November 4, 2008

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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



VATICAN CITY, 4 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The First Seminar organised by the Catholic-Muslim Forum will begin this morning in the Vatican. The Forum was established by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and by Muslim representatives in the wake of the Open Letter sent on 13 October 2007 to His Holiness Benedict XVI and to other heads of Churches and ecclesial Communities by 138 Muslim leaders, and of the reply, sent by the Cardinal Secretary of State in the Holy Father's name on 19 November 2007.

  According to a communique released by the Holy See Press Office, the theme of the Seminar - "Love of God, Love of Neighbour" - will be tackled from two main standpoints: "theological and spiritual fundamentals" and "the dignity of the human person and mutual respect". The Catholic and Muslim sides will both deliver reports on each of these sub-themes, and their statements will then be the basis for the subsequent debates. Each of the two sides in the meeting will be composed of 29 people, including experts, religious authorities and advisers.

  On the third day the participants in the Seminar are scheduled to be received in audience by the Holy Father. At 4.30 p.m. that afternoon a public session will be held in the Pontifical Gregorian University for the presentation of the Joint Declaration approved during the course of meeting. A Muslim and a Catholic representative will be present to answer any questions concerning the Seminar.



VATICAN CITY, 4 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy See and the Republic of Botswana, "being desirous of promoting bonds of mutual friendship and of strengthening international co-operation", have decided by common accord to establish diplomatic relations at the level of apostolic nunciature on the part of the Holy See and at the ambassadorial level on the part of the Republic of Botswana, conforming to the rules fixed by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 18 April 1961.

  A communique made public today announces that on 4 November, at the headquarters of the pontifical representation in Pretoria, South Africa, "notes verbale" will be exchanged and a communique signed for the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Botswana.

  Botswana is a presidential republic, part of the Commonwealth, and independent since 30 September 1966. The current president is Seretse Khama Ian Khama, who has been in office since 1 April 2008. The country has a surface area of 581,730 square kilometres and a population of 1,586,000. The Kalahari Desert covers some 70 percent of the land, while in the north-west is the Okavango Delta, the world's largest inland delta.

  The Catholic Church in Botswana is very young and small in numerical terms. Only five percent of the population are Catholic. The first missionaries reached what was then the Bechuanaland Protectorate in 1850 but only in 1928 did the Oblates of Mary Immaculate manage to found a mission and a primary school. A mission was opened in Lobate in 1930, and another in Ramotwsa in 1935. The Irish Passionist Fathers arrived after World War II. There are currently 84,000 Catholics divided between two ecclesiastical circumscriptions: the diocese of Gaborone and the apostolic vicariate of Francistown. There are 27 diocesan priests, 38 parishes, 40 regular priests, 4 unordained male religious, 77 female religious and around 300 catechists.

  Relations between Church and State are good. During the work of the assembly of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, held in Rome in October 2005, the then president of Botswana, Festus Mogae, told Cardinal Angelo Sodano, then secretary of State, of his desire to establish regular diplomatic relations with the Holy See. Thus began the process which is coming to a conclusion today.



VATICAN CITY, 4 NOV 2008 (VIS) - On 28 October Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York, participated in the second committee of the 63rd session of the U.N. General Assembly, which is examining the theme: "Protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind".

  Speaking English, the archbishop affirmed that "not only is there no opposition between the human being and the environment, but there is an established and inseparable alliance, in which the environment essentially conditions the human being's existence and development, while the latter perfects and ennobles the environment by his creative activity".

  "The responsibility to protect the climate requires us to further deepen the interactions between food security and climate change, focusing on the centrality of the human person, in particular on the most vulnerable populations, often located in rural areas of developing countries".

  Moreover, "the responsibility to protect the climate should be based on the alliance between the principles of subsidiarity and global solidarity. In a world as interconnected as today, we are witnessing the rapid expansion of a series of challenges in many areas of human life, from food crisis to financial turmoil".

  The permanent observer went on to indicate that "it should be borne in mind that the environmental question cannot be considered separately from other issues, like energy and economy, peace and justice, national interests and international solidarity".

  "Today's society cannot respond adequately to the duty connected with the responsibility to protect the environment if it does not seriously review its lifestyle, its patterns of consumption and production. There is, therefore, an urgent need to educate in ecological responsibility, based on the fact that many ethical values, fundamental for developing a peaceful society, have a direct relationship to the environmental question".



VATICAN CITY, 4 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Bishop Carlos Suarez Cazares, emeritus of Zamora, Mexico, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Morelia (area 18,000, population 2,630,000, Catholics 2,498,500, priests 510, religious 1,295), Mexico.

 - Fr. Pedro Ossandon Buljevic of the clergy of the archdiocese of Santiago de Chile, Chile, episcopal vicar for the "Zona Norte", as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Concepcion (area 11,330, population 1,189,000, Catholics 619,000, priests 127, permanent deacons 29, religious 291), Chile. The bishop-elect was born in Santiago de Chile in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1986.

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