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Friday, October 3, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 3 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences nine prelates from the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Carlos Anibal Altamirano Arguello of Azogues, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Jose Gabriel Diaz Cueva.

    - Bishop Julio Parrilla Diaz of Loja.

    - Archbishop Antonio Arregui Yarza of Guayaquil, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Anibal Nieto Guerra O.C.D., Marcos Aurelio Perez Caicedo and Valter Dario Maggi.

    - Bishop Fausto Gabriel Travez Travez O.F.M. of Babahoyo, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Jesus Ramon Martinez de Ezquerecocha Suso.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in sepatate audiences five prelates from the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Wilson Abraham Moncayo Jalil of Santo Domingo de los Colorados.

    - Archbishop Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga of Quito, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Rene Coba Galarza and Vicente Danilo Echeverria Verdesoto.

    - Msgr. Ricardo Flatz, apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the apostolic vicariate of Zamora en Ecuador.
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VATICAN CITY, 3 OCT 2008 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, gave a briefing on the forthcoming Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The Synod, which has as its theme "The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church", is due to begin on Sunday with a Mass presided by the Pope in the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls.

  "This will be the first time a Synod of Bishops has been opened in a basilica other than St. Peter's", said the archbishop. "The reason for this is apparent: the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly is being held during the Pauline Year". The assembly is due to come to an end on 26 October with a ceremony in the Vatican Basilica.

  Attending this Twelfth Assembly will be 253 Synod Fathers representing 113 episcopal conferences, 13 "sui iuris" Eastern Catholic Churches, 25 dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the Union of Superiors General. Also present will be 41 experts from 21 countries, and 37 auditors from 26 countries. The experts include six women and the auditors 19, one more than the men.

  The secretary general of the Synod of Bishops went on to indicate that the assembly will also be attended by a number of fraternal delegates from ten Churches and ecclesial communities. Representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate will be present alongside others from the Patriarchates of Moscow, of Serbia and of Romania, from the Orthodox Church of Greece and the Armenian Apostolic Church, as well as from the Anglican Communion, the World Lutheran Federation, the Church of the Disciples of Christ and the World Council of Churches.

  Also participating in the work of the Synod will be three special guests of the Holy Father. One is Chief Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen of Haifa, Israel, who on 6 October will address the assembly on how the Jewish people read and interpret Sacred Scripture. "This will be the first time that a rabbi and a non-Christian has addressed the Synod Fathers", said Archbishop Eterovic. The other special guests are Rev. A. Miller Milloy, secretary general of the United Bible Societies, and Frere Alois, prior of the Taize Community.

  Archbishop Eterovic went on to affirm that "in the Synod Hall on 18 October, the Holy Father Benedict XVI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I will preside at first Vespers for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Each will then pronounce an address on the subject of the Word of God, which particular reference to the Pauline Year. This will be the first time the Ecumenical Patriarch has addressed the Synod Fathers".

  In accordance with the regulations of the Synod of Bishops, alongside the written discourses of the Synod Fathers (each will have five minutes to deliver his remarks), provision has been made, as in the last synodal assembly, for a period of free discussion from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the end of the daily General Congregations.

  The secretary general of the Synod of Bishops also indicated that on the afternoon of 6 October, there will be a period of free discussion following five reports - each ten minutes long - in which five bishops will highlight how the theme of the synod is seen on the five continents. Another scheduled event due to take place during the Synod is a 30 minute talk on the reception of Benedict XVI's last Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, "Sacramentum caritatis", to be followed by free discussions on that subject.
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VATICAN CITY, 3 OCT 2008 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has written a Message to Msgr. Livio Melina, president of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, for the occasion of a congress organised by the institute in association with the Sacred Heart Catholic University to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the publication of Paul VI's Encyclical "Humanae vitae".

  That important document, writes Pope Benedict, "deals with one of the essential aspects of the vocation of marriage, and of the specific path to sanctity deriving therefrom. In fact, the married couple, having received the gift of love, are called in their turn to give themselves to one another unreservedly".

  "The possibility of procreating a new human life is inherent to the complete giving of the spouses", observes the Holy Father. "To exclude this communicative dimension by acts that seek to impede procreation means to deny the intimate truth of married love". Forty years after the publication of the Encyclical we are better able to understand "how decisive it was to our understanding of the great 'yes' implicit in conjugal love", he writes.

  In the light of the Encyclical "children are not seen as the aim of a human project but are recognised as an authentic gift, to be welcomed with an attitude of responsible generosity towards God, Who is the primary source of human life".

  Benedict XVI recalls how "during a couple's life serious situations may arise that make it prudent to separate the births of children or even suspend them altogether. It is here that a knowledge of the natural rhythms of a woman's fertility become important".

  "Methods of observation that enable a couple to determine periods of fertility", he continues, "allow them to administer what the Creator wisely inscribed in human nature without disturbing the integral meaning of sexual relations. In this way the spouses, while respecting the full truth of their love, can modulate the expression thereof in accordance with these rhythms. ... Clearly this requires a maturity in love, ... and mutual respect and dialogue".

  The Pope then goes on to thank the Sacred Heart Catholic University for the support it gives the "Paulus VI International Scientific Research Institute on Human Fertility and Infertility for a Responsible Procreation", an organisation that seeks to "increase knowledge of methods for the natural regulation of human fertility and for the natural treatment of infertility".

  In this context he notes how "many researchers are engaged in the fight against sterility. While fully safeguarding the dignity of human procreation, some have achieved results which previously seemed unattainable. Scientists therefore are to be encouraged to continue their research with the aim of preventing the causes of sterility and of being able to remedy them so that sterile couples will be able to procreate in full respect for their own personal dignity and that of the child to be born".

  The Holy Father then goes on to ask why the world today, including many faithful, "find it so difficult to understand the Church's message, which explains and defends the beauty of conjugal love in its natural expression". And he observes that, although "technological solutions to the great human problems often seem the easiest, in reality they hide the basic problem which concerns the meaning of human sexuality and the need for responsibility so that its exercise may be an expression of personal love".

  "Technology cannot substitute ... freedom, when love is at stake Indeed, as we well know, not even reason is enough. ... Only the eyes of the heart can perceive the requirements of a great love capable of embracing the entire truth of human beings".

  The Pope concludes his Message by expressing the hope that the congress to commemorate "Humanae vitae" may bring "abundant fruits and contribute to helping spouses hold their course with ever greater wisdom and awareness, encouraging them in their mission to be credible witnesses of the beauty of love before the world".


VATICAN CITY, 3 OCT 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father received members of the board of directors of the Knights of Columbus, who are on pilgrimage to Rome for the Pauline Year.

  Addressing them in English the Pope recalled his own recent pastoral visit to the United States, noting how he had sought to encourage the lay faithful "to recommit themselves to growth in holiness and active participation in the Church's mission. This was the vision that inspired the foundation of the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal association of Christian laymen, and it continues to find privileged expression in your order's charitable works and your concrete solidarity with the Successor of Peter in his ministry to the Universal Church.

  "That solidarity", he added, "is manifested in a particular way by the 'Vicarius Christi' Fund, which the Knights have placed at the disposal of the Holy See for the needs of God's people throughout the world. And it is also shown through the daily prayers and sacrifices of so many Knights in their local councils, parishes and communities. For this I am most grateful".

  Benedict XVI concluded by telling his audience: "In the spirit of your founder, the Venerable Michael McGivney, may the Knights of Columbus discover ever new ways to serve as a leaven of the Gospel in the world and a force for the renewal of the Church in holiness and apostolic zeal. In this regard, I express my appreciation of your efforts to provide a solid formation in the faith for young people, and to defend the moral truths necessary for a free and humane society, including the fundamental right to life of every human being".
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