June 16, 2010

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY:


SUNDAY EUCHARIST AND THE WITNESS OF CHARITY

VATICAN CITY, 16 JUN 2010 (VIS) - At 7.30 p.m. yesterday in the basilica of St. John Lateran the Pope inaugurated the diocesan congress of Rome, which has as its theme this year: "'Their eyes were opened, they recognised Him and announced Him'. The Sunday Eucharist and the witness of charity". The congress is being held from 15 to 17 June.

  "The faith", said Benedict XVI, "can never be taken for granted, because each generation needs to receive this gift through announcement of the Gospel and knowledge of the truth that Christ revealed to us. Thus the Church constantly strives to present the heritage of the faith to everyone. This also includes the doctrine on the Eucharist". Unfortunately, though, this doctrine "is insufficiently understood in its profound significance and in the relevance it has for believers' lives. It is important, therefore, for people to have a more profound knowledge of the mystery of the Body and Blood of the Lord".

  On the subject of the Mass, the Holy Father highlighted how, "when it is celebrated with respect for liturgical norms, and with adequate attention for the importance of signs and gestures, it favours and promotes the growth of Eucharistic faith". In this context, he invited everyone "to rediscover the fruitfulness of Eucharistic adoration, ... and to ensure that our apostolic activity is not reduced to sterile activism; rather, that it be a testament to the love of God".

  "Drawing nourishment from Him, we free ourselves from the bonds of individualism. And through our communion with Him, we ourselves become, all together, a single unit, His mystical Body. Thus we overcome the differences due to profession, social class or nationality because we discover that we are all members of one large family, that of the children of God in which each individual is blessed with a specific grace for the common good".

  "When we receive Christ", the Holy Father explained, "the love of God expands inside us, radically modifying our hearts and making us capable of gestures which, by the contagious power of goodness, can transform the lives of people around us".

  "For the disciples of Jesus", he went on, "witness of charity is not some passing sentiment; quite the contrary, it shapes their lives in all circumstances". At this point the Pope encouraged people to show "commitment in the delicate and vital area of education in charity, as a permanent dimension of individual and community life.

  "Our city of Rome", he added, "calls Christ's disciples to a renewed announcement of the Gospel and to a clearer witness of charity". He also expressed his gratitude "to the people who work in various charitable structures, for the dedication and generosity with which they serve the poor and marginalised".

  The Eucharist "requires us to become, and at the same time makes us capable of becoming, the bread broken for our brothers and sisters, meeting their needs and giving of ourselves. For this reason, a Eucharist celebration that does not lead us towards men and women where they live, work and suffer, to bring them the love of God, fails to express the truth it contains".

  "In the present economic and social crisis, let us show solidarity with those who live in poverty, offering everyone the hope of a better tomorrow worthy of mankind", the Holy Father concluded.

  Finally, the Pope invited young people not to be afraid "to chose love as the supreme rule of life, .. to love Christ in the priesthood, ... to create Christian families that live a faithful and indissoluble love, open to life".

 

THOMAS AQUINAS: INTER-RELATION OF PHILOSOPHY, THEOLOGY

VATICAN CITY, 16 JUN 2010 (VIS) - In his catechesis during this morning's general audience, Benedict XVI continued his presentation of the figure of St. Thomas Aquinas, "a theologian of such importance that the study of his works was explicitly recommended by Vatican Council II", he said. He also recalled how in 1880 Leo XIII declared him as patron of Catholic schools and universities.

  The Pope noted how Thomas Aquinas focused on the distinction between philosophy and theology. This was because in his time, in the light of Aristotelian and Platonic thought on the one hand, and the philosophy of the Church Fathers on the other, "the burning question was whether ... a philosophy elaborated without reference to Christ and the world of faith, and that elaborated bearing Christ and the world of faith in mind, were compatible or mutually exclusive".

  "Thomas", the Holy Father explained, "was firmly convinced that they were compatible, and that the philosophy elaborated without Christ was awaiting only the light of Jesus in order to be made complete. The novelty of Thomas, what determined his path as a thinker, was this: to demonstrate the independence of philosophy and theology, and at the same time their inter-relation".

  For the "Doctor Angelicus", the Pope went on, "faith consolidates, integrates and illuminates the heritage of truth acquired by human reason. The trust St. Thomas places in these two instruments of knowledge (faith and reason) can be explained by his conviction that both come from a single wellspring of truth, the divine Logos which works in the area of both creation and redemption".

  Having established the principle of reason and faith, St. Thomas makes it clear that they follow different cognitive processes: "Reason accepts a truth by virtue of its intrinsic evidence, either mediated or direct; faith, on the other hand, accepts a truth on the basis of the authority of the revealed Word of God".

  "This distinction ensures the autonomy of the human sciences, ... and the theological sciences. However this does not mean a separation; rather, it implies mutual and advantageous collaboration. Faith, in fact, protects reason from any temptation to mistrust in its own capacities and stimulates it to open itself to ever broader horizons".

  "Reason too, with the means at its disposal, can do something important for faith, offering it a triple service which St. Thomas summarises thus: ... 'demonstrating the foundations of faith; using similitudes to explain the truth of faith; rebuffing the objections that arise against the faith'. The entire history of Christian theology is, in the final analysis, the exercise of this duty of the intellect, which shows the intelligibility of the faith, its inner structure and harmony, its reasonableness and its capacity to promote the good of man.

  "The correctness of theological reasoning and its true cognitive significance is based on the value of theological language which, according to St. Thomas, is principally a language of analogy", the Pope added. "Analogy recognises shared perfections in the created world and in God". Thomas based his doctrine of analogy, "not only on purely philosophical arguments, but also on the fact that, with the revelation, God Himself spoke to us and, thus, authorised us to speak about Him".

  The Holy Father highlighted the importance of this doctrine which, he said, "helps us overcome certain objections raised by modern atheism which denies that religious language possesses objective meaning and holds that it only has a subjective or merely emotional value. In the light of the teachings of St. Thomas, theology affirms that, however limited, religious language does have meaning".

  St. Thomas' moral theology retains great relevance in its affirmation that "the theological and moral virtues of man are rooted in human nature", said Pope Benedict. "Divine Grace accompanies, supports and encourages ethical commitment but, according to St. Thomas, all men and women, believers and non-believers, are of themselves called to recognise the requirements of human nature as expressed in natural law, and to draw inspiration therefrom when formulating positive law; that is, the laws produced by civil and political authorities to regulate human society.

  "When natural law and the responsibility it implies are denied," he added, "the way is thrown dramatically open to ethical relativism at an individual level, and to totalitarianism at a political level. Defending the universal rights of man and affirming the absolute value of the dignity of the person presupposes a foundation: and is not this foundation natural law, with the non-negotiable values it contains?".

  "Thomas", the Holy Father concluded, "presents us with a broad and trusting view of human reason. Broad, because it is not limited to the area of empirical-scientific reason but open to all of existence and therefore also to the fundamental and inescapable questions of human life; trusting, because human reason, especially if it welcomes the inspiration of Christian faith, promotes a civilisation which recognises the dignity of the person, the inviolability of his rights and the cogency of his duties".

 

PROGRESS OF PERMANENT COMMISSION HOLY SEE - ISRAEL

VATICAN CITY, 16 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel held its plenary meeting in the Vatican yesterday "in an atmosphere of mutual understanding", according to a joint communique released in the late afternoon.

  "The plenary welcomed the progress accomplished by the 'Working Level' Commission since the previous plenary, and agreed on the next steps towards conclusion of the Agreement", says the English-language communique.

  The Holy See delegation was headed by Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, under secretary for Relations with States; and the delegation of the State of Israel by Daniel Ayalon, deputy minister for foreign affairs.

  The next plenary meeting will take place on 6 December at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while the next "Working Level" meeting will be held from 27-28 July.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 16 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Erected the new diocese of Salgueiro (area 17,931, population 439,418, Catholics 351,534, priests 14, religious 22) Brazil, with territory taken from the dioceses of Petrolina and Floresta, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Olinda e Recife. He appointed Fr. Magnus Henrique Lopes O.F.M. Cap., vicar and bursar of the convent of "Santo Antonio" in Natal, Brazil, as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Acu, Brazil in 1965 and ordained a priest in 1996.

- Appointed Bishop Alessandro Carmelo Ruffinoni C.S., auxiliary of Porto Alegre, Brazil, as coadjutor of Caxias do Sol (area 11,892, population 806,000, Catholics 725,000, priests 196, religious 626), Brazil.

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