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Thursday, July 7, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 7, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Bertie Ahern, prime minister of Ireland, accompanied by an entourage.

 - Cardinal Godfried Danneels, archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel, Belgium.

 - Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop of Santiago de Chile, Chile.

 - Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, Peru.

  This evening he is scheduled to meet in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop John Patrick Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

 - Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald M. Afr., president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

  Yesterday, Wednesday July 6, he received in audience Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
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VATICAN CITY, JUL 7, 2005 (VIS) - Given below is a synopsis of the "Instrumentum laboris" (working document) for the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, scheduled to be held in the Vatican from October 2 to 23, 2005 on the theme: "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church."

  The Instrumentum laboris is made up of a preface, an introduction, four sections each divided into two chapters, and a conclusion. It was drawn up on the basis of responses to the "Lineamenta" sent by the secretariat of the Synod of Bishops to episcopal conferences, Eastern Catholic Churches, dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the Union of Superiors General.

  "The question of great pastoral concern, episcopal responsibility and prophetic vision is to see how (the) rich patrimony of faith can be implemented in the Catholic Church ... in the initial years of the third millennium of Christianity and beyond," says the preface, adding: "This document then is principally concentrated on the positive aspects of the celebration of the Eucharist which bring the faithful together and make them a community."

  Part one, entitled "the Eucharist and today's world," analyses the historical context in which the Synod is to take place, "a period marked by strong contrasting forces within the human family." With concrete reference to the problem of hunger in the world, the document says: "This dramatic situation is an inescapable reality in the discussion of the synod fathers, who, like every Christian at various times during the day, pray to the Lord: 'give us this day our daily bread'."

    Attention is then given to the situation of the Church around the world, noting that attendance at Sunday Mass "is high in various particular Churches in the countries of Africa and also in some Asian countries. The opposite is the case in the majority of countries in Europe, America and Oceania."

  Part two, "the faith of the Church in the mystery of the Eucharist," concentrates on the manner in which the Eucharistic mystery is perceived among the faithful, highlighting how the nuances of such perception change according to cultural context: "In those countries enjoying a general climate of peace and prosperity - primarily western countries - many perceive the Eucharistic mystery as simply the fulfillment of a Sunday obligation and a meal of fellowship. Instead, in those countries experiencing wars and other difficulties, many understand the Eucharistic mystery more fully, that is, including its sacrificial aspect."

  Space is also dedicated to deficiencies in the celebration the Eucharist which "challenge a sense of the sacred." These include neglectfulness in the use of correct liturgical vestments, participants wearing unbefitting clothing, or the scant architectural and artistic quality of church buildings. However, "all these negative realities, occurring more often in the Latin liturgy than the liturgies of the Eastern Churches, should not lead to great alarm, since they seem to be limited."

  Part three, "the Eucharist in the life of the Church," details the correct celebration of Mass, from the opening rites to the conclusion and the significance of liturgical norms, described as "guides for entering into mystery."

  The fourth and final part of the document concerns "the Eucharist in the mission of the Church." It emphasizes the Eucharist's importance as the "font of Christian morality," recalling that it "has always empowered the choices and the ethical and moral behavior of believers." In this context the document discusses the Eucharist's association with peace, unity and ecumenism as well as with such questions as inculturation and intercommunion.
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VATICAN CITY, JUL 7, 2005 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic and Msgr. Fortunato Frezza, respectively secretary general and under-secretary of the Synod of Bishops, presented the "Instrumentum laboris" for the forthcoming Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

  In opening comments Archbishop Eterovic recalled how on April 20, the day after his election as bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI had highlighted October's assembly of the Synod of Bishops as an important forthcoming commitment, stressing that "it was a high point of the Year of the Eucharist inaugurated by John Paul II on October 17, 2004."

  The secretary general of the Synod of Bishops pointed out that the Holy Father had altered the dates of the assembly, which will now "last not four but three weeks, from October 2 to 23." The Holy Father, said Archbishop Eterovic, "has also modified the program of the synodal assembly in order to concentrate its activities and further encourage its collegial and synodal aspects."

  The archbishop went on to list some of the innovations: "Each of the synod father's contribution in the synod hall is to last six minutes, not eight as was the previous practice. ... The principal reason for this cutback is the introduction of an hour's free discussion, between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the end of each day's general congregation." This system, "through an open exchange of views and experiences, will facilitate a more profound examination of current issues connected with the mystery of the Eucharist." The number of participants will, nonetheless, remain unchanged at around 250.

  The time dedicated to the working groups will also be reduced, said the secretary general. "As is customary, there will be 12 working groups, divided according to the five languages of the Synod." The Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly will also be attended by a "considerable number of auditors, both men and women," and by "a group of experts whose expertise on the questions studied will help the synod fathers in their work."

  Fraternal delegates from other Churches and ecclesial communities have also been invited, double the number with respect to earlier Synods. There will be 12 representatives from the Orthodox Churches, from the Ancient Churches of the East and from post-Reformation communities. "It may be said that this is one of the concrete gestures of ecumenism, as anticipated by Benedict XVI at the start of his pontificate."

  The Pope has accepted a proposal to dedicate one of the sessions to commemorating the founding of the Synod of Bishops, the 40th anniversary of which coincides with October's assembly.

   Archbishop Eterovic recalled that with the forthcoming gathering on the theme of the Eucharist, a total of 21 Synods will have been celebrated. These include 11 general assemblies, 2 extraordinary general assemblies and 8 special assemblies.

  For his part, Msgr. Fortunato Frezza highlighted the fact that the working document summarizes "an enormous quantity of information from all over the earth. Indeed, it is by no means common to find another organization with a document bringing together a similar amount of data from all over the world."

  He also observed that the Instrumentum laboris places the theme of the forthcoming Synod within the context of traditional doctrine and Magisterium, emphasizing that "the Eucharist strongly asserts the idea of a gift as a fulfilling response to the most profound questions of individuals and peoples."


VATICAN CITY, JUL 7, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, Pope Benedict received 30 members of the Roman group Circolo San Pietro, an organization founded in the 19th century that gives voluntary help in papal ceremonies and cares for people in need in the Italian capital. The Circolo also enjoys the ancient privilege of collecting the fund known as Peter's Pence, which they entrust to the Holy Father so as to cooperate in his ministry in the Universal Church.

  "This is the first time I have met you since God called me to undertake the Petrine ministry in the Church," said the Pope, "but I have long known of your service, animated by convinced faithfulness and acquiescence to Peter's Successor."

  "The mission you carry out with such admirable commitment is vital. Apart from liturgical service, you concern yourselves with going out to meet the poor and with bringing relief to the sick and suffering. In so doing you imitate the Good Samaritan and provide concrete witness of the missionary zeal and evangelical love that should distinguish all true disciples of Christ. You have come here today, as you do every year, to present the Peter's Pence fund to the Pope; this is a further sign of your generous openness to your brethren in difficulty. At the same time, it represents a significant participation in the efforts of the Holy See to respond to the growing needs of the Church, especially in the poorest countries."
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VATICAN CITY, JUL 7, 2005 (VIS) - Given below is the text of the telegram sent by Benedict XVI through Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano to Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster, Great Britain, after hearing news of this morning's terrorist attacks in London:

  "Deeply saddened by the news of the terrorist attacks in central London the Holy Father offers fervent prayers for the victims and for all those who mourn. While he deplores these barbaric acts against humanity he asks you to convey to the families of the injured his spiritual closeness at this time of grief. Upon the people of Great Britain he invokes the consolation that only God can give in such circumstances."
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