May 11, 2006

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY:

- Canadian Bishops: the Eucharist Builds the Church
- Marriage Is a Real Good for Society
- Pope Congratulates New Italian President-Elect
- Holy Father Receives President Chavez of Venezuela
- Special Envoy to 15th Brazilian Eucharistic Congress
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts

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CANADIAN BISHOPS: THE EUCHARIST BUILDS THE CHURCH

 VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2006 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received the first group of bishops from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. The prelates, from Quebec, have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

   The Pope affirmed that this visit, and those to follow, are giving him the opportunity to reflect upon "certain significant themes regarding the mission of the Church in Canadian society, which is marked by pluralism, subjectivism and increasing secularization."

   The Holy Father recalled how in 2008 the city of Quebec will celebrate the fourth centenary of its foundation and, in the same year, host the International Eucharistic Congress. He called on city's diocese to "rediscover ... the place the Eucharist must occupy in the life of the Church," noting how in their reports the bishops had highlighted "the notable drop in religious practice over the last few years," and "the lack of young people at Eucharistic assemblies."

   "The faithful," the Pope said, "must be convinced of the vital importance of regular participation in Sunday Mass, that their faith may grow and find coherent expression. In fact, the Eucharist, source and summit of Christian life, unites and conforms us to the Son of God. It also builds the Church, strengthening her in her unity as the Body of Christ. No Christian community can be built up if it does not have its root and its core in the celebration of the Eucharist."

   "Apart from the drop in the number of priests," he went on, "which at times makes it impossible to celebrate Sunday Mass in certain places, what is particularly worrying is the place occupied by sacramentality in the life of the Church. The requirements of pastoral organization must not compromise authentic ecclesiology. ... The central role of the priest - who 'in persona Christi capitis,' teaches, sanctifies and rules the community - must not be diminished."

   "The importance of the role of the laity, for whose generosity in serving Christian communities I am most grateful, must never obscure the absolutely irreplaceable ministry of priests in the life of the Church. Consequently, priestly ministry cannot be entrusted to others without effectively prejudicing the very authenticity of the Church's being. Moreover, how will young men want to become priests if the role of ordained ministry is not clearly defined and recognized?"

   Despite these problems, "the thirst for renewal perceptible in the faithful is a sign of hope," said Pope Benedict, and he went on to refer to the "positive impact" on young Canadians of World Youth Day, celebrated in Toronto in 2002, and of the Year of the Eucharist, which awoke a fresh interest in Eucharistic adoration.

   "If, as John Paul II wrote, Christianity in our time must distinguish itself above all for 'the art of prayer,' how can we not feel a renewed need to dwell in spiritual conversation ... before Christ present in the Most Holy Sacrament?"

   The Pope then went on to thank Canadian institutes of consecrated life for the "apostolic and spiritual commitment of their members," highlighting how "consecrated life is a gift of God benefiting the entire Church and serving life in the world." Hence, it must take place in a context of "solid ecclesial communion." On this subject, Benedict XVI invited consecrated men and women "to work ever more closely with pastors, welcoming and spreading Church doctrine in all its integrity."

   "You, as well as the whole Christian community," the Pope concluded, "have a primordial duty to transmit the call of the Lord fearlessly, to awaken vocations and to accompany young people along the path of discernment and commitment, in the joy of celibacy. In this spirit, you must take care over the catechesis of children and young people. ... Thus, I invite the Catholic community of Quebec to pay renewed attention to its adherence to the truth of Church teaching on theology and morals, two inseparable aspects of being a Christian in the world."

 

MARRIAGE IS A REAL GOOD FOR SOCIETY

 VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2006 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received participants in an international congress promoted by the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family of the Pontifical Lateran University. The institute is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, and the theme of the congress is: "The heritage of John Paul II on marriage and the family: to love human love."

   At the beginning of his address, Benedict XVI recalled how on May 13, 1981, the day of Ali Agca's assassination attempt against the Pope, John Paul II had been due to announce the foundation of the institute during his general audience. Today the institute has its headquarters in Rome, and other sections located in the United States, Mexico, India, Benin, Australia, Spain and Brazil.

   The Holy Father identified two elements characterizing "the novelty of John Paul II's teaching on human love." The first is the fact that "marriage and the family are rooted in the most intimate core of truth about man and his destiny." The second element is "that Christ, fullness of the Father's revelation of love, also reveals the full truth of man's vocation of love, which can only be completely achieved in the sincere giving of self."

   Benedict XVI then recalled how his own recent Encyclical "Deus caritas est" highlighted the fact that "the close relationship between the image of God Love and human love enables us to understand that 'corresponding to the image of a monotheistic God is monogamous marriage. Marriage based on exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and His people and vice versa. God's way of loving becomes the measure of human love'."

   "This idea has still largely to be explored," the Pope said, adding that the institute's task is "to illuminate the truth of love as a road to completeness in all forms of human existence. ... Authentic love becomes a light guiding all life to its fulfillment, creating a society in which mankind can live. The communion of life and love that is marriage is thus ... a real good for society."

   The Holy Father concluded: "Avoiding confusion with other kinds of union based on a weak form of love is, today, particularly urgent. Only the rock of complete and irrevocable love between man and woman is capable of acting as a foundation for a society that can be home to all human beings."

 

POPE CONGRATULATES NEW ITALIAN PRESIDENT-ELECT

 VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a telegram of congratulation from Benedict XVI to Giorgio Napolitano, who was elected yesterday as the new president of the Republic of Italy.

   "I wish to convey a respectful expression of best wishes for your election as president of the Republic of Italy, and while I hope that you may exercise that exalted duty with all success, I invoke upon your person constant divine assistance for an illuminated and effective action in promoting the common good in line with the authentic human and Christian values that constitute the splendid heritage of the Italian people. It is with these sentiments that I send, to you and to the entire dear nation of Italy, an apostolic blessing.

 

HOLY FATHER RECEIVES PRESIDENT CHAVEZ OF VENEZUELA

 VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2006 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released a communique this morning concerning the meeting of the Holy Father with Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela.

   "In the course of the meeting," the communique reads, "the president illustrated to the Pope the projects of social change taking place in his country. Benedict XVI then drew to the president's attention certain themes of particular concern to him.

   "In the first place he reiterated the freedom of the Holy See to appoint bishops, and expressed the hope that the Catholic University of "Santa Rosa de Lima" may always maintain its Catholic identity.

   "The Holy Father also expressed his concern over an education reform project in which there would seem to be no provision for teaching religion. He further asked that public health programs uphold the fundamental principle of protecting life from its very beginnings. He also underlined the importance of the independence of Catholic media.

   "President Hugo Chavez gave assurances of his concern for the Holy Father's requests and expressed his commitment to overcome all forms of tension in full respect for everyone's rights.

   "Finally, the Holy Father consigned a personal letter to the president summarizing his pastoral concerns for the good of the country."

 

SPECIAL ENVOY TO 15TH BRAZILIAN EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS

 VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a letter from the Pope, written in Latin, in which he appoints Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid S.C.I., archbishop of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as his special envoy to the 15th National Eucharistic Congress of Brazil, due to be held in the city of Florianopolis from May 18 to 21.

   The mission accompanying the cardinal will be made up of Msgr. Francisco de Sales Bianchini, ecclesiastical assistant of the 'Emmaus' Movement, and Fr. Alvino Introvini Milani, pastor of the parish of St. Vincent in Itajai.

 

AUDIENCES

 VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

  - Hugo Chavez Frias, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, accompanied by an entourage.

   This evening, he is scheduled to receive in separate audiences three prelates from the Canadian (Quebec) Conference of Catholic Bishops on their "ad limina" visit:

     - Bishop Ibrahim Michael Ibrahim B.S., of Saint-Sauveur de Montreal of the Greek Melkites, Canada.

     - Bishop Joseph Khoury of Saint-Maron de Montreal of the Maronites.

     - Bishop Donald Joseph Theriault, military ordinary.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Martin Munyanyi of the clergy of Masvingo, Zimbabwe former rector of the major philosophical seminary of Bulawayo, as bishop of Gweru (area 29,158, population 2,109,650, Catholics 196,000, priests 39, religious 207), Zimbabwe. The bishop-elect was born in Bikita, Zimbabwe, in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1983.

 

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