October 30, 2008

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY:


DIALOGUE BETWEEN CULTURES AND RELIGIONS THE DUTY OF ALL

 VATICAN CITY, 30 Oct 2008 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican Benedict XVI received a delegation of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultation with which the Holy See “for over thirty years has had regular and fruitful contacts, which have contributed to greater understanding and acceptance between Catholics and Jews”.

   “I gladly take this occasion,” said the Pope, “to reaffirm the Church’s commitment to implementing the principles set forth in the historic declaration “Nostra Aetate” of the Second Vatican Council. That declaration, which firmly condemned all forms of anti-Semitism, represented both a significant milestone in the long history of Catholic-Jewish relations and a summons to a renewed theological understanding of the relations between the Church and the Jewish People”.

   “Christians today,” the Holy Father continued, “are increasingly conscious of the spiritual patrimony they share with the people of the Torah, the people chosen by God in his inexpressible mercy, a patrimony that calls for greater mutual appreciation, respect, and love.  Jews too are challenged to discover what they have in common with all who believe in the Lord, the God of Israel, who first revealed himself through his powerful and life-giving word”.

   “In our troubled world, so frequently marked by poverty, violence, and exploitation, dialogue between cultures and religions must more and more be seen as a sacred duty incumbent upon all those who are committed to building a world worthy of man.  The ability to accept and respect one another, and to speak the truth in love, is essential for overcoming differences, preventing misunderstandings, and avoiding needless confrontations. ... A sincere dialogue needs both openness and a firm sense of identity on both sides, in order for each to be enriched by the gifts of the other”.

 

CATHOLICISM, THE CORNERSTONE OF CANADIAN SOCIETY

 VATICAN CITY, 30 OCT 2008 (VIS) - This morning the new Canadian Ambassador to the Holy See, Anne Leahy, presented her credential letters to Benedict XVI.

   In his address to the diplomat, the Holy Father first noted the words of John Paul II during his visit to Canada in 2002, when he affirmed that the Canadians were “heirs to an extraordinarily rich humanism, enriched even more by the blend of many different cultural elements. But the core of your heritage is the spiritual and transcendent vision of life based on Christian revelation which gave vital impetus to your development as a free, democratic, and caring society, recognized throughout the world as a champion of human rights and human dignity”.

   The Pope then recalled that Canada and the Holy See will soon celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations and praised that country’s vocation of “encouraging multilateral collaboration in favor of a solution to the many problems that present a challenge for humanity in this age”. The Holy Father noted in this regard, “the agreement of Canada and the Holy See, along with other countries, to support the treaty prohibiting anti-personnel land mines and to promote its adoption throughout the world. ... At the same time Canada and the Holy See, together with other nations, are making the effort to contribute to the stability, peace, and development in the Great Lakes region of Africa”.

   Quoting the words of the new ambassador, Benedict XVI reaffirmed that “Catholicism, thanks to its institutions and the culture that it promotes, represents the cornerstone of the building of Canadian society. Nevertheless, profound changes can be noticed today, which are seen in different sectors and at times cause concern to the point of asking ourselves if it does not mean a regression in the understanding of the human being. These changes mainly concern the areas of defense and the promotion of life and the family based on natural marriage”.

   In this context, “a culture of life can nourish anew the personal and social existence of Canada as a whole. “For that to happen,” the Pope said, “I believe that it is necessary to redefine the meaning of the exercise of liberty ... which is perceived more and more as an absolute value, an intangible right of the individual, regardless of the importance of the divine origins of freedom and its communal dimension. ... In this interpretation, only the individual can decide and choose the form, characteristics, and ends of life, death, and marriage”.

   “True freedom,” he observed, “is ultimately based on and develops in God. It is a gift that can be accepted as the seed from which the person and society can grow responsibly and be enriched. The exercise of this freedom implies reference to a natural moral law that is universal, which precedes and unifies all rights and duties. In this perspective, I would like to show my support to all the Canadian Bishops’ initiatives in favor of family life and thus of the dignity of the human being.

   Concluding, Benedict XVI spoke of that country’s Catholic schools, which “thanks to their contribution to the transmission of the faith to new generations, preparing them for dialogue among the different components of the nation, carry out a constant need of the Church’s mission for the good of all, and enrich Canadian society as a whole”.

 

GUIDELINES FOR USE OF PSYCHOLOGY WITH FUTURE PRIESTS

 VATICAN CITY, 30 OCT 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, the document “Guidelines for the Use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood” from the Congregation for Catholic Education was presented. The text consists of fifteen pages and was published in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Portuguese.

   Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, O.P., and Fr. Carlo Bresciani, respectively the prefect, secretary, and consultant and psychologist of the Congregation for Catholic Education took part in the press conference.

   Cardinal Grocholewski affirmed that the document highlights “the socio-cultural context that, more or less, influences the mentality of the candidates that apply to the seminary, creating, in some cases, wounds that are still unhealed or particular difficulties that could ‘condition their ability to progress along the formative path toward the priesthood’”.

   “These problems,” he said “are seen not only at the moment of entry into the seminary but, at times, also clearly manifest themselves at the moment prior to priestly ordination”.

   The cardinal stated that “the influence of the socio-cultural context as well as the need for a demanding human formation of the future priest, raise the question of the eventual use of the psychological sciences in the seminaries”.

   “This document,” he continued, “emphasizes the fundamental role of the formators and, therefore, the need of an adequate preparation in the area of vocational pedagogy”. On the other hand, he said, “in the human formation - which cannot be separated from the spiritual formation - the spiritual director has a special role”. In this sense he quoted the document where it says that “spiritual direction can in no way be substituted by forms of analysis or psychological assistance, and that the spiritual life, of itself, favors growth in the human virtues if no blocks of a psychological nature exist”.

   He then stressed another aspect that the document focuses on: “the importance of divine grace in the formation of candidates to the priesthood”. The cardinal indicated that “recourse to experts in the psychological sciences should be used only ‘in some cases’ to show the assessment of a diagnosis, or eventual therapy, or psychological support in the development of the human qualities demanded by the exercise of the ministry. These should be consulted,” he insisted, “‘si casus ferat’, meaning in exceptional cases that present particular difficulties”.

   “The aid of psychology,” he continued, “should be integrated into the candidate’s global formation in such a way that it does not hinder but rather ensures, in a particular way, the safeguarding of the inalienable value of spiritual accompaniment”. This is why, he said, “psychologists cannot be part of the formation team”.

   Cardinal Grocholewski concluded by recalling that the document “on three occasions cites canon 1052 of the C.I.C., according to which, for the bishop to proceed to ordination, he must have moral certainty that the candidate’s suitability, ‘has been positively established’ and that, in the case of a substantiated doubt, cannot proceed to ordination”.

   Archbishop Brugues asserted that “no one, not even religious or diocesans superiors, can enter into the details of candidates’ psychological profiles without having received their prior, explicit, informed, and total consent ... The psychologist cannot disclose aspects of their patients’ private lives to third parties, regardless of their authority, be it religious or political, without the free consent of the interested parties”.

   Finally, Fr. Carlo Bresciani emphasized that “with these guidelines, the Church, far from wanting to entrust to psychologists the psychological formation of candidates to the priesthood, which is and continues to be essentially of a spiritual nature, seeks to value what the human and the psychological sciences in particular can contribute to the preparation of priests with equilibrated personalities. The Church appreciates the psychological disciplines but, at the same time, wants to discipline its use in a way that it might be truly beneficial”.

 

AUDIENCES

 VATICAN CITY, 30 OCT 2008 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

 - Archbishop Geraldo Lydio Rocha, of Mariana (Brazil), President of the National Bishops’ Conference of Brazil, with Archbishop Luiz Soares Vieira, of Manaus and Bishop Dimas Lara Barbosa, auxiliary of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, respectively Vice President and General Secretary of the same organization.

 - Monsignor Walter Brandmüller, President of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 VATICAN CITY, 30 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation of Bishop Stanislas Lukumwena, O.F.M., from the pastoral care of the diocese of Kole (Democratic Republic of the Congo), in accordance with canon 401, paragraph 2, of the C.I.C.

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