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Tuesday, October 14, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 14 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Thirteenth General Congregation of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops took place this morning in the presence of the Holy Father and 241 Synod Fathers. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.

  Following are excerpts from the speeches given:

CARDINAL SECRETARY OF STATE TARCISIO BERTONE S.D.B. "There exists widespread indifference towards a faith communicated through Sacred Scripture, ... an indifference accompanied by considerable levels of ignorance and above all by a difficulty in perceiving the importance Scripture has for life. ... Nonetheless in many young people we note a surprising openness to the Bible ... not so much - at least not at first - for the authoritative nature of a biblical text called Word of God, but for the adults who accompany them as patient educators and credible witnesses to the greatest figure, that of Jesus, in other words people who when they say 'Word of God' demonstrate it with their lives. If the adult, as friend-educator, manages to open the door of a young person's heart, then Scripture may be seen as a gift that brings with it all the qualities of the Word of God".

CARDINAL EMMANUEL III DELLY, PATRIARCH OF BABYLON OF THE CHALDEANS, IRAQ. "I am a son of the land of Abraham, Iraq. ... We have tried everything to obtain peace and serenity for the country. The situation in some parts of Iraq is disastrous and tragic. Life is a Calvary: peace and security are lacking , just as the fundamental elements in daily life. Electricity, water, fuel continue to be lacking. ... All fear kidnapping, abduction and intimidation. ... Not to mention the ever growing number of deaths caused by car bombs and kamikazes wearing explosive belts. To live the Word of God means to us to bear witness to it to the cost of our own lives, as has occurred and still occurs till now with the sacrifice of the bishops, priests and faithful. ... Because of this, I beg of you to pray the Lord Jesus, the Word of God, for us and with us, and share our concern, our hopes and the suffering of our wounded, so that the Word of God made flesh stay in His Church and with us as a good news and as support. Sixteen of our priests and two bishops have been kidnapped and were released after paying a very high ransom. Some of them belong to a line of new martyrs that today pray for us from the heavens: Archbishop Faraj Rahho of Mosul, Fr. Raghid Ganni, other two priests and other six young persons".

BISHOP JAVIER ECHEVARRIA RODRIGUEZ, PRELATE OF OPUS DEI. "In the lives of the saints the meeting with the Word of God through the reading of Holy Scripture produced a radical existential change We must all, priests and lay persons, seek to have a profound thirst for Jesus Christ, living every scene from the Gospel as one character among the others. ... It is appropriate that during the Sacrament of Confession we pastors frequently advise the faithful to read the Gospel, teaching them how to participate in what is recounted there and urging those who confess to give the same advice to colleagues, family members and friends. ... What all we Christians must do, like the saints, is seek to bring these texts into our daily lives that they may be transformed. ... It would be advantageous to promote initiatives fostering the spread of this attitude of prayer and interior concentration towards the Gospel, so that real impact on our daily lives can be made. Furthermore I believe it would also be appropriate to ensure that the texts of the Mass are read well, that is to say truly lived, not as declamation but with the certainty that God is speaking to the community".

BISHOP JOSEPH NGUYEN CHI LINH, OF THANH HOA, VIETNAM. "The Gospel was proclaimed for the first time in our land at the beginning of the 16th century within the painful context of a civil war between two kingdoms of fraternal enemies. ... Immersed in a history interwoven with hatred, ideological wars and discrimination, our Christians remain more than ever convinced that only in the Word of God can they persevere in love, joy, peace, communion and tolerance. ... One episode merits particular mention to show how the Word of God continues to sustain the Church in Vietnam: the mass conversion of thousands of members of ethnic minorities shortly after the canonisation of 117 Vietnamese martyrs in 1988. The strange thing is that many of them admitted they had listened to a Protestant radio station in Manila, Philippines, but converted to Catholicism. Thus the Protestants sow and the Catholics reap. The Word of God, ringing out from afar and reaching their ears, became a source of hope for these people, who live among the mountains deprived of everything and without a future. In conclusion, as a Vietnamese Christian I would like to reiterate my conviction that amidst persecutions our greatest grace is faithfulness to the Word of God".

ANDREA RICCARDI, FOUNDER OF THE SANT'EGIDIO COMMUNITY. "Gregory the Great teaches us that the Word grows with he who reads it. It enlightens the poor, guiding us to understand that to be close to them is to be close to Christ Himself. Thus emerges the structural dimension of the Christian: the disciple. ... At a time of a whirlwind of words, the Word matures in silence. ... At times the Word is chained by projects, protagonists, and ideological readings. ... To evangelize is not a technique, but to overflow with the Word. The Synod can be the right moment to promote a mature season of love for Scripture in the people of God. Strengthened by a century of biblical culture, is it not time to develop devotion to the Sacred Text among the people of God? Christian men and women will thus become - as Chrysostom says - 'simple with intelligence' in a complex world".

LUIS FERNANDO FIGARI, SUPERIOR GENERAL OF THE "SODALITIUM VITAE CHRISTIANAE", PERU. "In 'Ecclesiam suam', Pope Paul VI pointed out the communicative dimension of divine Revelation. ... The incarnated Eternal Word speaks a human language and makes manifest the mystery of God and His Plan, just as it indicates the mystery of human beings, the greatness of their vocation and the horizon of their personal fulfillment. ... Fundamental to this path is mastering active silence. This involves not only listening but doing so 'in Ecclesia', opening the heart to interior life and to adherence to the Word of God. The Word, heard and accepted, inspires faith in our minds transforming our criteria until we attain the 'mind of Christ'. ... And it promotes faith in action, in the awareness that blessed are they who 'listen to the Word, put it into practice'".
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VATICAN CITY, 14 OCT 2008 (VIS) - Yesterday evening in the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls the Holy Father attended a concert given by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestra, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach, played the sixth symphony of Anton Bruckner. The concert is one of the events marking the bi-millennium of the birth of St. Paul and was offered to the Pope and the Synod Fathers by the "Fondazione pro Musica e Arte Sacra".

  In brief remarks, Benedict XVI praised the Vienna Philharmonic's "masterly" interpretation of Bruckner's symphony, "which translates the faith of its author, who with his compositions was capable of transmitting a religious vision of life and history.

  "We could say that Anton Bruckner, drawing from the Austrian Baroque and the Schubertian tradition of popular song, brought the romantic process of interiorisation to its extreme consequences", he added. "Listening to this famous composition in the basilica dedicated to St. Paul, we are spontaneously drawn to a passage from the First Letter to the Corinthians in which the Apostle, having spoken of the diversity and unity of charisms, compares the Church to the human body, made up of members very different one from the other but all indispensable to its correct functioning. In the same way, this orchestra and choir are formed of various instruments and voices which, in harmony together, produce a melody sweet to the ear and to the spirit".

  The Pope concluded by expressing the hope that the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, "where the mortal remains of the Apostle of the Gentiles are conserved, may truly become a fulcrum for liturgical, spiritual and artistic initiatives that aim to rediscover his missionary work and theological ideas".
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VATICAN CITY, 14 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Pope has sent the following telegram for the death Cardinal Antonio Jose Gonzalez Zumarraga, archbishop emeritus of Quito, Ecuador. The cardinal died yesterday at the age of 83.

  "Deeply saddened by the death of the beloved cardinal, ... I wish to express my deepest condolences to the pastor, auxiliary bishops, clergy and faithful of that particular Church, as well as to the relatives of the late cardinal, joining them in fervent prayers to the Lord that He may grant His peace to one who served the Church with such intensity and generosity during his pastoral ministry, as guide of the diocese of Machala and later as archbishop of this metropolitan see. With faith in Christ's Paschal Mystery which illuminates moments of pain and fills them with hope, and in memory of a pastor committed until his final days to the evangelising mission as, among other things, honorary president of the episcopal conference and committee president for the recent American Missionary Congress, I am happy to impart a special apostolic blessing to those weeping such a touching loss".
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VATICAN CITY, 14 OCT 2008 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, a press conference was held to present the "International Enquiry into the Reading of the Bible from an Ecumenical Perspective".

  Participating in the press conference were Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Bishop Vincenzo Paglia of Terni, Italy, president of the Catholic Biblical Federation; Rev. Archibald Miller Milloy, secretary general of the United Bible Societies, UK, and Luca Diotallevi, professor of sociology at the University of "Roma Tre" who co-ordinated the GFK-Eurisko "Reading of Scripture" survey for the Catholic Biblical Federation.

  At the beginning of the conference an agreement concerning co-operation in the translation and publication of the Bible was signed between the Catholic Biblical Federation and the United Bible Societies.

  In his remarks, Bishop Paglia indicated that "in ecumenical dialogue the biblical field is where greatest progress has been made. It is also an area that still offers considerable scope for collaboration. ... The ecumenical significance of reading the Bible, with both synchronic and diachronic openness, is not, however, well understand in all its richness and vital importance. But where such reading is practised, it brings out the wealth of the spiritual heritage of the different traditions".

  The bishop of Terni also highlighted another aspect "in which Christians may already unite in a joint commitment: the translation and publication of the Bible, ... which has already been translated into 2,454 different languages (completely into 438, the New Testament into 1,168, and some books such as the Gospels and the Psalms into another 848)". Nonetheless, he concluded, "there are still more than 4,500 languages waiting to be faced with the Sacred Scriptures".
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VATICAN CITY, 14 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Jorge Ruben Lugones S.J. of Oran, Argentina, as bishop of Lomas de Zamora (area 1,352, population 2,164,627, Catholics 1,810,395, priests 124, permanent deacons 72, religious 353), Argentina.
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