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Thursday, September 8, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 8, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Msgr. Maroun Elias Lahham of the clergy of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem of the Latins, rector of the patriarchal seminary of Beit Jala, as bishop of Tunis (area 164,000, population 9,700,000, Catholics 20,000, priests 34, religious 164), Tunisia. The bishop-elect was born in Irbed, Jordan in 1948 and ordained a priest in 1972.

- Archbishop-Bishop Fouad Twal of Tunis, Tunisia, as coadjutor of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem of the Latins (Catholics 77,000, priests 372, religious 1,642).

 - As members of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: Cardinals Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany; Miguel Obando Bravo S.D.B., archbishop emeritus of Managua, Nicaragua; Jozef Tomko, president of the Pontifical Commission for International Eucharistic Congresses; Adrianus Johannes Simonis, archbishop of Utrecht, Netherlands; Edmund Casimir Szoka, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State; Vinko Puljic, archbishop of Vrhbosna, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Paul Shan Kuo-hsi, bishop of Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Ivan Dias, archbishop of Bombay, India; Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop of Santiago de Chile, Chile, president of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM); George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia; Marc Ouellet P.S.S., archbishop of Quebec, Canada; Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Jean Louis Tauran, archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church; Francesco Marchisano, archpriest of the Vatican Basilica; Georges Marie Martin Cottier O.P., pro-theologian of the Papal Household; Archbishops Paul Verdzekov of Bamenda, Cameroun; Joseph Powathil of Changanacherry of the Syro-Malabars, India; Joseph Mohsen Bechara of Antelias of the Maronites, Lebanon; Francesco Cacucci of Bari Bitonto, Italy; John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, president of the Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SCEAM); Stefan Soroka of Philadelphia of the Ukrainians, U.S.A.; Oswald Thomas Colman Gomis of Colombo, Sri Lanka, secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC); Archbishop-Bishop Cyrille Salim Bustros M.S.S.P., of Newton of the Greek-Melkites, U.S.A.; Bishops Denis George Browne of Hamilton in New Zealand, president of the Federation of Catholic Bishops' Conferences of Oceania; Amedee Grab O.S.B., of Chur, Switzerland, president of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE); Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, prelate of the personal prelature of Opus Dei; Joseph Zen Ze Kiun S.D.B., of Hong Kong, China; Jean Louis Brugues O.P. of Angers, France; Arthur Roche of Leeds; Menghisteab Tesfamariam of Asmara, Eritrea; Antonio Li Duan, Xi'an; Luca Li Jingfeng, Fengxiang; Aloysius Jin Luxian, Shanghai; Giuseppe Wei Jingyi, Qiqihar; Frs. Peter Hans Kolvenbach S.J., superior general of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits); Julian Carron, president of the Community and Liberation association.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 8, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences five prelates from the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Vicente Garcia Bernal of Ciudad Obregon.

    - Bishop Miguel Angel Alba Diaz of La Paz en la Baja California Sur.

    - Bishop Jose Isidro Guerrero Macias of Mexicali.

    - Bishop Rafael Romo Munoz of Tijuana.

    - Bishop Georges M. Saad Abi Yoiunes O.L.M., of Nuestra Senora de los Martires del Libano en Mexico of the Maronites.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 8, 2005 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, presented a forthcoming international congress on the theme: "Holy Scripture in the Life of the Church." The congress is due to be held in Rome from September 14 to 18. Also participating in the presentation were: Bishop Vincenzo Paglia of Terni-Narni-Amelia, president of the Catholic Biblical Federation (FBC); Alexander Schweitzer, secretary general of the federation in Stuttgart, Germany, and Msgr. Juan Usma Gomez, the pontifical council delegate for relations with the FBC.

  The congress has been jointly organized by the FBC and the pontifical council, for the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of Vatican Council II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation "Dei Verbum."

  Cardinal Kasper affirmed that around 400 people from 98 countries are expected to participate in the congress. All the presidents of the world's episcopal conferences and of the synods of the Eastern Catholic Churches have been invited to attend, as have fraternal delegates from Churches and ecclesial communities in dialogue with the Catholic Church, as well as all members of the FBC, and representatives from dicasteries of the Roman Curia.

  The cardinal went to say that during the congress "we wish to consider the road we have travelled in the light of the decisions and recommendations of the (Second Vatican) Council: Is ecclesiastical preaching nourished and regulated by Holy Scripture? ... How can the biblical formation of pastoral ministers and agents be improved? How far have we got with the translations of Sacred Scripture from the original texts? What is the state of ecumenical collaboration in the biblical field?"

  Msgr. Usma affirmed that the congress "will alternate between theology, history and pastoral activity." The objective, he said, "is to institute and reinforce dialogue about the Word of God, on the Word of God, and with the Word of God."

  Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Catholic Biblical Federation which was founded in 1969 to promote the spread of the Bible in the light of the guidelines of Vatican Council II, then explained that the congress does not aim to examine the scientific aspects of Dei Verbum, but to "dwell on the pastoral elements present in the conciliar document."

  Bishop Paglia also noted that, despite the fact that over the last four decades the Bible "has returned to the hands of the faithful," Holy Scripture is still little known and read. Research recently conducted in Italy, France and Spain has revealed the fact that for many people "the Bible is still a book chiefly reserved for the clergy," he said, highlighting another problem as being that "many Christian communities, above all in the South of the world, still do not have the Bible translated into their language."

  The prelate recalled Blessed John XXIII who, in taking possession of the Basilica of St. John Lateran as bishop of Rome, affirmed that one of the priorities of his pontificate would be "to encourage all manifestations of the book, everywhere and without pause."

  He concluded: "We hope that the congress will encourage a new enthusiasm for Holy Scripture."

  For his part, Alexander Schweitzer, secretary general of the FBC which has 312 affiliated institutions in 127 countries, recalled that the congress will concentrate on three principal speeches. These will be delivered by Cardinal Walter Kasper on the theological aspects of Dei Verbum, by Bishop John Onaiyekan on the developments of the last 40 years, and by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini on the role and pastoral utility of the Bible today. "All other contributions and discussions will take place in the form of round table discussions," he said.

  The first full day of work will be dedicated to the theme of "the Word of God in human words," and will center on such topics as the relationship between biblical exegesis and pastoral care, inculturation, and the Bible and the media.

  September 16 will be dedicated to questions associated with the pastoral use of the Bible in such fields as catechesis and the liturgy.

  Finally, Saturday September 17 will be dedicated to the question of ecumenical dialogue with the theme of "Sacred Scripture and Christian Unity," to relations with Judaism with the theme "the Bible, Holy Scripture for Jews and Christians," to inter-religious dialogue, and to the Word of God in the world today.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 8, 2005 (VIS) - At Castelgandolfo this morning, the Holy Father received the first group of prelates from the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  After stressing that "the Mexican nation came into being as a meeting of peoples and cultures, their nature and character marked by the living presence of Jesus Christ and the mediation of Mary," the Pope said: "Today, Mexico is experiencing a process of transition characterized by the appearance of groups that, in a more or less ordered fashion, seek new areas for participation and representation. Many of them, with particular force, advocate claims in favor of the poor and of those excluded from development, especially indigenous people."

  "The profound desire to consolidate democratic, economic and social culture and institutions that recognize human rights and the cultural values of the people, must find an echo and an illuminating response in the Church's pastoral activity."

  Benedict XVI referred to the necessity of "integral formation in all areas of the Church." This is "particularly necessary for the young" because in abandoning the Church after the sacraments of initiation "they find themselves in a society marked by growing religious and cultural pluralism. Moreover they face, at times alone and disoriented, currents of thought according to which man achieves fullness through technological, political and economic power, with no need of God or even against God. For this reason it is necessary to accompany young people, to invite them enthusiastically so that, integrated again into the ecclesial community, they take up the commitment of transforming society as a fundamental requirement of following Christ."

  "In the same way," he added, "families need adequate accompaniment in order to discover and experience their dimension as 'domestic church.' The father and mother need to receive formation to help them become the 'first evangelizers' of their children."

  The Pope emphasized how "the Church in Mexico reflects the pluralism of the society itself, which is composed of many differing realities, some of them very good and promising, others more complicated. Faced with this situation, and while respecting local and regional realities, bishops must favor organic pastoral processes that give greater meaning to expressions deriving from mere tradition or custom."

  "Because we find ourselves in a new culture marked by the means of social communication, in this area the Church in Mexico must take advantage of the collaboration of the faithful, the education of so many men and women of culture, and the opportunities provided by public institutions." The Pope concluded by saying: "Bringing the face of Christ to this media environment requires serious formative and apostolic efforts that cannot be delayed and that require a contribution from everyone."
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