March 9, 2007

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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



 VATICAN CITY, MAR 9, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which is presided by Archbishop John P. Foley. Addressing them in English, the Pope expressed his thanks "for your commitment to the apostolate of social communications, the importance of which cannot be underestimated in our increasingly technological world.

   "The field of social communications is fast-changing," the Pope added. "While the print media struggles to maintain circulation, other forms of media such as radio, television and the internet are developing at an extraordinary rate. Against the backdrop of globalization, this ascendancy of the electronic media coincides with its increasing concentration in the hands of a few multinational conglomerates whose influence crosses all social and cultural boundaries."

   The Holy Father expressed the view that "much of great benefit to civilization is contributed by the various components of the mass media," and in this context he mentioned "quality documentaries and news services, wholesome entertainment, and thought-provoking debates and interviews." Internet too "has opened up a world of knowledge and learning that previously for many could only be accessed with difficulty, if at all."

   "On the other hand, it is also readily apparent that much of what is transmitted in various forms to the homes of millions of families around the world is destructive." For her part, the Church, "by directing the light of Christ's truth upon such shadows, ... engenders hope."

   Pope Benedict concluded his talk by referring to his Message for World Communications Day, dedicated this year to the relationship between the media and young people. "The responsibility to introduce and educate children and young people into the ways of beauty, truth and goodness is," he said, "a grave one. It can be supported by media conglomerates only to the extent that they promote fundamental human dignity, the true value of marriage and family life, and the positive achievements and goals of humanity. I appeal again to the leaders of the media industry to advise producers to safeguard the common good, to uphold the truth, to protect individual human dignity and promote respect for the needs of the family."



 VATICAN CITY, MAR 9, 2007 (VIS) - Yesterday, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York, delivered an address to the 61st session of the UN General Assembly in the context of the "Informal Thematic Debate on the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women."

   Speaking English, Archbishop Migliore stated that "the legitimate quest for equality between men and women has achieved positive results in the area of equality of rights. This quest needs to be accompanied by the awareness that equality goes hand in hand with and does not endanger, much less contradict, the recognition of both the difference and complementarity between men and women. Without this recognition the struggle for equality would not be authentic."

   "Physical difference [between men and women] is often minimized," he said, "while the purely cultural dimension is maximized and held to be primary. This blurring of differences has an impact on the stability of society and of families and, not least, on the quality of the relations between men and women. Equality between women and men and the empowerment of women will be attained when the differences of the sexes are recognized and highlighted as complementary and the cultural element of gender is understood in its proper context."

   Empowerment of women also means "addressing discriminatory practices that exclude women from decision-making processes, often caused or aggravated by discrimination based on a woman's race, ethnicity, religion or social status."

   The archbishop highlighted the importance of microfinance projects in the empowerment of women, recalling in this context how the Catholic Relief Services agency "operates in 99 countries from all continents," and currently has programs "operational in at least thirty countries, with more than 850,000 clients, of whom almost 75 percent are women."

   "Studies have shown how microfinance has led to a wide-ranging improvement of the status of women, from earning greater respect from men to being acknowledged as important contributors to society."

   Archbishop Migliore concluded by pointing out that education "remains the most vital tool in the promotion of equality between men and women and in the empowerment of women to contribute fully to society."



 VATICAN CITY, MAR 9, 2007 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. this morning in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Place, in the presence of the Holy Father, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M. Cap., preacher of the pontifical household, delivered the first of his Lenten sermons. The theme of his meditations this year is "Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God - the Evangelical Beatitudes."

   The next three sermons are due to be delivered on March 16, 23 and 30.



 VATICAN CITY, MAR 9, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

  - Cardinal Gaudencio B. Rosales, archbishop of Manila, Philippines.

  - Bishop Carlos Aguilar Retes, of Texcoco, Mexico, president of the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, accompanied by Archbishop Alberto Suarez Inda of Moralia and Bishop Leopoldo Gonzalez Gonzalez of Tapachula, respectively vice-president and secretary general of the same conference.

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

     - Archbishop Enrico Masseroni of Vercelli.

    - Bishop Alfonso Badini Confalonieri of Susa.

    - Bishop Fernando Charrier of Alessandria.

  - Sarala Manourie Fernando, ambassador of Sri Lanka, on her farewell visit.

   This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

   Yesterday, March 8, he received in audience Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland.



 VATICAN CITY, MAR 9, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris, France, as a member of the Congregation for Bishops.

Local site Links: