March 14, 2008

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY:


YOUNG PEOPLE: BE BEARERS OF THE JOY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

 VATICAN CITY, 14 MAR 2008 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon in the Vatican Basilica Benedict XVI presided at a penitential liturgy with young people from Rome in preparation for the 23rd World Youth Day. The Day is due to be held in Sydney, Australia from 15 to 20 July on the theme: "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses".

   "At the roots of being Christian", the Holy Father told the young people, "is an encounter with an event, with a Person. This opens a new horizon and, with it, a decisive sense of direction". In order "to favour this encounter you are preparing to open your hearts to God, confessing your sins and - by the action of the Holy Spirit and through the ministry of the Church - receiving forgiveness and peace.

   "Thus", he added, "we make room in ourselves for the presence of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity which is the 'soul' and the 'vital breath' of Christian life. The Spirit helps us to grow 'in an understanding of Jesus that becomes ever deeper and more joyful and, at the same time, to put the Gospel into practice'", he said.

   On this subject, Pope Benedict recalled one of his own meditations on the Pentecost when he was archbishop of Munich and Freising, inspired by the film "Seelenwanderung" in which one of the characters sells his soul in exchange for worldly success. "From the moment he freed himself of his soul he no longer had any scruples or humanity", said the Pope, "providing striking evidence of how the facade of success often hides an empty life".

   "A human being cannot throw away his own soul, because it is the soul that makes him human. ... Yet he does have the frightening possibility of being inhuman, of remaining a person but at the same time selling or losing his own humanity.

   "The distance between the human person and the inhuman being is immense, yet it cannot be demonstrated; it is what is truly important, yet it is apparently without importance". Likewise, the Holy Spirit "cannot be seen with the eyes. Whether it enters into a person or not, it cannot be seen or demonstrated; but it changes and renews all the perspectives of human life. The Holy Spirit does not change the exterior situations of life, but the interior".

   "Let us then", the Holy Father continued, "prepare ourselves, with a sincere examination of conscience, to present ourselves before the people to whom Christ entrusted the ministry of reconciliation. ... Thus will we experience true joy, the joy that derives from the mercy of God, flows into our hearts and reconciles us to Him. ... Be bearers of this joy, which comes from welcoming the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and witness its fruits in your own lives".

   "Always remember that you are 'temples of the Spirit'. Allow Him to dwell in you and humbly obey His commands, in order to make your own contribution to the building of the Church and to discern the type of vocation to which the Lord calls you. ... Be generous, allow yourselves to be helped by using the Sacrament of Confession and by the practice of spiritual guidance".

   Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by recalling how 25 years ago John Paul II inaugurated the San Lorenzo Youth Centre near the Vatican "to facilitate the welcome of young people, the sharing of experiences and the witness of faith and, above all, the prayer that helps us to discover the love of God".

   On that 13 March 1983, John Paul II said: "Where can we go in this world, with sin and guilt, without the Cross? The Cross takes upon itself all the misery of the world, which is born of sin. It is the sign of grace. ... It encourages us to sacrifice ourselves for others".

   "May this experience be renewed for you today", said Benedict XVI. "Look to the Cross now, and let us accept God's love which is given to us by the Cross, by the Holy Spirit which comes from the pierced side of the Lord and, as John Paul II said: 'Yourselves become redeemers of the young people of the world'".

   During the ceremony, many of the thousands of young people present confessed with the Holy Father and with the hundreds of priests and penitentiaries from the four papal basilicas.

 

BOLIVIA: HARMONY TO OVERCOME ADVERSITY

 VATICAN CITY, 14 MAR 2008 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Carlos Federico de la Riva Guerra, the new ambassador of Bolivia to the Holy See.

   At the beginning of his address to the diplomat, the Holy Father recalled how "Bolivia's deep Christian roots have sustained its people, accompanied the vicissitudes of its history and promoted a sense of respect and reconciliation, so necessary in the difficult moments the nation has had to face".

   Bolivia, the Pope noted, "is experiencing a process of profound change which is producing difficult and at times worrying situations. ... We cannot remain indifferent when social tension is increasing and a climate unfavourable to understanding is spreading", he said.

   In this context, he indicated that "the authorities ... and the leaders of political, social and civil organisations" must seek "to promote ... the conditions necessary for dialogue and agreement. This praiseworthy aim will be facilitated if all Bolivians contribute the best of themselves with openness and diligence and, at times, not without abnegation and sacrifice".

   "In this way", he continued, "sincere and altruistic collaboration among individuals and institutions contributes to eradicating the evils afflicting the noble Bolivian people" who, he added, "have also often been affected by natural catastrophes which call for efficient measures and fraternal sentiments to help resolve their serious consequences".

   "Rebirth", said Pope Benedict, "civil and social, political and economic rebirth always calls for disinterested effort and generous commitment in support of a people who are appealing for material, moral and spiritual assistance. The attainment of peace must be based on justice, truth and freedom, and on mutual co-operation, love, and reconciliation among everyone".

   The Church, "faithful to her mission, is always ready to collaborate in pacification and in the human and spiritual development of the country, proclaiming her doctrine and publicly expressing her opinion on questions concerning the social order. Hence, while recognising the areas of responsibilities that are proper to the State, she sees her own duty as that of guiding the faithful, calling on them and on all of society to reject racial hatred, revenge and vendetta". Definitively, she calls on people to avoid "division, and to start down the path of solidarity of mutual trust and of respect for diversity".

   Benedict XVI went on: "It is necessary for the defence and safeguarding of human rights to be firmly supported by ethical values such as justice, desire for peace, honesty and transparency, as well as by effective solidarity to correct unjust social inequalities.

   "For this reason", he added, "instruction in what is morally right, in what is just and unjust (without which no society could survive), is incumbent upon education from earliest infancy. The family plays a decisive role in this task and hence must be given the necessary assistance to accomplish its mission and become the 'principal agency for peace', for the benefit of everyone".

   The Pope concluded by appealing to God that Bolivia may witness the triumph of "the truth that seeks respect for others, even those who do not share the same ideas; the peace that joins with justice and opens the doors to harmonious and stable development; the good sense that strives to find balanced and reasonable solutions to problems; and the harmony that unites wills in overcoming adversity and achieving the common good".

 

TELEGRAM FOR THE DEATH OF CHIARA LUBICH

 VATICAN CITY, 14 MAR 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram to Fr. Oreste Basso, co-president of the Focolari Movement, for the death at the age of 88 of the movement's founder Chiara Lubich. The text of the telegram is given below.

   "With deep emotion I learned the news of the pious death of Ms Chiara Lubich, which came at the end of a long and fruitful life marked by her tireless love for the abandoned Jesus. At this moment of painful separation I remain affectionately and spiritually close to her relatives and to the entire Work of Mary - the Focolari Movement which began with her - and to those who appreciated her constant commitment for communion in the Church, for ecumenical dialogue and for fraternity among all peoples. I thank the Lord for the witness of her life, spent in listening to the needs of modern man in complete faithfulness to the Church and to the Pope. And, as I commend her soul to divine goodness that she may be welcomed in the bosom of the Father, I hope that those who knew and met her, admiring the wonders that God achieved through her missionary ardour, may follow her footsteps and keep her charism alive. With such sentiments, I invoke the maternal intercession of Mary and willingly impart my apostolic blessing to everyone".

 

ARCHBISHOP TOMASI ADDRESSES U.N. SESSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

 VATICAN CITY, 14 MAR 2008 (VIS) - Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi C.S., Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations at Geneva, participated on 5 and 11 March in the seventh ordinary session of the Human Rights Council which is being held in Geneva as of 28 February.

   On 5 March, speaking in English on the subject of "the dignity of each person, root of the rights attributed to the community", Archbishop Tomasi noted how "it becomes important to clarify and identify where the source and foundation of human rights are found. In reality the very expression 'human rights' offers the key for an appropriate understanding because it deals exactly with what is 'human', that is the common link among every person and the foundation of human rights".

   On 11 March, the prelate turned his attention to the question of "special healthcare assistance to the weakest: unborn children and the seriously ill", highlighting how "no compromise can be made with a person's right to life itself, from conception to natural death, nor with that person's ability to enjoy the dignity which flows from that right".

 

AUDIENCES

 VATICAN CITY, 14 MAR 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

  - Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

  - Three prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Haiti on their "ad limina" visit:

     - Bishop Guire Poulard of Jacmel.

     - Bishop Joseph Willy Romelus of Jeremie.

     - Bishop Jean Alix Verrier of Les Cayes.

   This evening, he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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