February 8, 2010

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY: 6 - 8 FEBRUARY


GUATEMALA: EVANGELICAL VALUES ARE REASONS FOR HOPE

VATICAN CITY, 6 FEB 2010 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Alfonso Roberto Matta Fahsen, the new ambassador of Guatemala to the Holy See. In his remarks to the diplomat the Pope praised the Guatemalan people who, "with their variety of ethnicities and cultures, have a deep-rooted faith in God, an intense devotion for Most Holy Mary, and a faithful love for the Pope and the Church".

  He also mentioned Guatemala's "close and serene relations" with the Holy See, referring to next year's commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the creation of an apostolic nunciature in Guatemala, and expressing the hope that this celebration "may give fresh energy to the co-operation that exists between State and Church in your country, a co-operation founded on respect and on the autonomy of the separate spheres pertaining to each". And he added: "may honest and sincere dialogue continue, fomenting the common good of all Guatemalan society, which must pay special attention to its most disadvantaged members".

  The Pope went on: "I cannot forget those who are suffering the consequences of climatic phenomena which, in your country too, lead to increasing drought and the loss of harvests, producing malnutrition and poverty. This extreme situation has recently led the national government to declare a 'state of public calamity' and to ask for aid from the international community. I wish to express my affection and spiritual closeness to those suffering this harsh predicament, my recognition to the institutions in your country which struggle to find solutions to such serious problems, and my gratitude to the various organisations and agencies of international co-operation which are doing everything possible to mitigate famine among large sectors of the population".

  "The many human and evangelical values that enrich the hearts of your country's citizens, such as love for the family, respect for elders, sense of responsibility and, above all, trust in the God Who revealed His face in Jesus Christ, ... are important reasons for hope", he said. "From this abundant spiritual heritage you can draw the strength necessary to counteract other factors which cause the social fabric of Guatemala to decay, such as drug trafficking, violence, emigration, insecurity, illiteracy, sects and the loss of moral reference among the young generations".

  "In this decisive undertaking, the authorities of your country will always be able to rely upon the ready collaboration of the Church, in her constant efforts to open 'new and creative ways' to respond to the desolating effects of poverty, and to co-operate in ensuring the dignity all human beings", said the Holy Father. He then went on to express his recognition "for the actions being undertaken in Guatemala to consolidate guarantees for an authentic Rule of Law".

  "This process", he explained, "has to be accompanied by a solid determination, which arises from individual conversion of heart, to eliminate all forms of corruption in public institutions and administration, to reform justice so as to ensure that laws are justly applied, and to eradicate the sensation of impunity surrounding those who exercise any form of violence or disdain the most basic human rights".

  Benedict XVI also referred to certain factors that "determine the specific identity" of the Guatemalan people, factors "which can have beneficial repercussions on the political and social stability of Central America". Among these he mentioned the Constitution of Guatemala, which "guarantees the defence and legal protection of human life from conception until natural death".

  "I encourage all social players in the country, and especially those who represent the people in legislative institutions", he concluded, "to maintain and strengthen this basic element of 'the culture of life', something which will undoubtedly contribute to enriching the moral heritage of Guatemalans".

 

FAVOURING HUMAN ECOLOGY AND A NEW LIFESTYLE

VATICAN CITY, 6 FEB 2010 (VIS) - At midday today in the Vatican, the Pope received the president and staff of ACEA (Rome's municipal energy and environment firm), which has just celebrated the centenary of its foundation.

  After highlighting how "the centenary celebrations are coming to a end in a period of great difficulty characterised by a serious international crisis", the Pope underlined the importance of "ensuring greater awareness of the need for broader 'social responsibility' in the firm, giving just consideration to the needs of workers, clients, suppliers and the entire community, with particular concern for the environment. In this way", he said, "the production of goods and services will not be exclusively linked to the search for economic profit, but also to the promotion of everyone's good".

  Benedict XVI expressed his appreciation for what ACEA "has achieved in illuminating the monuments that make Rome unique in the world", and he thanked them for their help "during the celebrations for the eightieth anniversary of the foundation of Vatican City State".

  "I was happy to learn of the firm's commitment to protecting the environment through the sustainable management of natural resources, respect for the creation and the reduction of its environmental impact", he said. "It is, however, equally important to favour a human ecology capable of ensuring that the workplace and interpersonal relations are worthy of man".

  The Holy Father then went on to quote from his own Message for this year's World Day of Peace, underlining the need to adopt "a model of development based on the centrality of the human person, on the promotion and sharing of the common good, on responsibility, on a realisation of our need for a change of lifestyle".

  In closing his remarks, the Pope invited those present to follow the example of Christ, "perfect man, ... so as to grow in humanity and thus create a city with an increasingly human face, one in which each individual is seen as a person, a spiritual being who interrelates with others. Thanks also to your commitment to improve interpersonal relations and the quality of work", he concluded, "Rome may continue to carry out her role as a beacon of civilisation that has made her illustrious over the centuries".

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 6 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Novatus Rugambwa, under secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, as apostolic nuncio to Sao Tome and Principe, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Bukoba, Tanzania in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1986.

 

ANGELUS: RESPONDING TO THE DIVINE CALL

VATICAN CITY, 7 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The divine call to the priesthood was the theme of the Holy Father's remarks before praying the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square today.

  The Pope commented on the readings from today's liturgy, which focus on the human response to that call: Isaiah who felt unworthy and was purified by a seraph; the episode of the miraculous catch of fish when Peter asked Christ to leave him because he was a sinner, but then followed Him; and Paul who, after having persecuted the Church, recognised that the grace of God had worked marvels in him and decided to announce the Gospel.

  "In these three experiences", said Benedict XVI, "we see how the authentic encounter with God leads man to recognise his own poverty and inadequacy, his own limits and sin. Yet despite such fragility, the Lord, rich in mercy and forgiveness, transforms the life of men and calls them to follow Him. The humility displayed by Isaiah, Peter and Paul invites those who have received the gift of divine vocation not to focus on their own limits, but to keep their gaze fixed on the Lord and His astounding mercy, in order to convert their hearts and joyfully continue to 'abandon everything' for Him".

  "In this Year for Priests, let us ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to His harvest and to ensure that those who hear His call, following the necessary discernment, may know how to respond generously, not trusting in their own strength but opening themselves to the action of His grace. In particular", the Holy Father concluded, "I invite all priests to renew their generous daily response to the Lord's call with the same humility and faith as Isaiah, Peter and Paul".

 

ALL OF US MUST SAFEGUARD AND RESPECT LIFE

VATICAN CITY, 7 FEB 2010 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Pope mentioned the fact that today in Italy marks the Day for Life.

  "I readily associate myself", he said, "with the Italian bishops and with their message on the theme: 'The force of life, a challenge in poverty'. In this current period of economic difficulties, the effect of those mechanisms which produce poverty and create deep social inequality becomes ever more dramatic, injuring and offending life, and striking especially at the weakest and most defenceless. This situation calls on us to promote integral human development in order to overcome want and need, and above all to recall that the goal of each man and women is not wellbeing, but God Himself, and that human life must be defended and supported at every stage. No-one, in fact, is master of his own existence; rather, we are all called to safeguard and respect life, from the moment of conception until natural end".

  Benedict XVI expressed his appreciation "for those who work directly in the service of children, the sick and the elderly", and noted how the diocese of Rome "dedicates particular attention to the Day for Life, extending it into the 'Week for Life and the Family'.

  "I wish this initiative success", he added in conclusion, "and encourage the activity of consultors, associations and movements, as well as of university professors who are committed to supporting life and the family".

 

COUNCIL FOR FAMILY PREPARING VADEMECUM ON MARRIAGE

VATICAN CITY, 8 FEB 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, a dicastery presided by Cardinal Ennio Antonelli. The Pope began his remarks by recalling the late Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the council for eighteen years. He then went on to remark how the dicastery's activities currently stand between the sixth World Meeting of Families, held in Mexico in 2009, and the forthcoming seventh World Meeting of Families, due to be held in the Italian city of Milan in 2012.

  The Holy Father noted how the Pontifical Council undertakes various activities "to raise awareness of the fundamental importance of the family for the life of the Church and society". Among these he mentioned the project known as "the family, subject of evangelisation", which aims "to organise a worldwide review of various experiences in the field of family pastoral care, to serve as inspiration and encouragement for new initiatives".

  He also referred to a project entitled "the family, a resource for society" which, he said, "seeks to call public attention to the benefits the family brings to society, to its cohesion and its development. Another important commitment the dicastery has", he went on, "is the compilation of a 'vademecum' of preparation for marriage" inspired by the ideas of John Paul II, who outlined how such preparation "includes three main stages: remote, proximate and immediate".

  "Remote preparation", the Holy Father explained, "concerns children, adolescents and young people. It involves the family, the parish and school, places in which people are educated to understand life as a vocation of love, a love which then takes specific form in the way of marriage or of virginity for the Kingdom of Heaven. In this period, the meaning of sexuality must progressively emerge as a capacity to relate, a positive energy to be integrated into authentic love.

  "Proximate preparation", he added, "concerns engaged couples and must be configured as an itinerary of faith and Christian life, leading to a deep knowledge of Christ and the Church, of the meaning of grace and responsibility in marriage. ... It should include a course of catechesis and of experience living in Christian communities, involving contributions from priests and other experts" as well as "the accompaniment of an exemplary Christian couple ... in a climate of friendship and prayer. It is important to take particular care that on these occasions the fiancees revive their personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, especially by listening to the Word of God, using the Sacraments and, above all, by participating in the Eucharist".

  Immediate preparation "takes place as the marriage approaches. Apart from the examination of the fiancees, as laid down by Canon Law, it could also include catechesis on the rite of marriage and its meaning, a spiritual retreat, and efforts to ensure that the celebration of marriage is seen by the faithful (and especially by those preparing for it) as a gift for the whole Church, one that contributes to her spiritual growth".

  Referring then to the theme of the plenary assembly: "the rights of child", chosen to mark the twentieth anniversary of the UN Convention on that subject, the Holy Father noted how "the Church over the centuries, following the example of Christ, has promoted the dignity and rights of children". In this context he also noted how "in various cases some of her members, acting against this commitment, have violated these rights; actions which the Church does not and will not fail to deplore and condemn. ... Jesus' harsh words against those who offend one of these little ones are an admonition to everyone never to lower the level of this respect and love".

  "The family founded on marriage between a man and a woman is the greatest help that can be given to children", said the Pope. "They want to be loved by a mother and a father who love one another, and they need to dwell, grow and live with both parents, because the maternal and paternal figures complement one another in the education of children and in the formation of their personality and identity. It is important, then, that everything possible be done to ensure they grow up in a united and stable family".

  "A troubled family environment, the division of the parents and, in particular, separation through divorce, are not without consequences for children", the Holy Father concluded. "Supporting the family and promoting its true good, its rights, its unity and stability is the best way to protect the rights and the real needs of children".

 

AUDIENCES

VATICAN CITY, 8 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences eight prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Romania, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Ioan Robu of Bucharest, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Cornel Damian.

    - Archbishop Gyorgy-Miklos Jakubinyi of Alba Iulia, apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the ordinariate for Catholics of Armenian rite resident in Romania, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Jozsef Tamas.

    - Bishop Petru Gherghel of Iasi, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Aurel Perca.

    - Bishop Laszlo Bocskei of Oradea Mare of the Latins.

    - Bishop Jeno Schonberger of Satu Mare.

  On Saturday 6 February he received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Michele Giordano, archbishop emeritus of Naples, Italy.

 - Bishop Kurt Koch of Basel, Switzerland.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

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