November 23, 2006

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY:


 CONTINUE THEOLOGICAL DIALOGUE DESPITE DIFFICULTIES

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 23, 2006 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the primate of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, England. The archbishop's visit to Rome is taking place 40 years after the meeting between Pope Paul VI and the then archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey.

   In his address, the Holy Father, speaking English, recalled both that anniversary and the long history of relations between the See of Rome and the See of Canterbury, which began more than 1400 years ago. He also thanked Archbishop Williams and other representatives of the Anglican Communion for their presence at the funeral of John Paul II and at the inauguration of his own pontificate.

"There is much in our relations over the past forty years for which we must give thanks," said the Holy Father. "The work of the theological dialogue commission; ... the friendship and good relations which exist in many places between Anglicans and Catholics [that] have helped to create a new context in which our shared witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been nourished and advanced; the visits of archbishops of Canterbury to the Holy See;" and the "constructive meeting of Anglican and Catholic bishops in Mississauga, Canada, in May 2000, when it was agreed to form a joint commission of bishops to discern appropriate ways to express in ecclesial life the progress which has already been made."

   "In the present context, however," he went on, "and especially in the secularized Western world, there are many negative influences and pressures which affect Christians and Christian communities. ... Recent developments, especially concerning the ordained ministry and certain moral teachings, have affected not only internal relations within the Anglican Communion but also relations between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church.

   "We believe," he added, "that these matters, which are presently under discussion within the Anglican Communion, are of vital importance to the preaching of the Gospel in its integrity, and that your current discussions will shape the future of our relations. It is to be hoped that the work of the theological dialogue, which had registered no small degree of agreement on these and other important theological matters, will continue to be taken seriously."

   "The world needs our witness and the strength which comes from an undivided proclamation of the Gospel," the Holy Father concluded. "Precisely for this reason, and even amidst present difficulties, it is important that we continue our theological dialogue. I hope that your visit will assist in finding constructive ways forward in the current circumstances."

 

DECLARATION OF POPE AND ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 23, 2006 (VIS) - Following their private meeting this morning, the Pope and the archbishop of Canterbury signed a Common Declaration in the presence of members of the Anglican delegation accompanying the archbishop, and of Catholic representatives led by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster.

   In their English-language declaration, Benedict XVI and Archbishop Williams note that 40 years ago their predecessors, Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey, undertook "to establish a dialogue in which matters which had been divisive in the past might be addressed from a fresh perspective with truth and love."

   "True ecumenism," they write, "goes beyond theological dialogue; it touches our spiritual lives and our common witness. As our dialogue has developed, many Catholics and Anglicans have found in each other a love for Christ which invites us into practical cooperation and service."

   "The International Anglican - Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) has been engaged in an exploration of the appropriate ways in which our shared mission to proclaim new life in Christ to the world can be advanced and nurtured. Their report ... has recently been completed and submitted for review to the Anglican Communion Office and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and we express our gratitude for their work."

   They continue: "In this fraternal visit, we celebrate the good which has come from these four decades of dialogue. We are grateful to God for the gifts of grace which have accompanied them. At the same time, our long journey together makes it necessary to acknowledge publicly the challenge represented by new developments which, besides being divisive for Anglicans, present serious obstacles to our ecumenical progress. It is a matter of urgency, therefore, that in renewing our commitment to pursue the path towards full visible communion in the truth and love of Christ, we also commit ourselves in our continuing dialogue to address the important issues involved in the emerging ecclesiological and ethical factors making that journey more difficult and arduous.

   "As Christian leaders facing the challenges of the new millennium, we affirm again our public commitment to the revelation of divine life uniquely set forth by God in the divinity and humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that it is through Christ and the means of salvation found in Him that healing and reconciliation are offered to us and to the world."

   The Holy Father and the primate of the Anglican Communion recognize that "there are many areas of witness and service in which we can stand together, and which indeed call for closer cooperation between us: the pursuit of peace in the Holy Land and in other parts of the world marred by conflict and the threat of terrorism; promoting respect for life from conception until natural death; protecting the sanctity of marriage and the well-being of children in the context of healthy family life; outreach to the poor, oppressed and the most vulnerable, especially those who are persecuted for their faith; addressing the negative effects of materialism; and care for creation and for our environment. We also commit ourselves to inter-religious dialogue through which we can jointly reach out to our non-Christian brothers and sisters."

   Following the signing ceremony, the Holy Father and the archbishop of Canterbury went to the Vatican's "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel where together they prayed the "Hora media" in the presence of the Anglican and Catholic delegations.

 

TELEGRAM FOR MINERS KILLED IN POLISH DISASTER

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 23, 2006 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. has sent a telegram, in the Holy Father's name, to Metropolitan Archbishop Damian Zimon of Katowice, Poland, for Tuesday's accident at the Halemba coal mine in which 23 miners were killed.

   "The Holy Father commends," the cardinal writes, "the souls of the dead to the mercy of God, asking Him to accept the offer of their labors and their life, and to introduce them to His glory. ... With a cordial prayer, he embraces the families of the dead, and everyone weeping their sudden loss. Upon them, he imparts his apostolic blessing, which he also extends to the entire archdiocese of Katowice."

 

AUDIENCES

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 23, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

  - Two prelates from the Italian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

     - Bishop Gianfranco De Luca of Termoli-Lariano.

    - Bishop Domenico Angelo Scotti of Trivento.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience directors and employees of the Vatican Museums.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 23, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, as counsellor to the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

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