November 24, 2006

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY:


VATICAN MUSEUMS, WHERE FAITH AND ART INTERTWINE

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2006 (VIS) - Yesterday evening, in the Hall of Blessings in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, Benedict XVI received directors and employees of the Vatican Museums, which this year are celebrating their fifth centenary.

   In his talk to them, the Holy Father pointed out how so far this year over four million people have visited the Museums, 200,000 more than in 2005. A large part of the visitors "are not Catholics," he said, "and many are not even believers."

   "The approach to Christian truth through artistic or socio-cultural expressions, has a greater chance of appealing to the intelligence and sensitivity of people who do not belong to the Catholic Church, and who may sometimes nourish feelings of prejudice or indifference towards her. Visitors to the Vatican Museums, by dwelling in this sanctuary of art and faith, have the opportunity to 'immerse' themselves in a concentrated atmosphere of 'theology by images'."

   Pope Benedict then went on to mention "a truth written into the 'genetic code' of the Vatican Museums: that the great Classical and Judeo-Christian civilizations are not in opposition to one another, rather they come together in God's unique plan. Proof of this is to be found in the fact that the earliest origins of this institution may be traced back to a work we could well define as 'profane' - the magnificent sculpture of Laocoon - but that, in reality, in the setting of the Vatican, acquires its full and authentic light. It is the light of human beings formed by God; of freedom in the drama of their redemption, drawn between earth and heaven, between flesh and the spirit. It is the light of a beauty that shines from within the work of art, and brings the spirit to open itself to the sublime, to the place where the Creator encounters the creatures made in His image and likeness."

   "The Museum truly shows how Christianity and culture, faith and art, the divine and the human, constantly intertwine. And in this regard, the Sistine Chapel represents the insurmountable pinnacle."

   The Pope concluded his talk by stressing the importance of the example Vatican Museums employees show visitors, "offering them a simple but incisive witness of faith. A temple of art and culture such as the Vatican Museums requires the beauty of the works to be accompanied by the beauty of the people who work there: a spiritual beauty that renders the atmosphere truly ecclesial, impregnating it with the Christian spirit."

 

PROXIMITY TO PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM INFECTIOUS ILLNESS

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received participants in an international conference organized by the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care. The conference is being held in the Vatican from November 23 to 25 on the theme: "Pastoral aspects of the treatment of infectious diseases."

   The Holy Father recalled how, alongside the generous service and "concrete gestures of love" shown towards people suffering infectious diseases, there are also many injustices. "How can we forget," he said, "the many people with infections illnesses forced into segregation, and sometimes marked by a humiliating stigma? The seriousness of these lamentable situations is highlighted by the disparity of social and economic conditions between the North and South of the world. Such situations must be answered with concrete initiatives that favor proximity to the sick, enliven the evangelization of culture, and inspire the social and economic policies of governments."

   On the subject of closeness to the sick, Benedict XVI mentioned "the rich tradition of the Catholic Church," which, he said, "must be kept alive by exercising charity towards the suffering, so as to ensure the enduring visibility of values inspired by true humanity and by the Gospel: the dignity of the individual, mercy, and the identification of the sick with Christ. All initiatives are inadequate if they do not make love for man perceptible, a love nourished in the meeting with Christ.

   "This irreplaceable proximity to the sick," he added, "must be united to the evangelization of the cultural environment in which we live." In this context he mentioned "attitudes of indifference or even of exclusion and rejection," which are sometimes shown towards the sick in societies fixated with well-being. "Such an attitude is also favored by the image projected by the media of men and women prevalently concerned with physical beauty, health and biological vitality. This is a dangerous cultural tendency that encourages people to focus on self, to close themselves in their own little world, and to avoid committing themselves to serving those in need."

   The Holy Father emphasized the necessity "for a form of pastoral care capable of helping the sick bear their suffering, helping them transform their condition into an occasion of grace for themselves and others, through living participation in the mystery of Christ."

   Finally, Benedict XVI underlined the importance of "collaborating with various public institutions in order to ensure that social justice is practiced in a delicate field such as that of the care and assistance of people suffering infectious illness." In this context, he mentioned "the equal distribution of resources for research and therapy, as well as the promotion of living conditions that can prevent the outbreak and spread of infectious diseases."

 

CHURCH CONTRIBUTION TO LATIN AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office has released the following communique concerning today's visit to the Holy Father by Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales, president of the Republic of Honduras. The president, accompanied by Milton Danilo Jimenez Puerto, foreign minister, also met with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.

   "During the discussions, which took place in an atmosphere of great cordiality," reads the communique, "attention turned to the question of Latin American development, with particular emphasis on the Catholic Church's contribution in that field. Attention was also given to the Church's commitment to education and formation (especially of the young) in moral values, which are the foundation for fighting corruption and favoring transparency in all fields of national life."

 

ENCOURAGE ARMS CONTROL INITIATIVES

 VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2006 (VIS) - On November 17, Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi C.S., permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and International Institutions in Geneva, delivered an address at the closing session of the "Third Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons" (CCW).

   "It is regrettable," said the archbishop in his English-language address, "that States Parties were unable to reach agreement on a legally binding instrument on Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines (MOTAPM). The failure to achieve such an agreement has left a real disappointment in the expectations of many people who see that it could have provided a good and adequate response to the humanitarian concerns posed by these weapons. For now, then, strong and specific national measures will have to be taken by individual States to make up for this impasse until an international consensus can be reached."

   Archbishop Tomasi pointed out how his delegation has "supported from the beginning negotiations for a legally binding instrument on cluster munitions and opted for a moratorium in the meantime, prompted by the overwhelming evidence of the humanitarian disasters caused by such weapons, especially on the civilian population."

   "Since the humanitarian dimension of this question is so serious, and demands an urgent response, it is understandable and worthwhile that all additional initiatives that can be taken to move forward the process towards an international agreement be encouraged."

 

AUDIENCES

VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences three prelates from the Italian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

     - Archbishop Giuseppe Molinari of L'Aquila.

    - Bishop Giuseppe Di Falco of Sulmona-Valva.

    - Msgr. Domenico Ramelli, diocesan administrator of Avezzano.

This evening he is scheduled to receive in separate audiences three prelates from the Italian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Armando Dini of Campobasso-Boiano, and apostolic administrator of Isernia-Venafro.

     - Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto.

     - Archbishop Carlo Ghidelli of Lanciano-Ortona.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Matthias Kobena Nketsiah of the clergy of the archdiocese of Cape Coast, Ghana, pastor of the parish of St. John the Baptist, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 9,788, population 1,689,908, Catholics 292,685, priests 113, religious 135). The bishop-elect was born in Kakomdo, Ghana in 1942 and ordained a priest in 1970.

Local site Links: