December 3, 2008

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY:


ORIGINAL SIN: EVIL IS SUBORDINATE TO GOOD

 VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2008 (VIS) - In his general audience this morning, Benedict XVI continued his series of catecheses on the teachings of St. Paul. Addressing the 7,000 people gathered in the Paul VI Hall, he explained how the Apostle of the Gentiles, comparing the figures of Adam and Christ in his Letter to the Romans, "traces the basic outlines of the doctrine of original sin".

   "The centre of the scene is occupied not so much by Adam and the consequences of sin on humanity, but by Jesus Christ and the grace which, through Him, was abundantly poured upon humanity".

   "If, in the faith of the Church, an awareness arose of the dogma of original sin, this is because it is inseparably connected to another dogma, that of salvation and freedom in Christ. This means that we should never consider the sin of Adam and of humankind separately, without understanding them within the horizon of justification in Christ".

   "As men and women of today we have to ask ourselves whether such a doctrine is still sustainable", said the Holy Father. "Many people think that, in the light of the history of evolution, there is no place for ... an original sin which extends through the history of humankind and that, consequently, the redemption and the Redeemer lose their foundation. Does, then, original sin exist or not?"

   The Pope explained the importance of distinguishing between two aspects of the theory of original sin, one "an empirical, tangible reality, the other relating to the mystery, the ontological foundation of the event. In effect, there is a contradiction in our being. On the one hand we know we must do good, and in our inner selves this is what we desire, yet at the same time we feel an impulse to do the opposite, to follow the path of egoism, of violence, ... though we know that this means working against good, against God and against our fellow man".

   "This inner contradiction of our being is not a theory. We all experience it every day as around us we see the second of these two wills prevail ", he said. "Suffice to think of daily news of injustices, violence, dissipation. This is a fact. From the power evil has over our souls, a foul river of evil has arisen over history, poisoning the human landscape. ... Yet at the same time this contradiction ... in our history arouses the desire for redemption. The truth is that the desire for the world to change, ... for the creation of a world of justice peace and goodness, is present everywhere".

   "The power of evil in the heart and history of humankind is undeniable, yet how do we explain it? In the history of thought, discounting Christian faith, there exits one main explanatory model with a number of variants. This model holds that human beings are inherently contradictory: they carry good and evil in themselves. ... Such dualism is insuperable ... and will always be the same".

   "In the evolutionist and atheistic view of the world ... it is held that human beings as such have, from the beginning, borne evil and good within themselves. ... Humans are not simply good, but open to good and to evil ... both of them original. Human history then, according to this view, does nothing more than follow the model present in all evolution. What Christians call original sin is only this blend of good and evil".

   "This, in the final analysis, is a vision of despair. If it is true, evil is invincible, ... all that counts is individual interest, any form of progress would necessarily be paid for with a river of evil, ... and anyone who wishes to progress would have to pay this price. ... This modern idea, in the end, can create only sadness and cynicism".

   "Again we ask ourselves: what does the faith say? ... St. Paul ... confirms the contradiction between the two natures, ... the reality of the darkness of evil weighing upon the whole of creation. Yet, in contrast to the desolation ... of dualism ... and monism, ... the faith speaks to us of two mysteries of light and one of darkness", and the mystery of darkness is "enclosed within in the mysteries of light".

   "The faith tells us that there are no two principles, one good and one evil. There is only one principle which is God the Creator and He is solely good, without shadow of evil. Hence, neither are human beings a mix of good and evil. The human being as such is good. ... This is the joyful announcement of the faith: there is but one source, a source of good, the Creator, and for this reason ... life too is good".

   "There is also a mystery of darkness, ... which does not arise from the source of being, it is not original. Evil arises from created freedom, a freedom that has been abused. How has this happened? This remains unclear. Evil is not logical. Only God and goodness are logical, only they are light. Evil remains a mystery, ... of itself illogical".

   "Evil arises from a subordinate source; God with His light is stronger. For this reason evil can be overcome, for this reason the creature ... is not only curable but is in fact cured. God introduced the cure. He personally entered history and, to counteract the permanent source of evil, placed a source of pure good: Christ crucified and risen, the New Adam Who opposes the foul river of evil with a river of light ... that remains present in history".

 

SCHOOLS, PLACES OF INTEGRAL FORMATION OF THE PERSON

 VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2008 (VIS) - Made public today was a speech by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi C.S., Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations Offices and Specialised Institutions in Geneva, for the 48th international conference on education, organised by UNESCO and held from 25 to 28 November.

   Speaking English, Archbishop Tomasi indicated that the goal of "education for all" must take into account "the needs of every person and in particular the needs of the poor and most vulnerable, of people with disabilities, of rural and of city slums youth, of young people and adults without any discrimination".

   "Educators should remain aware that they carry out their service in co-operation with parents, who are the first 'educational agency' and have the priority right and duty to educate their children. This convergence of efforts is an evident application of the basic principle of subsidiarity", he said.

   The Holy See permanent observer then went on to point out that "this educational community is called to promote a school that is a place of integral formation through interpersonal relations based on mutual respect and acceptance. In this perspective, inclusion is not an ideology that wears down all differences and loses sight of the situation of the concrete person, of her history and experiences, and that should remain at the centre of every educational programme".

   "An inclusive education embraces all children and youth in their existential context and all persons dedicated to their formation, a comprehensive process that combines transmission of knowledge and development of personality. In fact", he concluded, "the fundamental questions any person asks deal with the search for meaning, of life and history, of change and dissolution, of love and transcendence".

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

  - Appointed Fr. Francis Kalist of the clergy of Meerut, India, rector of the major seminary of Agra, India, as bishop of Meerut (area 28,696, population 29,019,350, Catholics 28,696, priests 115, religious 634). The bishop-elect was born in Ratapuram, India in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1982. He succeeds Bishop Patrick Nair, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

  - Erected the new diocese of Teotihuacan, (area 1,061, population 866,282, Catholics 779,000, priests 53, religious 72) Mexico, with territory taken from the diocese of Texcoco, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Tlalnepantla. He appointed Fr. Francisco Escobar Galicia of the clergy of Texcoco, pastor of the parish of "San Martin de las Piramides", as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Otumba, Mexico in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1983.

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