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Friday, October 8, 2004


VATICAN CITY, OCT 8, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Bishop Friedhelm Hofmann of Wurzburg, Germany.

- Five prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Matthew Harvey Clark of Rochester.

    - Bishop William Francis Murphy of Rockville Center with Auxiliary Bishops Emil Aloysius Wcela, John Charles Dunne and Paul Henry Walsh.

- Archbishop Andres Carrascosa Coso, apostolic nuncio in the Republic of Congo and Gabon, with his family members.

- Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 8, 2004 (VIS) - Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, announced today that the council will publish the "Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church" on October 25, the opening day of its annual plenary session. The cardinal made the announcement in Bologna, Italy during an address to the participants of the 44th Social Week of Italian Catholics as they meet on the theme "Democracy: New Scenarios, New Powers."

  Speaking of the meeting's specific theme, Cardinal Martino underscored how "the vision of the human person as treated in the social Magisterium of the Church has, among other things, the merit of indicating the limits of that individualistic concept which has been the matrix of several of the most serious degenerations of the democratic ideal. ... Safeguarding the values of democracy occurs through caring for the weakest in every corner of the earth and by supporting policies attentive to the rights not just of single persons but also of peoples, respected in their history, their traditions, their customs."


VATICAN CITY, OCT 8, 2004 (VIS) - Pope John Paul's Apostolic Letter "Mane Nobiscum Domine" ("Stay with us, Lord"), addressed to the bishops, clergy and faithful of the Church on the occasion of the October 2004-October 2005 Year of the Eucharist, was presented today in the Holy See Press Office by Cardinal Francis Arinze. The Letter, in Italian and dated October 7, feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, has an introduction, four chapters and a conclusion.

  The prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments,  recalled that the Holy Father announced the celebration of a Year of the Eucharist throughout the Church during Mass at St. John Lateran Basilica on the June 10, 2004 solemnity of Corpus Christi. Calling today's 30-page Letter "beautiful and incisive," the cardinal added that it "will help guide the Church to celebrate this special year with the greatest possible fruits."

   Cardinal Arinze pointed out that "the underlying theme of the Apostolic Letter is the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus." In fact, the Apostolic Letter starts: "'Stay with us, for it is towards evening'. This was the heartfelt invitation that the two disciples, walking towards Emmaus the very evening of the Resurrection, issued to the Wayfarer who had joined them along the road. Filled with sad thoughts, they could not imagine that that stranger was their very Master, by now risen."

  "The Year of the Eucharist," he added, "will see the Church especially committed to living the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. Jesus continues to walk with us and to introduce us to the mysteries of God, opening us up to the deep meaning of Sacred Scriptures. At the summit of this encounter, Jesus breaks for us 'the bread of life'."

  "Many times during his pontificate," said the cardinal, "John Paul II has invited the Church to reflect on the Eucharist, ... especially last year in the Encyclical 'Ecclesia de Eucharistia'. ... The Pope mentions two principal events that illuminate and spell out the beginning and the end of the year of the Eucharist: the 48th International Eucharistic Congress that will be held in Guadalajara, Mexico the week of October 10 to 17 and the 11th General Assembly of the Synod of bishops which will take place in the Vatican October 2-29, 2005."

   In Chapter One, "In the Wake of Vatican II and the Jubilee," said the prefect, "the Holy Father underlines that the Year of the Eucharist strongly expresses the focus on Jesus Christ and the contemplation of His face that is marking the pastoral path of the Church, especially since Vatican Council II. In Christ, the Word made flesh, not only is the mystery of God revealed, but the mystery of man is also revealed to us." The Pope writes, in fact: "Christ is at the center not only of the history of the Church, but also the history of mankind."

  Chapter Two is entitled "The Eucharist, Mystery of Light." The cardinal pointed out that "Jesus spoke of Himself as 'the light of the world'. In the obscurity of faith, the Eucharist becomes for the believer a mystery of light because it introduces him to the depth of the divine mystery. The Eucharistic celebration nourishes the disciple of Christ with two 'meals', that of the Word of God and that of the Bread of Life. When minds are enlightened and hearts burn, signs speak. In the Eucharistic signs the mystery is in some way open to the eyes of the believer. The two disciples of Emmaus recognize Jesus as they break bread."

  Cardinal Arinze went on to explain that in Chapter Three, "'The Eucharist, Source and Sign of Communion,' the disciples of Emmaus prayed the Lord to remain 'with' them. Jesus did even more. He gave Himself in the Eucharist to remain 'in' them: 'Remain in Me and I in you'. ... Eucharistic communion promotes unity among those who receive communion. ... The Eucharist also shows ecclesial communion and calls the members of the Church to share their spiritual and material goods. ... During this Year of the Eucharist special importance must be given to Sunday Masses in parishes."

  In the final chapter, "Eucharist, Principle and Project of Mission," says the prefect, "the two disciples of Emmaus, having recognized the Lord, 'left without delay' to communicate the good news. The encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist drives every Christian to give witness, to evangelize the Church. We must thank the Lord and never hesitate to show our faith in public. The Eucharist compels us to show solidarity towards others, becoming promoters of harmony, peace, and, especially, of sharing with the needy."

  In the Conclusion, states Cardinal Arinze, "the Holy Father prays that this Year of the Eucharist will be for everyone a precious occasion for a renewed awareness of the incomparable treasure that Christ has entrusted to His Church. ... The Holy Father does not ask for anything extraordinary, but rather that all initiatives be marked by great spiritual intensity. Priority must be given to Sunday Masses and to Eucharistic adoration outside of Mass."

  Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, the secretary of the Congregation, expounded on the historical reading of John Paul II's text.

  In the first part of his talk, "Begin again from Christ," the archbishop recalled that "the Church depends on our faith in Christ. In other historical periods, but perhaps even more today, the temptation of man is to reduce the Master to his own dimensions.  Sometimes with the best intentions for dialogue, we risk 'diminishing' Christ, undermining the faith in its mystery in the Word made flesh." In explaining the second point, "A contemplative Christianity," he spoke of the signs of regression in spirituality in modern times and he said that "in this new historic situation, the Pope has emphasized the urgency of making the Christian community aware of the treasures of Christian contemplation."

  In his last point, "The urgency of example", the prelate affirmed: "The Pope is concerned about reminding the Christian community that the faith must be translated into witness. … We must not be surprised that an Apostolic Letter on the Eucharist does not touch upon the contemplative and celebratory aspects but makes strong statements about the Christian commitment in history, especially in building up peace and in service to the needy."

   Msgr. Mauro Parmeggiani, secretary general of the vicariate of Rome, spoke about initiatives organized by the Church in Rome in order to celebrate the Eucharistic Year.  From October 1 to 10, he said, a mission of young people, aimed at their peers, is taking place in downtown Rome, entitled "Jesus downtown." He also noted that the catechesis this year will focus on the rediscovery of the importance of the Eucharist. Other initiatives will include Masses, Eucharistic adoration and confession in St. Agnes in Agone in Pza. Navona. Msgr. Parmeggiani indicated that in all the patriarchal basilicas there will be Eucharistic adoration in one of the side chapels.
…/MANE NOBISCUM DOMINE/ARINZE                    VIS 20041008 (1170)


VATICAN CITY, OCT 8, 2004 (VIS) - Bishops of the ecclesiastical province of New York were received by the Pope this morning as they conclude their "ad limina" visit. He focused his talk to them on the "munus regendi," the "great responsibility of governing the faithful," and he noted the words spoken during Episcopal ordination: "The title of Bishop is one of service, not of honor, and therefore a Bishop should strive to benefit others rather than to lord it over them. Such is the precept of the Master."

  "Your immediate function as pastors," he noted, "cannot be isolated from your wider responsibility for the universal Church; as members of the College of Bishops, 'cum et sub Petro', you in fact share in solicitude for the entire people of God." He stressed that governing "is more than mere 'administration' or the exercise of organizational skills; it is a means of building up the Kingdom of God," leading by example, and evangelizing the faithful so that they in turn can evangelize.

  John Paul II remarked on "the deep affection of American Catholics for the Successor of Peter, as well as their sensitivity to the needs of the Holy See and the Universal Church. ... These devoted sentiments are a fruit of the hierarchical communion linking all members of the episcopal College with the Pope" and they "constitute a great spiritual resource for the renewal of the Church in the United States."

  Turning to the question of episcopal collegiality, the Pope focused on the activity of episcopal conferences and said that "Bishops today can only fulfill their office fruitfully when they work harmoniously and closely with their fellow Bishops. ... I pray that you will work diligently with one another, in that spirit of cooperation and unanimity of heart that should always characterize the community of disciples." Quoting St. Paul, he said: ""I beg you, Brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree in what you say. Let there be no factions; rather, be united in mind and judgment." There must be "unity of praxis" with "underlying consensus," attained "through frank dialogue and informed discussions, based on sound theological and pastoral principles."

  The Holy Father told the bishops of his appreciation "for all that you have already accomplished together, particularly in your statements on life issues, education and peace." He invited them to "turn your attention to the many other pressing issues that directly affect the Church's mission and her spiritual integrity, for example the decline in Mass attendance and in recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the threats to marriage and the religious needs of immigrants.  Let your voice be clearly heard."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 8, 2004 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, read the Pope's message to participants in the 44th Social Week of Italian Catholics which is taking place from October 7 to 10 in Bologna. More than one thousand delegates from all over Italy who represent dioceses, associations and movements, are participating in the gathering.

  Referring to the meeting's theme, "Democracy: New Scenarios, New Powers," the Holy Father highlights the "risks and threats, for authentic democracy, that come from certain philosophical currents, anthropological visions or political ideas with ideological prejudices. For example, the tendency to think that relativism is a way of thinking that responds better to democratic political forms still exists, as if knowing the truth and adhering to it were an impediment. In reality," he continued, "often people are afraid of the truth because they do not know it. The truth as Christ revealed it is a guarantee of genuine and complete liberty for the person."

  John Paul II writes that "if political action is not addressed with a higher ethical understanding, illuminated by an integral vision of man and society, it will end up being subject to inadequate ends, if not illicit ones. The truth, however, is the best antidote against ideological fanaticism in the scientific, political and even religious context."

  "As experts in social disciplines and as Christians, you are called … to indicate new paths and new solutions in order to address the urgent problems of the modern world in the best way. Reflection on the democratic system cannot be limited to only considering political structures and institutions, it must also consider the problems posed by developments in science and technology, in the economy and in finance, as well as new laws for governing international organizations, the questions that come from progressive and rapid development in communications, in order to create a model of complete and authentic democracy."

  The Pope emphasized the need for Catholics to commit themselves "to making civil society lively and dynamic by promoting the family, associations, volunteer work, etc, and by opposing improper limits and conditions imposed by the economic or political order; also they must consider once again the importance of dedication to public and institutional roles, in environments where significant collective decisions are made, and in politics, in the highest sense of the word, as desired by so many today."

  "We cannot forget," he concludes, "that knowing and putting into practice the social doctrine of the Church are characteristics of the vocation of lay people, and therefore, also their participation in the political life of the country, according to the methods and instruments of democratic systems.  Some are also called to develop a special service to the civil community, directly assuming institutional role in politics."
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