May 21, 2010

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY:


MODERN CULTURE RISKS FORGETTING CHRISTIAN HERITAGE

VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Yesterday evening in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI attended a concert in honour of his birthday and the anniversary of his election as Pope, offered by Kirill I, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. The concert, which included pieces by nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian composers, was played by the National Orchestra of Russia conducted by Carlo Ponti, with the Synodal Choir of Moscow and the Horn Capella of St. Petersburg.

  At the end of the concert, which was part of the initiative "Days of Russian Culture and Spirituality in the Vatican", the Holy Father listened to a message sent by Patriarch Kirill and was greeted by Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, president of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow and composer of one of the pieces played during the concert. The Pope then pronounced a brief address.

  "Deep in these works", he said, "is the soul of the Russian people, and therewith the Christian faith, both of which find extraordinary expression in divine liturgy and in the liturgical chants with which it is always accompanied. There is, in fact, a close and fundamental bond between Russian music and liturgical chant. It is in the liturgy and from the liturgy that a large part of the artistic creativity of Russian musicians is released and expressed, giving life to masterpieces which deserve to be better known in the West".

  Such nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian composers as Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov "treasured the rich musical-liturgical heritage of Russian tradition, re-modelling it and harmonising it with musical themes and experiences of the West. ... Music, then, anticipates and in some way creates encounter, dialogue and synergy between East and West, between tradition and modernity.

  "It was of just such a unified and harmonious vision of Europe that the Venerable John Paul II was thinking when, referring to the image of the 'two lungs' suggested by Vjaceslav Ivanovic Ivanov, he expressed his hope in a renewed awareness of the continent's profound and shared cultural and religious roots, without which today's Europe would be deprived of a soul or, at least, victim of a reduced and partial vision".

  "Modern culture, particularly in Europe, runs the risk of amnesia, of forgetting and thus abandoning the extraordinary heritage aroused and inspired by Christian faith, which is the essential framework of the culture of Europe, and not only of Europe. The Christian roots of the continent are, in fact, made up not only of religious life and the witness of so many generation of believers, but also of the priceless cultural and artistic heritage which is the pride and precious resource of the peoples and countries in which Christian faith, in its various expressions, has entered into dialogue with culture and the arts".

  "Today too these roots are alive and fruitful in East and West, and can in fact inspire a new humanism, a new season of authentic human progress in order to respond effectively to the numerous and sometimes crucial challenges that our Christian communities and societies have to face: first among them that of secularism, which not only impels us to ignore God and His designs, but ends up by denying the very dignity of human beings, in view of a society regulated only by selfish interests".

  The Holy Father concluded: "Let us again let Europe breathe with both lungs, restore a soul not only to believers, but to all peoples of the continent, promote trust and hope, rooting them in the millennial experience of the Christian faith. The coherent, generous and courageous witness of believers must not now be lacking, so that together we may look to our shared future, a future in which the freedom and dignity of all men and women are recognised as a fundamental value, in which openness to the Transcendent, the experience of faith, is recognised as an essential element of the human being".

 

PRESIDENT OF DOMINICAN REPUBLIC RECEIVED BY BENEDICT XVI

VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Leonel Antonio Fernandez Reyna, president of the Dominican Republic. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "During the cordial discussions appreciation was expressed for the great contribution the Church makes to the development of the country, especially in the fields of education and healthcare where she particularly concerns herself with the most needy. Emphasis was then given to the importance of continuing to promote human life, from conception until natural death.

  "Subsequently, opinions were exchanged on the Dominican authorities' commitment to combating the social problems that afflict the country.

  "As the conversation continued, attention turned to the international and regional situation, in which context the Dominican Republic's role in organising humanitarian aid to Haiti was highlighted".

 

WE NEED AUTHENTICALLY CHRISTIAN POLITICIANS

VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received participants in the twenty-fourth plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity who are currently meeting to examine the theme: "Witnesses to Christ in the political community".

  The Pope told them that, although the "technical formation of politicians" is not part of the Church's mission, she reserves the right to "pass moral judgment in those matters which regard public order when the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls require it".

  "It is up to the lay faithful to show - in their personal and family life, in social cultural and political life - that the faith enables them to read reality in a new and profound way, and to transform it", he said.

  "It is also the duty of the laity to participate actively in political life, in a manner coherent with the teaching of the Church, bringing their well-founded reasoning and great ideals into the democratic debate, and into the search for a broad consensus among everyone who cares about the defence of life and freedom, the protection of truth and the good of the family, solidarity with the needy, and the vital search for the common good".

  The Holy Father went on: "There is a need for authentically Christian politicians but, even more so, for lay faithful who bear witness to Christ and the Gospel in the civil and political community. This need must be reflected in the educational prospectus of the ecclesial community and requires new forms of presence and support from pastors. Christian membership of associations, ecclesial movements and new communities can be a good school for such disciples and witnesses, supported by the charismatic, community, educational and missionary resources of those groups".

  The Pope explained how "the spread of a confused cultural relativism, and of a utilitarian and hedonistic individualism weakens democracy and favours the dominance of strong powers. We must recover and reinvigorate authentic political wisdom; be demanding in what concerns our own sphere of competency; make discriminating use of scientific research; face reality in all its aspects, going beyond any kind of ideological reductionism or utopian dream; show we are open to true dialogue and collaboration, bearing in mind that politics is also a complex art of equilibrium between ideals and interests, but never forgetting that the contribution of Christians can be decisive only if knowledge of faith becomes knowledge of reality, the key to judgement and transformation. What is needed is a true 'revolution of love'".

 

POPE MEETS WITH MEMBERS OF PONTIFICAL MISSIONARY WORKS

VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican the Holy Father received participants in the ordinary assembly of the superior council of the Pontifical Missionary Works, a body which depends on the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

  Evangelisation "is an immense mission", the Pope told them, "especially in our own time in which humankind is suffering from a certain lack of reflection and wisdom, and we are seeing the spread of a humanism that excludes God. For this reason, it is urgently necessary to illuminate emerging problems with the unchanging light of the Gospel".

  Preaching the Gospel "is a priceless service the Church can offer humankind on its journey through history", the Holy Father told the members of the Pontifical Missionary Works, whom he described as "an eloquent and living sign of the catholicity of the Church, which takes concrete form in the universal scope of the apostolic mission 'to the ends of the earth', and 'to the end of the age', so that no people or environment may be without the light and grace of Christ. This is the meaning, the historical trajectory, the mission and the hope of the Church", he said.

  "The mission to announce the Gospel to all peoples" involves making "critical judgement on the global transformations that are bringing substantial changes to the culture of humankind. The Church, present and at work on geographical and anthropological frontiers, carries a message which enters into history as she proclaims the inalienable values of the person, announcing God's plan of salvation made visible and operational in Christ. The preaching of the Gospel is the call to freedom of the children of God, for a more just and united society".

  Those who participate in Christ's mission must inevitably "face trials, contrasts and suffering because they clash with the powers of this world", said Benedict XVI. Like the Apostle Paul "we have no arms other than the Word of Christ and His Cross". Thus the "ad gentes" mission requires the Church and missionaries "to accept the consequences of their ministry: evangelical poverty, which gives them the freedom to preach the Gospel courageously and frankly; non-violence, by which they respond to evil with good; and willingness to give their life for the name of Christ and the love of mankind".

  "It is from the Holy Spirit that the Church's announcement and apostolic ministry receive authority", the Pope explained. "Evangelisation needs Christians with their arms raised to God in prayer, Christians aware that conversion to the world of Christ is not something we produce, but something given to us".

  The Holy Father concluded his remarks by thanking the members of the Pontifical Missionary Works for "stimulating the missionary conscience of the particular Churches, encouraging them to... form and send out missionaries and help the young Churches".

 

AUDIENCES

VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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