October 15, 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: 14-15 OCTOBER

OTHER NEWS:


FIFTEENTH GENERAL CONGREGATION

VATICAN CITY, 14 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Fifteenth General Congregation of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops took place this afternoon. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.

  Following are excerpts from the speeches given:

CARDINAL ANTONIO MARIA ROUCO VARELA, ARCHBISHOP OF MADRID, SPAIN. "To make the Word of God a leaven of modern culture means keeping in mind one of its foremost characteristics, especially in Europe and America, that is to say, the immanentist concept of man and the world, without any explicit or implicit reference to God the Creator and Redeemer of man. This characteristic may be seen in particular in socio-political and juridical culture. ... Post-modernity has augmented the negative aspects of the modern concept of man, of society and of the political-juridical order, opening the way to existential nichilism and to the 'dictatorship' of ethical relativism. The legal approach to the right to life, as if the State could dispose of it in an unlimited way, is eloquent proof of this. Therefore, we need a cultural answer from the Gospel that, in a sincere dialogue between faith and reason, brings into public life the truth of God the Creator and Redeemer of man: the 'God Who is love'. Lay people must be those most actively involved".

BISHOP GASPARD MUDISO MUND'LA S.V.D., OF KENGE, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. "My intervention is about ... the preparation or formation of future priests to the biblical apostolate as an academic discipline in seminaries and institutes of religious formation. ... If the Word of God is to inspire all the pastoral ministry of the Church, we must rethink or revise formation in large seminaries and religious institutes, because the Word of God is not and cannot be a teaching subject like any other, on the same level as others. ... The biblical apostolate ... wishes believers to encounter the Lord Who addresses them and calls upon them in the concrete moments of their lives. This course could have a dual aim: (a) Raise seminarians' awareness of Scriptures as the Word of God, the source of Christian life and the instrument of the pastoral ministry; (b) help seminarians translate their knowledge of Scriptures into the daily situations of life".

H. E. MARK (SEGEJ GOLOKOV), BISHOP OF YEGORIEVSK, VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE DEPARTMENT FOR FOREIGN ECCLESIASTICAL RELATIONS OF THE PATRIARCHATE OF MOSCOW, RUSSIA. "The Orthodox Church believes it is important for the Holy Scriptures to be available to all. Reading the Bible in the Church during liturgical functions, however, represents the most valid way of hearing it. Together with the availability of biblical texts, one basic principle for understanding them is fulfilment of tradition. Orthodox theology does not deny new studies concerning the sacred texts, yet despite this we believe that the interpretation of biblical texts is closely connected to explanations left us by the Church Fathers. Faithfulness to tradition is the sure path that helps one from losing one's way among many opinions".

H.E. ARMASH (HAGOP NALBANDIAN), FIRST BISHOP OF DAMASCUS, SYRIA. "The Word of God in Armenia had already been proclaimed in the first century by the Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew who, following their missionary activity, died as martyrs. The proclamation of the Word of God in the following three centuries bore fruit to the extent that, in 301, Armenia proclaimed Christianity as its State religion, the first nation in the world to do so. ... The Armenian people, through their martyrdom, bore a witness which still today forges the Christian identity of each Armenian. The Word of God has been and is the source of hope and survival. What is the situation of the proclamation of the Word of God in Armenia today? Armenia is a post-Soviet country. What the situation during the Soviet era was is well-known. After the fall of the Soviet Union, today in Armenia, there is a spiritual awakening and a deep interest in listening to the Word of God. The number of Bible groups and of persons who attend Church is increasing".

 

SIXTEENTH GENERAL CONGREGATION

VATICAN CITY, 15 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Sixteenth General Congregation of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops took place this morning in the presence of 238 Synod Fathers. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

  Following are excerpts from the speeches given:

CARDINAL ANGELO BAGNASCO, ARCHBISHOP OF GENOA AND PRESIDENT OF THE ITALIAN EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE. "As for forming people in an informed and conscious faith, one capable of giving reason to our hope, it seems opportune to me to recall that, if it is necessary to follow the path of documented, prayerful and shared knowledge of the written word of God, it is equally necessary to follow the path of reason. Sacred Scripture includes not only supernatural truths but also natural ones, which it absorbs confirms and fulfils. There is a renewed and urgent need to maintain the unity of Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium, so that believers may achieve a better understanding of the great questions of birth and death, family and freedom, love and natural law, euthanasia, fertilisation, etc., and know also how to present them to non-believers for whom the Bible is valid only for the force of its arguments. When the Church speaks of these themes she is not meddling, she is not going beyond her evangelising mission. ... At the same time, she serves cultures and societies so that they may become more human".

CARDINAL GIOVANNI LAJOLO, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR VATICAN CITY STATE AND OF THE GOVERNORATE OF VATICAN CITY STATE. "The problem is how to bring the Word of God in a convincing manner to three categories of persons: (1) The illiterate and those who, even though they can read, do not do so. They can be easily tempted by absurd beliefs and superstitions. Ways should be studied to reach them personally, or through easily-understandable and widely-publicised audio-visual media. (2) People of a certain cultural level, sometimes a very high level, who are upset by certain parts of the Bible where, they feel, fundamental human rights are violated by the order or with the consent of God. For them the concept of inspiration in Holy Scripture should be further developed. (3) Believers in the Old Testament. For them, no purpose will be served by presenting the fulfilment of prophecies as something recognisable 'post fidem'. They need to be shown the Christian meaning of prophecies realised in Jesus the Messiah, as something recognisable 'ante fidem'".

ARCHBISHOP PAUL CREMONA O.P., OF MALTA, PRESIDENT OF THE MALTESE EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE. "I shall be speaking in the context of traditionally Catholic countries like Malta. Whenever we speak of a new evangelisation, we find a stumbling‑block. Many of our faithful still live in nostalgia of, and compare the present situation, with the model of the Church that was present 30 to 40 years ago. Since the Catholic Church has not remained in a privileged position as it was then, they live in an atmosphere of shock when the Church, or its pastors, are challenged. Many times they stand in fear of speaking openly before this, many times, hostile culture. We need to go out of this traumatic experience to enter into a new evangelisation. We have to help the faithful recognise that that kind of Church does not exist anymore, and it cannot be proposed again in this changed world. We cannot continue comparing our reality to that reality. We have to propose a new model of being Church and the model which corresponds most to today's reality is the primitive Christian community as it is described in chapters two and four of the Acts of the Apostles, and brought to life in the other writings of the New Testament. We have to compare the Church today to, and shape it on, that community".

BISHOP AUGUSTIN TRAORE OF SEGOU, MALI. "Christians in Mali are a small minority in numerical terms, but they are appreciated and respected for the witness they bear to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The quality of the life-witness of Catholics and Protestants in Mali arouses the admiration of their Muslim brothers and sisters, who often say that serious matters must be managed by Christians because the Gospel they announce brings justice and peace. Coherent witness must be promoted through increasingly fruitful collaboration between Catholic and Protestant Christian communities. The secretariat of the biblical apostolate of the Episcopal Conference of Mali decided, following its creation, to favour ecumenical dialogue in Mali ... in a spirit of ecumenism. Good relations [between Catholics and Protestants] have enabled fruitful collaboration in the formation of Bible translators, in spreading the Bible, in increasing literacy. ... Inter-religious dialogue presupposes a good knowledge of the Word of God, which is also dialogue, and favours the conditions for fruitful dialogue between the different confessions".

CARDINAL ANTONIO CANIZARES LLOVERA, ARCHBISHOP OF TOLEDO, SPAIN. "My talk refers to catechesis as one aspect of the ministry of the Word. My aim is to highlight the essential and fundamental role of catechesis in the transmission of the Word of God. The peculiarity of catechesis lies in its being a period of teaching and maturity, of living reflection on the ministry of Christ, of integral initiation (living, ordered and systematic) to the Revelation that God Himself made to man in Jesus Christ, a revelation neither isolated from life nor artificially imposed upon it, but safeguarded in the profound memory of the living Tradition of the Church. Catechesis introduces and initiates people to listening to and accepting the Word and the teachings of the Apostles in liturgy, in a moral evangelical life of charity, and in prayer. Without catechesis the majority of Christians would not be able to adapt and express the Gospel in their lives, nor to act in a missionary and apostolic way, nor to successfully face up to the spiritual and cultural tendencies of our time. Only by starting with a serious, authentic and renewed catechesis, is the Church able to explain the range of the elements and functions of her evangelising mission".

BISHOP FRANGHISKOS PAPAMANOLIS, O.F.M. CAP., OF SYROS AND MILOS, SANTORINI, PRESIDENT OF THE GREEK EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE. "I am aware of the need for institutions and of the good that can be done through diplomacy. However, it is also true that they should be re-examined and verified in the light of the Word of God, because the end does not justify the means. Studying history we find emergency decisions in the life of the Church and structural ways of behaving that could be justified in the light of a particular historical moment, but I ask myself if those decisions, remaining within the structures of the Church will continue to indicate the path of the Church forever? Especially when such structures do not stand up in the light of theological principles? For the Catholic Church, the ecumenical commitment is the main commitment for the third millennium. A commitment that cannot be limited to an exchange of invitations, visits and gifts, or all those gestures that express our desire to create unity. Desire is not enough. We have to be willing to sacrifice laws and structures to prepare for the blessed day we Christians will be united".

 

THE CHURCH, AN ASSEMBLY CALLED BY GOD IN THE WORLD

VATICAN CITY, 15 OCT 2008 (VIS) - In his general audience this Wednesday celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope continued his catechesis on St. Paul, speaking today about the Apostle and the Church.

  The Holy Father recalled that "the word 'ekklesia' in Greek comes from the Old Testament and means the assembly of the People of Israel called by God". The word Church appears for the first time in the Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, and in other Letters he speaks of the Church of God that is in Corinth and Galatia, etc., "but he also speaks of the fact that 'I have persecuted the Church of God', not a particular local community, but the Church of God".

  "The Church possesses a pluridimensional meaning: on one hand it means assemblies of God in specific places - a city, a country - but it also means the entire Church as a whole. In this way we see that the Church of God is not an association of local churches, but that these are the realisation of the one Church of God".

  Benedict XVI emphasised that "the word Church is almost always accompanied by the words 'of God'; it is not a human association of ideas and common interests but a call made by God. He has called it and therefore it is one in all its manifestations. God's unity creates the Church's unity wherever it is".

  In the Letter to the Ephesians, he continued, St. Paul "develops the concept of the unity of the Church in parallel with the concept of the People of God, Israel. ... Paul presents the one Church of God as the 'bride of Christ', ... one body and one Spirit with Christ Himself".

  "Paul knew one thing clearly: the fundamental and foundational value of Christ and of the 'word' that announces Him. Paul knew that not only do we not become Christians by force but also that, in the internal configuration of the new community, the institutional component was inevitably tied to the living 'word', the announcement of the living Christ".

  The Holy Father called attention to the fact that "the purpose of Paul's evangelical work was to establish a community of believers in Christ. We find this idea in the very etymology of the word 'ekklesia', ... which implies a call 'ab extra', not just the idea of joining together but of being called by God; believers are called by God Who unites them in a community, His Church".

  He spoke of the Pauline concept of Church as "Body of Christ". "Regarding this term it is worthwhile to remember the two dimensions of the concept: a sociological concept according to which the body is made up of its members, without which it could not exist. ... St. Paul also says that the Church is not just an organism but is truly the Body of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist in which all receive His Body, becoming truly one body ... and one spirit in Christ".

  "Paul knows and makes us understand that the Church is neither his nor ours; it is the 'Body of Christ', the 'Church of God', 'God's field', 'God's building'". This latter definition ... attributed a term commonly used to indicate a physical place seen as sacred to a web of interpersonal relations. The relationship between the Church and the temple assumes two complementary dimensions: on one hand the characteristics of purity and separation proper to the sacred building are attributed to the ecclesial community and, at the same time, the concept of a material space of divine presence is surpassed, and applied to the reality of a living faith community".

  The Pope continued, commenting that "the concept of the 'People of God', "which in St. Paul mainly applies to the people of the Old Testament, subsequently referred to pagans ... who also become the People of God thanks to their unification with Christ through the Word and the Sacraments".

  In the Letter to Timothy, the Holy Father said, "the Church is considered as the 'household of God', referring to the Church as the communal structure of interpersonal family relationships".

  "The Apostle helps us to ever deeper understanding of the mystery of the Church in its different dimensions as assembly of God in the world", he concluded. "This is the greatness of the Church and the greatness of our call".

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 15 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Marc Aillet, vicar general of Frejus-Toulon, France, as bishop of Bayonne (area 7,712, population 628,000, Catholics 450,000, priests 477, permanent deacons 7, religious 911), France. The bishop-elect was born in Parakou, Benin in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1982.

 - Accepted the resignation from the diocese of Cape Palmas, Liberia, presented by Bishop Boniface Nyema Dalieh, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop John M. Quinn, auxiliary of Detroit, U.S.A., as coadjutor of Winona (area 31,798, population 570,488, Catholics 131,280, priests 107, permanent deacons 20, religious 414), U.S.A.

 - Appointed Fr. Laurent Chu Van Minh, rector of the major seminary of Hanoi, Vietnam, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Hanoi (area 7,000, population 5,300,000, Catholics 328,725, priests 69, religious 278). The bishop-elect was born in Nam Dinh, Vietnam in 1943 and ordained a priest in 1994.

 - Appointed Fr. Pierre Nguyen Van Kham, executive secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Vietnam, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Hochiminh Ville (area 2,093, population 6,129,000, Catholics 640.437, priests 751, religious 5,442) Vietnam. The bishop-elect as born in Ha Dong, Vietnam in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1980.

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