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Wednesday, November 14, 2007


VATICAN CITY, NOV 14, 2007 (VIS) - At today's general audience, Benedict XVI continued the catechesis on St. Jerome which he had begun last week. Addressing the thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope explained how the saint was "enamoured of the Word of God," and "an eminent doctor in the interpretation of Sacred Scripture."

  For St. Jerome, said the Holy Father, the Bible was "the stimulus and the source of Christian life for all situations and for all people. To read Scripture is to converse with God."

  "For Jerome, a fundamental criterion for interpreting Scripture was that it should harmonize with the Magisterium of the Church," said the Pope, going on to observe that "we cannot interpret Scripture alone because we come across too many closed doors and fall into error. The Bible was written by the People of God and for the People of God. ... Only in this communion of the People of God can we enter 'with ourselves' into the heart of the truth that God Himself wishes to tell us." In this context, Benedict XVI recalled a phrase of St. Jerome: "He who clings to the chair of Peter is accepted by me."

  The Pope went on to indicate how Jerome "did not overlook ethical aspects and often recalled the duty of living in accordance with the divine Word. Such coherence is indispensable for all Christians, and especially for preachers" whose actions must be "in keeping with their words."

  On the subject of coherence the saint affirmed that "the Gospel must be translated into attitudes of true charity because the Person of Christ is present in every human being. ... And Jerome makes it clear that 'it is yours to clothe Christ in the poor, to visit Him in the sick, to feed Him in the hungry, to shelter Him in the homeless'."

  The saint "also left us a rich and varied teaching on Christian asceticism," said the Holy Father. "He recalls the fact that courageous commitment to perfection requires constant vigilance, frequent mortification (with moderation and prudence), assiduous intellectual or manual work to avoid idleness and, above all, obedience to God."

  "Among Jerome's main achievements as a pedagogue we must highlight the importance he attributed to healthy and complete education from earliest infancy, ... and the need for study in order to achieve a more complete human formation. Moreover, a question somewhat overlooked in antiquity but considered vital by our author was the promotion of women, whom he recognizes as having the right to a full education."

  The Holy Father concluded his catechesis by emphasizing "the effective contribution" made by St. Jerome "in safeguarding the positive and important elements of the ancient Hebrew, Greek and Roman cultures in nascent Christian civilization."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 14, 2007 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Pope addressed a special greeting to faithful from the French diocese of Bayeux and Lisieux, accompanied by Bishop Pierre Auguste Pican S.D.B., who have come to Rome on pilgrimage with the relics of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.

  The Holy Father recalled how "120 years ago Therese of Lisieux came to Rome to ask permission of Pope Leo XIII to enter the Carmelite Order, despite her youth. Eighty years ago Pope Pius XI proclaimed her patron saint of missions, and in 1997 Pope John Paul II declared her a Doctor of the Church."

  "In this audience," he went on, "I will have the joy of praying before her relics, as will many faithful over the course of this week in various churches in Rome. St. Therese would have liked to learn the languages of the Bible in order to better understand Sacred Scripture. Following her example and that of St. Jerome, dedicate time to frequent reading of the Bible. By familiarizing yourselves with the Word of God, you will discover Christ and remain in intimate contact with Him."

  Benedict XVI then addressed relatives of the Italian soldiers who lost their lives in a bomb attack in Nassiriya, Iraq, four years ago. "May the memory of these our brothers, and of others who have made the supreme sacrifice of their lives for the noble cause of peace, contribute to supporting the journey to hopeful rebirth of the dear Iraqi people."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 14, 2007 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at midday today, the presentation took place of the annual international congress organized by the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, which has as its theme this year: "Pastoral care in the cure of sick elderly people." The congress will be held in the Vatican on November 15, 16 and 17.

  Participating in today's press conference were Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, Bishop Jose Luis Redrado O.H. and Fr. Felice Ruffini M.I., respectively president, secretary and under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care; Roberto Bernabei, director of the Department of Geronotological, Geriatric and Physical Sciences at Rome's Sacred Heart University; and Massimo Petrini, director of the Center for the Promotion and Development of Geriatric Assistance at the same university.

  "In the world today," said Cardinal Barragan, "there are 390 million people over the age of 65 and it is expected their numbers will increase to 800 million by the year 2025. Five hundred million people live in countries with a life expectancy that exceeds 60, while 50 million people live in countries where the expectancy does not exceed 45. Sierra Leone in Africa, for example, has an expectancy of 39 years."

  Faced with statistics such as these, said the cardinal, "we asked ourselves how can we offer better pastoral assistance to these people, given the great importance of life in its final stages?"

  During the forthcoming conference, said the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, experts from 20 countries will analyze the demographic situation, and the main illnesses, both old and new, in the context of globalization, as well as the origins of such illnesses from an individual, technological, scientific, socio-political and ecological viewpoint.

  Another aspect due to be studied, said Cardinal Lozano, is care for the sick in the light of Sacred Scripture, of the writings of the Church Fathers and of the history of the Church.

  The conference will also include reflections on this form of pastoral care from the standpoints of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and of contemporary post-modern culture.

  Participants will also debate the steps that must be taken in the pastoral care of sick elderly people from the religious (catechesis, education in the faith, Sacraments) and biomedical (research, drugs, nutrition, lifestyle) perspectives. In socio-political terms, they will consider how to tackle this theme through the mass media, and examine national and international healthcare systems, economic, scientific and technological resources, nutritional policies and public health.

  Finally, Cardinal Lozano indicated that the question will also be considered from the point of view of families and the attitude they should assume towards their sick and elderly members, with particular emphasis on the spiritual attention that must be offered to them especially through the Sacraments, prayer and visits.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 14, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Bishop Augustinho Petry, auxiliary to the military ordinariate of Brazil, as coadjutor of Rio do Sul (area 8,909, population 284,000, Catholics 231,000, priests 59, religious 226), Brazil.

 - Fr. Janos Szekely, episcopal vicar for culture and rector of the higher school of theology in the archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 1,543, population 2,100,000, Catholics 1,264,867, priests 398, permanent deacons 19, religious 775). The bishop-elect was born in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1991.
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