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Friday, September 16, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 16, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences four prelates from the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Lazaro Perez Jimenez of Celaya.

    - Bishop Jose de Jesus Martinez Zepeda of Irapuato.

    - Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar Martinez of Matehuala.

    - Bishop Mario De Gasperin Gaseperin of Queretaro.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 16, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was the text of the Holy Father's address to Shlomo Moshe Amar and Yona Metzger, chief rabbis of Israel, whom he received in audience yesterday, Thursday, at the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo.

  Benedict XVI recalled how the rabbis' visit "intends to emphasize the positive results that have come from the Second Vatican Council's declaration 'Nostra Aetate,' the fortieth anniversary of which we are commemorating this year," and which was "a milestone on the road towards reconciliation of Christians with the Jewish people."

  The Pope went on: "I see your visit as a further step forward in the process of building deeper religious relations between Catholics and Jews, a course which has received new impulse and energy from 'Nostra Aetate' and from the many forms of contact, dialogue and cooperation that have their origin in the principles and spirit of that document."

  The Holy Father then went on to quote the address he recently delivered in the synagogue of Cologne, Germany, when he spoke of "handing down to young people the torch of hope that God has given to Jews and to Christians, so that ... future generations ... may be able to build a more just and peaceful world, in which all people have equal rights."

  "The eyes of the world constantly turn to the Holy Land, the Land that is considered holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Unfortunately our attention is too often drawn by acts of violence and terror, a cause of immense sorrow to everyone living there. We must continue to insist that religion and peace go together."

  Finally, the Pope spared some words for the Christian communities of the Holy Land who currently "face new and increasing challenges," and expressed his pleasure "that diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel have led to more solid and stable forms of cooperation, we eagerly await the fulfillment of the Fundamental Agreement on issues still outstanding."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 16, 2005 (VIS) - This morning at Castelgandolfo, the Pope received participants in an international congress on the theme: "Holy Scripture in the Life of the Church." The congress, which is being held in Rome from September 14 - 18, has been jointly organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and by the Catholic Biblical Federation (FBC), for the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of Vatican Council II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation "Dei Verbum."

  The Pope expressed particular thanks to the FBC for "its activities, the biblical pastoral activity it promotes, its faithful adherence to the indications of the Magisterium, and its openness to ecumenical collaboration in the biblical field." He also expressed his "profound joy" at the presence in the congress of fraternal delegates from Churches and ecclesial communities of the East and the West, and of representatives from the other great religions of the world.

  After recalling his own participation, as a young theologian, in the preparation of "Dei Verbum," Benedict XVI affirmed that "the Church does not live off herself but off the Gospel, and its from the Gospel that, always and anew, she draws guidance for her journey. This is a fact that all Christians must take up and apply to themselves: only those who first dispose themselves to listen to the Word can then begin to announce it."

  "Church and Word of God," the Pope went on, "are inseparably linked. The Church lives off the Word of God, and the Word of God rings out in the Church, in her teaching and in all her life."

  The Pope gave thanks to God because "in recent times, thanks also to the effect of the Dogmatic Constitution 'Dei Verbum,' the fundamental importance of the Word of God has been more profoundly re-evaluated. This has led to renewal in the life of the Church, especially in preaching, catechesis, theology, spirituality, and in the very ecumenical journey itself. The Church must forever renew and rejuvenate herself, and the Word of God, which never ages or expires, is the privileged means to this end."

  Benedict XVI concluded his address by recalling, in this context, "the ancient tradition of 'Lectio divina.' The assiduous study of Holy Scripture, accompanied by prayer, initiates that intimate exchange in which, reading, we listen to God Who speaks and, praying, we reply to him with faithful openness of heart. If effectively promoted, this practice will, I am convinced, bring a new spiritual springtime. As a fixed point in biblical pastoral activity, 'Lectio divina' should, then, be further encouraged, also by the use of new methods, carefully studied and in keeping with the times."
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