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Wednesday, September 19, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 19, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Francisco Carlos da Silva of the clergy of the diocese of Sao Carlos, pastor of the parish of Sao Sebastiao at Borborema, as bishop of Ituiutaba (area 22,742, population 345,000, Catholics 295,000, priests 42, religious 43), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Tabatinga, Brazil in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1982.
NER/.../DA SILVA                            VIS 20070919 (70)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 19, 2007 (VIS) - In his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square, the Pope continued with his series of catecheses on the subject of the Fathers of the Church, focussing today on St. John Chrysostom.

  The Pope began by recalling the fact that this year marks the 16th centenary of the death of St. John Chrysostom, who was born in Antioch, in modern-day Turkey, in the year 349. "Called Chrysostom, meaning 'golden-mouthed,' for his eloquence, it could be said that he is still alive today through his works," the Holy Father observed.

  "Ordained a deacon in 381 and a priest in 386, he became a famous preacher in the churches of his city; ... 387 was John's 'heroic year'," said Benedict XVI, the year of "the so-called 'revolt of the statues' when people destroyed the imperial statues as a sign of protest against the rise in taxes."

  The Holy Father then went on to observe how this saint "was one of the most prolific of the Fathers, of him we have 17 treatises, more than 700 authentic homilies, his commentaries on Matthew and Paul, and 241 letters. He was not a speculative theologian. He transmitted the traditional and certain doctrine of the Church at a time of theological controversies, caused above all by Arianism, in other words the negation of Christ's divinity."

  "His is an explicitly pastoral theology," the Pope continued, "in which he shows a constant concern for coherence between thought expressed in words and real existence, This, in particular, is the common thread of the magnificent catecheses with which he prepared catechumens to receive Baptism."

  Benedict XVI indicated how "St. John Chrysostom was concerned that his writings should accompany the integral - physical, intellectual and religious - development of the person."

  In his works, the saint highlighted the importance of childhood because it is then "that inclinations to vice and virtue appear. For this reason the law of God must, from the beginning, be impressed upon the soul 'as upon a wax tablet'."

  Childhood, said the Pope referring to the saint's writings, "is followed by the sea of adolescence in which the gales blow violently as concupiscence grows within us." Then comes courtship and marriage, about which the saint points out "that a well prepared husband and wife close the way to divorce: everything takes place joyfully and children can be educated to virtue. When the first child is born, he or she is like a bridge: the three become a single flesh because the child brings the two parts together and all together they constitute a family, a little Church."

  Finally, the Pope recalled how the saint used to address his writings to the lay faithful who, "through Baptism, take on the priestly office, royal and prophetic. ... This lesson of Chrysostom on the authentically Christian presence of the lay faithful in the family and in society is today more important than ever."
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