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Tuesday, October 2, 2007


VATICAN CITY, OCT 2, 2007 (VIS) - Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, yesterday participated in the general debate of the 62nd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which is currently being held in New York.

  At the beginning of his English-language talk, Archbishop Mamberti pointed out that "forgetting, or partially and selectively accepting," the principle of respect for human dignity "is what lies at the origin of conflicts, of environmental degradation and of social and economic injustices."

  He went on: "The Holy See welcomes the initiative to hold the High-Level Dialogue on Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Understanding and Cooperation for Peace which, ... will take place here shortly. Indeed, dialogue among peoples of different cultures and religions is not an option; it is something indispensable for peace and for the renewal of international life."

  Referring to conflict prevention and to efforts aimed at achieving and maintaining peace, the secretary for Relations with States indicated that the Holy See looks forward "to the day that peacekeeping efforts in Darfur will finally be fully operational." Furthermore, "there is need for a renewed commitment, involving all member countries, in the pacification and reconstruction of long-suffering Iraq," and "in the search for a solution, through dialogue, of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians."

  "Renewed commitment is needed in assuring that Lebanon will continue to be a free and independent country," the archbishop added, while on the subject of Myanmar, he reiterated Benedict XVI's appeal of last Sunday: "Through dialogue, good will and a spirit of humanity, may a solution to the crisis be found quickly for the good of the country and a better future for all its inhabitants."

  Recalling that the year 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Archbishop Mamberti said "the most important part of our work in this context is to ensure that the inherent right to life is respected everywhere."

  "We must work to stop and reverse the culture of death embraced by some social and legal structures that try to make the suppression of life acceptable by disguising it as a medical or social service. In this sense, the abolition of the death penalty should also be seen as a consequence of full respect for the right to life."
SS/HUMAN RIGHTS/UN:MAMBERTI                VIS 20071002 (400)


VATICAN CITY, OCT 2, 2007 (VIS) - The International Theological Commission is holding its annual plenary session in the Vatican's "Domus Sanctae Marthae" from October 1 to 5, under the presidency of Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

  The meeting, under the chairmanship of Fr. Luis Ladaria S.J., secretary general of the commission, will examine plans for a document on natural moral law which has, according to a communique, "the aim of ... advancing the search for the foundations of a universal system of ethics." Attention will also be given to a draft document concerning the "nature of theology, its meaning and methods."

  The Holy Father will meet the members of the International Theological Commission on October 5, at the conclusion of their plenary session.
.../THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION/LEVADA            VIS 20071002 (140)


VATICAN CITY, OCT 2, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from Benedict XVI to Mario Agnes, director emeritus of "L'Osservatore Romano." Mario Agnes headed the Vatican newspaper from 1984 until his recent retirement.

  In the text of his Letter the Pope praises, as John Paul II had before him, "the coherent Christian commitment, love for the Church and exemplary faithfulness to the Magisterium" that have accompanied Agnes' "testimony as a believer." The Pope also recalls how the former director "had always showed particular interest for the written communication of the Christian message." As diocesan president of Catholic Action he strove "to give the Catholic lay presence a higher profile in the mass media forum." As president of the "Avvenire" publishing group he distinguished himself for his competence "in dealing with the various themes associated with Italian ecclesial, cultural and political life."

  The Holy Father concludes his Letter by expressing his "sincere respect and profound gratitude" to Mario Agnes, whom he has chosen to include among the Gentlemen of His Holiness "thus introducing you permanently into the Pontifical Family."
BXVI-LETTER/THANKS/AGNES                    VIS 20071002 (190)

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