Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed as members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences: Theodor Wolfgang Hansch, professor of physics at the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany and director of the "Max-Planck-Institut fur Quantenoptik," Garching, Germany, and Edward Witten, professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, U.S.A.
NA/.../HANSCH:WITTEN                            VIS 20060621 (60)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2006 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for Relations with States, delivered a statement before the first session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

  "The new Human Rights Council represents an important step in the struggle to place human beings at the center of all political activity, both national and international," said Archbishop Lajolo.

  After describing the situation of human rights in the world as "worrying," the Holy See secretary for Relations with States pointed out how in many countries those rights suffer "grave violations," and that there are governments which continue to believe that, "in the final instance, power determines the content of human rights and, consequently, they feel justified in using aberrant practices."

  "All States, members of the council, must assume their individual and collective responsibility in the defense and promotion of these rights," he added.

  Going on to refer to the most fundamental human right, the right to life, Archbishop Lajolo said that "never must a government, a group or an individual take upon themselves the right to decide on the life of a human being as if he were not a person, reducing him to the condition of an object that serves other aims, however grand or noble such aims may be."

  "A corollary of this concerns the right to freedom of belief and to religious freedom, because humans have an interior and transcendent dimension which is an integral part of their very being. To deny this dimension to is to make a serious attack against human dignity."

  "Religious freedom must be harmoniously inserted into the context of all human freedoms," said the secretary for Relations with States. "It cannot become merely arbitrary."

  "The response of the Human Rights Council to the challenges of freedom in many countries of the world, beginning with the council's own member States," Archbishop Lajolo concluded, "is a test of the credibility of the United Nations and of the entire international judicial system."
.../HUMAN RIGHTS/GENEVA:LAJOLO                    VIS 20060621 (350)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2006 (VIS) - The Apostle James the Greater was the subject of Benedict XVI's catechesis during his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square in the presence of 25,000 people.

  James the Greater, said the Pope, "was one of the three disciples privileged to be present at the most significant moments in the life of Jesus," such as the Lord's Transfiguration on Mount Tabor and His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. James "enjoyed a position of great authority within the early Church of Jerusalem over which, together with Peter, he had pastoral responsibility."

  "Son of thunder," the name that Jesus gave to James, perhaps refers "to his impetuous zeal," said the Holy Father, a characteristic the Apostle showed, among other occasions, when he wished to bid fire come down from heaven to consume a village of the Samaritans that had refused to receive the Lord. His reaction, Pope Benedict explained, "clearly showed his love for Jesus, but probably also expressed the traditional enmity between Jews and Samaritans. But Jesus had no love for violence," and reproved His disciple.

  Two important experiences in James' life were the Transfiguration and agony of Jesus. "In one case, James, with the other two Apostles, experienced glory and ecstasy, in the other, he found himself facing suffering and humiliation. The second experience was for him the occasion to correct his interpretation ... of the first. ... The Messiah , awaited by the Jewish people as a victor was, in fact, not only surrounded by honor and glory, but also by torment and weakness.

  "James was thus able to mature his faith gradually," Benedict XVI added, "discovering little by little the true messianic identity of the Master." After the Pentecost, tradition relates his evangelization of Spain, and the transfer of his body to Santiago de Compostela, which since then has been a goal of pilgrimage.

  "From James we can, then, learn many things," the Pope emphasized: "readiness to welcome the Lord's call even when He asks us to leave the 'ship' of our human certainties; enthusiasm to follow Him along the roads He indicates, over and beyond our illusory presumption; willingness to bear witness to Him with courage, even, if necessary, unto the supreme sacrifice of life."

  James "who wished to sit with his brother alongside the Master in His Kingdom, was the first of the Apostles to share in His martyrdom" when, in the middle of the first century, King Herod Agrippa 'laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the Church,' killing 'James the brother of John with the sword'."

  Following the general audience, Benedict XVI moved to the Paul VI Hall where, in a brief ceremony, he was granted honorary citizenship of the German town of Regensburg.
AG/JAMES THE GREATER/...                        VIS 20060621 (480)

Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service