November 21, 2005

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY: NOVEMBER 19 - 21

- Human Dignity Is Not Diminished by Genetic Defects
- Motu proprio Concerning the Basilicas of Assisi
- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Visits Holy Father
- Angelus: Kingdom of Christ, a Gift Offered to Humanity
- Pope Recalls Mexican Martyrs Beatified Today
- John Paul II Enriched the Concept of the Person
- Press Conference: Fifth Centenary of Swiss Guard
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts

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 HUMAN DIGNITY IS NOT DIMINISHED BY GENETIC DEFECTS

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 19, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, the Pope received participants in the 20th international conference promoted by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry. This year the conference - which is being held in the Vatican from November 17 to 19 - is considering the subject of the human genome.

   In his address, the Pope affirmed that the Church has the possibility of illuminating consciences so that scientific discoveries "may serve for the integral good of the person, in constant respect for his or her dignity."

   "Believers," said the Pope, "well know that the Gospel is in intrinsic harmony with the values inscribed in human nature. The image of God is so strongly impressed on man's soul that it difficult for the voice of conscience to be completely silenced. ... Even people who no longer recognize themselves as members of the Church, or who have lost the light of faith, remain attentive to human values and to the positive contribution the Gospel can make to individual and social good."

   Benedict XVI went on to highlight the fact that people of our time "are capable of understanding that the dignity of man is not identified with the genes of his DNA, and does not diminish in the presence of any physical diversity or genetic defects. The principle of 'non discrimination' on the basis of physical or genetic factors has entered profoundly into people's consciences and is formally expressed in the Charter of Human Rights. This principle has its most authentic roots in the dignity intrinsic to each human being by the fact of having been created in the image and likeness of God." An analysis of scientific data reveals the dignity of human life "from the first moment of fecundation," he added.

   After pointing out how the Church "announces and presents this truth, not only with the authority of the Gospel but also with the strength deriving from reason," the Holy Father affirmed: "It is necessary to guard against the risks of a science and technology that seek complete autonomy from the moral norms written into human nature."

   The Pope then went on to mention the need "of giving fresh impulse to pastoral health care ministry" through "a renewal and a deepening of pastoral activity itself, bearing in mind the increased awareness spread by the media in society, and the higher level of education of the people to whom it is addressed.

   "We cannot ignore the fact that, ever more frequently, not only legislators but citizens themselves are called to express their view on complex scientific problems. If adequate education - or indeed an adequate formation of consciences - is lacking, false values and misleading information may easily prevail in orienting public opinion."

   Benedict XVI concluded by making reference to the applications of genetic engineering, which requires , he said, "a thorough and limpid formation of consciences. Modern scientific discoveries affect the lives of families, involving them in unforeseen and delicate choices which must be faced responsibly." In this context, he stressed that pastoral health care ministry "needs well trained and competent professionals."

 

MOTU PROPRIO CONCERNING THE BASILICAS OF ASSISI

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 19, 2005 (VIS) - With the "Motu proprio" entitled "De Basilicis Sancti Francisci et Sanctae Mariae Angelorum," Benedict XVI has established new norms concerning the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy, which is run by the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, and the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in the same city, which is in the hands of the Order of Friars Minor.

   The Pope first recalls the universal fame of the Basilica of St. Francis "which holds the remains of the seraphic saint," and that of St. Mary of the Angels "which houses the diminutive but pre-eminent church of Porziuncola." He then highlights the fact that "the Roman Pontiffs, for their part, have always had special ties with, and particular solicitude for, these two major Franciscan churches, ... and have always kept them under their own direct jurisdiction.

   "Over the centuries, with their compassionate activities and their testimony, the Conventual Friars and the Friars Minor have kept the spirit and the charism of St. Francis alive, spreading his evangelical message of peace, brotherhood and goodness throughout the world."

   The Pope continues by affirming that, in order in order to integrate more effectively the activities carried out in the two basilicas with diocesan, regional and national pastoral care, "we feel it appropriate to modify the current juridical regulations, as established by my venerated predecessor Pope Paul VI, ... updating the norms to reflect current needs."

   Consequently, Benedict XVI decrees that the Basilica of St. Francis and the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, with their associated convents, will be assigned a cardinal as papal legate who "although without jurisdiction, will have the task of perpetuating with his moral authority the close ties of communion between those places sacred to the memory of St. Francis and this Apostolic See. He will be able to impart the papal blessing during the celebrations he presides on the occasion of the major liturgical Solemnities."

   The Pope further disposes that the bishop of the diocese Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino will, from this moment on, have jurisdiction "over the churches and the religious houses, regarding all pastoral activities carried out by the Conventual Fathers of the Basilica of St. Francis, and by the Friars Minor of St. Mary of the Angels."

   The Motu proprio continues: "The Franciscan Fathers, both Conventual and Friars Minor, for all initiatives with pastoral implications, will thus have to ask for and obtain the consent of the bishop of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino," who will "seek the opinion of the president of the Episcopal Conference of Umbria" [the region of Italy, of which Assisi is part] or, for more wide-ranging initiatives, "of the president of the Italian Episcopal Conference."

   "As for the celebration of the Sacraments in the aforesaid basilicas, the norms of the Code of Canon Law and those in force in the diocese are applicable."

   Benedict XVI concludes his Motu proprio, which bears the date of November 9, anniversary of the dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, by exhorting "the Sons of St. Francis, to whom the two aforesaid basilicas are entrusted, to follow with generous willingness the norms laid down in this Motu proprio in a spirit of sincere communion with the bishop of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino and, through him, with the regional and national episcopal conferences."

 

ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER SILVIO BERLUSCONI VISITS HOLY FATHER

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 19, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, Fr. Ciro Benedettini, C.P., vice director of the Holy See Press Office, made the following declaration to journalists:

   "Today, November 19, 2005, The Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Silvio Berlusconi, president of the council of ministers of the Italian Republic.

   "Afterwards, the illustrious guest visited Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano.

   "In the course of the cordial discussions, opinions on bilateral problems between Church and State in Italy were exchanged, and the mutual desire for collaboration between the parties was reaffirmed, in keeping with the Lateran Pacts.

   "The visit of the head of the Italian government also provided the opportunity for an exchange of information on the current international situation."

 

ANGELUS: KINGDOM OF CHRIST, A GIFT OFFERED TO HUMANITY

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 20, 2005 (VIS) - Addressing pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus at midday, Benedict XVI reminded them that today, the final Sunday of the liturgical year, also marks the Solemnity of Christ the King.

   "During His public life," the Pope said, "Jesus inaugurated the new Kingdom which 'is not of this world,' finally realizing it in full with His death and resurrection. Having risen from death, He appeared before the Apostles and said 'all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.' This power springs from the love which God showed totally in the sacrifice of His Son. The Kingdom of Christ is a gift offered to men and women of all times so that everyone who believes in the Word incarnate may 'not perish but have eternal life'."

   "'Christ, Alpha and Omega,' is the title of the concluding paragraph of the first part of the Vatican Council II Pastoral Constitution 'Gaudium et Spes,' promulgated forty years ago. ... It reads: 'The Lord is the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilization, the center of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its yearnings. ... Enlivened and united in His Spirit, we journey toward the consummation of human history, one which fully accords with the counsel of God's love: To reestablish all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth'."

   The Pope concluded: "'Gaudium et spes' interprets, in the light of the central position of Christ, the condition of contemporary man; his vocation and dignity, and all areas of his life: family, culture, economics, politics and the international community. This is the Church's mission yesterday, today and always: to announce and bear witness to Christ so that mankind, all men and women, may fully realize their vocation."

 

POPE RECALLS MEXICAN MARTYRS BEATIFIED TODAY

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 20, 2005 (VIS) - Following the Angelus, Benedict XVI greeted the bishops, priests, religious and laity who participated today in the Jalisco Stadium of Guadalajara, Mexico, in the beatification of thirteen martyrs who were killed during religious persecutions in Mexico last century. Three of the martyrs were priests, and ten were lay people. The ceremony of beatification was presided by Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

   The Pope recalled the names of the martyrs: Anacleto Gonzalez Flores and seven companions, Jose Trinidad Rangel, Andres Sola Molist, Leonardo Perez, Dario Acosta Zurita, and the fourteen-year-old boy Jose Sanchez del Rio. "They faced martyrdom in order to defend their Christian faith," he said.

   "On this Solemnity of Christ the King, whom they invoked at the moment of supreme sacrifice," the Holy Father went on, "they are for us a permanent example and a stimulus to bear coherent witness to our own faith in modern society."

   The Pope then recalled that tomorrow, November 21 and the Feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple, marks "pro orantibus" Day, in other words, the day dedicated to religious communities of contemplative life. The Pope expressed gratitude, "in the name of the whole Church, for those people who consecrate their lives to prayer and to the cloister, offering eloquent testimony of the primacy of God and of His Kingdom. Let us remain close to them with our spiritual and material support."

   Addressing French-speaking pilgrims, Benedict XVI indicated that on this Sunday, which is given over to remembering victims of road accidents, he entrusted "to the love of the Lord all those people who have died in road accidents, as well as the many injured and their families." At the same time he invited "all motorists to drive carefully and responsibly so as to combat, together with the authorities, this social evil and reduce the number of victims."

 

JOHN PAUL II ENRICHED THE CONCEPT OF THE PERSON

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 21, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, the Pope visited the offices of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, which are located in the "Casina Pio IV" in the Vatican Gardens. The two academies are headed, respectively, by Nicola Cabibbo and Mary Ann Glendon.

   In his address to them in English, the Holy Father expressed his satisfaction that the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences has chosen "the concept of the person in social sciences" as the subject of its plenary assembly this year. He recalled that "human beings are part of nature and, yet, as free subjects who have moral and spiritual values, they transcend nature. This anthropological reality is an integral part of Christian thought, and responds directly to the attempts to abolish the boundary between human sciences and natural sciences, often proposed in contemporary society.

   "Understood correctly," he continued, "this reality offers a profound answer to the questions posed today concerning the status of the human being. This is a theme which must continue to be part of the dialogue with science."

   "According to God's design, persons cannot be separated from the physical, psychological or spiritual dimensions of human nature. Even though cultures change over time, to suppress or ignore the nature that they claim to 'cultivate' can have serious consequences. Likewise, individuals will only find authentic fulfillment when they accept the genuine elements of nature that constitute them as persons."

   The Pope continued: "The concept of person continues to bring about a profound understanding of the unique character and social dimension of every human being. This is especially true in legal and social institutions, where the notion of 'person' is fundamental. Sometimes, however, even when this is recognized in international declarations and legal statutes, certain cultures, especially when not deeply touched by the Gospel, remain strongly influenced by group-centered ideologies or by an individualistic and secularist view of society. The social doctrine of the Catholic Church, which places the human person at the heart and source of social order, can offer much to the contemporary consideration of social themes."

   Going on to refer to the late John Paul II, Benedict XVI stressed how his predecessor "enriched and expanded the concept (of the person) in his Encyclicals and other writings. These texts represent a patrimony to be received, collected and assimilated with care, particularly by the pontifical academies."

   In closing his address, the Holy Father expressed his gratitude at having the opportunity "of this occasion to unveil this sculpture of Pope John Paul II, flanked by two memorial inscriptions. They remind us of the Servant of God's special interest in the work of your academies, especially the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, founded by him in 1994. They also point to his enlightened readiness to reach out in a dialogue of salvation to the world of science and culture, a desire which is entrusted in a particular way to the pontifical academies."

 

PRESS CONFERENCE: FIFTH CENTENARY OF SWISS GUARD

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 21, 2005 (VIS) - At 11.30 a.m. tomorrow, Tuesday November 22, a conference will be held in the Holy See Press Office to present the events being organized to mark the fifth centenary of the founding of the Swiss Guard, and the special joint emission, by Vatican City and Switzerland, of stamps to celebrate the event.

   Attending the conference will be Colonel Elmar Th. Mader, commander of the Pontifical Swiss Guard and Pier Paolo Francini, head of the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Governorate of Vatican City.

 

AUDIENCES

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 21, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Walter Kasper, prefect of the Congregation for Promoting Christian Unity.

   On Saturday, November 19, he received in separate audiences:

  - Pierre Morel, ambassador of France, on a farewell visit.

  - Kiko Arguello, co-founder of the Neo-Catechumenal Way.

  - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 21, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

  - Fr. Jean-Marie Le Vert of the clergy of the archdiocese of Tours, France, head of the "Maison des Vocations," as auxiliary of Meaux (area 5,931, population 1,213,846, Catholics 667,615, priests 179, permanent deacons 28, religious 434), France. The bishop-elect was born in Papeete, Tahiti, in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1987.

  - Archbishop Alessandro D'Errico, apostolic nuncio to Pakistan, as apostolic nuncio to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

   On Saturday, November 19, it was made public that he:

  - Appointed Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, as bishop of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino (area 1,142, population 80,730, Catholics 78,500, priests 204, permanent deacons 5, religious 640), Italy, while maintaining his title of archbishop. He succeeds Bishop Sergio Goretti, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

  - Appointed Bishop Alejo Zavala Castro of Tlapa, Mexico , as bishop of Chilpancingo-Chilapa (area 19,970, population 900,000, Catholics 825,000, priests 139, religious 186), Mexico.

 

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