April 2, 2009

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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



VATICAN CITY, 2 APR 2009 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received a second group of prelates from the Argentinean Episcopal Conference, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

   "As in many other parts of the world", the Pope told the bishops, "you in Argentina also feel a pressing need to practice an extensive and incisive evangelisation which, bearing in mind the Christian values that moulded the history and culture of your country, may lead to a spiritual and moral renaissance in your communities, and in society as a whole".

   "To evangelise is first of all to bear witness, in a simple and direct way, to God revealed by Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit. It is to bear witness that in His Son God has loved the world", said the Pope quoting words of his predecessor Paul VI. He went on: "This clear and explicit announcement of Christ as man's Saviour is part of the exhilarating search for truth, beauty and goodness which characterises human beings". For this reason "announcement and witness of the Gospel are the primary service Christians can give to individuals and the entire human race".

   "All evangelising activity springs from a threefold love: for the Word of God, for the Church and for the world. ... Through Sacred Scripture Christ makes Himself known to us in His person, His life and His doctrine". Hence, prelates must "facilitate the access of all faithful to Sacred Scripture so that, placing the Word of God at the centre of their lives, they may welcome Christ as Redeemer and His light may illuminate all areas of human existence".

   "Given that the Word of God cannot be understood separate from or outside the Church, it is important to foment a spirit of communion and faithfulness to the Magisterium, especially among those whose mission it is to transmit the Gospel message in its entirety", said the Holy Father.

   "It must be borne in mind that the primary form of evangelisation is the witness of one's own life", the Pope insisted. Then, referring specifically to priests, he indicated that "the priest has a heavy responsibility to ensure that his conduct appears irreproachable in the eyes of the faithful, closely following Christ".

   "Announcing the Gospel involves everyone in the Church, including the lay faithful who receive that mission through Baptism and Confirmation", said the Holy Father, and he encouraged the bishops "to ensure that lay people become increasingly aware of their vocation as living members of the Church and true disciples and missionaries of Christ in all things".

   Finally, Pope Benedict concluded: "How many benefits may we hope to see, also for civil society, by the resurgence of mature lay people who seek sanctity in their everyday lives, in full communion with their pastors and firm in their apostolic vocation to be evangelical ferment in the world!"



 VATICAN CITY, 2 APR 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

   "From 30 March to 1 April, the commission established by Benedict XVI in 2007 to study questions of importance concerning the life of the Catholic Church in China held its second meeting in the Vatican.

   "With intense interest and a deep-felt desire to offer service to the Church in China, the commission examined the main theme of the meeting: the formation of seminarians and of consecrated people, and the permanent formation of priests.

   "In association with the bishops of the Church in China - who bear prime responsibility for the ecclesial communities - it will be sought to promote a more adequate human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral formation of clergy and of consecrated people, who have the important task of acting as faithful disciples of Christ and as members of the Church, and of contributing to the good of their country as exemplary citizens. In this context, the words of the Holy Father Benedict XVI's 2007 Letter to Chinese Catholics shone out as guidance: 'The Church, always and everywhere missionary, is called to proclaim and to bear witness to the Gospel. The Church in China must also sense in her heart the missionary ardour of her Founder and Teacher. ... Now it is your turn, Chinese disciples of the Lord, to be courageous apostles of that Kingdom. I am sure that your response will be most generous'.

   "The participants, drawing also on their own sometimes-harsh experiences, highlighted complex problems of the current ecclesial situation in China, problems deriving not just from internal difficulties of the Church, but also from the uneasy relations with the civil authorities. In this context, news of the re-arrest of Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding was greeted with profound anguish. Situations of this kind create obstacles to that constructive dialogue with the competent authorities which, as is known, the Holy Father in his above-mentioned Letter expressed the hope might be pursued. This is not, unfortunately, an isolated case. Other ecclesiastics are also deprived of their freedom and subject to undue pressures and limitations in their pastoral activities. To all of them the participants wish to send assurances of fraternal closeness and constant prayers in this time of Lent, illuminated by the Paschal Mystery.

   "The meeting concluded with an audience with the Holy Father who, as Peter's Successor, perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity of the episcopate, underlined the importance of helping Catholics in China to tell others of the beauty and reasonableness of Christian faith, and to present it as the proposal offering the best answers from an intellectual and existential standpoint. The Pope also thanked those present for their commitment in the field of formation, and encouraged them to continue their service for the good of the Church in China".



 VATICAN CITY, 2 APR 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

  - Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

  - Two prelates from the Argentinean Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

     - Archbishop Andres Stanovnik O.F.M. Cap. of Corrientes.

     - Bishop Luis Urbanc of Catamarca.



 VATICAN CITY, 2 APR 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Rourkela, India, presented by Bishop Alphonse Bilung S.V.D., upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop John Barwa S.V.D.

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