January 25, 2008

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY:


CLOSE BOND BETWEEN CANON LAW AND CHURCH LIFE

 VATICAN CITY, 25 JAN 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI received participants in a congress organised by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts to mark the 25th anniversary of the Code of Canon Law.

   In his talk to them the Pope pointed out that "the 'ius ecclesiae' is not just a collection of norms produced by the ecclesial Legislator for that particular group of people who form the Church of Christ. It is, primarily, the authoritative declaration by the ecclesial Legislator of the duties and rights which are founded on the Sacraments and which, consequently, derive from what Christ Himself instituted".

   The Pope quoted a phrase used by Blessed Antonio Rosmini to the effect that "the human person is the essence of law". This, he went on, is something "we must also emphasise for Canon Law: the essence of Canon Law is the Christian individual in the Church".

   "The Church recognises that her laws have the nature and ... the pastoral function of enabling her to pursue her final aim which is that of achieving 'salus animarum'. ... In order for Canon Law to perform this vital service it must, first and foremost, be well structured. This means, on the one hand, that it must be linked to the theological foundations that give it its reasonableness and that are an essential sign of ecclesial legitimacy and, on the other, that it must it must adhere to the changeable circumstances of the history of the People of God.

   "Moreover", he added, Canon Law "must be clearly and unambiguously formulated in such a way as to remain in harmony with the other laws of the Church. Hence it is necessary to abrogate norms that have become outdated, modify those in need of correction, interpret (in the light of the living Magisterium of the Church) those that are unclear and, finally, fill any 'lacunae legis'".

   The Pope reminded the members of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts of their duty to ensure "that the activities of those structures within the Church called to dictate norms for the faithful may always reflect ... the union and communion that are characteristic of the Church".

   "The Law of the Church is, first of all, 'lex libertatis': the law that makes us free to follow Jesus", the Holy Father concluded. "Hence it is important we know how to show the People of God, the new generations and all those called to follow Canon Law, the real bond [that law] has with the life of the Church". This must be done in order "to defend the delicate interests of the things of God and to protect the rights of the weakest, ... but also in order to defend that delicate 'good' which each of the faithful has gratuitously received (the gift of faith, of the grace of God), which in the Church cannot remain without adequate legal protection".

 

THANKING GOD FOR THE FRUITS OF ECUMENICAL DIALOGUE

 VATICAN CITY, 25 JAN 2008 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received members of the joint working group of the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches.

   Addressing them in English, the Holy Father pointed out how "the World Council of Churches and the Catholic Church have enjoyed a fruitful ecumenical relationship dating back to the time of Vatican Council II The Joint Working Group, which began in 1965, has worked assiduously to strengthen the 'dialogue of life' which my predecessor, Pope John Paul II, called the 'dialogue of charity'. This co-operation has given vivid expression to the communion already existing between Christians and has advanced the cause of ecumenical dialogue and understanding.

   "The centenary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity", he added, "offers us an opportunity to thank Almighty God for the fruits of the ecumenical movement, in which we can discern the presence of the Holy Spirit fostering the growth of all Christ's followers in unity of faith, hope and love. To pray for unity is itself 'an effective means of obtaining the grace of unity', since it is a participation in the prayer of Jesus Himself. When Christians pray together, 'the goal of unity seems closer'".

   "On this day, then, we think back with gratitude to the work of so many individuals who, over the years, have sought to spread the practice of spiritual ecumenism through common prayer, conversion of heart and growth in communion. We also give thanks for the ecumenical dialogues which have borne abundant fruit in the past century".

   The Holy Father concluded his address by saying that "the reception of those fruits is itself an important step in the process of promoting Christian unity, and the Joint Working Group is particularly suited to studying and encouraging that process".

 

CONCLUSION OF MEETING OF SYNOD'S ORDINARY COUNCIL

 VATICAN CITY, 25 JAN 2008 (VIS) - Made public today was a communique concerning the sixth meeting of the Eleventh Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops. The meeting, held on 21 and 22 January, was part of preparations for the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod, due to take place from 5 to 26 October on the theme: "The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church".

   The participants in the sixth meeting, who were received by the Pope on 21 January, examined the first draft of the "Instrumentum laboris", which is the working document for the forthcoming synodal assembly and was drawn up on the basis of the numerous replies to the "Questionario". The "Questionario" was part of the original consultative document - the "Lineamenta" or draft guidelines - and the replies were sent in by the Synods of Bishops of the "sui iuris" Eastern Catholic Churches, episcopal conferences, dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the Union of Superiors General.

 

AUDIENCES

 VATICAN CITY, 25 JAN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

  - Two prelates from the Slovenian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

     - Bishop Anton Stres C.M. of Celje

     - Bishop Marjan Turnsek of Murska Sobota.

  - Cardinal Raffaele Farina S.D.B., archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church, accompanied by an entourage for the presentation of a number of works from the Vatican Apostolic Library.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 VATICAN CITY, 25 JAN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

  - Bishop Hilario Da Cruz Massinga O.F.M. of Lichinga, Mozambique, as bishop of Quelimane (area 62,557, population 847,620, Catholics 741,540, priests 58, religious 191), Mozambique.

  - Fr. Jose Elias Rauda Gutierrez O.F.M. head of the office for juridical affairs of the provincial curia of the Friars Minor Franciscans, based in Guatemala, as auxiliary of Santa Ana (area 3,272, population 1,420,810, Catholics 919,409, priests 82, permanent deacons 1, religious 110), El Salvador. The bishop-elect was born in Agua Caliente, El Salvador in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1989.

  - Fr. Joseph Hii Teck Kwong, pastor of the parish of the Immaculate Conception in Kapit, as auxiliary of Sibu (area 41,484, population 745,000, Catholics 90,000, priests 17, religious 31), Malaysia. The bishop-elect was born in Sibu in 1965 and ordained a priest in 1993.

  - Fr. Tarcicio Pusma Ibanez of the clergy of the diocese of Chulucanas, diocesan bursar, as auxiliary of Trujillo (area 25,500, population 297,000, Catholics 210,000, priests 21, religious 41), Peru. The bishop-elect was born in Nangali, Peru in 1967 and ordained a priest in 1997.

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