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Friday, April 4, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 4 APR 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences five prelates of the Antilles' Episcopal Conference on their ad limina visit:

  -Archbishop Patrick Christopher Pinder, of Nassau, the Bahamas.

  - Bishop Robert J. Kurtz, C.R., of Hamilton, Bermuda.

  - Archbishop Edward Joseph Gilbert, C.Ss.R., of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

  - Bishop Francis Alleyne, O.S.B., of Georgetown, Guyana.

  - Bishop Wilhelmus de Bekker, of Paramaribo, Suriname.

  It is planned that this afternoon he will receive Cardinal William Joseph Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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Vatican City, 4 APR 2008 (VIS) - Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Office of the United Nations in Geneva, gave a speech to the advisory committee during the seventh session of the Human Rights Council that took place in Geneva from 3 to 28 March.

  Archbishop Tomasi, who spoke on intercultural dialogue and human rights on 18 March at a round table discussion, affirmed that "to each right corresponds a duty. In this interaction of rights and duties and in the pursuit of the common good, communities are formed and protected".

  That is why, he added, "the task then is to provide an enabling environment where the person can flourish without undue discrimination. Religious freedom, in many ways, is a symbol of this type of environment that sustains both individual persons and the community".

  In another speech concerning racism given at the Human Rights Council on 19 March, the permanent observer of the Holy See pointed out that "the question of pluralism in contemporary societies and the fight against racism can find a solution in an environment where the persons enjoy all human rights, civil and political as well as social, cultural and economic".

  "Tolerance alone does not suffice;" he continued. "Everyone should acknowledge both the difference and the equality with the other person to find solutions to the practical problems of living together".

  Archbishop Tomasi emphasized that "racism and intolerance should be combated through concerted practical measures". In this context, he affirmed that "education, that favors mutual knowledge, that builds confidence and sustains the implementation of human rights, can serve as a critical vehicle for effective dialogue. Other concrete ways," he concluded, "are the improvement of the United Nations early warning mechanisms related to this issue".
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VATICAN CITY, 4 APR 2008 (VIS) - Here follows the communique provided by the Press Office of the Holy See on the publication of the new "Oremus et pro Iudaeis" for the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal.

  "Following the publication of the new Prayer for the Jews for the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, some groups within the Jewish community have expressed disappointment that it is not in harmony with the official declarations and statements of the Holy See regarding the Jewish people and their faith which have marked the progress of friendly relations between the Jews and the Catholic Church over the last forty years".

  "The Holy See wishes to reassure that the new formulation of the Prayer, which modifies certain expressions of the 1962 Missal, in no way intends to indicate a change in the Catholic Church's regard for the Jews which has evolved from the basis of the Second Vatican Council, particularly the Declaration Nostra Aetate. In fact, Pope Benedict XVI, in an audience with the Chief Rabbis of Israel on 15 September 2005, remarked that this document has proven to be a milestone on the road towards the reconciliation of Christians with the Jewish people. The continuation of the position found in Nostra Aetate is clearly shown by the fact that the prayer contained in the 1970 Missal continues to be in full use, and is the ordinary form of the prayer of Catholics".

  "In the context of other affirmations of the Council - on Sacred Scripture (Dei Verbum, 14) and on the Church (Lumen Gentium, 16) - Nostra Aetate presents the fundamental principles which have sustained and today continue to sustain the bonds of esteem, dialogue, love, solidarity and collaboration between Catholics and Jews.  It is precisely while examining the mystery of the Church that Nostra Aetate recalls the unique bond with which the people of the New Testament is spiritually linked with the stock of Abraham and rejects every attitude of contempt or discrimination against Jews, firmly repudiating any kind of anti-Semitism".

  "The Holy See hopes that the explanations made in this statement will help to clarify any misunderstanding.  It reiterates the unwavering desire that the concrete progress made in mutual understanding and the growth in esteem between Jews and Christians will continue to develop".
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Vatican City, 4 APR 2008 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received 150 members of the Papal Foundation, an organization based in the United States that was created to provide the Holy See with a stable source of income, which each year presents the Pope with a check that represents the accrued interest of investments.

  The Holy Father expressed his gratitude to this institution, headed by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, for the "generous support the Papal Foundation offers through aid projects and scholarships which assist me in carrying out my Apostolic Ministry to the universal Church".

  The Pope then recalled the story of the disciples at Emmaus and emphasized that their encounter with the Risen Lord "turned their sorrow into joy, their disappointment into hope". "Their testimony of faith instils in us the firm conviction that Christ lives in our midst, bestowing the gifts that empower us to be messengers of hope in the world today".

  "The very source of the Church's service of love, as she strives to alleviate the suffering of the poor and weak, can be found in her unwavering faith that the Lord has definitively conquered sin and death; and that in serving her brothers and sisters, she serves the Lord himself until he comes again in glory".

  During the course of the audience, the members of the foundation also presented the Holy Father with a first edition of the "Saint John's Bible", the hand-written and illuminated Bible commissioned by St. John's Benedictine Abbey in Minnesota (USA) from the artist Donald Jackson.

  Since its foundation in 1990, the Papal Foundation has delivered over 41 million dollars to the Pope.
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