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Thursday, November 9, 2006


VATICAN CITY, NOV 9, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences 14 prelates from the German Bishops' Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Cardinal Karl Lehmann, bishop of Mainz, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Werner Guballa and Ulrich Neymeyr.

    - Bishop Gebhard Furst of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Johannes Kreidler and Thomas Maria Renz.

    - Archbishop Werner Thissen of Hamburg, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Norbert Werbs and Hans-Jochen Jaschke.

    - Bishop Norbert Trelle of Hildesheim, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Hans-Georg Koitz and Nikolaus Schwerdtfeger.

    - Bishop Franz-Josef Hermann Bode of Osnabruck, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Theodor Kettmann.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 9, 2006 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at 11.30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 14, a press conference will be held to present the Holy Father's Message for the 93rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The Day is due to be celebrated on January 14, 2007, on the theme of "the emigrant family."

  Participating in the press conference will be Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino and Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.


VATICAN CITY, NOV 9, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a talk delivered on November 4 by Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, at the Rome headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

  In the course of the "Special Event" organized by the FAO at the end of the 23rd session of the intergovernmental committee for Food Security, Cardinal Martino indicated that "the right to have enough to eat is fundamental and inalienable for every person and for their family.

  "It is the task of nations, their leaders, their economic powers, and all people of good will," he added in his English-language address, "to seek every opportunity for a more equitable sharing of resources which are not lacking, and of consumer goods; for by this sharing, all will express a true solidarity rooted in a knowledge of and appreciation for the dignity of every human person."


VATICAN CITY, NOV 9, 2006 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York, yesterday participated in the third committee of the 61st U.N. General Assembly, which was meeting to consider the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

  The prelate began his English-language talk by expressing the Holy See's appreciation for "the dedicated work" of the UNHCR. "Over the years," he continued, "a legal system adapted to the evolving demands of a changing and complex reality has been developed in order to afford protection to those who need it. The latest examples are the adoption of the Conclusion on Women and Girls at Risk and of the Conclusion on Identification, Prevention and Reduction of Statelessness and Protection of Stateless Persons."

  Archbishop Migliore went on to recall how the UNHCR "is also involved in the protection of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), where ... it takes leadership responsibility for protection, emergency shelter and camp coordination, and management." Such protection, he continued, "requires more than a good legal framework: cooperation and political will are also needed to make such a framework function properly.

  "Unfortunately," he added, "a certain deterioration of the legal concept of asylum appears to be taking place as some States give preference to national legislation or bilateral agreements over international refugee law. Moreover, access to asylum has also become more difficult because of the phenomenon of mixed flows; and some countries do not acknowledge or uphold internationally established rights in their domestic legislation, such as freedom of movement, the right to work, and the recognition of qualifications."

  Lack of funds for food, healthcare and education programs is another of the serious problems faced by the UNHCR, said the archbishop. However, he also identified some positive aspects, such as the end of certain conflicts enabling some refugees to return home. "When that happens," he said, "a strong, unified cooperation between agencies involved in relief assistance and post-conflict recovery is needed so that a sustainable return in safety and dignity can be ensured along with the reconstruction of the local social and economic infrastructure."

  "A lasting solution to the problem of refugees and IDPs," he concluded, "will affect not only them but, by extension, will also have an impact upon the whole human family. These norms for the protection of those in need should be applied at national, regional and international levels."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 9, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique yesterday afternoon:

  "With regret it was learned that, ... on November 10, a so-called 'demonstration of homosexual pride' is due to take place in Jerusalem.

  "Reiterating the pronouncements of the Catechism of the Catholic Church concerning people with deep-seated homosexual tendencies (para. 2358), the Holy See expresses its intense disapproval of this initiative, because it constitutes a grave affront to the feelings of millions of Jewish, Muslim and Christian believers, who all recognize the sacred character of the city of Jerusalem and ask that their beliefs be respected.

  "In the light of these factors and considering that on previous occasions religious values have been systematically offended, the Holy See nourishes the hope that the matter may be given due reconsideration.

  "A note to the same effect has been presented by the apostolic nunciature in Israel to that country's ministry for foreign affairs."

  That note, written in English, begins: "The Holy See has reiterated on many occasions that the right to freedom of expression, sanctioned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is subject to just limits, in particular when the exercise of this right would offend the religious sentiments of believers."


VATICAN CITY, NOV 9, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.

  In his address to the delegates, the Pope first recalled how they are currently preparing the 49th International Eucharistic Congress, due to be held in Quebec, Canada, in June 2008. Eucharistic congresses, he went on, "are always a source of spiritual renewal, an occasion to make better known the Blessed Eucharist, which was the most valuable treasure Jesus left us. They also constitute an encouragement for the Church to spread the love of Christ at all levels of society, and to testify to it without hesitation."

  The presence at the gathering of a number of representatives of the Adorers of the Eucharist, said Benedict XVI, gave him the opportunity to recall "just how beneficial the rediscovery of Eucharistic adoration by many Christians is. ... How much need modern humanity has to rediscover the source of its hope in the Sacrament of the Eucharist! I thank the Lord because many parishes, alongside the devout celebration of Mass, are educating the faithful in Eucharistic adoration. And it is my hope that - also in view of the next International Eucharistic Congress - this practice will become ever more widespread."

  Referring to the forthcoming post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist, which will bring together the indications that arose during the October 2005 Synod on that Sacrament, the Pope concluded by giving assurances that the document "will help the Church to prepare and celebrate ... the Eucharistic congress to be held in June 2008."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 9, 2006 (VIS) - Made public yesterday afternoon was a talk given by the Pope to prelates from the Conference of Swiss Bishops during a meeting held in the Vatican on the morning of Tuesday, November 7.

  The Holy Father began his talk by addressing the question of faith, affirming that if people once used to grow in this virtue "as a part of life," today "the opposite seems more natural, in other words, that in the end it is not possible to believe, that in fact God is absent. In any case, the faith of the Church appears to be a thing of the distant past." For this reason, "I believe it is important to become aware of the fact that faith is at the center of everything."

  "Faith," said the Pope, "is above all faith in God. ... This centrality of God must, I believe, become visible in a completely new way in all our thoughts and actions. It is what animates our activities, which, otherwise, can easily degenerate into activism and become empty of meaning."

  "This complete form of faith as expressed by the Creed, of a faith in and with the Church as a living entity in which the Lord is at work," is what "we must seek to put truly at the center of our activities. Even today, we see this very clearly: development causes damage when it is promoted exclusively, without (also) nourishing the soul."

  "If, alongside aid in favor of developing countries, alongside the teaching of everything man is capable of doing, everything his intelligence has invented and his will made possible, if alongside all that, his soul is not also illuminated ... then we learn only how to destroy. For this reason, I believe, we must reinforce our missionary responsibilities. If we are happy in our faith, we feel obliged to speak of it to others; the extent to which mankind welcomes it is in the hands of God."

  Turning to address the question Catholic education, Benedict XVI mentioned "one thing which causes us all 'concern,' in the positive sense of the word: ... the fact that the theological formation of future priests and of other teachers and announcers of the faith should be outstanding. We need, then, good theological faculties, good major seminaries and well-trained teachers of theology."

  "The unity of Scripture," Pope Benedict said, "is not a purely historical or critical fact, ... but a theological fact. These writings form one Scripture, and can be fully understood only if read in 'analogia fidei,' as a unit in which there is a movement towards Christ and, conversely, in which Christ draws all history to Him." In this context, the Pope underlined the importance that, "alongside, with and within historical-critical exegesis," there be "an introduction to living Scripture as the actual Word of God."

  The Pope then went on to speak about catechesis which "over the last fifty years has, on the one hand, made considerable progress in terms of methodology but, on the other, has lost a lot in terms of anthropology and the search for points of reference, to such a degree that it often does not even manage to cover the contents of the faith." It is important, Benedict XVI continued, for catechesis to fully value the faith, "and to find ways for that faith to be understood and accepted. Because religious ignorance today has reached a frightening level."

  On the subject of the liturgy, the papal address made it clear that this "is not some 'self-expression' of the community which in the liturgy enters center stage, it is rather the community abandoning its 'being itself' to enter the great banquet of the poor, to become part of the great living community in which God Himself nourishes us. ... And it must be borne in mind that the homily is not an interruption of the liturgy for the purposes of making a speech, but that it is part of the sacramental event, bringing the Word of God into the present moment of the community."

  "This means that the homily is itself part of the mystery, of the celebration of the mystery, and hence cannot be separated therefrom," said the Pope, highlighting the importance of it being the celebrant who pronounces the homily. "The priesthood is a thing of beauty only if the mission to be accomplished is seen as a whole, from which things cannot be cut off here and there. And this mission has always involved - even in the Old Testament rite - the priest's duty to link the sacrifice with the Word, which is an integral part of the whole."

  As for the Sacrament of Penance, said the Holy Father, "we truly must learn it anew. Even from a purely anthropological point of view it is important, on the one hand, to recognize sin and, on the other, to exercise forgiveness. The widespread lack of awareness of sin is a worrying phenomenon of our times. The gift of the Sacrament of Penance consists, then, not only in the fact that we receive forgiveness, but also in the fact that we become aware of our need for forgiveness, ... and so we can also better understand others and forgive them."

  On the question of episcopal ministry, the Pope highlighted the importance "that bishops, as successors of the Apostles, ... bear true responsibility for the local Churches entrusted by the Lord to their care. ... On the other hand, they must open the local Churches to the Universal Church." In this context, the Holy Father mentioned the difficulties of the Orthodox "with their autocepahlous Churches," and of Protestants "with the breakup of regional Churches. ... We are aware," he added, "of the enormous significance of universality, how important it is that the Church should open herself to totality, truly becoming, in her universality, one Church."

  In closing, Benedict XVI touched on the question of ecumenism, highlighting the importance of guaranteeing the essential and God-given values of our society. "I believe," he concluded, "that if we learn to act together in this field we can achieve a large measure of unity, even where full theological and sacramental unity is not yet possible."
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