April 22, 2015

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- General audience: man and woman, complementary and of the same divine substance

- On Earth Day, the Pope invites us to see the world through God's eyes

- Pope Francis' trip to Cuba confirmed

- Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue: make space for dialogue with Muslims, now more than ever

- Other Pontifical Acts

- Notice

General audience: man and woman, complementary and of the same divine substance

Vatican City, 22 April 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis dedicated his catechesis at today's Wednesday general audience to the second chapter of Genesis, in which we read that God created man as the culmination of all Creation and placed him in a beautiful garden so that he could cultivate it. “The Holy Spirit, who inspires all the Bible, suggests for a moment the image of man alone, without woman”, said the Pontiff. “And it suggests the thought of God, almost the sentiments of God as He watches him, as He observes Adam alone in the garden: he is free, he is the master, but … he is alone. And God sees that this is not good; it is a lack of communion, a lack of fullness. 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him'”.

When after presenting all the other creatures, God finally presents woman to Adam, “the man joyfully recognises that creature, and only her, to be part of him: 'bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh'. Finally there is reflection, reciprocity. The woman is not a replica of man; she comes directly from God's gesture of creation. Indeed, the image of the 'rib' does not imply inferiority or subordination, but on the contrary, that man and woman are of the same substance and are complementary. And the fact that, again in the parable, God forms woman while man is sleeping, underlines that she is in no way a creation of man, but of God”.

God's trust in man and woman, to whom He entrusts the earth, is generous, direct and full. “He trusts them. But here there is the evil one who introduces suspicion, incredulity and distrust into their minds. And finally, they arrive at the point of disobeying the commandment that protects them. They give in to the delirium of omnipotence that contaminates everything and destroys harmony”.

“Sin generates diffidence and division between man and woman. Their relationship is undermined by a thousand forms of abuse and subjection, of deceptive seduction and humiliating arrogance, including the most tragic and violent. History bears their traces. Let us think, for instance, of the negative excesses of patriarchal culture. Think of the exploitation and commodification of the female body in the media in contemporary culture. But let us also think of the recent epidemic of distrust, scepticism and even hostility that is spreading in our culture – starting in particular from a comprehensible diffidence on the part of women – with regard to the alliance between man and woman that is able, at the same time, to refine the intimacy of communion and safeguard the dignity of difference”.

“If we do not find a wave of sympathy for this alliance, able to protect new generations from distrust and indifference, the children who come into the world will be increasingly rooted in it”, warned the bishop of Rome. “The social devaluation of the stable and generative alliance of man and woman is certainly a loss for all. We must restore honour to marriage and the family”.

“The stewardship of this alliance of man and woman, even if they are sinners and wounded, confused and humiliated, distrustful and uncertain, is therefore for us as believers a demanding and exciting vocation. The account of creation and sin, at the end, offers us a beautiful image: 'And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them'. It is an image of tenderness towards the couple, sinners as they were, that leaves us speechless. It is an image of the paternal protection of the human couple. God Himself cares for and protects His finest creation”, concluded the Pope.

On Earth Day, the Pope invites us to see the world through God's eyes

Vatican City, 22 April 2015 (VIS) – In the multi-lingual greetings at the end of today's catechesis, the Pope addressed among others the Polish pilgrims who tomorrow celebrate the solemnity of St. Adalbert, whose martyrdom more than a thousand years ago formed the foundation of his church and his nation. St. John Paul II described him as an “incomparable inspiration for those who today work to build a Europe renewed in the faith of her cultural and religious roots”. “May the heavenly protection of the patron of Poland confirm you in your faith and intercede for the peace and development of your homeland”.

Addressing the Italian faithful present, he also mentioned that today is Earth Day, and he urged all to “see the world through the eyes of God the Creator: the earth is the environment to protect and the garden to cultivate. The relationship between man and nature must not be governed by greed, manipulation and exploitation, but rather should preserve the divine harmony between creatures and creation, in the logic of respect and care, to place it at the service of our brothers and for future generations”.

Pope Francis' trip to Cuba confirmed

Vatican City, 22 April 2015 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., today issued the following declaration:

“I am able to confirm that the Holy Father Francis, having received and accepted the invitation from the civil authorities and bishops of Cuba, has decided to pay a visit to the island before his arrival in the United States for the trip announced some time ago”.

Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue: make space for dialogue with Muslims, now more than ever

Vatican City, 22 April 2015 (VIS) – The following is the full text of a Declaration published this morning by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue:

“The events of recent times cause many of us to ask: 'Is there still space for dialogue with Muslims?'. The answer is: yes, more than ever.

Firstly because the great majority of Muslims themselves do not identify with the current acts of barbarism.

Unfortunately today the word 'religious' is often associated with the word 'violence', whereas believers must demonstrate that religions are required to be heralds of peace and not violence.

To kill in the name of religion is not only an offence to God, but it is also a defeat for humanity. On 9 January 2006 Pope Benedict XVI, addressing the Diplomatic Corps and speaking about the danger of clashes between civilisations and in particular organised terrorism, affirmed that 'No situation can justify such criminal activity, which covers the perpetrators with infamy, and it is all the more deplorable when it hides behind religion, thereby bringing the pure truth of God down to the level of the terrorists’ own blindness and moral perversion'.

Unfortunately in recent days we have witnessed a radicalisation of community and religious discourse, with the consequent risks of increasing hatred, violence, terrorism and the growing and commonplace stigmatisation of Muslims and their religion.

In such a context we are called upon to strengthen fraternity and dialogue. Believers have formidable potential for peace, if we believe that man was created by God and that humanity is a single family; and even more so if we believe, as we Christians do, that God is Love. Continuing to engage in dialogue, even when experiencing persecution, can become a sign of hope. Believers do not wish to impose their vision of humanity and of history, but rather seek to propose respect for differences, freedom of thought and religion, the protection of human dignity, and love for truth.

We must have the courage to review the quality of family life, the methods of teaching religion and history, and the contain of sermons in our places of worship. Above all, family and schools are the key to ensuring that tomorrow’s world will be based on mutual respect and brotherhood.

Uniting our voice to that of Pope Francis, we say: 'any violence which seeks religious justification warrants the strongest condemnation because the Omnipotent is the God of life and peace. The world expects those who claim to adore God to be men and women of peace who are capable of living as brothers and sisters, regardless of ethnic, religious, cultural or ideological differences' (Ankara, 28 November 2014)”.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 22 April 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Eduardo Pinheiro Da Silva, S.D.B., auxiliary of the archdiocese of Campo Grande, Brazil, as bishop of Jaboticabal (area 5,175, population 486,000, Catholics 366,000, priests 66, permanent deacons 1, religious 88), Brazil.

Yesterday, 21 April, the Holy Father appointed Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, U.S.A., as apostolic administrator “sede vacante” of the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

Notice

Vatican City, 22 April 2015 (VIS) – We inform our readers that tomorrow, feast day of St. George, patron of the Holy Father, the Vatican Information Service Bulletin will not be transmitted. Service will resume on Friday 24 April.

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