November 13, 2006

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY: NOVEMBER 11 - 13


SECULARIZATION, A CHALLENGE FOR THE CHURCH IN GERMANY

VATICAN CITY, NOV 11, 2006 (VIS) - In the talk he delivered yesterday to the first group of prelates from the German Bishops' Conference, at the end of their "ad limina" visit, the Pope affirmed that the secularization of society represents "a providential challenge that must be faced with courage."

  "The Federal Republic of Germany," said the Holy Father, "shares with the entire western world a situation where culture is dominated by secularization, in which God tends to disappear from the public conscience, the uniqueness of the image of Christ fades, and the values formed by ecclesial tradition lose their effectiveness."

  "For this reason, no small number of people have become discouraged and resigned; attitudes that hinder the act of witnessing to the Gospel of Christ that liberates and saves." A lot of people ask themselves, he added, "whether Christianity is not perhaps, in the end, just one proposed meaning among many others? ... At the same time however, given the fragile and transitory nature of the majority of the other offers, many people come back hopefully to interrogate and examine the Christian message, and from us they expect convincing answers."

  On the subject of relations with Islam, Benedict XVI told the bishops of his "respect and benevolence" for the many Muslims living in Germany. They, he added, "who remain so seriously attached to their beliefs and rites, have the right to our humble and determined witness of Jesus Christ. To make such witness credible, great efforts are required. For this reason, in areas with a large Muslim population, there must be Catholic interlocutors with the indispensable linguistic and historical-religious knowledge to make them capable of establishing a dialogue with Muslims. And it is of course clear that such dialogue requires, in the first place, a profound knowledge of their own Catholic faith."

  The Pope then proceeded to consider the question of religious education, Catholic schools and the formation of Catholic adults. "Religious education curricula," he said, "must be guided by the Catechism of the Catholic Church. ... It is of fundamental importance that the introduction into a Catholic view of the world and into the practice of the faith, as well as the integral formation of the person, are not transmitted only in the course of religion lessons," but also "through the personal witness of teachers." As for institutions and activities for the formation of adults, care must be taken, he said, "with the choice of subjects and educators, so that the central message of the faith and of the Christian way of life do not get pushed into the background."

  "Faithfulness to the 'depositum fidei,' as represented in the Church's Magisterium, is the indispensable condition for serious theological research and teaching."

  Turning to the subject of formation in seminaries, the Holy Father stressed the importance of the "introductory course that takes place before the beginning of studies," especially because an ever greater number of candidates to the priesthood "do not come from a traditional Catholic background. ... During this introductory year, students will be able to gain a clearer view of their vocation to the priesthood, and those in charge of priestly formation will have the chance to form an opinion of the candidates, of their human maturity and of their life of faith. On the other hand, the group dynamics of role-playing and self-awareness exercises, and other psychological experiments, are less appropriate, and can rather cause confusion and insecurity."

  In closing, Pope Benedict considered "an urgent problem: the relationship between priests and faithful in accomplishing the mission of the Church." Expressing his thanks for the active collaboration of so many lay faithful who "contribute to supporting the Church," the Pope recalled that "the sermon during Mass is a duty associated with ordained ministry," and that "where there is a sufficient number of priests and deacons, the distribution of Communion is their duty."

  "Only the Sacrament of Holy Orders enables its recipient to act 'in persona Christi.' This fact must be emphasized with patience and wisdom, and the necessary conclusions drawn."

 

COMMUNICATE THE TANGIBLE CONTENTS OF CHRISTIAN FAITH

VATICAN CITY, NOV 11, 2006 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI received members of the "Villa Nazareth" organization, an educational institution founded by Cardinal Domenico Tardini in 1946. Its current president is Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

  Villa Nazareth is celebrating its 60th anniversary said the Holy Father, recalling how the organization "seeks to appreciate the intelligence of its pupils while respecting the freedom of the individual," and how it is "oriented towards seeing the authentic expression of Christian love in service to others. Villa Nazareth wishes to form its young people ... in a spirit of openness to dialogue, with the application of a form of reason purified in the crucible of faith. ... Faith scrutinizes the invisible and is, hence, friend to the reason that poses the essential questions that give meaning to our earthly journey."

  The Holy Father then went on to refer to the "diaconate," the role played by Christian culture "in helping those who seek to discover Him Who is hidden ... in the events of everyday life." And, he continued, "it must not be forgotten that the Lord is said to be fed, to be given drink, to be clothed, welcomed and visited in all people in need. He is, then, also 'hidden' in such person and events. ... No culture can rest self-satisfied until it discovers that that it must be attentive to the real and profound needs of mankind, of all men and women."

  "The contents of Jesus' revelation are tangible, and Christian-inspired intellectuals must always be ready to communicate them when speaking to people in search of solutions capable of improving existence and of responding to the disquiet that assails all human hearts. We must, above all, demonstrate the profound correlation that exists between the necessities arising from reflection on human affairs and the divine 'Logos' Who 'became flesh' and came 'to live among us.' Thus we create a fruitful convergence between the postulates of reason and the answers of Revelation. And it is from here that a light emerges to illuminate our path."

 

PROGRAM OF POPE'S APOSTOLIC TRIP TO TURKEY

VATICAN CITY, NOV 11, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was the program of the Pope's forthcoming apostolic trip to Turkey, which is due to take place from November 28 to December 1.

  At 9 a.m. on November 28, the Holy Father will depart from Rome's Fiumicino airport bound for Ankara, where he is due land at Esenboga international airport at 1 p.m. On arrival, he will visit the Mausoleum of Ataturk, after which the welcome ceremony will take place. Pope Benedict will then pay a courtesy visit to the president of the republic before meeting with the vice prime minister, the president for religious affairs and the diplomatic corps.

  On Wednesday, November 29, Benedict XVI is due to celebrate Mass at Ephesus. That afternoon he will travel to Istanbul where he will visit the patriarchal church of St. George and hold a private meeting with His Holiness Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch.

  The following day, November 30, the Holy Father will participate in the divine liturgy at the patriarchal church of St. George, where he will pronounce an address and sign a joint declaration with His Holiness Bartholomew I. The Pope will then go on to visit the museum of Santa Sophia, and the Armenian cathedral where he will meet with His Beatitude Mesrob II, Armenian patriarch of Istanbul.

  Later the same day, he will meet the Syro-Orthodox patriarch and the chief rabbi of Turkey. That evening, he is scheduled to dine with members of the Catholic episcopal conference.

  On Friday, December 1, the Holy Father will celebrate Mass in Istanbul's cathedral of the Holy Spirit before travelling to the city's airport where the departure ceremony will take place. The papal plane will take off at 1.15 p.m., and is due to arrive in Rome at 2.45 p.m.

 

EXPERIENCING THE GREATNESS OF CHRISTIANITY

VATICAN CITY, NOV 11, 2006 (VIS) - At the close of his meeting with prelates from the Conference of Swiss Bishops and heads of certain dicasteries of the Roman Curia, which took place on the afternoon of November 9, Benedict XVI pronounced an address, the text of which was made public today.

  "We must nor allow our faith to be drained by too much discussion on a multiplicity of less-important details," said the Pope. "It is fundamental to highlight the greatness of our faith. ... Above all, it is important to cultivate a personal relationship with God, with the God Who showed Himself to us in Christ."

  "God," he continued, "is 'Spiritus creator,' He is 'Logos,' He is reason. Because of this our faith is something that involves reason. It can be transmitted through reason and need not hide itself in the face of reason, not even the reason of our own times. ... Reason, indeed, has a heart, and so was able to renounce its own immensity and become flesh. In this and only in this, I believe, lies the ultimate and true greatness of our concept of God. We know that God is not a philosophical hypothesis, He is not something that perhaps exists, rather we know Him and He knows us. And we can know Him ever better if we maintain a dialogue with Him.

  "Hence," the Holy Father added, "it is a fundamental task of pastoral care to teach others to pray and to learn to do so ourselves." In this context, he referred to the importance of "increasing the number of prayer schools, ... where personal prayer can be learned it all its dimensions."

  "This intimacy with God and, hence, the experience of the presence of God is what brings us ... to experience the greatness of Christianity. It helps us to overcome all pettiness, and must be experienced and realized day by day - suffering and loving, in joy and in sadness."

  Another theme to which the Holy Father turned his attention during his address to the prelates was that of ethics. "I often hear it said that people today feel nostalgia for God, spirituality and religion, and that they begin to see the Church as a possible interlocutor from which something may be received in this regard. ... However, what people find very difficult are the ethics the Church proclaims. I have long reflected upon this matter, and I see ever more clearly how, in our time, it is as if ethics have divided into two parts. Modern society is not simply ethic-less but has, so to say, 'discovered' and claimed another aspect of ethics which, in the Church's announcement over recent decades ... has not been sufficiently emphasized. This includes the great themes of peace, non-violence, justice for all, care for the poor and respect for creation.

  "All this," he added, "has grown into an ethical system which has great power as a political force and, for many people, represents a substitute or surrogate for religion. In place of religion, which is seen as a metaphysical entity concerning the hereafter - perhaps even as something individualistic - these great moral themes appear to be the essential questions that confer dignity upon man."

  "The other aspect of ethics, which politics not infrequently takes up in a highly controversial manner, concerns life. Part of this is the commitment to life from conception to natural death; in other words, defending life against abortion and euthanasia, against its manipulation, and against man's self-legitimization to dispose of life as he chooses. Often, people seek to justify such intervention with the apparently exalted intention of its being useful to future generations."

  "The ethics of marriage and the family are part of the same context. Marriage is, so to say, becoming ever more marginalized. We know the example of certain countries where there have been legislative modifications according to which marriage is no longer defined as a bond between man and woman, but as a bond between persons. This clearly destroys the basic idea (of marriage), and society, from its very roots, becomes something completely different."

  Benedict XVI went on: "The belief that sexuality, eros and marriage, as the union between a man and a woman, go together ... is becoming ever weaker. All kinds of union appear absolutely normal," and "this is presented as a kind of morality of non-discrimination and a form of freedom that is mankind's due. Thus the indissolubility of marriage has become an almost utopian idea." Moreover, although "the problem of the disturbing drop in birth rates has multiple explanations," a decisive factor is that "people have little faith in the future," and that "the family as a durable community" is considered an unattainable goal.

  "In these areas, then, our announcement comes up against a counter-belief of society, with a sort of anti-morality based on its concept of freedom as the faculty to decide autonomously without predefined guidance, as non-discrimination, and hence as the approval of all possibilities."

  "But other beliefs have not disappeared. They exist, and I believe we must make every effort to bring these two parts of ethics back together, and make it clear that they are inseparably linked. ... I believe we are facing a great task: on the one hand, ensuring that Christianity does not appear as mere moralism but as a gift in which we are given a love that supports us. ... On the other hand, in this context of donated love, we must advance towards giving concrete form (to our ideas), on the foundation of the Ten Commandments which, with Christ and the Church, we must read in our own time in a new and progressive light."

 

CHANGE DEVELOPMENT MODELS AND FIGHT AGAINST HUNGER

VATICAN CITY, NOV 12, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the thousands of pilgrims who, despite the rain, filled St. Peter's Square below.

  In remarks before the Angelus prayer, the Pope recalled that today in Italy is the Day of Thanksgiving, the theme of which is: "The earth, a gift for the entire human family." In Christian families, he said, "children are taught always to thank the Lord before eating, with a brief prayer and the sign of the cross. This custom must be conserved and rediscovered, because it educates people not to take their 'daily bread' for granted but to recognize it as a gift of Providence.

  "We should become accustomed to blessing the Creator for all things," the Pope added. "Jesus taught His disciples to pray by asking the heavenly Father not for 'my' but for 'our' daily bread. In this way, He wished every man and woman to feel a shared responsibility for their fellows, that no one may lack the necessities of life. The products of the earth are a gift intended by God 'for the entire human family.'

  "And here we touch upon a very painful point: the dramatic problem of hunger which, though it has been tackled, even recently, at the highest institutional level, such as the United Nations and in particular the FAO, remains a very serious problem. The latest FAO annual report confirmed what the Church already well knows from the direct experience of her communities and missionaries: that over 800 million people live in a state of undernourishment, and that too many people, especially children, die of hunger."

  How, the Pope asked, "can we face this situation which, though repeatedly denounced, shows no sign of improving, indeed, in some ways is getting worse? It is certainly necessary to eliminate the structural causes linked to the system of managing the world economy, which restricts the majority of the planet's resources to a minority of the population. This injustice has been stigmatized on a number of occasions by my venerated predecessors, Servants of God Paul VI and John Paul II. In order to make a significant impression, it is necessary to 'convert' the global development model. It is not only the scandal of hunger that demands as much, but also the emergence of problems associated with the environment and energy. All the same, individuals and families can and must do something to alleviate hunger in the world by adopting a style of life and consumption compatible with the safeguarding of creation," and showing "justice towards those who cultivate the land in all countries" of the world.

  The Holy Father concluded by affirming that this Day of Thanksgiving "invites us, on the one hand, to give thanks to God for the fruits of agricultural labor. On the other, it encourages us to make a real commitment to defeating the scourge of hunger."

 

RESPECT COMMITMENTS FOR THE DENUCLEARIZATION OF KOREA

VATICAN CITY, NOV 13, 2006 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Kagefumi Ueno, the new ambassador of Japan to the Holy See, whom he told that "the rich cultural and spiritual traditions of your country have contributed to the growth of fundamental human values."

  The spiritual dimension of society "which promotes authentic dialogue between religions and cultures," he said in his French-language address to the diplomat, "cannot but favor a shared fraternal and united journey, which alone is capable of favoring the integral development of man."

  "Today more than ever," the Pope continued, "the search for peace between nations must be a priority of international relations. ... Violence can never be a just response to the problems of societies, because it destroys the dignity, the life and the freedom of the human being it claims to defend. Cultural, political and economic progress are important in order to build peace."

  The Holy Father encouraged Japan "to continue decisively in its efforts to contribute to establishing a just and lasting peace in the world, especially in the Far East. In the face of the current crisis in the region, the Holy See encourages bilateral and multilateral negotiations, in the conviction that the solution must be found through peaceful means, and with respect for the commitments assumed by all sides to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."

  Pope Benedict then went on to express the hope "that the international community may continue and intensify its humanitarian aid efforts to the most vulnerable populations, especially in North Korea, so that any interruption does not bring serious consequences to the civilian population." He also underlined Japan's "generous contribution" in "helping poorer countries."

  "Interdependence between peoples, as it gradually develops, must be accompanied by a decided commitment to ensure that the fatal consequences of the great disparity ... between developed and developing countries do not become worse, rather that they change into authentic solidarity that stimulates the economic and growth of the poorest nations."

  Finally, Benedict XVI expressed his joy for "the respect the Catholic Church enjoys in Japan," and he greeted the bishops and all the faithful, encouraging them "to live ever more firmly in the communion of faith, and to continue in their commitment in favor of peace and reconciliation between the peoples of the region, generously collaborating with their compatriots."

 

IN BRIEF

THE HOLY FATHER HAS WRITTEN A MESSAGE TO BISHOP FRANCOIS Maupu of Verdun, France, to mark the 90th anniversary of the First World War battle there, which represented, the Pope writes, "a dark moment in the history of the continent," as well as "one of the symbols of reconciliation between the great European nations that were once enemies." He continues: "May our contemporaries, and in particular the younger generations, learn the lessons of history and, on the basis of the Christian roots and values that greatly contributed to giving shape to the Europe of nations and of peoples, create ties of fraternity and charity among themselves, for the good of everyone and the development of nations!"

ARCHBISHOP CELESTINO MIGLIORE, HOLY SEE PERMANENT OBSERVER to the United Nations in New York delivered an address on November 10 before the second committee of the 61st UN General Assembly, which is considering the question of the eradication of poverty. "The poor," said the archbishop in his English-language speech, "have the right to justice, decent work, adequate food, health and education, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. ... However, since the poor are many times, by their very condition, excluded from society, their capacity to secure their rights is often very limited. ... The link between peace and development appears quite evident to those on the ground who must confront the constraints placed on the poor and who know, sometimes from bitter experience, that 'development is the new name for peace'."

DURING THE THIRD CONFERENCE TO EXAMINE THE "CONVENTION on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects," currently being held in Geneva, Switzerland, Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi C.S., permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and International Institutions in Geneva, delivered an address in which he stated: "This convention must remain dynamic and flexible. It would be harmful and artificial to limit it and its protocols to what has been achieved thus far. New arms are being developed and produced. It is important that reflection and negotiations keep apace of military reality in order to guarantee that these new arms respect the criteria imposed by the convention, ... and to study whether it is appropriate to negotiate with new instruments where existing agreements do not respond to the new military realities."

 

AUDIENCES

VATICAN CITY, NOV 13, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop John Powathil of Changanacherry, India.

 - Gilton Bazilio Chiwaula, ambassador of Malawi, on his farewell visit.

 - Nine prelates from the German Bishops' Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Cardinal Friedrich Wetter archbishop of Munich and Freising, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Engelbert Siebler, Bernhard Hasslberger and Franz Dietl.

    - Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Josef Grunwald and Anton Losinger.

    - Bishop Wilhelm Schraml of Passau.

    - Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg.

  On Saturday, November 11, he received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

 - Bishop Franz Kamphaus of Limburg, Germany, accompanied by auxiliary Bishop Gerhard Pieschl, on their "ad limina" visit.

 - Francisco Alfredo Salazar Alvarado, ambassador of Ecuador, on his farewell visit.

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

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, NOV 13, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Romulo Geolina Valles of Kidapawan, Philippines, as archbishop of Zamboanga (area 1,638, population 668,380, Catholics 494,601, priests 65, religious 128), Philippines. The archbishop-elect was born in Maribojoc, Philippines in 1951, he was ordained a priest in 1976, and consecrated bishop in 1997. He succeeds Archbishop Carmelo Dominator F. Morelos, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Bishop Sergio Lasam Utleg of Ilagan, Philippines, as bishop of Laoag (area 3,386, population 671,000, Catholics 450,000, priests 48, religious 79), Philippines.

 - Fr. Jose Alejandro Castano Arbelaez O.A.R. pastor of "Sagrado Corazon" parish in Manizales, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Cali (area 2,504, population 2,563,177, Catholics 2,178,700, priests 304, permanent deacons 18, religious 272), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in La Ceja, Colombia in 1945 and ordained a priest in 1971.

Local site Links: