February 25, 2008

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY: FEBRUARY 23 - 25


EDUCATING PEOPLE IN GOODNESS IS POSSIBLE IN OUR OWN TIMES

 VATICAN CITY, 23 FEB 2008 (VIS) - In a ceremony held in St. Peter's Square at midday today, Benedict XVI symbolically presented families, teachers and young people with the letter he wrote on 21 January to the diocese and city of Rome concerning the vital importance of education.

   In his remarks the Holy Father recalled how "education has never been easy, and today it seems to be becoming more difficult than ever". This means that a lot of parents and teachers "renounce their duty and do not even manage to understand the true nature of the mission entrusted to them. There are, in fact, too may uncertainties, too many doubts circulating in our society and in our culture, too many distorted images propagated by the social communications media". Nonetheless, he continued, "we feel supported by a great hope, a deep trust" that "also in our own time it is possible to educate in goodness, ... and each person is called to make his or her own contribution".

   Addressing parents, teachers, priests and catechists, Benedict XVI encouraged them "joyfully to shoulder the responsibility with which the Lord entrusts you, so that the great heritage of faith and culture - which is the most authentic treasure of this our beloved city - may not be lost in the passage from one generation to another, but rather be renewed and strengthened, and become a guide and a stimulus on our journey towards the future".

   The Pope called on parents to remain firm in their love for one another and to show "a coherent witness of life" in order to help new generations "clearly to distinguish good from evil and, in their turn, to build solid rules for life that may support them through future trials. Thus you will make your children rich with that most precious and lasting inheritance which consists in the example of the daily practice of faith".

   "Your task", the Holy Father told teachers, cannot "be limited to supplying notions and information while ignoring the great question of truth, especially of the truth that can be a guide in life. ... In close association with parents, you are entrusted with the noble art of forming the individual".

   Pope Benedict then encouraged priests, religious and catechists of Roman parishes "to be trustworthy friends in whom [children and young people] can reach out and touch Jesus' friendship with them. At the same time, be sincere and courageous witnesses of the truth that makes people free and that shows the new generations the way that leads to life".

   Pointing out how education is not just the responsibility of educators, Benedict XVI reminded children and young people that they too are called "to be participants in your own moral, cultural and spiritual development. It is up to you, then, freely to welcome in your hearts, minds and lives the heritage of truth, goodness and beauty that has accumulated over the centuries and that has its cornerstone in Jesus Christ.

   "It is up to you to renew and develop this heritage, freeing it from the many lies and distortions that often make it unrecognisable and provoke diffidence and disillusionment in you". On this difficult journey, he concluded, "you are never alone. Not only are your parents, teachers, priests and friends near you, ... but above all that God Who created us and Who is the secret guest of our hearts. ... He is the true hope and the solid foundation of our lives. To Him, most of all, can we entrust ourselves".

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 VATICAN CITY, 23 FEB 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

  - Appointed Bishop Francesco Montenegro, auxiliary of Messina-Lipari-Santa Lucia del Mela, Italy, as metropolitan archbishop of Agrigento (area 3,041, population 461,000, Catholics 449,000, priests 286, permanent deacons 34, religious 502), Italy. The archbishop-elect was born in Messina in 1946, he was ordained a priest in 1969 and consecrated a bishop in 2000. He succeeds Archbishop Carmelo Ferraro, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

  - Appointed Bishop Marcelino Hernandez Rodriguez, auxiliary of Mexico, Mexico, as bishop of Orizba (area 2,012, population 551,010, Catholics 498,648, priests 73, religious 188), Mexico.

 

EVERYONE HAS AN INBORN NEED OF GOD

 VATICAN CITY, 24 FEB 2008 (VIS) - This morning the Pope visited the Roman parish of Santa Maria Liberatrice a Monte Testaccio, where he celebrated Mass.

   At the beginning of his homily, Benedict XVI recalled the fact that this year marks the centenary of the consecration of the current church. He then went on to comment on the liturgy for today, the third Sunday of Lent, and its symbolic references to water. "God", he said, "is thirsty for our faith and wants us to find the source of our true happiness in Him. The risk for all believers is that of practising an inauthentic form of religiosity, of seeking the answer to our most inmate expectations elsewhere than in the heart of God, of using God as if He were at the service of our desires and our plans".

   Referring to the Old Testament reading on the journey through the desert, the Holy Father noted how "the people, rather than abandoning themselves faithfully into His hands, insisted that God meet their expectations and requirements and, in the moment of trial, lost trust in Him.

   "How often does this happen in out lives", he added. "In how many circumstances, rather than meekly conforming ourselves to divine will, would we like God to accomplish all our designs and fulfil all our expectations. In how many occasions does our faith appear fragile, our trust weak, our religiosity contaminated by magical elements of merely earthly origin?"

   In this period of Lent in which the Church invites us "to true conversion, let us humbly and obediently welcome the warning of the responsorial Psalm: 'O that today you would listen to his voice! Do not harden your hearts'".

   Turning then to consider the Gospel account of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well in Sychar, Benedict XVI highlighted how at a certain point the woman asked Jesus for water, "thus showing how everyone has an inborn need of God and of the salvation that only He can achieve".

   "Jesus wishes to bring us, like the Samaritan woman, to profess our faith in Him forcefully, that we may then announce and testify to our fellow man the joy of meeting Him and the wonders that His Love brings to our lives".

   This Sunday's liturgy, said the Pope, encourages us "to re-examine our relationship with Jesus, to seek His face tirelessly. This is indispensable so that you, dear friends, may continue - in a new cultural and social context - the work of evangelisation and of human and Christian education that has been carried out in this parish for more than a century".

   "Open your hearts to that pastoral missionary activity which encourages each Christian to go out and meet people - in particular young people and families - in the places where they live, work and spend their free time, in order to announce to them God's merciful love. ... I encourage you to persevere in you commitment to education, which is the typical charism of all Salesian parishes".

   In a meeting held following Mass, the Pope again evoked the episode of the Samaritan woman. She, he said "may appear representative of modern mankind, of modern life. She had had five husbands and lived with another man. She made copious use of her freedom but did not become freer, rather she became emptier. But we also see that this woman had a burning desire to discover true happiness, true joy. In this context, the Pope encouraged the faithful "to continue your pastoral and missionary commitment, your dynamism, to help people today discover true freedom and true joy".

   At the end of the visit, one of the parishioners read out a Roman dialect poem in honour of the Pope. "Unfortunately", the Holy Father replied, "I do not speak the Roman dialect, but as Catholics we are all a little Roman, we carry Rome in our hearts and we understand a little of the Roman dialect".

 

OPENING THE HEART TO THE WORD OF GOD

 VATICAN CITY, 24 FEB 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square, to pray the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered below.

   On this third Sunday of Lent, said the Holy Father, "the liturgy presents us with one of the most beautiful and profound texts of the Bible: the dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman".

   "Jesus spoke of 'living water' capable of quenching thirst and of becoming, in her, a spring 'gushing up to eternal life'. He also showed that He knew details of her personal life and revealed that the hour had come to worship the one true God in spirit and in truth. Finally - something very rare - He confided to her that He was the Messiah".

   "The theme of thirst runs throughout the Gospel of John", said the Pope, "from the meeting with the Samaritan woman to the great prophecy during the Festival of Booths, and even unto the Cross when, in order to fulfil Scripture, Jesus said before dying 'I am thirsty'. ... Yes, God thirsts for our faith and our love. Like a good and merciful father He desires all possible good for us, and this good is He Himself.

   "The woman of Samaria", he added, "represents the existential dissatisfaction of people who have not found what they were seeking. She had had 'five husbands' and was living with another man. Her coming and going to the well to draw water was an expression of a repetitive and resigned existence, but that day everything changed for her thanks to her meeting with the Lord Jesus Who affected her so deeply that she abandoned the water jar and ran to tell the people in the village: 'Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done!" He cannot be the Messiah, can he?'"

   Benedict XVI invited the faithful to open their hearts "to a trusting perception of the Word of God so that, like the Samaritan woman, we may meet Jesus Who reveals His love to us and says: the Messiah is your Saviour, 'I am he, the one who is speaking to you'. May Mary, the first and perfect disciple of the Word made flesh, obtain this gift for us".

   Following the Angelus, the Pope referred to "recent floods that have devastated extensive coastal areas of Ecuador, causing terrible damage to add to that already caused by the eruption of the Tungurahua volcano. Entrusting the victims of this calamity to the Lord, I express my personal closeness to those experiencing moments of anguish and tribulation and I invite everyone to show fraternal solidarity so that the people of these areas may, as soon a possible, return to the normality of everyday life".

 

THE POPE CONDEMNS ALL FORMS OF DIRECT EUTHANASIA

 VATICAN CITY, 25 FEB 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father received participants in an international congress entitled: "Close by the Incurable Sick Person and the Dying: Scientific and Ethical Aspects". the even was promoted by the Pontifical Academy for Life for the occasion of their general assembly which will be held in the Vatican over coming days.

   "Death", said the Pope, "concludes the experience of earthly life, but through death there opens for each of us, beyond time, the full and definitive life. ... For the community of believers, this encounter between the dying person and the Source of Life and Love represents a gift that has a universal value, that enriches the communion of the faithful". In this context, he highlighted how all the community should participate alongside close relatives in the last moments of a person's life. "No believer", he said, "should die alone and abandoned".

   All society "is called to respect the life and dignity of the seriously ill and the dying", said the Holy Father. "Though aware of the fact that 'it is not science that redeems man', all society, and in particular the sectors associated with medical science, are duty bound to express the solidarity of love, and to safeguard and respect human life in every moment of its earthly development, especially when it is ill or in its terminal stages.

   "In more concrete terms", he added, "this means ensuring that every person in need finds the necessary support through appropriate treatments and medical procedures - identified and administered using criteria of therapeutic proportionality - while bearing in mind the moral duty to administer (on the part of doctors) and to accept (on the part of patients) those means for preserving life which, in a particular situation, may be considered as 'ordinary'".

   As for forms of treatment "with significant levels of risk or that may reasonably be judged to be 'extraordinary', recourse thereto may be considered as morally acceptable, but optional. Furthermore, it will always be necessary to ensure that everyone has the treatment they require, and that families tried by the sickness of one of their members receive support, especially if the sickness is serious or prolonged".

   Just as when a child is born family members have specific rights to take time off work, said the Pope, in the same way "similar rights must be recognised" to the relatives of the terminally ill. "A greater respect for individual human life inevitably comes through the concrete solidarity of each and all, and constitutes one of the most pressing challenges of our times".

   After noting how it is becoming ever more common for elderly people in large cities to be alone "even in moments of serious illness and when approaching death", the Holy Father noted that such situations increase pressures towards euthanasia, "especially when a utilitarian view of people has become established". In this context, he once again recalled "the firm and constant ethical condemnation of all forms of direct euthanasia, in keeping with the centuries-long teaching of the Church".

   "The synergetic efforts of civil society and of the community of believers must ensure not only that everyone is able to live in a dignified and responsible way, but also that they can face moments of trial and of death in the finest condition of fraternity and solidarity, even where death comes in a poor family or a hospital bed".

   Society, said the Holy Father must "ensure due support to families who undertake to care in the home, sometimes for long periods, sick members who are afflicted with degenerative conditions, ... or who need particularly costly assistance. ... It is above all in this field that synergy between the Church and the institutions can prove particularly important in ensuring the necessary help for human life in moments of frailty".

 

AUDIENCES

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

  - Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, apostolic nuncio to Chile.

 - Six prelates from the Episcopal Conference of El Salvador, on their "ad limina" visit:

     - Archbishop Fernando Saenz Lacalle of San Salvador, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez.

     - Bishop Luis Morao Andreazza O.F.M. of Chalatenango.

     - Bishop Miguel Angel Moran Aquino of San Miguel.

     - Bishop Romeo Tovar Astorga O.F.M. of Santa Ana, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop-elect Jose Elias Rauda Gutierrez O.F.M.

Local site Links: