November 18, 2009

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY:


HOLY FATHER RECEIVES PRESIDENT OF BURUNDI

VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique yesterday evening.

  "This evening in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, His Holiness Benedict XVI received in audience Pierre Nkurunziza, president of the Republic of Burundi. The president subsequently went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "In the course of the meetings, which took place in a cordial atmosphere, questions of mutual interest were considered, such as the importance of dialogue and of respect for human rights, as fundamental elements in the creation of a stable society oriented towards the good of all its members. Emphasis was likewise given to the Church's commitment to contributing to the integral development of the nation of Burundi in the fields of spiritual assistance, education, healthcare and social-humanitarian work.

  "In this context, the hope was expressed for a framework agreement to define and guarantee the juridical status of the Church and her activities in the country".

 

MEDIAEVAL CATHEDRALS: HARMONIOUS BLEND OF FAITH AND ART

VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - "The Christian faith, profoundly rooted in the men and women of the Middle Ages", said the Pope in his catechesis during this morning's general audience, "not only gave rise to masterpieces of theological literature, it also inspired some of the most exalted artistic creations of all civilisation: the cathedrals".

  Apart from the more favourable historical conditions, such as greater political stability, the artistic fervour Europe witnessed over three centuries from the year 1000 was due also to "the ardour and spiritual zeal of monasticism", thanks to which the abbeys were built. There "the faithful could remain in prayer, drawn by the idea of venerating the relics of saints, which led to incessant pilgrimages", said Holy Father to the 8,000 faithful gathered in the Paul VI Hall.

  Thus the Romanesque churches and cathedrals came into being, one of the novelties of which was the introduction of sculptures which, more than seeking technical perfection, "had an educational aim. ... Their recurring theme was the representation of Christ as Judge, surrounded by the figures of the Apocalypse. In general it is the portals of Romanesque churches that present this image, underlining the fact that Christ is the Door that leads to heaven".

  Benedict XVI then turned his attention to the Gothic cathedrals of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries characterised, he said, by "their vertical thrust and luminosity". They "reveal a synthesis of faith and art, harmoniously expressed through the universal and captivating language of beauty. ... The Gothic cathedrals thus sought to translate - in their architectural lines - the longing of the soul for God", while their stained glass windows caused "a cascade of light to fall upon the faithful, recounting the story of salvation".

  "Gothic sculpture made cathedrals 'Bibles of stone', depicting the episodes of the Gospel and illustrating the passages of the liturgical year, from the Nativity to the Glorification of the Lord. ... Nor were the figures of the Old Testament overlooked, whose story thus became familiar to the faithful".

  Yet "the artistic masterpieces created in Europe over previous centuries are incomprehensible is we do not take account of the religious spirit that inspired them", said Pope Benedict. "When faith, especially as celebrated in the liturgy, encounters art, a profound harmony is created because both wish to speak of God, to make the Invisible visible". He also indicated that during his forthcoming meeting with artists, scheduled for 21 November, he will renew his "proposal of friendship between Christian spirituality and art, as expressed by my predecessors, especially ... Paul VI and John Paul II".

  "The force of the Romanesque and the splendour of Gothic cathedrals remind us that the 'via pulchritudinis', the way of beauty, is a privileged and fascinating way to approach the Mystery of God", said the Holy Father.

  "May the Lord help us", he concluded, "to rediscover this way of beauty as one of the paths, perhaps the most attractive and captivating, to encounter and to love God".

 

APPEAL TO RESPECT THE RIGHTS AND DIGNITY OF CHILDREN

VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Holy Father recalled the fact that Friday 20 November marks the United Nations Day of Prayer and Action for Children, called to mark the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  "My thoughts go", said Benedict XVI, "to all the children of the world, especially those who live in difficult conditions, and suffer because of violence, abuse, sickness, war or hunger.

  "I invite you to join my prayers. At the same time I make an appeal to the international community to increase its efforts to offer an adequate response to the dramatic problems of infancy. May a generous commitment on everyone's part not be lacking, so that the rights of children may be recognised and their dignity given ever greater respect".

 

BENEDICT XVI RECEIVES PRIME MINISTER OF BANGLADESH

VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "At the end of his general audience today, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received Sheikh Hasina, prime minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. She subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "During the cordial discussions, opinions were exchanged concerning the current situation in Bangladesh, the principal challenges facing the country, and the efforts to promote a society that is ever more open to, and respectful of, the human rights of all its citizens. Furthermore, with reference to the regular contacts between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, attention also focused on the positive and much-appreciated contribution the Catholic Church makes to human promotion and social life in the country, through her activities of education, healthcare and assistance".

 

AUDIENCES

VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in separate audiences four prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Luiz Antonio Guedes of Campo Limpo, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Emilio Pignoli.

    - Bishop Jose Moreira de Melo of Itapeva.

    - Bishop Francisco Jose Zugliani of Amparo.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Jean (John) Bosco Baremes S.M., former provincial counsellor of the province of Oceania of the Marist Fathers, as bishop of Port-Vila (area 11,870, population 230,000, Catholics 32,500, priests 24, permanent deacons 1, religious 86), Vanuatu. The bishop-elect was born in Han, Papua New Guinea in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1987.

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