December 18, 2008

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY:


DIVERSITY IS A TEACHING, THERE IS NO NEED TO FEAR IT

 VATICAN CITY, 18 DEC 2008 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of new ambassadors to the Holy See from Malawi (Isaac Chikwekwere Lamba), Sweden (Perols Ulla Birgitta Gudmundson), Sierra Leon (Christian Sheka Kargbo), Iceland (Elin Flygenring), Luxembourg (Paul Duhr), Madagascar (Rajaonarivony Narisoa), Belize (Oscar Ayuso), Tunisia (Rafiaa Limam Baouendi), Kazakhstan (Amanzhol Zhankuliyev), Bahrain (Naser Muhamed Youssef Al Belooshi), and the Fiji Islands (Pio Bosco Tikoisuva).

   The Pope addressed them jointly in French, then gave a personal message in writing regarding their respective countries to each of them.

   "The diversity of your provenance", said the Pope, "gives me cause to thank God for His creative love and for the multiplicity of His gifts, which never cease to surprise humanity. It is a teaching. At times diversity causes fear, which is why it is not to be wondered at if human beings prefer the monotony of uniformity. Some political-economic systems, claiming pagan or religious origins, have afflicted humanity for too long, attempting to render it the same through demagogy and violence. Those systems have reduced and continue to reduce the human being to a wretched slavery at the service of a single ideology or of an inhuman and pseudo-scientific economy".

   "We all know that there is no single political model. ... Each country has a characteristic genius and some 'demons', and each progresses along a path, which is at times painful but its own, toward a future that seems bright", the Pope observed, expressing the desire that "each people cultivate the qualities that characterize it in order to enrich others and to purify its 'demons', bringing them under control so that they might defend the greatness of human dignity".

   Benedict XVI then emphasized to each that one of the essential aspects of the duties as ambassador is "the search for and promotion of peace. ... An ambassador should be a peacemaker" and "peace is not just a political or military situation without conflict; rather it is the sum of conditions that allow concord among all and the personal development of each. ... Since Christ calls the peacemakers 'children of God' ... your mission ... is noble and elevated".

   "True peace", the Holy Father continued, "is not possible unless justice reigns ... which does not just refer to the social or even ethical spheres. It does not just refer to what is equitable or in conformity with the law. The Hebrew etymology of the word refers to what 'is adjusted'. God's justice is shown in the justness that puts all things in their place, all things in order, so that the world might be adjusted to God's plan and His order".

   "The noble mission of the ambassador", the Pope concluded, "therefore consists in employing your art so that all 'might be adjusted', so that the nation you serve might live not only in peace with others but also in accordance with the justice that it shows in the equity and solidarity of its international relationships and in which its citizens, enjoying peace, might live their beliefs freely and serenely and thus achieve God's 'justness'".

   In his letter addressed to the ambassador of Malawi, the Pope stated that "Africa is increasingly aware of the urgent need for unity and cooperation in facing the challenges of the future and ensuring sound and integral development for its people". In this sense he emphasized that "political leaders must have a deep sense of their duty to advance the common good, and thus be firmly committed to dialogue and readiness to transcend particular interests in the service of the whole body politic".

   To the Swedish diplomat, the Holy Father recalled that "maintaining a balance between competing freedoms represents one of the most delicate moral challenges faced by the modern State. ... the right to be defended against discrimination is sometimes invoked in circumstances that place in question the right of religious groups to state and put into practice their strongly held convictions, for example, concerning the fundamental importance for society of the institution of marriage, understood as a lifelong union between a man and a woman, open to the transmission of life".

   Benedict XVI expressed a "great concern" to the representative of Luxembourg regarding "the text of the law on euthanasia and assisted suicide that is currently being debated in parliament". In this context the Pope highlighted "the serious duty the politicians responsible have to serve the good of the human being" and expressed the wish that the people of Luxembourg "always reaffirm the greatness and inviolable character of human life".

   In his message to the ambassador of Tunisia, the Pope stressed that "dialogue between cultures and religions is an inescapable need in our days in order to act together for peace and stability in the world and to promote a true respect of the person and of fundamental human rights. ... Building a society in which each person is recognized in their dignity also implies the respect of freedom of conscience and freedom of religion for each. The expression of authentic religious convictions is the truest sign of human freedom".

   Speaking of the positive role that religions can play in society, the Holy Father noted in his letter to the representative of Kazakhstan that "it is incumbent upon the State to guarantee full religious freedom, but it also has the duty of learning to respect what is religious, avoiding interference in matters of faith and the conscience of the citizen".

   To the ambassador of the Fiji Islands, Benedict XVI wrote that "the Pacific region faces many challenges at this time, not least the effects of climate change, especially on island populations, and the need to preserve natural resources. The beauty of God's creation is especially evident to those who live in the South Pacific".

 

VATICAN TELEVISION: SERVICE FOR COMMUNION IN THE CHURCH

 VATICAN CITY, 18 DEC 2008 (VIS) - Staff members, contributors, and advisors of Vatican Television (CTV) were received by the Holy Father this morning on the occasion of the celebration of CTV's 25th anniversary this year.

   After greeting Cardinal John Patrick Foley, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., General Director of CTV, Benedict XVI recalled the phrase "Videre Petrum" (to see the Pope) "a desire that has brought uncountable pilgrims to Rome" and which "can be fulfilled, at least in part, thanks to radio and television, which have allowed so many ... to participate in the ceremonies and events of the Vatican and the other places visited by the Pope in carrying out his ministry".

   "Your effort is, above all, a precious service for communion in the Church", added the Pope, "Your collaboration with Catholic television stations has been characteristic from your very inception" and "it is encouraging to know that not a few Catholic television stations in various regions of the world are connected to you. In this manner, a ever greater number of faithful can see, live or recorded, what happens at the center of the Church".

   "Television, however, is not seen only by Catholics. In offering your images to the major television stations of the world and the main state or commercial channels, you assist the proper and timely dissemination of information on life and the teaching of the Church in today's world, at the service of the dignity of the human being, of justice, and of dialogue and peace".

   Referring later to the transmission of liturgical ceremonies the Holy Father reaffirmed that "liturgy is truly the apex of the Church's life, the time and place of a profound relationship with God. Following the liturgical event through the attentive eye of the camera, which allows those who cannot be physically present to participate spiritually, is an arduous and noble task".

   "The images taken over the course of these years and that are now in storage make your archive an invaluable resource, not only for the production of current and future television programs, but also for the history of the Holy See and the Church. ... So that the Church might remain present with its message in the 'great Areopagus' of the mass media, as John Paul II said, and to not feel a foreigner to the places where a great many youth navigate in search of answers and meaning for their lives, you have to seek paths to spread, in new ways, the voices and images of hope through the electronic network that envelops our planet in an increasingly encompassing web".

   "Carry on!", the Pope concluded," ... Thanks to your work many people can feel closer to the heart of the Church".

 

AUDIENCES

 VATICAN CITY, 18 DEC 2008 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

 - Cardinal Peter Erdo, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, President of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences, with vice presidents: Cardinal Josip Bozanic, Archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia and Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux, France, with General Secretary Fr. Duarte da Cunha and Assistant General Secretary Fr. Ferenc Janka.

 - Archbishop Giuseppe Betori of Florence, Italy.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 VATICAN CITY, 18 DEC 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father named:

 - Monsignor Berislav Grgic, parish administrator of Oberhaching and Deisenhofen in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, Germany, as Bishop of Tromso (area 175,618, population 462,320, Catholics 1,881, priests 10, religious 31) in Norway. The bishop-elect was born in Novo Selo, Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1986.

 - Archbishop George Panikulam, Apostolic Nuncio to Ethiopia and Apostolic Delegate to Somalia, as Apostolic Nuncio to Djibouti.

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