacts were signed (February 11, 1929), "which included the Concordat between the Holy See and Italy, and the Financial Convention." During the 19 years of the pontificate of Pius XII (1939 - 1958), "there was intense activity aimed at establishing concordats," including agreements with Portugal (1940), and with Spain (1953).

   "The pontificate of John XXIII (1958 - 1963) was especially marked by the opening of Vatican Council II," said Archbishop Lajolo, "which his successor Paul VI brought to a close." The conciliar teachings and resolutions "have, though, had a by no means irrelevant effect on the later diplomatic activity of the Holy See."

   He then went on the refer to the pontificates of Paul VI and Benedict XVI, highlighting how that of Paul VI (1963 - 1978) "represented a particularly intense season of concordance," during which more than 40 agreements were signed, the majority with Western European and Latin American countries, as well as one with the Republic of Tunisia (1964), the first with a Muslim country.

    Archbishop Lajolo recalled the Holy See's so-called "Ostpolitik," the partial agreements reached with: Hungary, through the Act of Protocol in 1964; Yugoslavia through the Protocol on conversations between the two parties (1966), and the exchange of letters concerning the appointment of unofficial permanent diplomatic representatives; and Poland (1974), to institutionalize bilateral working groups. "At this point, I cannot but pay deferential homage to the memory of Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, who was one of the principal architects of this phase of Holy See diplomacy," the archbishop said.

   During the 26 years of the pontificate of John Paul II (1978 - 2005), activity in this field was "extended to continents and countries with which, until then, there had been little contact." Archbishop Lajolo particularly mentioned the two agreements signed with Israel: the Fundamental Agreement of 1993, and the respective juridical recognition of Catholic institutions (1997). "As is known," the prelate added, "the Holy See hopes that, as both agreements came into effect with the exchange of the instruments of ratification, they will be duly implemented in the internal juridical environment of the State of Israel."

     Also under John Paul II, a Basic Agreement was signed with the Palestine Liberation Organization (2000), as were many agreements with African countries: Morocco, Gabon, Cote d'Ivoire, and Cameroon, as well as one with the Organization for African Unity. The Lateran Pacts with Italy were revised in 1984, and five agreements were concluded with Spain.

   Concordance with European countries "accelerated strongly" from 1989, and the Holy See signed numerous agreements with States that had formally belonged to the communist bloc: Albania, Croatia, Slovenia, and most of the new German "Lande," that had previously been part of East Germany.

   "In the early months of the pontificate of Benedict XVI," the archbishop observed, "an agreement was signed with Panama. ... And on July 12, 2005 an 'avenant' to the Convention of 1828 and to the two 'avenants' of 1974 and 1999 were signed with France concerning the Roman church of Trinita dei Monti. In the next few weeks, an agreement will be signed with Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg."

   The archbishop went on to explain with whom the agreements are made. "Normally, the Holy See concludes agreements with States," he said, "although it also does so with supranational institutions."

   "Concordats and other agreements are concluded with countries ruled by various forms of government, without any of these forms being excluded a priori. Consequently, the Holy See has sometimes been criticized for concluding agreements even with totalitarian regimes, in some way providing them with moral support and facilitating their presence on the international stage. However, it should be remembered, first of all, that by such agreements the Holy See has never recognized any specific regime. According to the norms of international law, it is the State (which remains) that concludes an agreement, and not governments or regimes (which come and go). Nor can it be forgotten that, in concluding its agreements, the Holy See aims to protect the freedom of the Church in a country, and the right of individual faithful and citizens to religious freedom, and this can prove to be even more necessary precisely when those who govern a country do not fully respect fundamental rights."

   As for the content of the agreements, the archbishop, given the impossibility of listing them all, mentioned: diplomatic relations with the Holy See, the status of the Catholic religion and of the Church, artistic and cultural heritage, and the recognition of canonical marriage.

 

CARDINAL FURNO TO TAKE POSSESSION OF HIS TITULAR CHURCH

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 15, 2005 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announced today that at midday on Sunday, November 20, Cardinal Carlo Furno, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and archpriest emeritus of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, will take possession of the title of the Sacred Heart of Christ the King, a diaconate elevated "pro hac vice" to presbyteral title, in Viale Mazzini 32, Rome.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 15, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

  - Msgr. Jose Leopoldo Gonzalez Gonzalez, vice rector of the Catholic University of Guadalajara, Mexico, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Guadalajara (area 20,827, population 6,600,000, Catholics 6,011,044, priests 1,354, permanent deacons 4, religious 1,532), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Canadas, Mexico in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1984.

  - Msgr. Anton Jamnik, rector of the St. Stanislaw archdiocesan high school, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Ljubljana (area 8,542, population 914,684, Catholics 715,000, priests 576, permanent deacons 4, religious 759), Slovenia. The bishop-elect was born in Videm-Dobrepolje, Slovenia in 1961 and ordained to the priesthood in 1987.

 

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