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Friday, October 10, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 10 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Jesus Esteban Catala Ibanez of Alcala de Henares, Spain, as bishop of Malaga (area 7,283, population 1,558,158, Catholics 1,199,782, priests 321, permanent deacons 16, religious 984), Spain. He succeeds Bishop Antonio Dorado Soto, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Matthias Ri Iong-hoon, auxiliary of Suwon, Korea, as coadjutor of the same diocese (area 5,371, population 6,914,941, Catholics 672,803, priests 365, religious 345).

 - Appointed Fr. Vincenzo Criscuolo O.F.M. Cap., consultor of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, as relator general of the same congregation.
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VATICAN CITY, 10 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Eighth General Congregation of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops took place in the Vatican's Synod Hall this morning in the presence of the Holy Father. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.

  Extracts from some of the speeches are given below:

CARDINAL VINKO PULJIC, ARCHBISHOP OF VRHBOSNA AND PRESIDENT OF THE BISHOPS' CONFERENCE OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA. "With all my heart, I support the idea that 'the service of lay people requires different competencies and skills which call for a specific biblical formation'. ... In this context the 'Instrumentum' recalls that 'catechesis in families, with deeper study of certain biblical episodes and the preparation of the Sunday liturgy, is a privileged way to encounter God Who speaks to us'. ... In countries that have recently emerged from socialist regimes, the Church needs lay faithful who live the Gospel of Christ intensely in the family and in society, and who once again take on their role in the mission of the ecclesial community. Family preparation for the Day of the Lord can be a real 'kairos' for them".

BISHOP EMMANUEL FELEMOU OF KANKAN, GUINEA. "The effectiveness of the revealed Word of Jesus Christ lies in its divine power which frees peoples from the imperfections in their knowledge of God, from their fear and errors, from their uncertainties and doubts. God's love is perceived by the various African social classes as the fulfillment of their expectations. ... The nearness of Jesus Christ and the positive transformation of all cultures through His Word are characteristics that attract and convince our people, enabling them to purify their culture, particularly their vision of God's will and of truth in all its splendor. Although the one God was already known in our cultures, what was missing was that clarity and perfection in which love is no longer only to be shared with brothers in blood but with everyone, that clarity and perfection in which, when we want to demonstrate how powerful we are, we forgive our enemy instead of poisoning him. I do not mean to suggest that forgiveness did not exist before, but this reality needed the word of Christ, His knowledge and His example".

HIS BEATITUDE FOUAD TWAL, PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM OF THE LATINS. "The Israel-Palestinian conflict creates problems in reading and understanding certain passages of the Bible. Thus, Arab Christians, in general, often find difficulties in reading the Old Testament, not because of the Word of God, but because of the political and ideological interpretations. Two principles protect us from political and ideological interpretations. (1) To read and interpret the Word of God in the light of Christ. Jesus said: 'Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them'. Christ took back and summarized all categories of the Old Testament in Himself, to give them new impulse and new meaning (He 'fulfilled' them). The Old Testament is read and understood in Him and through Him. (2) The second principle for interpretation is the Church. Any interpretation outside the Church is a dangerous one. To conclude, I would like to take the occasion of the presence of the Holy Father and of all the Synod Fathers to make an appeal for the Holy Land and ask for more prayer, more solidarity and more pilgrimages to help us be the witnesses of Christ, Messiah, Saviour 'not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to earth's remotest end'".

ARCHBISHOP CHARLES MAUNG BO, S.D.B., OF YANGON, MYANMAR. "The Gospel mandate of 'feeding the hungry, clothing the naked' emerged forcefully after the recent attack of the deadly cyclone Nargis. Nearly 150,000 people died and 2 million people became refugees in their own land. The nation was in mourning. With the help of the Lord we have brought life back to many communities. The churches became the refugee camps. In those camps we had a unique liturgy - of breaking the Word through our accompaniment and sharing the bread through assistance. The world became our altar and we broke bread of human fellowship with the shattered masses. The Gospel preached was the food to the hungry that provoked life and the light that we gave the last five months".

ARCHBISHOP JESUS PEREZ RODRIGUEZ, O.F.M., OF SUCRE, BOLIVIA. "In undertaking catechesis in the community attention must be given to forms of textual analysis that ensure, on the one hand, respect for the holy text and, on the other, correct interpretations for the lives of individuals and peoples. The Bible must be understood as the source of catechesis and not just as an education resource or a simple support to content. It is important to distinguish catechesis in a general sense from biblical catechesis. It is necessary that the biblical text should reach everyone, beginning with children. The Church in Bolivia finds herself unable to guarantee this; hence she asks other Churches with greater financial resources to help those with less to acquire copies of Sacred Scripture. In the same way, we feel that a World Bible Day could be established, because a number of countries already have not just a Bible Day but also a Bible Month".

BISHOP MIGUEL ANGEL SEBASTIAN MARTINEZ M.C.C.I., OF LAI, CHAD. "I speak to you in name of the Episcopal Conference of Chad. This central African country has not been evangelised for many years. ... Christians come together on Sundays, but many of them do so only for the celebration of the Word because we do not have enough priests. In our country we are experiencing a conflictory social and political situation, above all due to an interminable war that has lasted more than 40 years. We are convinced that the Word of God is a Word of peace, a Word that announces and invokes peace, that calls for forgiveness, reconciliation and justice. Prayer and listening to the Word of God are essential to the life and mission of our Church. This is a challenge for us. The Word of God illuminates us and encourages us to commit to promoting the men and women of Chad".
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VATICAN CITY, 9 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Seventh General Congregation of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops took place this afternoon in the presence of the Holy Father. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

  Extracts from some of the speeches are given below:

CARDINAL ENNIO ANTONELLI, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY. "To recommend and promote, with appropriate support, community listening to the Word of God within the family and the sharing of lived experiences. To be able more easily to connect the written words with Jesus Christ, the living Word. To follow the liturgical year by means of the daily Gospel, or at least the Sunday Gospel, highlighting a phrase to remember or to live during the day or throughout the week. It does not take much time: just a few minutes are sufficient for praying and listening together, for making a shared commitment to enact in daily activities and relationships and to recall at the right moment in spontaneous family dialogue. If one hears the Word only once a week, it may be for a longer period and may constitute a preparation or a continuation and application of the Sunday parish Mass".

BISHOP LOUIS PELATRE, A.A., APOSTOLIC VICAR OF ISTANBUL, TURKEY. "Throughout the world there are excellent commissions for translations of the Bible in the different international languages, but what about translations in the local languages that are only spoken by a small number of persons? This is a real problem in Turkey. ... I appeal to all missionary institutes that they make it one of their priorities to select people who are experts both in the biblical languages and the local languages, in order to prepare texts worthy of the Word of God we wish to proclaim. Unfortunately, we can easily find the money to print beautiful books, but not enough to ensure the quality of content; this means we must find volunteers willing to undertake this obscure and time-consuming task which is the first step in the evangelising action of the Church".

CARDINAL PAUL JOSEF CORDES, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL "COR UNUM". "In the civilised world, care for one's neighbour in need is, at the same time, a cultural matter. The majority of world religions   such as Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism   have learnt from Christianity and made it their own to foster love of neighbour. Hence, for number 39 of the 'Instrumentum laboris' to demand love of neighbour for the Church's members, does not seem to be the most urgent task today. ... The pastors of the Church will thus be careful not simply to abandon ecclesial aid institutions to the general climate of philanthropy. ... When, for those who are questioning and seeking, the service of the Church's aid agencies and the individual Christian does not show God clearly, we forsake a function of the Church that is decisive for these times of ours. For the man of today needs this connection to God more than anything else".

ARCHBISHOP HECTOR MIGUEL CABREJOS VIDARTE O.F.M. OF TRUJILLO, AND PRESIDENT OF THE EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE OF PERU. "In this era we often mention, and with good reason, the importance of the communications media in bringing the Word of God to our contemporaries. Nevertheless, each week we have the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel in the privileged moment of the Eucharistic celebration, a proclamation that is often lacking. ... Sometimes the roots of this situation are to be found in the lack of serious and systematic biblical education. A good knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures is a guarantee of good preaching. ... A knowledge of the text renders the presentation of the Gospel more efficient. We have to exhort the ministers of the Word to prepare their homilies carefully, bearing in mind the congregation they are addressing. ... It should be borne in mind that the homily is the communication of the living Word of God, a communication that, as the word itself implies, is aimed at producing communion with the God of our faith, the foundation of the communion of believers. Communication, communion and community form a single unit. And although the homily has to have a solid biblical foundation and be attentive to the reality and changes of the world where its listeners live, the personal testimony of the preacher, the coherence of the Gospel with his life, should confirm what he proclaims".

ARCHBISHOP FRANCESCO COCCOPALMERIO, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR LEGISLATIVE TEXTS. "As president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and so responsible for ensuring that Church legislation is always up to date, I ask myself if such an important meeting and on such an important theme for the life of the Holy Church cannot and should not make a significant contribution to the Law of the Church itself, in particular to the Code of Canon Law. ... Canon 276 on the spiritual life of the clergy states: '[The clergy] are to nourish their spiritual life at the twofold table of the Sacred Scripture and the Eucharist'. The text is significant, but it refers only to the celebration of the Eucharist. When it then goes on to speak of personal prayer, it affirms merely: 'they are exhorted to engage regularly in mental prayer'. The expression 'mental prayer' is very clear, but dated. Perhaps this should be the place in which to 'exhort the clergy to practice daily the lectio divina'. I would suggest that - with the Holy Father's consent - the conclusions of the Synod become a matter for reflection within the dicasteries of the Curia, with the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts providing stimulation and co-ordination. This will serve to propose to the Supreme Legislator the changes that need to be made to Church norms as regards the particular field of the Word of God".

REV. GUNNAR STALSETT, LUTHERAN BISHOP EMERITUS OF OSLO, NORWAY. "All the three religions of the Book   Judaism, Christianity and Islam - are today in a squeeze between secularism and fundamentalism. Freedom of religion and freedom of expression are basic human rights. This implies that there must be room in society for fundamentalist expressions of faith, even when this leads to sectarianism and divisions. Terrorism in the name of God is an affront to all faiths as it is violence against God. The antidote to fundamentalism can only be a more genuine interpretation of Holy Scriptures. ...Globalisation of anxiety and despair calls for globalisation of salvation and hope. Religious leaders are called to a ministry of peace and reconciliation".
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