March 14, 2007

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY:


COMMUNIQUE ON VISIT OF RUSSIAN PRESIDENT

VATICAN CITY, MAR 14, 2007 (VIS) - Yesterday evening the Holy See Press Office released the following communique:

  "This afternoon, March 13, 2007, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Valdimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation. At the same time, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, met with Sergei Lavrov, minister for foreign affairs of the Russian Federation, and other members of the delegation accompanying the president.

  "The discussions, which took place in a positive atmosphere, provided an opportunity to emphasize the cordial relations that exist between the Holy See and the Russian Federation and the shared desire to develop them further, also through specific cultural initiatives. Within this framework, certain bilateral themes of mutual interest were examined, also concerning relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, and current international questions were analyzed, especially those regarding the Middle East.

  "Finally, attention also turned to the problems of extremism and intolerance, which constitute grave threats to the civilized coexistence of nations, highlighting the need to preserve peace and to favor negotiated and peaceful solutions to conflicts."

 

IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH: CHRISTIAN UNITY REFLECTS UNITY OF GOD

VATICAN CITY, MAR 14, 2007 (VIS) - Continuing his cycle of catecheses on the Apostolic Fathers, Benedict XVI dedicated the general audience today to the figure of St. Ignatius of Antioch. The audience, held in St. Peter's Square, was attended by around 25,000 people.

  From the year 70 to 107 St. Ignatius was bishop of Antioch, "the city in which the disciples first received the name of Christians," said the Pope. Condemned to be thrown to wild beasts, he was taken to Rome for the sentence to be carried out and took advantage of his journey through the various cities of the empire to confirm the Christians living there in their faith.

  "No Father of the Church expressed with the same intensity as Ignatius the longing for union with Christ and for life in Him," said the Pope, explaining that "two spiritual currents come together in St. Ignatius: that of Paul, which tends towards union with Christ, and that of John, which focuses on life in Him. In their turn, these two currents lead to the imitation of Christ."

  "Ignatius' irresistible attraction towards union with Christ is the foundation for a true mysticism of unity," Benedict XVI went on. And he recalled how in the seven letters the bishop of Antioch wrote during his journey to Rome "he frequently repeats that God, existing in three persons, is One in absolute unity, ... and that the unity Christians must create in this world is no more than an imitation, as near as possible to the divine archetype."

  In St. Ignatius' letters we find "a constant and fruitful dialectic between two characteristic aspects of Christian life: on the one hand, the hierarchical structure of the ecclesial community and, on the other, the fundamental unity that binds the faithful to one another in Christ. Consequently, the [various different] roles cannot conflict. On the contrary, the insistence on the communion of believers among themselves and with their pastors is continually reformulated" using musical images such as "the lyre, chords ... symphonies."

  Benedict XVI highlighted the "special responsibility of bishops, priests and deacons in the edification of the community," which must translate, above all, into "a proposal of love and unity."

  "It is clear, then, that St. Ignatius was the 'doctor of unity'," said the Pope. "The 'realism' of Ignatius invites us all to undertake a progressive synthesis between configuration to Christ (union with Him, life in Him) and commitment to His Church (unity with the bishop, generous service to the community and the world), ... between interior communion of the Church and mission, which is the proclamation of the Gospel for others."

 

BASILICA OF ST. PETER'S: LIVING HEART OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

VATICAN CITY, MAR 14, 2007 (VIS) - Following today's general audience, Benedict XVI went to the headquarters of the Fabric of St. Peter's to greet the people who work there. Among their other duties, they are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the Vatican Basilica.

  The Pope also greeted Archbishop Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica and Bishop Vittorio Lanzani, delegate of the Fabric. In his remarks to them and to all the staff of this pontifical institution he recalled how they undertake their duties "in a place, the venerable basilica of the Apostle, that is the heart of the Catholic Church. A beating heart, thanks to the Holy Spirit which keeps it alive, but also thanks to the activity of those who daily ensure its upkeep.

  "Slightly more than 500 years have passed," he added, "since the first stone of the second Vatican Basilica was laid. ... And yet it remains a living place, it is not a museum, it is a spiritual organism, and the stones also reflect this vitality."

  Benedict XVI thanked the staff of the Fabric for the work they carry out "with commitment and competence, so that this 'heart' of the Church ... can continue to 'beat' with perennial vitality, drawing to herself men and women of the entire world and helping them to enjoy a spiritual experience that marks their lives."

  Pope Benedict concluded: "Thanks to your efforts, ... many people are able to draw fruit from their pilgrimage or visit to the Vatican Basilica, and take away in their hearts a message of faith and hope."

 

NOTIFICATION CONCERNING THE WORKS OF FR. JON SOBRINO

VATICAN CITY, MAR 14, 2007 (VIS) - This morning, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a Notification concerning certain works of Fr. Jon Sobrino S.J. According to the note, which has been made public in various languages including English, these works "contain propositions which are either erroneous or dangerous and may cause harm to the faithful."

  The Notification continues: "Fr. Sobrino manifests a preoccupation for the poor and oppressed, particularly in Latin America. This preoccupation certainly is shared by the whole Church.

  "The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its Instruction on Christian liberty and liberation 'Libertatis conscientia,' indicated that 'human misery drew the compassion of Christ the Savior to take it upon Himself and to be identified with the least of His brethren,' and that 'the preferential option for the poor, far from being a sign of particularism or sectarianism, manifests the universality of the Church's being and mission. This option excludes no one. This is the reason why the Church cannot express this option by means of reductive sociological and ideological categories which would make this preference a partisan choice and a source of conflict.'

  "Previously, this same Congregation in its Instruction on some aspects of liberation theology, 'Libertatis nuntius,' observed that the warnings about this theological trend contained in that document were not able to be interpreted as a reproach to those who wish to be faithful to a 'preferential option for the poor,' nor could they be an excuse for those who remain indifferent to the grave problems of human misery and injustice.

  "The citations clearly show the position of the Church with regard to this complex problem: 'The evil inequities and oppression of every kind which afflict millions of men and women today openly contradict Christ's Gospel and cannot leave the conscience of any Christian indifferent.

  "'The Church, in her docility to the Spirit, goes forward faithfully along the paths to authentic liberation. Her members are aware of their failings and their delays in this quest. But a vast number of Christians, from the time of the Apostles onwards, have committed their powers and their lives to liberation from every form of oppression and to the promotion of human dignity. The experience of the saints and the example of so many works of service to one's neighbor are an incentive and a beacon for the liberating undertakings that are needed today'."

  The Notification from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith then goes on to affirm that "after a preliminary examination of the books 'Jesucristo liberador. Lectura histórico-teológica de Jesús de Nazaret' (Jesus the Liberator) and 'La fe en Jesucristo. Ensayo desde las víctimas' (Christ the Liberator) by Fr. Jon Sobrino, S.J., the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, because of certain imprecisions and errors found in them, decided to proceed to a more thorough study of these works in October 2001. Given the wide distribution of these writings and their use in seminaries and other centers of study, particularly in Latin America, it was decided to employ the 'urgent examination' as regulated by articles 23-27 of 'Agendi Ratio in Doctrinarum Examine.'

  "As a result of this examination, in July 2004 a list of erroneous or dangerous propositions found in the above-mentioned books was sent to the author through Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

  "In March of 2005, Fr. Jon Sobrino sent a 'Response to the text of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith' to the Congregation. This response was studied in the Ordinary Session of the Congregation on November 23, 2005. It was determined that, although the author had modified his thought somewhat on several points, the response did not prove satisfactory since, in substance, the errors already cited in the list of erroneous propositions still remained in this text."

  "For this reason, it was decided to publish this Notification, in order to offer the faithful a secure criterion, founded upon the doctrine of the Church, by which to judge the affirmations contained in these books or in other publications of the author."

  "The Congregation does not intend to judge the subjective intentions of the author, but rather has the duty to call attention to certain propositions which are not in conformity with the doctrine of the Church. These propositions regard: (1) the methodological presuppositions on which the author bases his theological reflection, (2) the Divinity of Jesus Christ, (3) the Incarnation of the Son of God, (4) the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God, (5) the Self-consciousness of Jesus, and (6) the salvific value of His Death.

  "The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the audience granted to the ... Cardinal Prefect on October 13, 2006, approved this Notification, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published."

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, MAR 14, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Ludovikus Simanullang O.F.M. Cap., provincial of the Friars Minor Capuchins in Sibolga as bishop of Sibolga (area 26,413, population 2,284,170, Catholics 197,383, priests 63, religious 182), Indonesia. The bishop-elect was born in Sogar, Indonesia in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1983.

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