February 12, 2010

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY: 13 - 15 FEBRUARY


ABIDE IN GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS

VATICAN CITY, 13 FEB 2010 (VIS) - Yesterday evening the Holy Father visited the Major Pontifical Seminary of Rome for the occasion of the feast of its patroness, Our Lady of Trust.

  The Pope delivered a "lectio divina" in which he reflected on chapter 15 of the Gospel of St. John, focusing particularly on the two words "abide" and "keep".

  "Meditating on the gift (that God became one with us all and, at the same time, made us one, a vine) we must also begin to pray that this mystery may increasingly penetrate our minds and our hearts, and that we become increasingly capable of seeing and living the greatness of the mystery, and thus begin to fulfil the imperative 'abide'".

  Referring to the second verb, "keep", Benedict XVI observed that it represents "the second level - the first is that of remaining - of our relationship with God, the ontological level. ... God has already given us His love, the fruit. It is not we who must produce this great fruit, Christianity is not moralism, it is not we who must achieve what God expects from the world; rather, we must first of all enter into the ontological mystery of God's giving of Himself. His being, His love, precede our action and, in the context of His Body, in the context of being in Him and identified with Him, ennobled with His Blood, we too can act with Christ".

  "The Lord says: 'I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father'. ... The novelty", the Pope explained, "is that God has made Himself known, that God has shown Himself, that God is no longer unknown, sought-after but not found. ... God has allowed Himself to be seen in the face of Christ".

  Later in his remarks the Holy Father lamented the fact that "today many people still live far from Christ, not knowing His face" and thus renewing "the eternal temptation to dualism". Dualism, he explained, holds that "there is not just one good principle, but also a bad principle, a principle of evil". And yet, he continued, "in the face of the crucified Christ we see God, we see true omnipotence not the myth of omnipotence. ... In Him, true omnipotence means loving to the extreme of suffering for us".

  In chapter 16 of John's Gospel, the Pope went on, "the Lord offers us the key to understanding the phrase: 'if you ask anything of the Father in my name, He will give it to you'. ... It means joy and if someone has found joy he has found everything and sees everything in the light of divine love".

  "From God we do not ask anything small or great, from God we invoke the divine gift of He Himself. In this sense that we must learn to pray ... to Him to give us His Spirit, that we may respond to the needs of life and help others in their suffering. ... We must increasingly learn what things we can pray for, and what things we cannot pray for because they express our selfishness ... and pride. Thus, praying before the eyes of God becomes a process of purification of our thoughts and desires. ... Only in this process of slow purification, of liberation from ourselves, ... does the true path of life and joy lie".

 

BIOETHICS: HUMAN DIGNITY AND NATURAL MORAL LAW

VATICAN CITY, 13 FEB 2010 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received in audience members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, the president of which is Archbishop Rino Fisichella. The academy is currently meeting for its annual plenary assembly.

  "The problems revolving around the question of bioethics", said the Pope, "bring the anthropological question to the fore"; this concerns "human life in its perennial tension between immanence and transcendence, and has great importance for the culture of future generations".

  Hence, he went on, "it is necessary to institute a comprehensive educational project which enables these themes to be approached from a positive, balanced and constructive standpoint, especially as regards the relationship between faith and reason.

  "Bioethical questions often throw light on the dignity of the person, a fundamental principle which faith in Jesus Christ ... has always defended, especially when it is overlooked in dealings with the most simple and defenceless people", he added. "Bioethics, like any other discipline, needs guidelines capable of guaranteeing a coherent reading of the ethical questions which inevitably emerge when faced with possible conflicts of interpretation. In this space lies the normative call to natural moral law".

  "Recognising human dignity as an inalienable right has its first foundation in that law - unwritten by the hand of man but inscribed by God the Creator in man's heart - which all juridical systems are called to recognise as inviolable, and all individuals to respect and promote. Without the basic principle of human dignity it would be difficult to find a wellspring for the rights of the person, and impossible to reach ethical judgements about those scientific advances which have a direct effect on human life".

  "When we invoke respect for the dignity of the person, it is fundamental that such respect should be complete, total and unimpeded, ... recognising that we are always dealing with a human life", said Pope Benedict. "Of course, human life has its own development and the research horizon for science and bioethics remains open, but it must be reiterated that when dealing with matters which involve human beings, scientists must never think they are dealing with inanimate and manipulable material. In fact, from its first instant, the life of man is characterised by the fact of being a human life, and for this reason it has, always and everywhere, its own dignity".

  "Conjugating bioethics and natural moral law is the best way to ensure" recognition for "the dignity that human life intrinsically possesses from its first instant to its natural end".

  The Pope also highlighted "the commitment that must be shown in the various areas of society and culture in order to ensure that human life is always recognised as an unalienable subject of law, and never as an object dependent on the whims of the powerful". In this context he pointed out that "history has shown how dangerous and damaging a State can be when it proceeds to make laws that touch the person and society, while itself claiming to be the source and principle of ethics".

  "Natural moral law", the Holy Father concluded, "is a guarantee for legislators to show true respect both for the person and for the entire order of creation. It is the catalysing source of consensus among peoples from different cultures and religions, enabling differences to be overcome by affirming the existence of an order imprinted into nature by the Creator, ... an authentic call to use ethical-rational judgement to seek good and avoid evil".

 

MEETING OF HOLY SEE - ISRAEL WORKING COMMISSION

VATICAN CITY, 13 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel met on 10 February to continue its work on an agreement pursuant to article 10 para. 2 of the Fundamental Agreement of 30 December 1993.

  According to a communique on the event, "the talks were purposeful and held in an atmosphere of great cordiality".

  The next meeting is scheduled to take place on 18 March.

 

AUDIENCES

VATICAN CITY, 13 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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

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

    - Bishop Martin Roos of Timisoara.

    - Bishop Anton Cosa of Chisinau.

 - Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

 

THE CHURCH RECOGNISES THE FACE OF JESUS IN THE POOR

VATICAN CITY, 14 FEB 2010 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI visited a shelter run by Roman diocesan Caritas at the city's main railway station, Termini. The shelter, founded twenty-three years ago to assist the poor and marginalised, has rooms, a canteen and a small medical centre.

  Addressing the occupants of the shelter, the Pope said "know that the Church loves you deeply and will not abandon you, because it recognises the countenance of Christ in each of you".

  "The witness of charity, which finds special expression in this place, belongs to the mission of the Church together with the proclamation of the Gospel. Man does not only need to be fed materially or helped to overcome moments of difficulty, but also needs to know who he is, the truth about himself and his dignity".

  The Holy Father explained how "the Church, with her service to the poor, is therefore committed to the universal announcement of the truth about man, who is loved by God and created in His image, redeemed by Christ and called to eternal communion with Him. Many people have thus been able to rediscover, and are rediscovering, their dignity, sometimes lost in tragic events, and to recover confidence in themselves and hope in the future".

  The profound certainty of being loved by God "generates in man's heart a powerful, solid, luminous hope, a hope that gives people the courage to continue on the journey of life despite the failures, difficulties and trials that accompany it".

  The Pope then mentioned the fact that his visit to the shelter was taking place during the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, called by the European Parliament and Commission. In this context he encouraged "not only Catholics, but all men and women of good will, especially those who have responsibility in public administration and in other institutions, to commit themselves to the building of a future worthy of man, rediscovering in charity the driving force for authentic development and for the creation of a more just and fraternal society".

  "In order to promote peaceful coexistence that helps men recognise themselves as members of one human family it is important that the dimensions of gift and gratuity be rediscovered as constitutive elements of daily life and interpersonal relations", he said. "This is becoming daily more urgent in a world in which the logic of profit and pursuit of one's own interests seem to prevail instead".

  Voluntary work, as it is experienced in the shelter, said Benedict XVI, "is, especially for the young, an authentic school in which to learn how to build a civilisation of love, one capable of welcoming others in all their uniqueness and difference".

  "In her service to persons in difficulty the Church is wholly moved by the desire to express her faith in the God Who defends the poor and loves every man for what he is and not for that which he possesses or achieves", the Pope concluded.

  At the end of the visit the occupants and volunteer workers of Roman diocesan Caritas presented the Holy Father with the restored crucifix from the church of St. Peter in Onna, the village most affected by last April's earthquake in the Italian region of Abruzzo. The Pope will return the crucifix to the church when restoration work there is complete.

 

JUSTICE OF GOD: THE POOR ADMITTED TO THE BANQUET OF LIFE

VATICAN CITY, 14 FEB 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, having completed his morning visit to a shelter for the poor run by Roman diocesan Caritas, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  Commenting on the Sermon on the Mount, one of the themes of today's liturgy, the Pope explained how "the Beatitudes are rooted in the fact that divine justice exists, exalting those who have been wrongly humiliated and humbling those who have exalted themselves. ... This justice, this Beatitude, will be realised in the Kingdom or Heaven, the Kingdom of God, which comes at the end of time but which is already present in history.

  "Wherever the poor are consoled and admitted to the banquet of life", he added, "there the justice of God is already manifest. This is the task the Lord's disciples are called to undertake in modern society", he said, mentioning the Caritas shelter he had visited that morning and praising "people who, all over the world, gratuitously dedicate themselves to such works of justice and love".

  Returning then to the question of justice, theme of his Message for Lent 2010, the Pope observed that "Christ's Gospel responds positively to man's thirst for justice, but in an unexpected and surprising way. Christ does not propose a social or political revolution, but a revolution of love which he has already achieved with His cross and His resurrection. It is upon these that the Beatitudes rest, opening a new horizon of justice".

  After praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI greeted certain Asian communities, such as the Vietnamese and Chinese, who are currently celebrating their New Year. "These are days of festivity, which those peoples experience as a special moment to strengthen family and generational ties", he said. "My hope is that they may all maintain and augment the rich heritage of spiritual and moral values which are deeply rooted in their culture".

  Turning then to greet Polish faithful, the Pope recalled the fact that today marks the Feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, patron saints of Europe. "The values they disseminated in our continent - the sign of the cross, the Gospel of Christ and a life lived according to the Gospel - remain the solid foundation for the spiritual strength of European people and European unity. They are important values for us too in the modern age", he concluded.

 

HOLY FATHER MEETS WITH IRISH BISHOPS

VATICAN CITY, 15 FEB 2010 (VIS) - During the course of the day the Holy Father is meeting with prelates of the Irish Episcopal Conference in the Bologna Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace. The meeting began this morning at 9.30 a.m. and is scheduled to conclude at 7 p.m.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 15 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Jude Arogundade of the clergy of Ondo, Nigeria, administrator of the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Elmsford, New York, U.S.A., as bishop of Ondo (area 15,518, population 4,403,000, Catholics 214,000, priests 87, religious 68). The bishop-elect was born in Oka-Akoko, Nigeria in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1990.

  On Saturday 13 February it was made public that he:

 - Appointed Bishop Mario Meini of Pitigliano-Sovana-Orbetello, Italy, as bishop of Fiesole (area 1,300, population 140,600, Catholics 135,600, priests 257, permanent deacons 15, religious 490), Italy. He succeeds Bishop Luciano Giovannetti, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Eugene Martin Nugent, nunciature counsellor, as apostolic nuncio to Madagascar and apostolic delegate to Comoros with functions as apostolic delegate to Reunion, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in County Clare, Ireland in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1983.

 - Appointed Fr. Paolo Mancini, pastor of the parish of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Rome, as prelate secretary of the Vicariate of Rome.

 - Appointed Bishop Dominik Duka O.P. of Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, as archbishop of Prague (area 8,990, population 2,045,957, Catholics 370,111, priests 339, permanent deacons 29, religious 578), Czech Republic. The archbishop-elect was born in Hradce Kralove in 1943, he was ordained a priest in 1970 and consecrated a bishop in 1998. He succeeds Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

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