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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...[]

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Monday, October 31, 2005


VATICAN CITY, OCT 31, 2005 (VIS) - We would like to remind our readers that there will be no VIS service on Tuesday, November 1 or Wednesday, November 2, respectively All Saints Day and All Souls Day, and holidays in the Vatican. Service will resume on Thursday, November 3.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 31, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Camillo Ruini, his vicar general for the diocese of Rome.

 - Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church, accompanied by Fr. Raffaele Farina S.D.B. and Ambrogio Piazzoni, respectively prefect and vice prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library.

 - Archbishop Franc Rode C.M., emeritus of Ljubljana, Solovenia, and prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 31, 2005 (VIS) - Benedict XVI's general prayer intention for the month of November is: "That married people may imitate the example of conjugal holiness shown by so many couples in the ordinary conditions of life."

  His mission intention is: "That pastors of mission territories may recognize with constant care their duty to foster the permanent formation of their own priests."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 31, 2005 (VIS) - Today in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Benedict XVI received Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, accompanied by a group of pilgrims from his country of origin, Nigeria. The cardinal is celebrating the 40th anniversary of his consecration as a bishop, which was performed on August 29, 1965 in Onitsha, Nigeria, by the late Archbishop Charles Heerey C.S.Sp.

  "I am pleased to receive you, together with your friends from the Nigerian community in Rome, and other visitors from your country, who have come to join you in the celebration of the 40th anniversary of your episcopal ordination," said the Pope. "I willingly express to you my sincere congratulations and personal good wishes for the occasion."

  "Yesterday in the church of Santa Maria in Transpontina, you celebrated a solemn Mass in thanksgiving to Almighty God for the gift of 40 years of episcopal ministry. Today I am happy to join my prayers to your intentions, and I ask the Lord to be your guide and strength as you continue to serve the Church in love and zeal. Invoking upon Your Eminence, through the intercession of Mary the Mother of God, the divine gifts of joy and peace, I cordially impart to you and to all who share in this joyful celebration, my apostolic blessing."


VATICAN CITY, OCT 31, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Pope addressed to Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan. Written in Latin and dated October 26, the Message marks the 50th anniversary of the cardinal's ordination to the priesthood, which he commemorated yesterday with a Eucharistic concelebration in Rome's basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.

  The Mexican cardinal was ordained a priest on October 30, 1955, consecrated a bishop on August 15, 1979, and created a cardinal by John Paul II in the concistory of October 21, 2003. He has been president of the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry since August 1996.


VATICAN CITY, OCT 30, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following declaration to journalists:

  "Upon learning the painful news of the barbaric murder of three Christian girls in Indonesia, the Holy Father ordered Bishop Joseph Theodorus Suwatan M.S.C., of Manado to offer the families of the victims and the diocesan community his most heartfelt condolences, and gave assurances of his fervent prayers to the Lord for the return of peace among that people."


VATICAN CITY, OCT 30, 2005 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus, the Pope made an appeal for the international community to show generosity towards the victims of the earthquake in Pakistan, and greeted pilgrims who had come to Rome for the beatification of Josep Tapies Sirvant and six companions, and Maria de los Angeles Ginard Marti.

  "As we all know," the Pope said, "on October 8 a powerful earthquake struck the region of Kashmir, especially the Pakistani side, causing the death of more than 50,000 people and great material damage. Here again, many forms of solidarity have been shown, yet the need seems greater than the aid thus far offered. Therefore, I renew my appeal to the international community to increase efforts in support of those people who are suffering such hardship."

  Benedict XVI also greeted the bishops, priests, professed religious of the Sisters Guardians of the Eucharistic Cult, and faithful from Urgell, Andorra, Madrid and Mallorca who yesterday participated in the beatification ceremony for Josep Tapies Sirvant and six companions, and Maria de los Angeles Ginard Marti. The new Blesseds "suffered martyrdom because of their faith in Christ," said the Holy Father. "For everyone, they represent a true example of reconciliation and of love carried to the extreme, as well as an inspiration to give a coherent witness of one's own in faith in modern society, in a spirit of peace and of fraternal coexistence."


VATICAN CITY, OCT 30, 2005 (VIS) - Prior to praying the Angelus at midday today, Benedict XVI dedicated some remarks to the anniversary of Vatican Council II, the seventh session of which was celebrated on October 28, 1965. That session was followed by another three, before the council finally closed on December 8, 1965.

  Speaking from his study window to thousands of faithful filling St. Peter's Square below, the Pope recalled how "most of the conciliar documents were approved during the final phase of that historic ecclesial event, which had begun three years earlier." He remarked how all the texts "maintain their value and their contemporary significance which, in some ways, has even increased," and specifically mentioned the "Decrees 'Christus Dominus' on the pastoral office of bishops in the Church, 'Perfectae caritatis' on the renewal of religious life, and 'Optatam totius' on priestly training; and the Declarations 'Gravissimum educationis' on Christian education, and 'Nostra aetate' on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions."

  He went on: "The themes of priestly formation, consecrated life and episcopal ministry have been the subject of three Ordinary Assemblies of the Synod of Bishops, held respectively  in 1990, 1995 and 2001. ... The document on education is less well-known. The Church has always been committed to the education of young people." Even today, "in the age of global communications, the ecclesial community is aware of the importance of an educational system that recognizes the primacy of men and women as persons. ... The first and most important educators are parents, helped, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, by civil society. A special educational responsibility is felt by the Church, to which Christ entrusted the task of announcing 'the way of salvation'."

  Benedict XVI then went on to speak of 'Nostra aetate,' highlighting its "great contemporary significance" because it concerns the attitude of the ecclesial community towards non-Christian religions. On the basis of the principle that "one is the community of all peoples," and that the Church's mission is "promoting unity and love among men," Vatican Council II "rejects 'nothing that is true and holy' in other religions and to everyone announces Christ, 'way truth and life,' in Whom all human beings 'find the fullness of religious life'."

  "With the Declaration 'Nostra aetate,' the Council Fathers proposed certain fundamental truths: ... the special link binding Christians and Jews, ... esteem for Muslims and followers of other religions, ... and the spirit of universal brotherhood that prohibits any kind of discrimination or religious persecution."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed as members of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples: Bishops Precioso D. Cantillas S.D.B., of Maasin, Philippines; Lino Bortolo Belotti, auxiliary of Bergamo, Italy; and Jean-Luc Brunin of Ajaccio, France.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls made the following declaration this afternoon:

  "This morning, the Holy Father Benedict XVI undertook a private pilgrimage to the Marian shrine of the 'Mother of Grace' at Mentorella (in the diocese of Tivoli, province of Rome).

  "There he celebrated Mass in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, returning to the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican in the early afternoon."

  Pope John Paul II also visited the Mentorella Shrine on October 29. In his case it was October 29, 1978 and was the first visit outside Rome of his pontificate.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2005 (VIS) - This afternoon, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at a Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica during which, by order of the Pope, he read out the Apostolic Letter by which the Holy Father proclaims the following Servants of God as Blesseds: Josep Tapies Sirvant and six companions, priests, martyrs; and Maria de los Angeles Ginard Marti, professed religious of the Sisters Guardians of the Eucharistic Cult, virgin and martyr.

  At the end of the ceremony, Benedict XVI arrived in the basilica to venerate the relics of the martyrs and address some words in Spanish and Catalan to the pilgrims present.

  "During the religious persecution in Spain," the Holy Father said, "the exemplary group of priests of Urgell gave up their lives for their faithfulness to the priestly ministry, which they carried out with great commitment in the parish communities entrusted to their care. Bearing witness to their priestly condition and forgiving their persecutors, they gave their lives while invoking the King of the Universe."

  The Pope expressed the hope that the blessed priests "intercede for the diocese of Urgell and for other Spanish dioceses, for priestly and religious vocations, and for the growth of Christian virtues in all the faithful."

  Speaking of the Blessed Maria de los Angeles, who was born in the diocese of Mallorca, Benedict XVI recalled how she "suffered martyrdom in Madrid during the same period of persecution. Totally committed to the Lord in religious life, she dedicated long hours to the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament, yet without neglecting her service to the community. Thus did she prepare herself to give her life as a supreme expression of love for Christ."

  "For us, these new Blesseds are a living example of priestly identity and religious consecration," he concluded. "Let us give thanks to God for the great gift of these heroic witnesses of the faith. Blessed Josep Tapies and Blessed Maria de los Angeles, pray for the ecclesial communities of Urgell, Madrid, Mallorca and all Spain! Amen."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Holy Father, written in Latin and dated October 12, appointing Cardinal Jozef Tomko, president of the Pontifical Commission for International Eucharist Congresses, as his special envoy to celebrations for the first International Eucharistic Congress for Universities, due to take place in Murcia, Spain, from November 9 to 13.

  The delegation accompanying Cardinal Tomko is made up of Frs. Jose Alberto Canovas Sanchez, episcopal vicar of the diocese of Cartagena, Spain, and pastor of the parish of Santiago de Jumilla in Cartagena; and Luis Emilio Pascual Molina, delegate for pastoral care in universities of the diocese of Cartagena.


VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following declaration late yesterday afternoon:

  "The serious events in the Holy Land over the last few days are a cause of grave concern to the Holy See which, uniting itself with the entire international community, expresses its own firm condemnation of acts of violence - the terrorist attack on Hadera and the subsequent retaliation - from whichever side they come, and of certain particularly serious and unacceptable declarations denying the right of existence to the State of Israel.

  "On this occasion, the Holy See reaffirms  the right of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security, each in their own sovereign State.

  "At the same time, the Holy See feels the duty to renew its appeal to the leaders of all the peoples of the Middle East, to listen to the longing for peace and justice that rises from the population, to avoid actions and decisions leading to division and death, and to commit themselves with courage and determination to creating the minimum conditions necessary for dialogue to resume, which is the only way to guarantee a future of peace and prosperity to the children of that land."
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Friday, October 28, 2005


VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Nikolay Sadchikov, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary, representative of the Russian Federation to the Holy See.

 - Cardinal Attilio Nicora, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Archbishop William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, accompanied by Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the same congregation.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2005 (VIS) - Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for Relations with States, travelled to Russia in response to an invitation from Sergej Lavrov, foreign minister of the Russian Federation. The invitation was made during a visit by the foreign minister to the Vatican on June 7 this year, when he met with Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano.

  On this his first visit to Russia, Archbishop Laojolo granted an interview to the Catholic newspaper "Svet Evangelja." Extracts of the interview are given below:

  "The principle aim of my visit," the archbishop told the newspaper, "is to gain a more profound understanding of the position and views of the Russian government on various international problems, as well as to make the Holy See's own viewpoint known. To this primary objective, ... must be added the desire to visit Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Mother of God in Moscow, and the lively Catholic community of the city, bringing them the affectionate greetings and a special blessing of the Holy Father."

  Going on to reply to a question concerning the role of the local Russian Catholic community, and the fact that Catholics are not represented on the Russian Inter-religious Council, or in the 'Public Chamber' which is currently being formed, he said:
  "The Catholic community of Russian faithful is a 'small flock,' but it is a 'small flock' that is Russian in every sense of the word, with a centuries-old history marked by painful trials that were borne with exemplary courage of faith. Without wishing in any way to alter the weight of numbers, and with clear recognition for the role of the Orthodox Church in the history of the Russian nation, there can be no compromise on the principle of 'equal dignity,' and of 'equal freedom.' This does not mean in any way diminishing the predominant position of the Orthodox Church in Russia, but it does mean that the Russian Catholic community must be able to live and bear witness to their own religious faith, specifically characterized by union with the Bishop of Rome and with the Universal Church, within the framework of those fundamental rights recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, and by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966."

  "For this reason, I hope that (Russian Catholics) may soon be represented both in the Public Chamber, in order for them to be fully able to carry out their mission and contribute to the growth of Russian society, of which they are an integral part, and on the Russian Inter-religious Council, in order to develop both ecumenical dialogue among Christians, and inter-religious dialogue with the faithful from other religions."

  In a second interview, given to the "Blagovest-Info" news agency, Archbishop Lajolo referred to the question of relations between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, which is the largest in the Orthodox world. These relations, he said, are marked by "reciprocal difficulties" which seem to be rooted in "a painful inability to create a common language for the examination and resolution of divergences."

  In any case, he went on, "the Catholic Church in Russia, together with the pontifical representative in Moscow, is always ready to join the Orthodox Church in examining the reasons and causes of differences - and at times of misunderstandings - in order to try and solve them in a supernatural spirit. And I am happy to recall that, even in moments of difficulty, the channel of communication between the Holy See and the Patriarchate of Moscow has never been closed."

  Finally, speaking of the possibility of a visit to Russia by the Holy Father, the secretary for Relations with States said that "it would constitute an ecumenical event of great significance and importance," an that "it would have to be prepared with the greatest care."

  He concluded: "As Cardinal Angelo Sodano revealed some months ago, such a visit, having a mainly spiritual nature, should provide a reason for joy and hope, not only for Catholics but for all Russia, including other Christian faithful and the followers of other religions. I do not believe that the Holy Father Benedict XVI would make a visit which, rather than contributing to greater harmony and understanding especially among Christians, could prove to be a reason for tension and discontent."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was the Holy Father's Message for the 92nd World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be celebrated on January 15, 2006, and has the theme of "Migrations, sign of the times." The text has been published in English, French, Italian and Spanish:

  Extracts from the message are given below:

  "One of the recognizable signs of the times today is undoubtedly migration, a phenomenon which during the century just ended can be said to have taken on structural characteristics, becoming an important factor of the labor market world-wide, a consequence among other things of the enormous drive of globalization. Naturally ... various factors play a part. They include both national and international migration, forced and voluntary migration, legal and illegal migration, subject also to the scourge of trafficking in human beings. Nor can the category of foreign students, whose numbers increase every year in the world, be forgotten.

  "With regard to those who emigrate for economic reasons, a recent fact deserving mention is the growing number of women involved. ... Female emigration tends to become more and more autonomous. Women cross the border of their homeland alone in search of work in another country. Indeed it often happens that the migrant woman becomes the principal source of income for her family. It is a fact that the presence of women is especially prevalent in sectors that offer low salaries. ... The most common employment opportunities for women, other than domestic work, consist in helping the elderly, caring for the sick and work in the hotel sector. These, too, are areas where Christians are called to dedicate themselves to assuring just treatment for migrant women out of respect for their femininity in recognition of their equal rights."

  The Pope goes on to refer to "trafficking in human beings, especially women. ... In some cases there are women and girls who are destined to be exploited almost like slaves in their work, and not infrequently in the sex industry too. ... I make my own the condemnation voiced by John Paul II against 'the widespread hedonistic and commercial culture which encourages the systematic exploitation of sexuality.' This outlines a whole program of redemption and liberation from which Christians cannot withdraw."

  On the subject of asylum seekers and refugees, the Holy Father underlines "how the tendency is to stop at the question of their arrival while disregarding the reasons for which they left their native land. ... Hope, courage, love and 'creativity in charity' must inspire the necessary human and Christian efforts made to help these brothers and sisters in their suffering. Their native Churches will demonstrate their concern by sending pastoral agents of the same language and culture, in a dialogue of charity with the particular Churches that welcome them."

  Finally, "particular attention should be paid to the phenomenon of foreign students. ... Especially in Europe, their number is growing, with consequent pastoral problems the Church cannot ignore. This is especially true in the case of students coming from developing countries, whose university experience can become an extraordinary occasion for spiritual enrichment."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2005 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office today, Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, and Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the same dicastery, presented the Holy Father's Message for the 92nd World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is due to be celebrated on January 15, 2006, and which has the theme: "Migrations, sign of the times."

  Cardinal Hamao pointed out how, in his Message, the Holy Father refers to the phenomenon of migration with the expression "sign of the times," a term also employed by Vatican Council II.

  "Benedict XVI, in continuity with the council, invites us above all to consider migrations, in a positive sense, as an opportunity, almost as a challenge."

  The Pope's message makes it clear that "women and men in migration represent a precious resource for the development of all mankind, thanks to the human, spiritual and cultural potential that each one possesses;" though it does not, for this reason, "fail to recognize the human cost of migration and its multiple social, economic and political effects."

  The cardinal recalled the Pope's reference to the "feminization" of migration and "the tragedy of asylum seekers and refugees, as well as the well-known difficulties faced by foreign students, especially those coming from the Third World." On this subject, he announced that from December 14 - 16, 2005, an international congress will be held in Rome to consider the pastoral care of foreign students.

  The president of the pontifical council concluded by saying that the Message "is an invitation to charity, encouraging us to maintain and extend a network of activities offering true welcome and genuine and effective openness, in order to meet ... the many needs of migrants." He also called for greater "integration, inter-cultural exchange, the development of a mentality open to universal issues, and inter-religious dialogue."

  Archbishop Marchetto talked on the subject of refugees and displaced persons. Their situation, he said, raises questions "that give us great concern. We ask ourselves why human cruelty and intolerance reach the point of persecuting others ... (with) violence, intimidation, torture, murder and detention which, in different ways, degrade both those who perpetrate such acts and their victims."

  "If, then, we consider a broader definition of refugees, in keeping with certain regional conventions, we should also include in this category those fleeing wars, generalized violence or the mass violation of human rights. ... How can we as a community of believers respond to this painful challenge?"

  The secretary of the pontifical council recalled how "thousands and thousands of ecclesiastical organizations exist, bringing hope and love to the otherwise-desperate situations of refugees and displaced persons. This too is a sign of these times. Although this generous response can always be improved and extended."

  On the subject of trafficking in human beings, mentioned by the Pope in his Message, the archbishop pointed out "the continuing lack of appropriate migration programs" to ensure that people fleeing poverty, or who wish to emigrate, do not end up in the hands of smugglers and traffickers. "In the case of trafficking," he added, "there is huge exploitation, because the human rights of individuals are not respected."

  "Contemplating all this 'with Jesus' eyes,' the Church raises her voice in support of millions of marginalized people, and constantly highlights their desperate needs which are unknown to many people."


VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday evening, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, read out a Message from the Holy Father during an event held to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Vatican Council II's Declaration "Nostra aetate."

  This anniversary, writes the Holy Father in his Message, "gives us abundant reason to express gratitude to Almighty God for the witness of all those who, despite a complex and often painful history, and especially after the tragic experience of the Shoah, which was inspired by a neo-pagan racist ideology, worked courageously to foster reconciliation and improved understanding between Christians and Jews.

  "In laying the foundations for a renewed relationship between the Jewish people and the Church, 'Nostra aetate' stressed the need to overcome past prejudices, misunderstandings, indifference, and the language of contempt and hostility. The declaration has been the occasion of greater mutual understanding and respect, cooperation and, often, friendship between Catholics and Jews."

  In considering 40 years "of fruitful contacts between the Church and the Jewish people," says Benedict XVI, "we need to renew our commitment to the work that yet remains to be done. In this regard, from the first days of my pontificate ... I have expressed my own firm determination to walk in the footsteps traced by my beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II."

  Dialogue between Jews and Christians, says the Pope, "must continue to enrich and deepen the bonds of friendship which have developed, while preaching and catechesis must be committed to ensuring that our mutual relations are presented in the light of the principles set forth by the Council."

  In closing, the Holy Father expresses the hope that "both in theological dialogue and in everyday contacts and collaboration, Christians and Jews will offer an ever more compelling shared witness to the One God and His commandments, the sanctity of life, the promotion of human dignity, the rights of the family and the need to build a world of justice, reconciliation and peace for future generations."
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Thursday, October 27, 2005


VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Kurt Beck, minister-president of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

 - Cardinal William Henry Keeler, archbishop of Baltimore, U.S.A.

 - Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap., of Boston, U.S.A.

 - Bishop Alberto Ricardo da Silva of Dili, East Timor.

 - Bishop Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, prelate of the personal prelature of Opus Dei.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2005 (VIS) - A meeting is being held in Rome today to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Vatican Council II's Declaration "Nostra aetate," which deals with the Church's relations with non-Christian religions.

  The meeting, which has been organized by the Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, began this morning with a session dedicated to reflecting upon the initiatives and events that have characterized the post-conciliar period, and upon the development of religious relations between Catholics and Jews. The discussion also turned to the most appropriate ways to develop further reciprocal understanding and cooperation between the two faiths.

  This afternoon, a commemorative act will take place during which "Nostra aetate" will be evaluated and its future prospects considered. Participating in the event will be Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, Rabbi David Rosen, international director for inter-religious affairs of the American Jewish Committee, and Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, archbishop emeritus of Paris, France. Also present will be various representatives of international Jewish institutions with which the Holy See commission has had contact and dealings over these years, as well as members of the Roman Curia and of the diplomatic corps to the Holy See.

  The Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with Jews was established by Paul VI in 1974 as an organization distinct from, though part of, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Its aim is to promote and stimulate religious relations between Jews and Catholics, with the collaboration of other Christians. The president, vice president and secretary of the commission are, respectively, Cardinal Walter Kasper, Bishop Brian Farrell L.C., and Fr. Norbert Hofmann S.D.B.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Brooklyn, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Rene A. Valero, upon having reached the age limit.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2005


VATICAN CITY, OCT 26, 2005 (VIS) - Following this morning's general audience, the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Giuseppe Bertello, apostolic nuncio to Mexico.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 26, 2005 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at 11.30 a.m. on Friday, October 28, the Holy Father's Message for the 92nd World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be presented. The Day will be celebrated on January 15, 2006, and has the theme: "Migration, sign of the times." Participating in the press conference will be Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, and Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the same dicastery.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 26, 2005 (VIS) - Today's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square, was attended by 50,000 people who heard the Pope speak on the subject of the Canticle from the Letter to the Philippians, "Christ, Servant of God."

  Benedict XVI explained how the text contains "a double movement." The first highlights Christ's sacrifice "even to the humiliation of death on the Cross," the second "reveals Christ's paschal glory which, following death, reappears in the splendor of His divine majesty."

  The Father "exalts" the Son, said the Pope, and such exaltation "is expressed not only by His enthronement at the right hand of God, but also by bestowing on Christ 'the name which is above every name,' ... the most exalted 'name,' that of 'Lord,' which belongs to God Himself."

  "On the one hand, then, is the recognition of the universal lordship of Jesus Christ, Who receives homage from all creation, ... While on the other, is the acclamation of the faith, which declares Christ to exist in divine form, presenting Him as worthy of adoration."

  "In this hymn," the Holy Father went on, "the reference to the scandal of the cross ... culminates with the event of the resurrection. The Son's sacrificial obedience is followed by the Father's glorifying response, echoed by the adoration of humanity and creation. ... The plan of salvation is totally fulfilled in the Son, and the faithful are invited - especially in the liturgy - to proclaim it and to reap its fruits."

  "Let us seek to ensure that our thoughts and actions conform to Jesus' sentiments," the Pope then added in off-the-cuff remarks. "If we follow this path, if our thoughts and actions conform to the Lord, we live well and follow the correct path. The tenderness of God is a great consolation to us, but also a great daily responsibility."

  At the end of the general audience, the Holy Father addressed a special greeting to a group of children from the "Citta di Speranza" (City of Hope) hospital in Padua, Italy. The structure came into being in 1994 with the dual aim of building a new department of pediatric onco-hematology, which was inaugurated two years later, and to support research into childhood cancer.

  "As we heard during the catechesis," the Holy Father told the children, "the cross of Christ brings us to understand the true meaning of suffering and pain. Unite yourselves spiritually to the Crucified Christ, and abandon yourselves in the hands of Mary, constantly invoking her in the Rosary."

  Benedict XVI concluded by recalling that October, the month dedicated to the Rosary, is drawing to a close. "I invite you to recite with devotion this prayer, so dear to Christian people. Let us pray for the many needs of the Church and the world, especially for people hit by earthquakes and by physical and environmental calamities."
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Tuesday, October 25, 2005


VATICAN CITY, OCT 25, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Juan Carlos Romanin S.D.B., director of the Salesian community of Mar del Plata, Argentina, as Bishop of Rio Gallegos (area 265,614, population 300,000, Catholics 200,000, priests 44, permanent deacons 5, religious 88), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Sarandi, Argentina in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1981. He succeeds Bishop Alejandro Antonio Buccolini S.D.B., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. David Christopher McGough, of the clergy of the archdiocese of Birmingham, England, episcopal vicar for Walsall, Wolverhampton, Black Country and Worcs., as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese (area 8,735, population 5,245,000, Catholics 286,500, priests 425, permanent deacons 72, religious 761). The bishop-elect was born in Tunstall, England in 1944 and ordained a priest in 1970.
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AT 5.30 P.M. ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, at the altar of the Confession in the Vatican Basilica, a Eucharistic concelebration will be held for the beginning of the academic year of the ecclesiastic universities. The Mass will be presided by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

CARDINAL JOSE SARAIVA MARTINS C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, is due to preside at a Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica at 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 29, during which, by order of Benedict XVI, he will read out the Apostolic Letter by which the Pope proclaims the following Servants of God as Blesseds: Josep Tapies Sirvant and six companions, priests, martyrs, died in 1936; Maria de los Angeles Ginard Martí, professed religious of the Sisters Guardians of the Eucharistic Cult, martyr (1894 - 1936).

"HINDUS AND CHRISTIANS IN SOLIDARITY" is the theme of this year's message to Hindus for Diwali, the Hindu feast which celebrates the victory of light over darkness, of good over evil. In the message, which is sent annually, Archbishop Michael L. Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue recalls the solidarity of so many people, "across religious boundaries" in places affected by the tidal wave that hit countries around the India Ocean in December last year. "At a time when aggressive secularism would seem to be on the increase and respect for basic human values often appears to be on the decline, such cooperation among people of different religions can bring about a new respect for religion in today's world."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 25, 2005 (VIS) - As announced yesterday, given below are some of the 50 propositions presented to the Holy Father for his consideration as he prepares the Apostolic Exhortation for the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The synodal assembly was held in the Vatican from October 2 to 23, 2005, and had as its theme: "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church."


  "The synodal assembly gratefully recalled the beneficial influence that the liturgical reform implemented following Vatican Council II has had for the life of the Church. This reform has highlighted the beauty of Eucharistic action, which shines out in the liturgical rite. Abuses have occurred in the past, nor are they lacking today though they have to some extent diminished. However, such episodes cannot darken the beauty and validity of the reform which still contains unexplored riches, rather they call for greater attention to 'ars celebrandi,' in which a privileged place must be given to 'actuosa participatio'."


  "It is of vital pastoral importance that bishops in their dioceses promote a decisive revival in teaching the conversion that arises from the Eucharist, and that to this end they favor frequent individual Confession."

  "The Synod strongly recommends bishops not to allow the practice of collective absolution in their dioceses, save in the objectively exceptional circumstances laid down in John Paul II's Motu Proprio, 'Misericordia Dei'."

  "In this context, it is also necessary to dedicate more profound study to the dimensions of penance already present in Eucharistic celebration, in particular the penitential rite, so that people may experience true moments of reconciliation therein."

SHORTAGE OF PRIESTS (Proposition no. 11)

  "The centrality of the Eucharist for the life of the Church means that the problem of the great shortage of priests in some parts of the world is felt very acutely. Many faithful are thus deprived of the Bread of life. In order to meet the Eucharistic hunger of the people of God, who are often forced to go without the Eucharistic celebration for considerable periods, it is necessary to implement effective pastoral initiatives.

  "In this context, the Synod Fathers affirmed the importance of the inestimable gift of ecclesiastical celibacy in the Latin Church. With reference to the Magisterium, especially to Vatican Council II and to recent Pontiffs, the Fathers requested that the faithful be given adequate explanation of the reasons for the link between celibacy and priestly ordination, in full respect for the tradition of the Eastern Churches. Some reference was made to 'viri probati,' but it was decided that this was an untenable hypothesis.

  "Furthermore, it must be borne in mind that, in offering the Eucharistic gift to all the faithful, the Christian quality of the community and its force of attraction have a decisive influence. It is particularly important to encourage pastors to promote priestly vocations, ... raise awareness among families, ... ensure (by bishops, with the involvement of religious families and maintaining respect for their charism) a more even distribution of the clergy, encouraging the clergy itself to a greater readiness to serve the Church wherever the need arises."

DIES DOMINI (Proposition no. 30)

  "As a fruit of the Year of the Eucharist, the Synod strongly recommends that significant efforts be made to ensure that the 'Dies Domini' be valued and experienced by the entire Church. It is necessary to reaffirm the central position of Sundays. ... Truly, Sunday is the day in which, with others, we celebrate the Risen Christ, a holy day consecrated to the Creator, a day of rest and of openness."

  "Through catechesis and preaching, Christians must be given the opportunity to meditate on the 'dies Christi' as the day of the resurrection of the Lord and, hence, as a feast of liberation, a day given as a gift during which to savor the goodness of the Kingdom of God."

  "It is our hope, then, that the Day of the Lord may also become the day of Christians, respected by all society as a day of rest from work."

  "Although Saturday evening is actually part of Sunday (First Vespers), and it is acceptable to fulfill the Sunday precept with a vigil Mass, it must be remembered that it is the day of Sunday itself that must be sanctified, that it may not remain 'empty of God'."


  "In celebrating the Eucharist during international meetings, which are becoming ever more frequent today, in order better to express the unity and universality of the Church it is proposed: that the (con)celebration of Mass be in Latin (except the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful), the prayers of the tradition of the Church should also be recited in Latin and, where appropriate, Gregorian chants be sung; that priests, beginning in the seminary, be trained to understand and celebrate Mass in Latin, as well as to use Latin prayers and to appreciate the Gregorian chant; that the possibility of educating the faithful in this way not be overlooked."


  "In keeping with the numerous pronouncements of the Church's Magisterium, and sharing the anxious concern expressed by many Fathers, the Synod of Bishops reaffirms the importance of attitudes and a pastoral actions that express attention and welcome towards divorced and re-married faithful.

  "According to the tradition of the Catholic Church, they cannot be admitted to holy communion, being in a position of objective contrast with the Word of the Lord which conferred on marriage the original value of indissolubility. ... Nevertheless, people who have divorced and re-married still belong to the Church, which welcomes them and follows them with special attention that they may cultivate a Christian lifestyle through participation in Mass (though without receiving communion), listening to the Word of God, adoring the Eucharist, prayer, participating in community life, confidential dialogue with a priest or a master of spiritual life, dedication to living charity, works of penance, and educational commitment to their children. If, then, the nullity of the matrimonial bond is not recognized and objective conditions arise that render cohabitation irreversible, the Church encourages them to commit themselves to live their relationship in accordance with the law of God, transforming it into a firm and faithful friendship; thus they will be able to return to the Eucharistic table, receiving the attention laid down by time-honored ecclesial practice. But such relationships should not be blessed, so as not to create confusion among the faithful concerning the value of marriage.

  "At the same time, the Synod hopes that all possible efforts be made both to ensure the presence, pastoral character, and correct and swift activity of ecclesiastical tribunals for causes of the nullity of marriage, and to dedicate further study to the essential elements of the validity of marriage, also bearing in mind the problems emerging from the profound anthropological transformations of our times, by which the faithful themselves risk being conditioned, especially given the lack of solid Christian formation."


  "On the basis of the communion of all Christians, which the single Baptism already accomplishes though not yet completely, their separation at the Lord's table is rightly felt as being a source of pain. As a consequence, from both within the Catholic Church and from our non-Catholic brothers and sisters, the urgent request often arises for the possibility of Eucharistic communion between Catholic Christians and others. It must be made clear that the Eucharist does not designate and effect only our personal communion with Jesus Christ, but above all the full 'communio' of the Church. We ask, therefore, that non-Catholic Christians understand and respect the fact that for us, in accordance with the whole of biblically-founded tradition, Eucharistic communion and ecclesial communion are intimately connected, and thus that Eucharistic communion with non-Catholic Christians is not generally speaking possible. Even more so is ecumenical concelebration to be excluded. However, it should be made clear that, with a view to personal salvation, admitting non-Catholic Christians to the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Penance, and the Anointing of the Sick, in certain particular situations and under specific conditions, is possible and even to be recommended."


  "The Synod, thanking those committed to this field, invites all bishops to exercise their pastoral care towards migrants. These faithful must be welcomed as members of the same Body of Christ, whatever their race, status or condition, especially in Eucharist celebrations. Christ's charity impels other local Churches and institutes of consecrated life give generous help to dioceses that welcome large numbers of migrants."


  "Catholic politicians and lawmakers must feel their consciences particularly aroused ... by the heavy social responsibility of presenting and supporting iniquitous laws. There is no Eucharistic coherence when legislation is promoted that goes against the integral good of man, against justice and natural law. The private sphere and the public sphere cannot be separated, placing oneself in a position of contrast with the law of God and the teaching of the Church, and this must also be considered in Eucharistic terms. In applying this guidance, bishops should exercise the virtues of courage and wisdom, bearing in mind actual local situations."


  "Christ's sacrifice is a mystery of liberation that calls out to us. It is in the commitment to transform unjust structures and to re-establish the dignity of man, created in the likeness and image of God, that the Eucharist assumes in life the significance it has in celebration. This dynamic movement opens up to the world: it questions the process of globalization which not infrequently increases the gap between rich countries and poor countries, it denounces the political and economic forces that dilapidate the earth's resources, it reiterates the grave requirements of distributive justice in the face of inequalities that cry out to heaven, it encourages Christians to commit themselves and to work in political life and social activity. ... Those who share in the Eucharist must commit themselves to creating peace in our world, which is marked by violence, war and, especially today, by terrorism, economic corruption and sexual exploitation. The conditions for building true peace are the restoration of justice, reconciliation and forgiveness."
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Monday, October 24, 2005


VATICAN CITY, OCT 24, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Cartagena, Colombia, presented by Archbishop Carlos Jose Ruiseco Vieira, in accordance with Canon 401, para. 2, of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Jorge Enrique Jimenez Carvajal C.I.M.

 - Appointed as members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Archbishops William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Angelo Comastri, president of the Fabric of St Peter's; and Pier Giacomo De Nicolo, apostolic nuncio.

  On Saturday, October 22, it was made public that he appointed:

 - Fr. Christian Nourrichard of the clergy of the archdiocese of Rouen, France, vicar general, as coadjutor bishop of Evreux (area 5,978, population 541,000, Catholics 390,000, priests 118, permanent deacons 22, religious 375), France. The bishop-elect was born in Notre-Dame-de-Bondeville, France in 1948 and ordained a priest in 1974.

 - Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, archbishop of Lagos, Nigeria, as his special envoy to the National Eucharistic Congress of Ghana, which is due to be held at Kumasi, Ghana, on November 19 - 20.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 24, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Bishop William Stephen Skylstad of Spokane, U.S.A., Cardinal Francis Eugene George, archbishop of Chicago, U.S.A., and Msgr. William P. Fay, respectively president, vice-president and secretary general of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

 - Cardinal Claudio Hummes O.F.M., archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 24, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father received pilgrims who had come to Rome for yesterday's canonization of Blesseds Jozef Bilczewski, Zygmunt Gorazdowski, Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, Gaetano Catanoso, and Felice da Nicosia.

  Speaking of St. Jozef Bilczewski, who was archbishop of Lviv of the Latins, Ukraine, and of St. Zygmunt Gorazdowski, priest, the Pope indicated how "both carried out their priestly ministry united to Christ and totally dedicated to man."

  "A pre-eminent figure of the Chilean nation," the Pope said, "was St. Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, priest of the Society of Jesus. ... The aim of his life was to be another Christ." This saint, he went on, "calls everyone to responsibility, and especially to sanctity. May he intercede for you all that you carry back to your homes, ecclesial communities and social milieux the light that gave splendor to his life and joy to his heart."

  Benedict XVI pointed out that St. Gaetano Catanoso "announced the reign of God with apostolic ardor and with the conviction of a witness. He administered the Sacraments, and above all the Holy Eucharist," and "placed himself at the service of the lowest and of the most isolated," of the poor and the abandoned.

  In greeting pilgrims from the area of St. Felice da Nicosia, especially Friars Minor Capuchins, the Pope said: "In a world strongly marked by concern for appearance and for selfish wellbeing, St. Felice reminds everyone that true joy is often hidden behind small things and is achieved by carrying out one's daily duty in a spirit of service."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, before praying the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope recalled that the morning's Eucharistic celebration, during which he had proclaimed five new saints, marked both the end of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops and the close of the Year of the Eucharist, inaugurated by John Paul II in October 2004.

  "These new saints," he said, "whom we contemplate in their heavenly glory, invite us to resort in all circumstances to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary, in order to progress ever more along the road of evangelical perfection, upheld by constant union with the Lord, truly present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

  "In this way," he continued, "we will be able to live the vocation to which all Christians are called, that of being 'bread broken for the life of the world,' as today's World Mission Day most appropriately reminds us. The bond between the Church's mission and the Eucharist is more significant than ever. ... Those who welcome Christ in His Body and Blood cannot keep this gift for themselves, but feel compelled to share it in courageous witness of the Gospel, in the service of their brothers and sisters in difficulty, and in forgiveness of injuries. For some people, what is more, the Eucharist is the seed of a specific call to leave everything in order to go and announce Christ to those who do not yet know Him."

  Benedict XVI then entrusted to Mary Most Holy, "Eucharistic woman," the "spiritual fruits of the Synod and of the Year of the Eucharist. May she watch over the Church's journey and teach us to grow in communion with the Lord Jesus, that we may be witnesses of His love, wherein the secret of joy lies."

  Following the Angelus, the Pope greeted pilgrims, civil authorities and religious from the countries of provenance of the new saints.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2005 (VIS) - During a Eucharistic concelebration over which he presided this morning in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI closed the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist and the Year dedicated to the same Sacrament. He also proclaimed five new saints, the first of his pontificate.

  In his homily the Pope referred to the new saints in turn, describing St. Jozef Bilczewski (1860 - 1923), as "a man of prayer," whose "profound theological knowledge, faith and Eucharistic devotion ... made him an example for priests and a witness for all the faithful."

  The Polish St. Zygmunt Gorazdowski (1845 - 1920), priest, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, "became famous for his devotion rooted in the celebration and adoration of the Eucharist. His experience of Christ's sacrifice drove him to the sick, the poor and the needy."

  The Holy Father went on to speak of the Chilean Jesuit priest, St. Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga (1901 - 1952) who "wished to identify himself with the Lord and to love the poor with the Lord's own love. ... In love and in total commitment to God's will, he found the strength for his apostolate. He founded the 'Hogar de Cristo' (Home of Christ) for the most needy and the homeless, offering them a family atmosphere full of human warmth. In his priestly ministry he stood out for his simplicity and his readiness to help others."

  With reference to the Italian priest, St. Gaetano Catanoso (1879 - 1963), founder of the Congregation of the Veronica Sisters of the Holy Countenance, the Pope stressed how "daily Mass and frequent adoration of the Sacrament of the altar were the soul of his priestly ministry. With ardent and tireless pastoral charity he dedicated himself to preaching, catechesis, the ministry of Confession, the poor, the sick, and to nurturing priestly vocations."

  Finally, Benedict XVI spoke of St. Felice da Nicosia (1715 - 1787) of the Friars Minor Capuchin, who was "austere and penitent, faithful to the most genuine expressions of the Franciscan tradition. ... (He) helps us to discover the value of small things that give life a precious value, teaching us to perceive the meaning of the family and of service to our brothers and sisters, and showing us that the true and lasting joy, for which all human hearts long, is the fruit of love."

  The Pope then sent, together with the Synod Fathers and in the name of the entire episcopate, "a fraternal greeting to the bishops of the Church in China," who did not receive permission from the authorities to participate in the Synod. "With heartfelt sorrow we felt the absence of their four representatives. Yet I would like to assure all Chinese prelates that, in prayer, we remain close to them, to their priests and to their faithful. The troubled path of their communities ... will not fail to bear fruit."

  Benedict XVI continued: "Contemplation of the Eucharist must encourage all members of the Church - and in the first place priests, ministers of the Eucharist - to revive their commitment to faithfulness. In the mystery of the Eucharist, celebrated and adored, lie the roots of celibacy which priests have received as a precious gift and a sign of total love towards God and towards others. For lay people too, Eucharistic spirituality must be the inner force for all their activities, and there can be no separation between faith and life in their mission of Christian animation of the world."

  The Holy Father highlighted how, "this Eucharistic perspective, is an appropriate context for today's World Mission Day, for which the venerated Servant of God John Paul II chose the theme: "Mission: Bread broken for the life of the world."

  "Even today," he concluded, "before the multitudes, Christ continues to exhort His disciples, 'you give them something to eat.' And in His name missionaries continue to announce and bear witness to the Gospel, at times even sacrificing their lives."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2005 (VIS) - Due to the large amount of news concerning the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, information concerning the 50 propositions, which the Holy Father has decided should be made public, will be published by VIS on Tuesday, October 25.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2005 (VIS) - Made public this afternoon was a letter signed by the presidents delegate and by the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops - respectively Cardinals Francis Arinze, Juan Sandoval Iniguez and Telesphore Placidus Toppo, and Archbishop Nikola Eterovic - addressed to the four Chinese prelates absent from the synodal assembly: Bishops Antonio Li Duan, Xi'an; Luca Li Jingfeng, Fengxiang; Aloysius Jin Luxian S.J., Shanghai; and Giuseppe Wei Jingyi, Qiqihar:

  "Vatican City, October 22nd 2005.

  "Dearest Brothers in the Episcopacy,

  "We, the Synod Fathers, participating in the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, joined with Pope Benedict XVI, wish to give you our fraternal and cordial greetings.

  "Your absence during the synodal work caused great unhappiness in our soul. We would have liked to meet with you and hear of your demanding and fruitful ecclesial experience. All this was not possible, but we would like to assure you and the whole Church that is in China that you are present in a particular way in our hearts and in our prayers.

  "As you know, the Eucharistic Mystery is the center of our reflections. Regarding this, we would like to underline that it is in the Eucharist itself, source and summit of the life and mission of the Church, that we are all in communion with Christ and with the Universal Church. For this reason we give praise, with you, to the Eternal Father, the Giver of all good: from His heart comes the love that is poured to us through the Spirit of the Risen Lord, which makes us 'of one heart and soul.'

  "In the Lord Jesus, we hope that all the ecclesial communities in China may flourish in listening to the Word, in celebrating the Paschal Mystery and in generous service to their brethren. Our prayers include the ardent hope that paths may soon be found to make full communion more visible. We entrust these wishes to Most Holy Mary, Mother of the Church, accompanied by a fervent prayer from the whole Church."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2005 (VIS) - During the Twenty-Second (and final) General Congregation held this morning in the Synod Hall, a vote was held on the final list of propositions, which will be presented to the Holy Father to consider as he prepares the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation. At 1 p.m., the participants in the synodal assembly were invited by the Pope to lunch at the "Domus Sanctae Marthae" (St. Martha residence) in Vatican City.

  In the Sistine Chapel at 6 p.m., a concert in honor of the Holy Father was given by the choir of Ratisbone Cathedral, conducted by Roland Buchner.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2005 (VIS) - At 12.15 p.m. today, a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office for the conclusion of the work of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which has been considering the theme: "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church."

 Participating in the press conference were Cardinals George Pell, archbishop of Sydney Australia, and Marc Ouellet P.S.S., archbishop of Quebec, Canada, Archbishop Roland Minnerath of Dijon, France, and Bishop Salvatore Fisichella, rector of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

  Cardinal Ouellet emphasized the climate of fraternity and unity in the faith that had characterized the Synod, despite the diversity of cultures; and specified how the final message of the synodal assembly was based not on propositions or comments, but on the Eucharist as the fulcrum of Church life and activity. He then went on to recall how the text of the message insists on the Eucharist as being the mission of the People of God and reaffirmed the responsibility of Christians who, like the Synod Fathers, "must echo the suffering of the world," and participate actively in such important fields as the economy, education and the communications media.

  For his part, Bishop Fisichella observed how the Synod began and ended with a message of peace, hope and encouragement. "This message," he said, "deals with a number of shadows, which we have not sought to ignore, but it also has great prophetic import, because despite the problems, there is also much light: the increase in priestly vocations, and the growing awareness among families of their social role."

  Archbishop Minnerath revealed one of the novelties of the Synod: the Pope has ordered that the propositions of the Synod Fathers, in their Italian version, be made public. The archbishop also underlined the atmosphere of openness and communication that had marked the assembly, "without taking anything away from the traditional procedure."

  Once the prelates had finished speaking, the journalists present were given the opportunity to request clarification on some of the subjects, among them the vote on the message.

  "No vote was taken on the message," explained Archbishop Minnerath, "because the regulations of the Synod do not make voting obligatory, rather they speak of approval, which both in yesterday's congregation and today's was expressed with a great ovation."

  Replying to a question on the freedom given by the synodal assembly to diocesan bishops to administer communion to politicians and legislators who sometimes create laws at variance with Church teaching, Cardinal Ouellet said: "the Synod does not wish to isolate any category of individuals. Of course, all Christians are responsible for their own behavior, but lawmakers have a more impelling collective responsibility and a greater duty to be consistent. Thus diocesan bishops, with wisdom and firmness, will consider each case as it arises."

  Attention was also given to the subject of divorced and re-married Catholics, who cannot receive communion. "For them we have a specific and particularly sensitive form of pastoral care," the prelates explained, "which makes it clear that, although they cannot take communion, they are not excluded from the Church."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2005 (VIS) - The final message of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops was made public today. The document, entitled "The Eucharist: Living Bread for the Peace of the World," has been published in several languages, given below are extracts from the English-language version:

  "Called to Rome by Pope John Paul II, of venerable memory, and confirmed by His Holiness Benedict XVI, we have come from the five continents of the world to pray and reflect together on the Eucharist, 'Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church.' The goal of the Synod was to offer proposals to the Holy Father that might help him to update and deepen the Eucharistic life of the Church. We have been able to experience what the Holy Eucharist has been from the very beginning: one faith and one Church, nourished by one bread of life, in visible communion with the successor of Peter.

  "The fraternal sharing among the bishops, the auditors, and also the ecumenical representatives, has renewed our conviction that the Holy Eucharist animates and transforms the life of the particular Churches of the East and West, as well as the many human activities in the very different circumstances in which we live. We have sensed a profound joy in experiencing the unity of our Eucharistic faith in the midst of the widespread diversity of rites, cultures and pastoral situations. The presence of so many brother bishops has allowed us to experience, in a more direct way, the richness of our different liturgical traditions that makes the depths of the unique Eucharistic mystery shine forth.

  "We invite you, dear Christian brothers and sisters of every confession, to pray more fervently that the day of reconciliation, and the full visible unity of the Church, might come in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in conformity with Jesus' prayer on the eve of His death: 'That all may be one'."

  "We also extend our thanks to all the people of God, whose presence and solidarity we have felt during these three weeks of prayer and reflection. The local Churches in China, and their bishops who were not able to join us in our work, had a special place in our thoughts and prayers."


  "The meeting of the Synod has been an intense time of sharing and witnessing to the life of the Church in the different continents. We have been made aware of extreme situations and suffering generated by wars, hunger, different forms of terrorism and injustice, which touch the daily life of hundreds of millions of human beings. The explosive violence in the Middle East and in Africa has reminded us that the African continent has been forgotten by the public opinion of the world. Natural disasters, which seem to have multiplied, force us to look upon nature with greater respect and to strengthen our solidarity with those suffering peoples.

  "We have not remained silent before the consequences of secularization, present above all in the West, that lead to religious indifference and various expressions of relativism. We have remembered and denounced situations of injustice and extreme poverty that are in evidence everywhere, but especially in Latin America, in Africa and in Asia. All this suffering cries out to God, and challenges the conscience of humanity. ... We also direct our thoughts to those who govern nations that they take diligent care to provide access to the common good for all. We ask that they be promoters of the dignity of every human being, from conception till natural death. We ask them to enact laws which respect the natural rights of marriage and the family. For our part, we will continue to participate actively in a common effort to generate lasting conditions for genuine progress for the whole human family, where no one is lacking his or her daily bread."


  "From its beginnings, the Church has remembered the death and resurrection of Jesus with the same words and actions of the Last Supper, asking the Spirit to transform the bread and wine into the Body and into the Blood of Christ. We firmly believe and we teach in the constant tradition of the Church that the words of Jesus pronounced by the priest at the Mass, in the power of the Holy Spirit, effect what they signify. They bring about the real presence of the Risen Christ."

  "Forty years after Vatican Council II we wanted to examine to what extent the mysteries of the faith are adequately expressed and celebrated in our liturgical assemblies. The Synod reaffirms that Vatican Council II provided the necessary basis for an authentic liturgical renewal. It is necessary now to cultivate the positive fruits of this reform, and to correct abuses that have crept into liturgical practice. We are convinced that respect for the sacred character of the liturgy is transmitted by genuine fidelity to liturgical norms of legitimate authority. No one should consider himself master of the Church's liturgy."


  "Many of the interventions have reported positive and joyful events, for example: the renewed consciousness of the importance of the Sunday Mass; the increase in the number of vocations to the priesthood and to consecrated life in various places of the world; the powerful experiences of World Youth Days, culminating at Cologne in Germany; the development of numerous initiatives for the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament almost everywhere in the world; the renewal of the catechesis on Baptism and the Eucharist in the light of the Catechism of the Catholic Church; the growth of movements and communities forming missionaries for the new evangelization."

  "We thank God that in many countries where priests were not present, or were forced underground, the Church is now freely able to celebrate the Holy Mysteries. The freedom to preach the Gospel and the renewed fervor of testimony are little by little reawakening the faith in areas profoundly de-Christianized. We affectionately greet and encourage all those who continue to suffer persecution. We also ask that in those places where Christians are a minority group, they be allowed to celebrate the day of the Lord in complete freedom."


  "The life of our Churches is also marked by shadows and problems which we have not ignored. In the first place, we think of the loss of the sense of sin and the persistent crisis in the practice of the Sacrament of Penance."

  "Nevertheless, the lack of priests to celebrate the Sunday Eucharist worries us a great deal and invites us to pray and to promote priestly vocations more actively. Some priests, undergoing great difficulty, are forced to celebrate many times and to move from one place to another to best meet the needs of the faithful."

  "Various forms of celebration already exist in different continents that suffer from a lack of priests. Yet, the practice of 'spiritual communion,' dear to the Catholic tradition, can and should be better promoted and explained so that the faithful may be helped both to communicate sacramentally in a better way and to bring genuine consolation to those who, for various reasons, cannot receive the Body and Blood of Christ in communion. We believe that this practice should help people who are alone, especially the handicapped, the aged, those in prison and refugees.

  "We know the sadness of those who do not have access to sacramental communion because their family situations do not conform to the commandment of the Lord. Some divorced and remarried people sadly accept their inability to take sacramental communion and they make an offering of it to God. Others are not able to understand this restriction, and live with an internal frustration. We reaffirm that, while we do not endorse their choice, they are not excluded from the life of the Church. We ask that they participate in Sunday Mass and devote themselves assiduously to listening to the Word of God so that it might nourish their life of faith, of love and of conversion. We wish to tell them how close we are to them in prayer and pastoral concern."

  "We have also observed that in certain areas there is a lessening of the sense of the sacred that affects not only the active and fruitful participation of the faithful at Mass, but also the manner in which the celebration takes place and the quality of the witness that Christians are called to give. ... The fact of de-Christianization calls for a better formation to Christian life in families so that sacramental practice is revitalized and genuinely expresses the content of the faith. We therefore invite parents, pastors and catechists to work toward re-establishing a strategy for evangelization and education in the faith at the beginning of this new millennium.

  "Before the Lord of history and the future of the world, the poor of every generation and of today, the ever-increasing number of victims of injustice and all the forgotten of this world challenge us. They remind us of Christ's agony, until the end of the world. These sufferings cannot remain extraneous to the celebration of the Eucharistic Mystery which summons all of us to work for justice and the transformation of the world in an active and conscious fashion, on the basis of the social teaching of the Church that promotes the centrality and the dignity of the human person."


  "The Holy Eucharist is the gift of love, an encounter with the God who loves us and a spring welling up to eternal life. Bishops, priests and deacons, we are the first witnesses and servants of this love.

  "Dear Priests, ...we ask you to be, with us and following the example of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, 'humble workers in the vineyard of the Lord,' following a consistent priestly life."

  "We remember with gratitude the commitment of the permanent deacons, catechists, pastoral workers and numerous lay people who work for the community."

  "We greet and thank all consecrated people, that chosen portion of the vineyard of the Lord who freely witness to the Good News of the Spouse who is coming. Your Eucharistic witness in the service of Christ is a cry of love in the darkness of the world."

  "Dear young people, ...we have great trust in your capacity and your desire to develop the positive values in the world, and to change what is unjust and violent. Please count upon our support and our prayer so that we may together accept the challenge to build the future with Christ."

  "To all young seminarians, ... we wish to express our hope that their formation will be permeated by an authentic Eucharistic spirituality.

  "Dear Christian married couples and your families, your vocation to holiness begins as the domestic Church, and is nourished at the Holy Table of the Eucharist. Your faith in the Sacrament of Marriage transforms your nuptial union into a Temple of the Holy Spirit, into a rich source of new life, generating children, the fruit of your love. We have often spoken of you at the Synod because we are conscious of the fragility and the uncertainties of the world today."

  "To the sick and the handicapped, ... in your suffering of body and heart, you participate in a special way in the sacrifice of the Eucharist and you are privileged witnesses of the love which comes from it."


  "The Holy Father Benedict XVI has restated the solemn commitment of the Church to the cause of ecumenism. ... We all feel the sadness of separation which prevents the common celebration of the Eucharist. We wish to intensify the prayer for unity within communities, the exchange of gifts between the Churches and ecclesial communities, as well as the respectful and fraternal contact among everyone, so that we may better know and love one another, respecting and appreciating our differences and our shared values. The precise regulations of the Church determine the position we are to take on sharing the Eucharist with brothers and sisters who are not yet in full communion with us. A healthy discipline prevents confusion and imprudent gestures that might further damage true communion.

  "As Christians, we are close to the other descendants of Abraham: the Jews, who were the first to inherit the Covenant, and the Muslims. In celebrating the Holy Eucharist, we also believe that we are, in the words of Saint Augustine, 'a sacrament of humanity'."


  "We thank God for this Eleventh Synodal Assembly which, convened forty years after the Second Vatican Council, has made us go back to the source of the mystery of the Church. We thus end the Year of the Eucharist on a high note, confirmed in unity and renewed in apostolic and missionary enthusiasm."

  "At the end of this Synod we experience that peace full of hope which the disciples of Emmaus, with burning hearts, received from the Risen Lord. They arose and returned in haste to Jerusalem, to share their joy with their brothers and sisters in the faith. We hope that you will go joyfully to meet Him in the Holy Eucharist, and that you will experience the truth of His words: 'And I am with you until the end of the world'."
SE/FINAL MESSAGE/...                            VIS 20051024 (2250)


VATICAN CITY, OCT 21, 2005 (VIS) - In the Synod Hall of the Vatican at 4.30 p.m., the Twenty-First General Congregation of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops was held, during which the final list of propositions was read out. The Holy Father was present, as were 243 Synod Fathers, and the president delegate on duty was Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

  Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, announced the names of the elected members of the post-synodal council and the names of members appointed by the Holy Father:


1. Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
2. Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kisangani, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and president of the country's episcopal conference.
3. Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Niger, president of the Episcopal Conference for Niger, and president of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (S.E.C.A.M.).


1. Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, Peru.
2. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio S.J., archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, vice-president of the country's episcopal conference.
3. Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., archbishop of Quebec, Canada.
4. Bishop Donald William Wuerl of Pittsburgh, U.S.A.


1. Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, India.
2. Cardinal George Poll, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.
3. Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun S.D.B., of Hong Kong, China.
4. Bishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle of Imus, Philippines.


1. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster, England, president of the country's episcopal conference.
2. Cardinal Angelo Scola, patriarch of Venice, Italy.
3. Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
4. Bishop Djura Dzudzar, apostolic exarch of Serbia and Montenegro for Catholics of Byzantine Rite.
SE/TWENTY-FIRST CONGREGATION/...                    VIS 20051024 (310)

Friday, October 21, 2005


VATICAN CITY, OCT 21, 2005 (VIS) - Following a concert given in his honor, which was held yesterday evening in the Vatican, Benedict XVI thanked the conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and members of the choir of Ratisbone Cathedral and of the Athestis Chorus.

  The Holy Father said he felt proud that for thirty years the choir of Ratisbone Cathedral "was led with passion by my brother Georg," adding that "now, under Roland Buchner, it is still in excellent hands."

  With reference to the music he had heard and to its composers - from Palestrina to Richard Wagner, from Mozart to Verdi and Hans Pfitzner - the Holy Father said: "You have brought us an experience of something of the vastness of musical creativity which has, indeed, always been nourished by the Christian roots of Europe. Even if Wagner, Pfitzner and Verdi transport us to new dimensions for experiencing reality, the shared foundation of a European spirit formed by Christianity still remains present and effective. In this concert have we been able, once again, to feel how sublime music purifies, uplifts and, in the final analysis, makes us feel the greatness and beauty of God."

  Benedict XVI concluded by expressing the hope that "the harmony of music and song, which knows no religious or social barriers, may be a constant invitation for believers and all people of good will to seek together the universal language of love, which makes men capable of building a world of justice and solidarity, of hope and peace."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 21, 2005 (VIS) - During the Twentieth General Congregation, held this morning in the Vatican's Synod Hall, the final message of the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist was presented and voted upon. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Francis Arinze and 245 Synod Fathers were present. Following this, the relator general, the secretary general, and the relators of the Working Groups, or linguistic groups, continued their deliberations on the collective amendments to the propositions.

  The amended propositions are scheduled to be presented this afternoon during the Twenty-First General Congregation.
SE/TWENTIETH CONGREGATION/...                    VIS 20051021 (110)

Thursday, October 20, 2005


VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father gave his assent to the election canonically carried out by the Synod of the Greek-Melkite Church, meeting in Ain Traz, Lebanon, from June 20 to 27, 2005, of Fr. Georges Bakouny as archbishop of Tyre of the Greek-Melkites (Catholics 7,000, priests 11 religious 11), Lebanon. The bishop-elect was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1995.
NER/.../BAKOUNY                                VIS 20051020 (80)


VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon.

 - Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, C.SS.R., major archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India.

 - Cardinal Miguel Obando Bravo S.D.B., archbishop emeritus of Managua, Nicaragua.

 - Cardinal Janis Pujats, metropolitan archbishop of Riga, Latvia.

 - Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi S.J., bishop of Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

 - Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., metropolitan archbishop of Quebec, Canada.

 - Archbishop Joseph Powathil of Changanacherry of the Syro-Malabars, India.
AP/.../...                                        VIS 20051020 (100)


VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2005 (VIS) - No General Congregation will be held today, but Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, together with the special secretary and the relators of the Working Groups, or linguistic groups, will study the collective amendments to the propositions.

  At 6 p.m. in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, a concert in honor of His Holiness Benedict XVI will be given by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, accompanied by the Regensburger Domspatzen choir and the Athestis Chorus. The program includes various pieces, among them: Sanctus from Missa for Holy Year by the Pope's brother Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, Mozart's Ave Verum, and Verdi's Te Deum. At the end of the concert, the Pope is scheduled to address some words to those present.
SE/AMENDMENTS PROPOSITIONS:CONCERT/...            VIS 20051020 (140)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Guillermo Rodrigo Teodoro Ortiz Mondragon, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Mexico, as bishop of Cuautitlan (area 2,145, population 4,000,000, Catholics 3,500,000, priests 223, religious 445), Mexico.
NER/.../ORTIZ                                    VIS 20051019 (50)


VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2005 (VIS) - In the general audience held today, exactly six months since his election to the Chair of Peter, Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis to Psalm 129, "out of the depths I cry to thee," which is, he recalled, "one of the best-known and most loved psalms of the Christian tradition." The audience, held in St. Peter's Square, was attended by 40,000 people.

  Pointing out how the psalm is known as the "De profundis," the Pope explained that "it is, in the first place, a song of divine mercy and of reconciliation between the sinner and the Lord. ... It opens with a voice arising from the depths of evil and guilt. ... then continues over three stages dedicated to the subject of sin and forgiveness."

  Benedict XVI commented on the verses: "If thou, O Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared," saying: "It is significant that fear, an attitude of respect mixed with love, is generated not by punishment but by forgiveness. More than God's anger, it is His generous and disarming magnanimity that should provoke our holy fear. In fact, God is not an implacable sovereign who condemns the guilty, but a loving Father Whom we must love, not out of fear of punishment, but for His goodness and readiness to forgive."

  In the second part of the psalm "watchfulness and hope blossom in the penitent psalmist's heart, along with the certainty that God will pronounce a liberating word and cancel out sin." In the third part, "the personal salvation that the psalmist had originally implored, is extended to the whole community" and "and takes root in the historical faith of the people of the Covenant, 'redeemed' by the Lord, not only from Egyptian oppression, but also 'from all iniquities'."

  In this way, "from the dark gorge of sin the supplication of the 'De profundis' reaches God's luminous horizon, dominated by 'mercy and redemption,' two of the great characteristics of the God of love."

  In concluding remarks, Benedict XVI placed the psalm in the context of Christian tradition, quoting St. Ambrose who, in his Tractate on Penance, writes: "Never lose hope in divine forgiveness, however great your sin. With God there can always be a change of heart, if you acknowledge your offence."

  At the end of the audience, and after greeting pilgrims in several languages, the Pope blessed a statue of St. Mariana de Jesus Paredes y Flores (1618 - 1645), the "lily of Quito" and first saint of Ecuador, canonized by Pius XII in 1950. The statue has been placed in a niche on the outside of St. Peter's Basilica.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, the Synod Fathers met in Working Groups, or language groups, in order to prepare the collective amendments to the propositions. Their deliberations will continue this afternoon. At the end of the afternoon session, the groups will consign the propositions to the secretary general of the Synod. After the session, the Synod Fathers will have the opportunity to watch a private showing of the film "St. Peter," by the Italian director Giulio Base, offered in homage by Ettore Bernabei, director of Lux Vide, the company that produced the film. The film will be aired on RAI (Italian State television) in a few weeks time.

  During yesterday's Nineteenth General Congregation, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, presented the Holy Father with the first copy, bound in white, of the first volume of the Enchiridion of the Synod of Bishops, a work published for the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops.

  A note on the Enchiridion made public yesterday explains that it "is a collection of documents regarding the Synod of Bishops, from its origins to 1988, of great interest not only to the members of the episcopal college, but also to researchers, historians and theologians, to whom it furnishes documentation of primary importance for the life and mission of the Church after Vatican Council II.

  "The Holy Father has decided to give this book to the Synod participants, as a sign of gratitude and encouragement in faithfulness, communion and love for the Church centered on the mystery of the Eucharist."
SE/LANGUAGE GROUPS/...                            VIS 20051019 (280)

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