April 18, 2007

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY:


TELEGRAM FOR VICTIMS OF VIRGINIA TECH MASSACRE

 VATICAN CITY, APR 18, 2007 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a telegram sent yesterday afternoon by Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., in the Pope's name, to Bishop Francis Xavier DiLorenzo of Richmond, U.S.A., for the killing of 32 people in a shooting incident at a technical institute in Virginia, U.S.A.

   "Deeply saddened by news of the shooting at Virginia Tech, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has asked me to convey the assurance of his heartfelt prayers for the victims, their families and for the entire school community. In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy he asks God our Father to console all those who mourn and to grant them that spiritual strength which triumphs over violence by the power of forgiveness, hope and reconciling love."

 

CLEMENT: KNOWING THE TRUTH THROUGH FAITH AND VIRTUE

 VATICAN CITY, APR 18, 2007 (VIS) - In the general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI returned to his series of catecheses on the Fathers of the Church, focussing on the figure of St. Clement of Alexandria.

   The Pope indicated that Clement was born in the mid second century, probably in Athens, whence "the great interest for philosophy which would make him one of the flag-bearers of dialogue between faith and reason in Christian tradition." He later moved to Alexandria, but abandoned the city during the persecution of 202-203 and died in Cappadocia in 215.

   His most important work is a trilogy that has provided "effective accompaniment to the spiritual maturation of Christians," said the Pope. The first part is "an exhortation addressed to those beginning the journey of faith" in which "the Logos Jesus Christ exhorts mankind to start decisively down the road of Truth." In the second part of the trilogy "Jesus Christ becomes a pedagogue, in other words educator of those who, by virtue of Baptism, have already become children of God." In the third part, Christ is "the Master Who presents the most profound teachings."

   In this way "the Clementine catechesis provides a step-by-step accompaniment to the progress of catechumens and of baptized so that, with the two 'wings' of faith and reason, they may attain an intimate knowledge of the Truth that is Jesus Christ. ... Only this knowledge of the Person Who is truth, is 'true gnosis.' "

   "Clement returns to the doctrine which holds that man's ultimate goal is to become like God. This is possible thanks to the connatural similarity with Him that man received at the moment of the creation, and by which he is already ... the image of God. This connatural similarity makes it possible to know the divine realities, to which man adheres primarily through faith." Then, "through the practice of virtue, he can develop to the point of contemplating God."

   "Two virtues adorn the heart of the 'true gnostic,' ... freedom from the passions," and love "which ensures intimate union with God." Thus "the ethical ideal of ancient philosophy, in other words freedom from the passions, is redefined by Clement and conjugated with love in the constant process of assimilation to God ".

   In this way Clement "creates the second great opportunity for dialogue between the Christian message and Greek philosophy. ... For him, the Greek philosophical tradition, almost  like the Law for the Jews, is an area of 'revelation', both being paths leading to the Logos."

   This Father of the Church, the Pope concluded, "can serve as an example to Christians, to catechists and to theologians of our time" whom John Paul II urged in his Encyclical "Fides et Ratio" to " recover and express to the full the metaphysical dimension of truth in order to enter into a demanding critical dialogue with (...) contemporary philosophical thought".

 

ANGOLA: CONTINUE THE WORK OF RECONCILIATION

 VATICAN CITY, APR 18, 2007 (VIS) - In greetings at the end of today's general audience, the Pope made particular mention of Angola, remarking how 400 years ago, during the pontificate of Paul V, the first black ambassador from a Christian kingdom in Africa came to Rome. That ambassador, the representative of the Kingdom of the Congo (modern-day Angola), was Dom Antonio Emanuel Ne Vunda, cousin of King Alvaro II.

   "I invoke the blessings of God upon the entire nation," said the Holy Father, "that each individual may contribute to consolidating the peace that was achieved five years ago, and that promised to give a voice to the people and to institute authentically democratic life. I ask everyone to persevere in the work of reconciling hearts that still bleed for the wounds of war, and I express my joy at the reconstruction in progress, as I remind the religious and civil authorities of their obligation to favor the poorest. God bless Angola!"

 

AIRPORT CHAPLAINCIES, A RESPONSE TO TERRORISM

 VATICAN CITY, APR 18, 2007 (VIS) - "Dialogue in airport chaplaincies as a response to terrorism" is the theme of the 13th world seminar of Catholic chaplains and members of civil aviation chaplaincies, due to be held in Rome from April 23 to 26.

   According to a communique made public today "the seminar, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, aims to support and encourage the pastoral efforts of those who concern themselves with this sector of human mobility."

   As an introduction to the work of the seminar, Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will present some "philosophical and theological" reflections on the subject of evil.

   Experts from the United Nations and from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will explain strategies "to protect airport structures and workers, as well as passengers and the general public."

   "The seminar," the communique goes on, "aims to contribute towards countering terrorism through ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue in the world's airports" where people from various Churches and ecclesial communities and other great religions work, and where people from different cultures and nationalities come together. In this context, "in order to help participants to discover the paths of dialogue," Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, will speak on the subject of "inter-religious dialogue to counter terrorism," and bishop Brian Farrell L.C., secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, on "ecumenical collaboration in relation to the threats of terrorism."

   The program of the seminar also includes the testimony of two chaplains: Fr. David Baratelli of the airport of Newark who will recount his experiences during and immediately after the attack on the World Trade Center in New York, and Fr. Paschal Ryan of Heathrow, who will talk about the discovery of plans for an attack against that airport.

 

AUDIENCES

 VATICAN CITY, APR 18, 2007 (VIS) - This evening, the Holy Father is due to receive in audience Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations Organization, accompanied by an entourage.

 

NOTICE

 VATICAN CITY, APR 18, 2007 (VIS) - As previously advised, no VIS bulletin will be transmitted tomorrow, Thursday April 19, the anniversary of the election of Benedict XVI and a holiday in the Vatican. Service will resume on Friday, April 20.

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