October 8, 2008

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY OF SYNOD OF BISHOPS: 7-8 OCTOBER

OTHER NEWS:


FOURTH GENERAL CONGREGATION

VATICAN CITY, 7 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Fourth General Congregation of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops took place this afternoon in the presence of 240 Synod Fathers. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.

BISHOP MAURICE PIAT, C.S.SP. OF PORT-LOUIS, MAURITIUS. "The crisis of the transmission of the faith in the societies of Christendom can be largely explained by the fact that in these societies the Church enjoys relative security and tends to take the faith for granted, to privilege the teaching of doctrine and to neglect the Word of God in the process of transmission. If not built on the rock of the Word of God, the doctrinal and moral edifice remains founded upon sand and with difficulty resists the tsunami of modern digital culture. Hence the urgent need to find a place for the Word of God as the foundation for the life and mission of the Church. The Word becomes a foundation when it is welcomed as the event of God speaking to us about Himself, addressing us as friends and inviting us to share His life. This Word does not seek to convince the curious but to arouse faith in the hearts of the humble. Thus, in presenting the faith we are not simply transmitting a tremendous message, but an invitation united to the promise: 'come and you will see'".

BISHOP GEORGE PUNNAKOTTIL OF KOTHAMANGALAM OF THE SYRO-MALABARS, INDIA. "The Church in the patristic tradition emphasises two aspects: the ecclesial and the spiritual. Bible is the Word of God in the Church. Individuals on their own cannot discover the inspiration or decide on the canon. These are guaranteed by the Church. The Word of God is enshrined in tradition. Yet Bible does not require the backing of tradition for its authority and truth. Tradition is rooted in the Sacred Scripture and supported by the Sacred Scripture. Tradition contrary to the Bible will not stand. Bible is the primary source of doctrine and faith. Secondly, the Bible has historical and spiritual meaning. The spiritual sense is not against the literary meaning. It is based on it. Spiritual meaning is known by the 'spiritual intellect'. It is seen by the 'inner eye of faith'. Reasoning is not enough. Spiritual contemplation of the Word is required".

ARCHBISHOP ORLANDO B. QUEVEDO O.M.I. OF COTABATO, PHILIPPINES, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION OF ASIAN BISHOPS' CONFERENCES (FABC). "God spoke His Word, especially for the sake of the poor. He was their refuge and liberator. ... Incredibly, rich in a marvellous mosaic of ancient cultures and religions, we in Asia are nevertheless a continent of the poor, of economic and political imbalances, of ethnic division and conflict. Our profound sense of transcendence and harmony is being eroded by a globalising secular and materialist culture. But the Word of God in Asia is calling to the Father in the Holy Spirit thousands of small communities of the poor. And the poor in turn are heeding God's Word. In so doing they are building a 'new way of being Church' ‑ really an old way ‑ the way of the early Jerusalem community. ... For them the Word of God is faith‑empowering, urging them to participate actively within the Church and in social transformation. They are Basic Ecclesial Communities, renewing families, parishes and dioceses into vibrant communities, witnessing to the Word of God, quite often in a hostile multi‑religious environment. They are communities of solidarity and fellowship at the grassroots, effectively challenging in their own little way the modern culture of secularism and materialism".

BISHOP DESIDERIUS RWOMA OF SINGIDA, TANZANIA. "The attitude of the Church Fathers towards the Word and preaching is a challenge to us. If we speak of people being lukewarm concerning matters of our faith and the phenomenon of religious sects which are spreading at an alarming speed in many parts of the World, the causes for this can possibly be traced back to lack of good and proper preaching from the part of ministers. ... We have to go back to the mystagogical preaching of the Church Fathers, which helps the Church to bear sons and daughters, nourishing them by leading them in the mysteries of our faith".

ARCHBISHOP ANICETUS BONGSU ANTONIUS SINAGA O.F.M. CAP., COADJUTOR OF MEDAN, INDONESIA. "While we are willing that 'all ... hold fast to the Sacred Scriptures through diligent sacred reading and careful study', it is also true that while our era is privileged of Bible availability in national and vernacular languages, at the same time, especially people of our times are more lacking in reading and getting acquainted in matters of Sacred Scripture. It is desirable then that, this Bishops' Synod will committedly engage to look for ways and methods to overcome such believers' incapability and affliction".

ARCHBISHOP SALVATORE FISICHELLA, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY FOR LIFE. "Christianity is a religion of the 'word'. It is important we dedicate ourselves to creating a culture that sees Sacred Scripture as a living word, dynamically open to the truth of the revelation it contains. If we do not present this teaching in its entirety through the various instruments we possess for the formation of our people, we risk humiliating the Word of God, reducing it exclusively to a written text without that provocative power to bring meaning to life. As the Apostle says: 'the word of God is not chained'. ... In a time such as our own in which there are many persistent attempts to marginalise the sacred texts, ... identifying them as myths without any historical content and fit only for the ingenuous, it is important to rediscover ways to restore their historical value, and their provocative power concerning the meaning of life. We truly are facing an educational emergency that brings the theme of salvation to the forefront of our life of faith".

 

MEETING OF LANGUAGE GROUPS

VATICAN CITY, 8 OCT 2008 (VIS) - This morning, while the Holy Father held his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, the Synod Fathers met in language group to elect moderators and relators and begin their deliberations on the "Relatio ante disceptationem," (report before the discussion).

  The Fifth General Congregation will be held in the Synod Hall this afternoon.

 

ST. PAUL AND THE EARTHLY FIGURE OF CHRIST

VATICAN CITY, 8 OCT 2008 (VIS) - In this Wednesday's general audience Benedict XVI continued his catechesis on St. Paul. His teaching touched on the Apostle to the Gentiles' relationship with the historical figure of Jesus. The audience was given in St. Peter's Square with over 25,000 people in attendance.

  Benedict XVI affirmed that "it seems certain that Paul did not meet Jesus during His earthly life. Through the Apostles and the nascent Church he learned the details of Jesus' life and in his letters we find references to the pre-Easter Jesus". For example, "in an explicit and direct manner", the Apostle speaks of "Jesus' Davidic lineage", of the "existence of his 'brothers'", and knows what occurred at the Last Supper.

  The Pauline letters also make reference to the tradition recounted in the synoptic Gospels as "Jesus' teaching regarding the meek and poor. ... When Paul speaks of Jesus' obedience unto death(... he knows of the Passion ... of the Cross and the tradition about this Cross is already at the centre of the Pauline 'kerygma'. Paul also knows another pillar of Jesus' teaching, the Sermon on the Mount", as is evident from the Letter to the Romans.

  We also note the traces of Jesus' words in the form in which Paul transposes "the pre-Easter tradition to the situation after Easter", as in the "theme of the Kingdom of God ... that announced the mystery of Jesus and was transformed in Christology. Jesus' own instructions for entering the Kingdom of God are valid for Paul in regard to the justification by faith. Both require an attitude of humility and an openness ... in order to receive God's grace".

"Another form of transformation that is faithful to Jesus' core teaching is found in His titles. Before Easter, Jesus calls himself the 'Son of Man' ... and after Easter ... the 'Son of God'. This is why the title preferred by Paul for Jesus is 'Lord', which indicates His divinity". Paul also touches upon Christ's "salvific dimension" when he speaks of "the death of Jesus as ransom, as redemption, liberation, and reconciliation".

"In conclusion, St. Paul does not think of Jesus as a historian would; he does not see Jesus as a figure of the past. He certainly knows the tradition ... regarding His life but does not treat Him as something in the past but as the reality of the living Jesus. ... Jesus lives and speaks with us today. This is the true form of knowing Jesus and the tradition about Him".

 

POPE RECEIVES PRIME MINISTER OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA

VATICAN CITY, 8 OCT 2008 (VIS) - Following this morning's general audience, the Holy Father received Michael Somare, prime minister of Papua New Guinea.

  A communique released by the Holy See Press Office states that "during the course of the cordial meeting, attention turned to the current political and social situation of the country, and to the significant contribution made by the Catholic Church, especially in the fields of education, human promotion, and healthcare. Opinions were subsequently exchanged on certain themes concerning regional matters, including relations with neighbouring countries and the effect of climate change".

 

STATES MUST WELCOME MIGRANTS

VATICAN CITY, 8 OCT 2008 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino and Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, presented the Holy Father's Message for the 95th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which has as its theme "St. Paul Migrant, Apostle of the Peoples".

  Cardinal Martino affirmed that "the phenomenon of migration in a globalised world is becoming effectively unstoppable. The problem will not be solved by closing frontiers, but by States welcoming - with just, well-balanced and solidary regulation - the migratory flows".

  For his part, Archbishop Marchetto pointed out that "hospitality is a fundamental characteristic of the pastoral care of refugees, asylum-seekers and displaced persons. Hospitality ensures that we welcome others as persons - and in some cases also as brothers or sisters in the faith - and that we do not consider them as a cases, numbers, or mere components of the workforce".

  "Closeness to others expressed in the form of hospitality effectively contradicts a large part of the messages, lifestyles and mentalities of the modern world", he said.

  The secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People indicated that "the impression one gets is that for many years refugees have been treated with no consideration for the reasons that forced them to flee. This has also been translated into attempts to prevent their entry into States and into the adoption of measures aimed at making such entry more difficult" such as "the obligation to possess entrance visas, and the publication of lists of so-called 'safe countries'".

  "May the dedication (proof of his courage and enthusiasm) with which St. Paul the migrant carried out his mission, inspire the Church and society to find united responses to the challenges present in modern society, so as to promote peaceful coexistence among different ethnic groups, cultures and religions".

 

ST. PAUL MIGRANT, APOSTLE OF THE PEOPLES

VATICAN CITY, 8 OCT 2008 (VIS) - "St. Paul Migrant, Apostle of the Peoples" is the theme of the Message of Benedict XVI for the 95th World Day of Migrants and Refugees which is due to be celebrated on 18 January 2009. Excerpts from the text - which has been published in English, French, Italian, Spanish and German - are given below.

  "Guided by the Holy Spirit, [St. Paul] spared no effort to see that the Gospel ... was proclaimed to all, making no distinction of nationality or culture. ... His life and his preaching were wholly directed to making Jesus known and loved by all, for all persons are called to become a single people in Him.

  "This", the Message adds, "is the mission of the Church and of every baptised person in our time too, even in the era of globalisation; a mission that with attentive pastoral solicitude is also directed to the variegated universe of migrants - students far from home, immigrants, refugees, displaced people, evacuees - including for example, the victims of modern forms of slavery, and of human trafficking. Today too the message of salvation must be presented with the same approach as that of the Apostle to the Gentiles, taking into account the different social and cultural situations and special difficulties of each one as a consequence of his or her condition as a migrant or itinerant person.

  "I express the wish that every Christian community may feel the same apostolic zeal as St Paul. ... May his example also be an incentive for us to show solidarity to these brothers and sisters of ours and to promote, in every part of the world and by every means, peaceful coexistence among different races, cultures and religions".

  "In reading the Acts of the Apostles and the Letters that Paul addressed to various recipients, we perceive a model of a Church that was not exclusive but on the contrary open to all, formed by believers without distinction of culture or race: every baptised person is, in fact, a living member of the one Body of Christ. In this perspective, fraternal solidarity expressed in daily gestures of sharing, joint participation and joyful concern for others, acquires a unique prominence".

  "How can we fail to take charge of all those, particularly refugees and displaced people, who are in conditions of difficulty or hardship? How can we fail to meet the needs of those who are 'de facto' the weakest and most defenceless, marked by precariousness and insecurity, marginalized and often excluded by society? We should give our priority attention to them".

  "The World Day for Migrants and Refugees, which will be celebrated on 18 January 2009, must be for all an incentive to live brotherly love to the full without making any kind of distinction and without discrimination, in the conviction that any one who needs us and whom we can help is our neighbour. May the teaching and example of St Paul, a great and humble Apostle and a migrant, an evangeliser of peoples and cultures, spur us to understand that the exercise of charity is the culmination and synthesis of the whole of Christian life".

  "Dear brothers and sisters, let us not tire of proclaiming and witnessing to this 'Good News' with enthusiasm, without fear and sparing no energy! The entire Gospel message is condensed in love, and authentic disciples of Christ are recognised by the mutual love their bear one another and by their acceptance of all. May the Apostle Paul and especially Mary, the Mother of acceptance and love, obtain this gift for us".

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 8 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Carlos Cabrero Romero of the clergy of the archdiocese of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, pastor of the parish of "Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe", as bishop of Zacatecas (area 59,000, population 1,364,000, Catholics 1,314,000, priests 195, religious 372), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in San Luis Potosi in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1972. He succeeds Bishop Fernando Mario Chavez Ruvalcaba, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

  - Appointed Bishop Gustavo Rodriguez Vega, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Monterrey, Mexico, as bishop of Nuevo Laredo (area 19,378, population 1,000,000, Catholics 805,000, priests 67, religious 135), Mexico.

  - Appointed Fr. Claudio Nori Sturm O.F.M. Cap., minister provincial of the Capuchin province of Parana - Santa Caterina, Beazil, as bishop of Patos de Minas (area 35,072, population 550,000, Catholics 409,000, priests 68, religious 86), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Ubiretama, Brazil in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1980.

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