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Thursday, September 29, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Boris Tadic, president of the Republic of Serbia, accompanied by an entourage.

- Five prelates from the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristobal de las Casas, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Enrique Diaz Diaz.

    - Bishop Jose Antonio Fernandez Hurtado of Tuxtepec.

    - Bishop Jose de Jesus Castillo Renteria M.N.M., emeritus of Tuxtepec.

    - Bishop Leopoldo Gonzalez Gonzalez of Tapachula.

  This afternoon he is scheduled to meet in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, archbishop emeritus of Paris, France.

- Three prelates from the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, on their "ad limina" visit:

    Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, archbishop of Guadalajara, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Rafael Francisco Martinez Sainz and Jose Maria de la Torre Martin.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2005 (VIS) - Today in the Pio-Christian Museum, part of the Vatican Museums, an exhibition is due to open entitled "The Sculpted Word: the Bible in the Origins of Christian Art." The event is dedicated to the masterpieces of palaeo-Christian iconography contained in the museum, accompanied by the biblical texts that inspired them.

  The exhibition - which will be open to the public from tomorrow, September 30, until January 7, 2006 - is part of events commemorating the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of the Vatican Council II Dogmatic Constitution "Dei Verbum," which promoted easier access to the Bible for everyone, and opened the way for inter-confessional collaboration in the biblical field.

  The exhibition is being promoted by the Universal Biblical Alliance - an organization founded in 1946 which brings together some 150 national Bible societies and has the aim of spreading the Bible around the world - through the Bible Society in Italy, as well as by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and by the Vatican Museums.

  "The exhibition itinerary," says a communique released by the Vatican Museums, "presents the visitor with various biblical scenes, especially concerning the Gospel of Mark and the Book of Jonah," sculpted in palaeo-Christian sarcophagi and accompanied by 23 explanatory panels presenting the texts that inspired these biblical scenes.

  The communique also explains how visitors will receive a copy of a book with the same title as the exhibition and containing the complete text of the Gospel of Mark and the Book of Jonah, in the inter-confessional translation in six languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and German.


VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2005 (VIS) - "The Media: A Network for Communication, Communion and Cooperation" is the theme chosen by Pope Benedict XVI for the 40th World Communications Day 2006, according to a communique made public today.

  According to Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, "this first theme chosen by the Holy Father Benedict XVI for a World Communications Day underlines his own appreciation of the ability of the communications media not only to make known needed information but also to promote fruitful cooperation."

  World Communications Day is marked in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday before Pentecost. In 2006 it will fall on May 28.

  The Holy Father's message for World Communications Day is traditionally published on January 24, Feast of St. Francis of Sales, patron of writers and journalists.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following declaration to journalists today, concerning this morning's meeting of the Holy Father with Boris Tadic, president of the Republic of Serbia:

  "In the course of the cordial meeting which lasted 25 minutes, President Tadic illustrated to the Pope the current situation in the Republic of Serbia. Talks concentrated particularly on the need to teach values to young people, especially in the scholastic field.

  "President Tadic also invited the Holy Father to visit the Republic of Serbia. In thanking him for his invitation, Benedict XVI expressed the hope that such a visit may take place in the future."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from Benedict XVI to participants in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. The Letter is addressed to Archbishop Franc Rode, prefect of the congregation.

  The Pope recalls how throughout history the Holy Spirit has enriched the Church, not only with gifts of wisdom, prophecy and sanctity, but by "giving her ever new forms of evangelical life through the work of founders and foundresses who transmitted their charism to a family of spiritual sons and daughters."

  Thanks to this, monasteries and centers of spirituality have become "oases of contemplation and schools of prayer, of education in faith and of spiritual guidance." Above all, the Holy Father writes, consecrated men and women "continue the great work of evangelization and of bearing witness on all continents. ... There is no human or ecclesial field where they are not present, often silently but always active and creative."

  After expressing the thanks of the entire Church for this work, Benedict XVI recognizes how, "at the beginning of the new millennium, consecrated life has formidable challenges before it, challenges it can face only in communion with all the people of God, with its pastors and its faithful."

  The Pope then enters in detail into the themes of the plenary assembly: "The first concerns the exercise of authority, a precious and necessary service to ensure a truly fraternal life. ... Only if the superior lives in obedience to Christ and in sincere observance of the rule can the members of the community clearly see that their own obedience to the superior is not only not contrary to the freedom of the children of God, but brings it to maturity in conformity to Christ Who obeyed the will of the Father."

  On the subject of the second theme being considered by the plenary assembly, that of criteria for the discernment and approval of new forms of consecrated life, the Pope stresses the words of the Dogmatic Constitution "Lumen gentium" which in referring to charisms says: "Judgment as to their genuineness and proper use belongs to those who are appointed leaders in the Church, to whose special competence it belongs, not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to that which is good."

  On the assembly's third theme, monastic life, the Pope writes: "On the basis of situations that are contingent but that nonetheless call for specific, wise and incisive action, you aim to let you gaze range over the vast horizon (of monastic life), which has had and continues to have such significance in the history of the Church. You are seeking appropriate ways to relaunch, in the new millennium, the monastic experience of which the Church still has need today."

  Benedict XVI concludes his message, which he signed in Castelgandolfo on September 27, by recalling how the plenary assembly coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Conciliar Decree "Perfectae caritatis," on the renewal of religious life. And he expresses the hope "that the fundamental indications given then by the council Fathers for the progress of consecrated life, may continue today to be a source of inspiration for those who commit their lives to the service of the Kingdom of God."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received the final group of bishops from the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, on their "ad limina" visit. The group was composed of prelates from the archdioceses and dioceses of the ecclesiastical provinces of Acapulco, Antequera and Yucatan.

   The Pope told the bishops that the episcopal duty to teach consists in the transmission of the Gospel "with its moral and religious values, bearing in mind the various situations and aspirations arising from contemporary society, the situation of which the pastors must know well. 'It is important that special efforts be made to explain properly the reasons for the Church's position, stressing that it is not a case of imposing on non-believers a vision based on faith, but of interpreting and defending the values rooted in the very nature of the human person'."

  He continued: "At the same time, the pastors of the Church in Mexico must pay special attention ... to the most unprotected groups and to the poor. ... From the Gospel, the appropriate response is to promote the solidarity and peace that make justice truly possible. For this reason the Church seeks effective collaboration in order to eradicate all forms of marginalization, orienting Christians to practice justice and peace. In this context, encourage those with greater resources to share them."

  The Pope affirmed the need "not only to alleviate the most serious needs, but to go to the roots thereof, proposing measures to give social, political and economic structures a fairer and more solidary configuration. In this way, charity will be at the service of culture, politics, economy and the family, and will become the cement for authentic human and community development."

  Referring to the joy and festivity that characterize the celebration and expression of popular religiosity in Mexico, the Holy Father explained to the bishops how they must "orient this particular feature, so common among the Mexican faithful, towards a solid and mature faith, one capable of forming a way of life in keeping with what is so joyfully professed. This will also intensify the growing missionary drive of Mexicans."

  After underlining the fact that in Mexico too "the genius of women is frequently apparent," Benedict XVI identified "one challenge of our times" as "changing people's mentality so that women are treated with full dignity in all fields, protecting their unique mission to be mothers and the first educators of their children."

  The Pope affirmed that the pastoral care of young people "is an important task. ... Many of them have the false idea that taking on commitment and making definitive decisions means loss of freedom. On the contrary, they should be reminded that men and women become free when they unconditionally commit themselves to truth and goodness. Only thus is it possible to discover a meaning to life and to build something great and lasting, if they have Jesus Christ as the center of their lives."

  At the end of his address, the Holy Father called on the prelates "to go forward and act harmoniously, in a spirit of communion that has its peak and its never-ending source in the Eucharist." In this context he mentioned the recent International Eucharistic Congress of Guadalajara, which "left a profound impression on the faithful, an impression which must be maintained as a treasure of shared and celebrated faith."
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