April 25, 2007

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY:


ORIGEN: MASTER AND EXEMPLARY WITNESS OF CHRISTIANITY

 VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2007 (VIS) - In today's general audience Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis to Origen of Alexandria, a third century historian and "one of the greatest writers" of Church history. The audience was held in St. Peter's Square in the presence of more than 25,000 people.

  Origen, said the Pope, "took up the legacy of Clement and carried it towards the future in such an innovative way as to effect an irreversible turn in the development of Christian thought. He was a true master ... and an exemplary witness of the doctrine he transmitted."

   The "irreversible turn" effected by Origen, said the Pope, substantially involved "grounding theology in the explanation of Scripture, in other words, the perfect symbiosis between theology and exegesis. Indeed, the characteristic of Origen's doctrine seems to lie in the constant invitation to pass from the reading to the spirit of Scripture in order to progress in knowledge of God.

   "This 'allegorism' - to use the words of Von Balthasar - coincided with the development of Christian dogma through the teaching the Doctors of the Church who, in one way or another, learned the lesson of Origen. Thus tradition and Magisterium, the foundation and guarantee of theological research, come together as 'Scripture enacted'."

   The Pope recalled how Origen's interests ranged from "exegesis to dogma, to philosophy, to apologetics, asceticism and mysticism" and represented "a fundamental and overall vision of Christian life."

   However, the "inspirational core" of Origen's work is "his three-level reading of the Bible." The first reading had "the aim of better identifying the text and presenting the most trustworthy edition. ... This is always the first step," said the Holy Father, "knowing what is written and knowing what historical scripture initially and intentionally meant."

   "In the second place, Origen systematically read the Bible ... minutely, broadly and profoundly," adding "philological and doctrinal notes. Finally, ... he dedicated himself to preaching the Bible, adapting himself to a truly assorted public."

   Also in his homilies, Origen "took advantage of every opportunity to recall the various dimensions of meaning of Sacred Scripture;" meanings that "assist or express a journey of growth in the faith. There is a literal meaning, but the literal meaning hides profundities that do not appear at first view."

   "This second dimension is the moral meaning: what we must do to live the Word." Finally, there is also a "spiritual meaning, in other words the unity of Scripture which, throughout, speaks of Christ. It is the Holy Spirit which helps us understand the Christological content, and so the unity of Scripture in its diversity."

   On this subject, Benedict XVI explained how in his recently-published book "Jesus of Nazareth" he had "sought to show ... this multidimensional aspect of the Word of Holy Scripture, which must first of all be respected in a historical sense." Although "this sense is transcended by Christ in the light of the Holy Spirit."

   Origen, the Pope continued, "effectively came to promote the 'Christian reading' of the Old Testament, responding brilliantly to the challenge of heretics, above all Gnostics and Marcionites who set the two Testaments against one another and even went so far as to reject the Old Testament."

   "I invite you," the Holy Father concluded, "to welcome in your hearts the teaching of this great master of the faith. He reminds us ... that the Church is renewed and rejuvenated in a prayerful reading of Scripture and a coherent life commitment. We pray to the Lord to give us today thinkers, theologians and exegetes who may discover this multidimensionality, this permanent relevance of Sacred Scripture."

 

APPEAL FOR SAFETY ON THE ROADS

 VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2007 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Pope reminded those present that, "by initiative of the United Nations, this week is dedicated to safety on the roads.

   "I would like," he added, "to address a word of encouragement to the public institutions that seek to maintain highways safe and to protect human life with appropriate means, and to the people who dedicate themselves to research into new technologies and strategies to reduce the many accidents on roads all over the world."

   He concluded: "As I invite people to pray for the victims, the injured and their families, it is my hope that a conscious sense of responsibility towards others may induce drivers, especially the young, to greater prudence and respect for the highway code."

 

CHRISTIANS AND BUDDHISTS: EDUCATION TO LIVE IN PEACE

 VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was the annual Message to Buddhists for the Feast of Vesakh issued by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. The Message is signed by Cardinal Paul Poupard and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, respectively president and secretary of the pontifical council.

   Followers of the Theravada Buddhist tradition in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar will celebrate Vesakh, a moveable feast which marks important events in the life of Gautama Buddha, on May 2. In other countries where the Mahayana Buddhist tradition is followed (China, Japan and Korea), the events of his life are celebrated on different days.

   The Message for Vesakh 2007 - published in English, Italian and French, and entitled "Christians and Buddhists: educating communities to live in harmony and peace" - begins: "Building a community requires concrete gestures which reflect the respect for the dignity of others. ... Yet, there are people today who still need to learn about others and other people's beliefs in order to overcome prejudices and misunderstandings."

   "Education for peace is a responsibility which must be borne by all sectors of society. Of course, this starts in ordinary homes where the family, the fundamental pillar of society, strives to transmit traditional and sound values to children by a deliberate effort to inform their consciences. The younger generations deserve and indeed thrive upon value-based education which reinforces respect, acceptance, compassion and equality."

   With reference to the communications media, the Message states: "The media's power to shape minds, especially of the young, cannot be underestimated. While the irresponsible elements within it are increasingly being recognized for what they are, it is also the case that much good can be effected through quality productions and educational programs. When people working within the media exercise their moral conscience, it is possible to dispel ignorance and impart knowledge, preserve social values, and portray the transcendental dimension of life which arises from the spiritual nature of all people."

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Willy Ngumbi M. Afr., formator of novices of the White Fathers at Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, as bishop of Kindu (area 82,883, population 500,000, Catholics 180,000, priests 21, religious 35), Democratic Republic of the Congo. The bishop-elect was born in Bujumbura, Burundi, in 1965 and ordained a priest in 1993.

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