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Wednesday, October 5, 2005


VATICAN CITY, OCT 5, 2005 (VIS) - Today, following the general audience, the Holy Father, received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Alfio Rapisarda, apostolic nuncio to Portugal.

 - Archbishop Giovanni Tonucci, apostolic nuncio to Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway.
AP/.../...                                        VIS 20051005 (50)


VATICAN CITY, OCT 5, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released a declaration to journalists concerning the visit made today to Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for Relations with States, by Cyril Svoboda, foreign minister of the Czech Republic, accompanied by a delegation.

  "In the course of the meeting," the declaration reads, "discussions focussed on bilateral relations between the Holy See and the Czech Republic, in particular on the agreement regulating mutual relations, signed in Prague on July 25, 2002, but not yet ratified. Archbishop Lajolo expressed the hope that difficulties hindering the ratification on the Czech side can be overcome. ... He also declared the willingness of the Secretariat of State to favor such a process. Among other subjects discussed were certain aspects of plans for a law reforming religious freedom, and proposals for a solution of the question of Catholic Church property confiscated at the time of the communist regime. To this end, it was agreed that it would be appropriate to constitute a joint commission with a fixed-term mandate.

  "The conversation also ranged over other themes of current international importance, in particular the process of consolidating and enlarging the European Union. ... Other themes were: the Middle East, and collaboration in international organizations with reference to some important ethical questions."
OP/VISIT CZECH MINISTER/NAVARRO-VALLS                VIS 20051005 (230)


VATICAN CITY, OCT 5, 2005 (VIS) - The second part of Psalm 134, "only God is great and eternal," was the theme of the Holy Father's catechesis in today's general audience, which was held in St. Peter's Square in the presence of 50,000 people.

  The Pope explained how "the Psalmist resolutely compares two different religious visions. On one side rises the figure of the living and personal God, ... a living being who 'guides' His people, ... supporting them with the power of His love; on the other is idolatry, the expression of a deviant and deceptive religiosity. Indeed, idols are nothing more than 'the work of men's hands.' ... They have human form, ... but they are inert."

  "The destiny of those who adore these dead things, is to become like them: impotent, fragile and inert. These verses clearly convey man's eternal temptation to seek salvation in the 'work of his hands,' placing hope in wealth, power and success."

  The psalm, "following this meditation on true and false religion," concludes with a liturgical blessing. "The liturgy is the privileged place to listen to the divine Word that revives the Lord's salvific acts, but it is also the space from which community prayer rises to celebrate divine love. God and man meet in an embrace of salvation, that finds fulfillment in the liturgical celebration."

Following the audience, the Pope greeted pilgrims in various languages. Addressing a group of faithful from the Italian region of Umbria, he said: "You come from the land of St. Benedict and St. Francis, they also made this pilgrimage (to Rome). ... After many centuries, their testimony of love and peace is still relevant: Italy, Europe and the world have need of them."

  He then addressed some words to Polish pilgrims: "Six months have passed since the death of my dear predecessor John Paul II. His Magisterium and the testimony of his life remain important to us. I entrust the cause of his beatification to your recitation of the Rosary."
AG/PSALM 134/...                                    VIS 20051005 (350)


VATICAN CITY, OCT 5, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, while the Pope held the general audience in St. Peter's Square, the Synod Fathers met in language groups to elect moderators and begin discussion on the theme of the Ordinary General Assembly.

  The Fifth General Congregation will take place this afternoon in the Synod Hall.
SE/LANGUAGE GROUPS/...                            VIS 20051005 (60)


VATICAN CITY, OCT 4, 2005 (VIS) - The Fourth General Congregation of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops began in the Synod Hall at 4.30 p.m. today, Tuesday. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico, and there were 242 Synod Fathers present.

  Following are excerpts from a number of the speeches given:

CARDINAL JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO S.J., ARCHBISHOP OF BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA. "Our faithful people believe in the Eucharist as a Eucharistic Marian people; they unite affection for the Eucharist and affection for the Virgin, our Mother. At the school of Mary, Eucharistic woman, we again read and consider those passages in which John Paul II contemplated the Virgin as Eucharistic woman, and we see she is not alone, but 'together' with the people of God. ... Our faithful people possess the true 'Eucharistic attitude' of praise and thanksgiving. In recalling Mary, our faithful people take pleasure in being remembered by her, and this is a truly Eucharistic memorial of love. On this subject, I would like to repeat what John Paul II said in paragraph 58 of his 'Ecclesia de Eucharistia': 'The Eucharist has been given to us so that our life, like that of Mary, may become completely a Magnificat'."

BISHOP RIMANTAS NORVILA OF VILKAVISKIS, LITHUANIA. "Without the will or the possibility of sacramental reconciliation, it becomes impossible for Catholics to experience the most profound union with Jesus Christ and the Church, favored by the Eucharist. Thus Christians reach a point where they cannot appreciate the value of the Eucharist as a source of grace and, little by little, they lose their bonds with the parish community and their closeness to the whole Church. At the same time, without the practice of reconciliation, subjectivism tends to increase, and it becomes more difficult to evaluate personal behavior and religiosity. The decline of the practice of this Sacrament is very obvious throughout the world. ... Alongside the decrease in the practice of Penance, tendencies opposed to Christian faith often emerge. Religious necessity and past experiences of religious life tend to lead towards the search for new and broader paths. As we can all see, in today's societies, especially Western societies, esoteric, magic, occult and New Age tendencies have all become widespread. All this enables people to create new community and social ties, distancing them from the Church and Catholic thinking and weakening the faith. Looking further ahead, we see a deformation of consciences, changes that touch the whole personality. For the positive formation of conscience and Catholic understanding one of the best - I would say privileged - instruments is reconciliation and spiritual guidance. ... This will also help us all to approach the Eucharistic Jesus, and will help create deeper bonds with the Church. Penance brings us close to Christ; while the lack of Penance distances us from God."

BISHOP GREGORIO NICANOR PENA RODRIGUEZ OF NUESTRA SENORA DE LA ALTAGRACIA EN HIGUEY, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. "No Christian community is built without having the Eucharist as its root and center. It is vitally important that the celebration of the Eucharist be the center and summit of the whole life of the community. In our communities, Eucharistic celebrations have been revitalized by the celebration of the Year of the Eucharist. The positive values of the Sacrament have been reinforced, and its centrality for the life of the community and for its mission in the world have been rediscovered. The process of maturing with respect to the Eucharist has been joyfully experienced by our faithful during the whole year and we hope this reality will last forever."

ARCHBISHOP JAN PAWEL LENGA M.I.C. OF KARAGANDA, KAZAKHSTAN. "Among the liturgical innovations produced in the Western world, two in particular tend to cloud the visible aspect of the Eucharist, especially as regards its centrality and sacredness: the removal of the tabernacle from the center and the distribution of communion in the hand. ... Communion in the hand is spreading and even prevailing as being easier, as a kind of fashion. ... Therefore, I humbly propose the following practical propositions: that the Holy See issue a universal regulation establishing the official way of receiving communion as being in the mouth and kneeling; with communion in the hand to be reserved for the clergy alone. May bishops in places where communion in the hand has been introduced work with pastoral prudence to bring the faithful slowly back to the official rite of communion, valid for all local Churches."

BISHOP LORENZO VOLTOLINI ESTI, AUXILIARY OF PORTOVIEJO, ECUADOR. "Refraining from the celebration of Mass on Friday in Lent would help the faithful to feel greater hunger for the Eucharistic food, and it would give priests the chance to put themselves at the disposal of the faithful for the Sacrament of Penance, thus establishing a relationship of equal dignity and necessity between the two Sacraments. ... I propose it be suggested to dioceses or National Conferences, or at least allowed to those that request it, that they establish a day of Eucharistic fasting, preferably during Lent and perhaps on Fridays. This should not be experienced as a day of Eucharistic absence but as a period of preparation for and expectation of the Eucharist. It should not be considered as an interruption of the practice of celebrating the Eucharist each day, but as a way to give worth to the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, equally celebrated in Penance and in the Eucharist in the totality and complementarity of the two Sacraments."

ARCHBISHOP JOHN ATCHERLEY DEW OF WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND. "Our Church would be enriched if we were able to invite dedicated Catholics, currently excluded from the Eucharist, to return to the Lord's table. There are those whose first marriages ended in sadness; they have never abandoned the Church, but are currently excluded from the Eucharist. There are Catholics married to people baptized in other Christian faiths. We acknowledge them to be baptized in Christ in the sacrament of marriage, but not in the reception of the Eucharist. This Synod must be pastoral in approach; we must look for ways to include those who are hungering for the Bread of Life. The scandal of those hungering for Eucharistic food needs to be addressed, just as the scandal of physical hunger needs to be addressed."
SE/FOURTH CONGREGATION/...                        VIS 20051005 (1060)

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