October 26, 2006

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY:


CRISIS OF MEANING IN WEALTHY SOCIETIES

 VATICAN CITY, OCT 26, 2006 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Frank De Coninck, the new ambassador of Belgium to the Holy See.

   Recalling how Belgium was, from the very beginning, an active participant in "the great project of European construction," the Holy Father praised the goals achieved in this field over the last 50 years. "Little by little, the continent of Europe is finding its unity in peace," he said, "the European Union has become a major economic force and, for many people, a sign of hope."

   Today, faced with "the requirements of the globalization of trade and of solidarity between human beings," Europe must "continue to open itself, committing itself to the great projects of the planet." In the first place is "the question of peace and security, ... the international situation riven by conflict, ... especially in the Middle East, and the dramatic conditions in the Holy Land, Lebanon and Iraq, as well as in Africa and Asia."

   The Holy Father went on to consider challenges that "concern the future of human beings and their identity," noting how "enormous technological progress has revolutionized many practices in the field of medical science, while ... norms that once appeared untouchable have been relativized. ... In Western societies, characterized by their superabundance of consumer goods and by their subjectivism, human beings find themselves facing a crisis of meaning," while "laws are passed that put respect for human life into question."

   "The Church, on the foundation of her long experience, and of the treasure of Revelation she received, ... firmly underlines her convictions concerning human beings and their prodigious destiny," said the Pope. "When Belgian bishops speak in favor of the development of palliative care to enable people ... to die with dignity, or when they participate in the debates of society" in order to draw attention to that invisible moral frontier before which technological progress must bow: the dignity of man, "they seek to serve the whole of society by identifying the conditions for a real future of freedom and dignity for mankind. With them, I invite political leaders ... to give attentive consideration to their responsibilities and to the challenges these questions pose."

   "Belgium," said the Holy Father, "came into being as a monarchy, the monarch's role being to guarantee national unity and ensure respect for each linguistic and cultural community within the nation. ... The unity of a country ... requires all sides to show a will to serve the common interest and a desire for better mutual knowledge through dialogue and reciprocal enrichment. Today, the influx of ever-greater numbers of immigrants and the increasing number of communities of different cultural origin or religion, make it absolutely necessary for there to be dialogue between cultures and religions in our societies."

   "We must know one another better," the Pope concluded, "respecting one another's religious convictions and the legitimate requirements of social life, in accordance with current legislation. We must welcome immigrants in such a way as always to respect their dignity" through "immigration policies that reconcile the interests of the country of destination with the necessary development of less-favored nations. ... Thus we will avoid the risks of ... exacerbated nationalism or xenophobia, and may hope for the harmonious development of our societies."

 

MILITARY ORDINARIES: THE VALUE OF THE PERSON AND OF PEACE

VATICAN CITY, OCT 26, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received participants in the fifth international congress of Military Ordinariates. The congress marks the twentieth anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution "Spirituali Militum Curae," promulgated by Servant of God John Paul II.

   In his address, Benedict XVI recalled how the Apostolic Constitution "updated canonical regulations regarding spiritual assistance to the military, in the light of Vatican Council II and bearing in mind the transformations affecting armed forces and their mission at a national and international level." With the further changes that have taken place over the last two decades, the Constitution requires "adaptation to the needs of the present moment. This is what you, with great timeliness, have sought to do during this meeting, organized by the Congregation for Bishops."

   After mentioning the "two fundamental values" emphasized in the Apostolic Constitution - "the value of the person and the value of peace" - the Holy Father indicated that "the people to whom the Ordinariate is directed do not cease to be members of the faithful of the particular Church where they live, or of the rite to which they belong. This highlights a need for communion and coordination between the Military Ordinariate and the particular Churches."

   "Putting people first means giving pride of place to the Christian formation of soldiers, accompanying them and their relatives as they progress in Christian initiation, along the path of vocation, of maturity in the faith and of witness. It also means favoring forms of fraternity, communion and liturgical and non-liturgical prayer that are appropriate to the military environment and lifestyle."

   Going on to refer to the "value of peace," the Pope said: "If Vatican Council II calls the military ministers of peace, how much more so are the pastors to whom they are entrusted! I therefore encourage you all to ensure that military chaplains be true experts and masters of what the Church teaches and practices in terms of building peace in the world."

   "The Church is called to be 'salt,' 'light' and leavening,' even in the world of the military, ... so that mentalities and structures become ever more oriented towards building peace" said Pope Benedict. "The Church's Magisterium on the question of peace represents an essential aspect of her social doctrine," he added.

   The Church's "insistent calls for peace have influenced Western culture, promoting the idea that the armed forces are 'at the exclusive service of the defense, security and freedom of peoples.' Sometimes, unfortunately, other interests, economic and political interests fomented by international tensions, put obstacles and setbacks in the way of this constructive tendency, as is evident in the difficulty of disarmament processes."

   The Holy Father concluded his talk by insisting that, "in order to offer people adequate pastoral care and carry out their evangelizing mission, Military Ordinaries need motivated and trained priests and deacons, as well as lay people who collaborate actively and responsibly with pastors."

 

IN BRIEF

 BENEDICT XVI WILL CELEBRATE MASS IN THE VATICAN BASILICA at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 1, for the Solemnity of All Saints.

 ARCHBISHOP CELESTINO MIGLIORE, HOLY SEE permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, yesterday addressed the 61st session of the U.N. General Assembly on the theme of sustainable development. "The environmental question is not only an important ethical and scientific problem," he said in his English-language talk, "but a political and economic problem too, as well as a bone of contention in the globalization process in general. ... The world needs an ecological conversion so as to examine critically current models of thought, as well as those of production and consumption."

 

AUDIENCES

 VATICAN CITY, OCT 26, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

  - Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, France.

  - Six prelates from the Irish Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

     - Archchbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, accompanied by Cardinal Desmond Connell, archbishop emeritus, and Auxiliary Bishops Eamonn Oliver Walsh and Raymond W. Field.

     - Bishop Denis Brennan of Ferns.

     - Bishop James Moriarty of Kildare and Leighlin.

   This evening, he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Fr. Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv., respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 VATICAN CITY, OCT 26, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

  - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Liverpool, England, presented by Bishop Vincent Malone, upon having reached the age limit.

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