Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Monday, October 20, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 18 OCT 2008 (VIS) - During yesterday morning's Eighteenth General Congregation of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the various language groups presented their reports. Yesterday the Vatican Information Service published extracts from the only two reports then available.

  Extracts from five other reports presented during yesterday's session are given below:

GERMAN LANGUAGE GROUP: BISHOP FRIEDHELM HOFMANN OF WURZBURG, GERMANY. "In some of the interventions presented in the Synod Hall, there seemed to be a certain fear of historical-critical methods. This threatens to diminish the merits and fruits of scientific exegesis. Spiritual exegesis, founded on 'lectio divina' in the context of the liturgy of the Church community, itself requires the premise of scientific exegesis. Furthermore, it is essential to separate the fundamentalist reading of the Bible from modernist trends which run the risk of ideological demystification. Both these attitudes contradict the 'sensum ecclesiae'. ... As for spread of Pentecostalism and other sects, we must ask what is the reason behind their success. This is a challenge for the Church's pastoral ministry towards so-called 'baptised catechumens'. ... The laity must be formed in a suitable and authoritative way for their important task of proclaiming the Word. The role of the family is very important for initiation into the reading of Scripture and at the same time into its reading in communion. ... We further asked ourselves if, in a secularised world where people are nostalgic for the truth, the Church should not be more decisive in her approach to agnostics. ... When it is impossible to celebrate the Eucharist, and in its place the Word of God is celebrated, this should not be considered as a lesser replacement, rather it needs to be considered in its intrinsic worth as the encounter with the Lord, manifested in His Word. ... Holy Scripture represents not only the starting point for ecumenism, but also an important place for encounter with other Christian confessions".

SPANISH LANGUAGE GROUP A: FR. JULIAN CARRON, PRESIDENT OF THE COMMUNION AND LIBERATION ASSOCIATION. "We note a limited familiarity with the Old Testament among Catholics, even a certain degree of embarrassment and resistance in the face of difficult passages, the most controversial questions being divine and human violence, the amorality of certain biblical figures and insufficient theology concerning the afterworld. Therefore, adequate biblical formation should be offered to the faithful, not only to help them understand the Old Testament texts in their historical and literary context but, above all, to facilitate their Christian reading as the main hermeneutic key, because these texts acquire and reveal their full meaning in the New Testament. ... The task of announcing Christ is the responsibility of each baptised person. In addition to the homily, which is the form of preaching specific to liturgical celebrations, it is necessary to recall the value of the preaching by all Christians in the light of Baptism and Confirmation. ... We are deeply concerned about the influence sects and new religious groups have on the Catholic faithful, an influence that sometimes even brings them to abandon the Church. ... Greater studies on sects and new examples of this phenomenon would be of great help to face up to it properly. ... In relations with Islam and in dialogue with its representatives, its concept of socio-political and judicial order (not always duly differentiated from religious order) should be kept in mind, as should its concept of marriage and the family, in which the role and rights of women are not treated as envisaged in the doctrine of the fundamental rights of mankind and of the family, or as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights".

ITALIAN LANGUAGE GROUP A: ARCHBISHOP SALVATORE FISICHELLA, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY FOR LIFE. "The Synod shows that the Word of God cannot only be identified with the Bible. The Word of God is Christ, the Word of the Father. ... The announcement of the Word of God is the first duty of the Church. An explicit announcement, always and everywhere, accompanied by a coherent testimony of life that renders evident the content and reinforces it. ... It was felt necessary to observe that, in a generalised context of secularisation reaching far beyond Western countries, particular attention be paid, above all, to creating forms of listening, so that whoever approaches Sacred Scripture knows they are before God Who speaks. ... We underlined the importance of permanent education, especially of catechists, so as to overcome the major obstacle of a lack of knowledge of the basic contents of faith. ... It is necessary to bridge the gap between Bible and liturgy, Word and Sacrament. This is achieved in the extent to which we reinforce the idea that the Word of God is Christ Himself in His differentiated presence in the life of His Church; above all in the real presence of the Eucharistic sacrifice, and when the Sacraments are celebrated. ... What has to grow, therefore, is awareness of a profound unity that reaches its peak in the Eucharist".

ENGLISH LANGUAGE GROUP B: BISHOP GERALD FREDERICK KICANAS OF TUCSON, VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS. "The group suggested that the tone of the exhortation should be hope-filled, needs to energise the Church around the Word of God and should be pastoral and missionary. The group identified critical areas about which propositions should be developed. A wide range of areas surfaced. First the need to give greater recognition to lay catechists, Catholic school teachers, youth ministers, and lay biblical animators.. ... Second the need to understand what is attracting people to the sects and learn from them. Third how preaching might be improved and made more vibrant. Fourth the need to emphasise and highlight the contemplative dimension. Fifth, finding structures to bring together exegetes, liturgists, theologians, and bishops. Sixth, the need to give greater emphasis to consecrated life, pneumatology, healing and the Sacrament of Penance, and the use of media. ... The dialogic nature of the Word of God needs greater emphasis. ... There is a need to better form people in the Word. ... There was a mixed reaction to a compendium on preaching, ... suggestion was made for a compendium on helping people read the Word of God. There was not a strong feeling that there needs to be a revision of the lectionary. ... Finally, the group explored relations with other Christians and with Jews. Concern was raised that Jews sometimes feel that Catholics downplay their positions for dialogue. ... Bringing the experience of the Synod to other Christian churches might foster communion".

FRENCH LANGUAGE GROUP B: BISHOP JOSEPH LUC ANDRE BOUCHARD, OF SAINT PAUL IN ALBERTA, CANADA. "A word on the 'Relatio': If we can express a hope in the post-synodal exhortation: may it have as its common trait a text from the Holy Scriptures. ... We must renew the relevance of 'Dei Verbum' but in today's context, evoking some problems that have yet to be resolved (for example, the debate on the 'Book', fundamentalism, personal interpretation, interpretation 'cum Ecclesia'). ... As pertains to the institutional propositions: ... One should not think about a congress specifically for the Word of God, but insist on the value of the scriptural aspect in already existing congresses. ... Could we think about a renewal in the ministry of the lectorate, or a mandate for readers that is adapted to the extraordinary ministers of communion? ... On the homily: ... The community one addresses should be known , knowing full well that the homily is a call to conversion, for the preacher, and for the assembly. Catechesis: We would like to underline the work of the catechists - and the majority of catechists are women who play an important role in the transmission of the Word of God. ... As to the formation of priests: First of all, all formation in the seminary must be based on the Word of God. ... The pedagogical method should be reviewed".
SE/EIGHTEENTH CONGREGATION/...                VIS 20081020 (1340)


VATICAN CITY, 18 OCT 2008 (VIS) - This morning, during the Nineteenth General Congregation of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, a first vote was held to elect members to the post-synodal council, and the draft of the final Message was presented and discussed. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.

  This afternoon the Holy Father and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople will preside at a celebration of the Word in the Sistine Chapel, after which each of them will deliver an address on the theme of the Word of God.

  No General Congregations are scheduled for Sunday or Monday. The relator general, the special secretary and the relators of the language groups will meet to unify the proposals presented by the Synod Fathers.
SE/NINETEENTH CONGREGATION/...                VIS 20081020 (140)


VATICAN CITY, 18 OCT 2008 (VIS) - In the Sistine Chapel at 5 p.m. today, the Holy Father presided at the celebration of first Vespers of the 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time, marking the participation of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople in the work of the current Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

  The ceremony, which was attended by more than 400 cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and lay people, began with a few brief words of introduction by Benedict XVI.

  In his English-language talk, Bartholomew I highlighted how this "is the first time in history that an Ecumenical Patriarch is offered the opportunity to address a Synod of Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, and thus be 'part of the life' of this sister Church at such a high level. We regard this as a manifestation of the work of the Holy Spirit leading our Churches to a closer and deeper relationship with each other, an important step towards the restoration of our full communion".

  "It is well known that the Orthodox Church attaches to the synod system fundamental ecclesiological importance. Together with primacy, synodality constitutes the backbone of the Church's government and organization. ... Therefore, in having today the privilege to address your Synod our hopes are raised that the day will come when our two Churches will fully converge on the role of primacy and synodality in the Church's life, to which our joint theological commission is devoting its study at the present time".

  "We have explored", he concluded, "the patristic teaching of the spiritual senses, discerning the power of hearing and speaking God's Word in Scripture, of seeing God's Word in icons and nature, as well as of touching and sharing God's Word in the saints and sacraments. Yet, in order to remain true to the life and mission of the Church, we must personally be changed by this Word. The Church must resemble the mother, who is both sustained by and nourishes through the food she eats. Anything that does not feed and nourish everyone cannot sustain us either. When the world does not share the joy of Christ's Resurrection, this is an indictment of our own integrity and commitment to the living Word of God".

  Following the Patriarch's talk, the Pope thanked him for his words assuring him they would be studied and examined by the Synod. "This too was a joyful experience", he said, "an experience of unity, perhaps not perfect but real and profound. I thought to myself: your Fathers, whom you quoted widely, are also our Fathers and ours are also yours. And if we have shared Fathers how can we not be brothers?"
AC/VESPERS/BARTHOLOMEW I                    VIS 20081020 (460)


VATICAN CITY, 18 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Yvon Moreau O.C.S.O., abbot of the Trappist monastery of Oka, Canada, as bishop of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatiere (area 9,623, population 91,948, Catholics 89,778, priests 83, permanent deacons 7, religious 161), Canada. The bishop-elect was born in Saint-Pascal-de-Kamouraska, Canada in 1941 and ordained a priest in 1968. He succeeds Bishop Clement Fecteau, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
NER:RE/.../MOREAU:FECTEAU                    VIS 20081020 (90)


VATICAN CITY, 19 OCT 2008 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today the Pope travelled by helicopter to Pompeii in Southern Italy. There he celebrated Mass in the square of the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary at 10.30 a.m. and, in the afternoon, led the praying of the Rosary.

  Addressing his homily to 50,000 faithful, the Holy Father said that he had come on a pastoral visit to Pompeii "especially to entrust the assembly of the Synod of Bishops taking place in the Vatican to the Mother of God".

  Commenting on today's readings of the Mass, Benedict XVI emphasised "the wonderful expression by Zephaniah who, addressing Jerusalem, says: the Lord 'will renew you in His love'. Yes, the love of God has this power: to renew all things beginning with the human heart, which constitutes His work of art where the Holy Spirit best accomplishes His transformative action.

  "With His grace," the Pope added, "God renews human beings' hearts, forgiving our sins, reconciling us to Him, and infusing in us the strength to do good. All this becomes apparent in the lives of the saints and we see it in particular in the apostolic work of Blessed Bartolo Longo, the founder of the new Pompeii".

  Referring to the second reading taken from the Letter to the Romans in which St. Paul "exhorts love", the Pope said that "these pages delineate a programme for the life of a Christian community, whose members have been renewed by love and who continually strive to renew themselves in order to discern the will of God and not to fall into the conformity of a worldly mentality".

  "The characteristic of Christian civilisation," he added, "is charity: God's love that is translated into love of others".

  Speaking of Blessed Bartolo Longo, the Holy Father stressed "his numerous charitable initiatives for our brothers and sisters who are most in need. Incited by love, he had the capacity to project a new city that arose around the Marian shrine like an emanation of his own light of faith and hope. A Marian citadel of charity … was founded here in this valley, rescuing and promoting it. Thanks to God the history of the Church is full of experiences like this. … They are experiences of fraternity that show the face of a different society, like leaven in a social context. The strength of charity is irresistible: it is love that truly carries the world forward"!

  The Pope highlighted the fact that Blessed Longo, like St. Paul, "from being a persecutor of the Church became an apostle", because "he had moved away from the Christian faith, becoming militantly anticlerical and even participating in spiritualist and superstitious practices. … With his personal conversion he bore witness to a great spiritual force that transforms us from within, making us capable of carrying out great things according to God's plan".

  "Pompeii", emphasised the Holy Father, "is an example of how faith can work in the city of man, creating apostles of charity who place themselves at the service of the weak and the poor, and who work to that even the weakest may be respected in their dignity and find acceptance and support. Here in Pompeii it is evident that the love of God and neighbour are inseparable. … Here, at Mary's feet, families come to find or to fortify the happiness of love that keeps them united".

  At the end of the homily the Pope highlighted the importance of praying the Rosary: "It is a contemplative prayer that is accessible to all: large and small, laity and clergy, the learned and the uneducated. It is the spiritual bond with Mary that allows us to remain united to Jesus, to conform ourselves to Him, to assimilate His feelings, and to act as He acted. The rosary is a spiritual 'weapon' in the fight against evil and all violence, for peace in our hearts, our families, our society, and our world".

  At the end of Mass and before praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI led the Supplication to the Virgin of the Rosary written by Blessed Longo in 1883, which is traditionally prayed on the first Sunday of October.
PV-ITALY/MASS/POMPEII                    VIS 20081020 (710)


VATICAN CITY, 19 OCT 2008 (VIS) - Following this morning's solemn celebration of the Eucharist and the traditional supplication to the Virgin of Pompeii, Benedict XVI prayed the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered at the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Holy Rosary.

  Before the Marian prayer, the Pope entrusted the work of the current Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to the intercession of the Virgin, "that it may bring fruits of authentic renewal in all Christian communities". He also recalled how October is "the month of missions and of the Rosary", pointing out that "the primary missionary commitment of each one of us is, in fact, prayer.

  "It is above all by prayer that the way is prepared for the Gospel", he added. "It is by prayer that hearts are opened to the mystery of God and souls are prepared to welcome His Word of salvation".

  The Holy Father then went on to refer to today's beatification in Lisieux, France, of Ludovico Martin and Maria Zelia Guerin, the parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus whom Pius XI declared patron of missions. "With their prayer and evangelical witness, these new blesseds accompanied and shared" the saint's path, he said. In this context he went on: "I wish to recall another prayer intention very close to my heart: the family, which has a fundamental role in educating children in a universal spirit, open and responsible towards the world and its problems, and in the formation of vocations to the missionary life".

  The Pope invoked the protection of the Virgin of Pompeii upon all families of the world, "already thinking of the Sixth World Meeting of Families, due to take place in Mexico City in 2009".

  Finally, Benedict XVI addressed some remarks in French to pilgrims gathered for the beatification ceremony in Lisieux. "With their exemplary married life they announced the Gospel of Christ", he said of the new blesseds. "They lived their faith enthusiastically, transmitting it to their family and among their friends and acquaintances".

  Having prayed the Angelus, the Holy Father travelled to the residence of the pontifical delegation where he had lunch with bishops from the Campania region. In the early afternoon, he greeted a number of benefactors of the Pompeii shrine.
PV-ITALY/ANGELUS/POMPEII                    VIS 20081020 (390)


VATICAN CITY, 19 OCT 2008 (VIS) - Before praying the Rosary at 5 p.m. today with faithful gathered at the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Holy Rosary at Pompeii, Italy, Benedict XVI paused for a few moments in the chapel of Blessed Bartolo Longo. Subsequently, in remarks he made following the Marian prayer, the Pope asked: "Where did this great apostle of Mary find the energy and constancy necessary to achieve such an important enterprise? Was it not in the Rosary which he welcomed as a true and heartfelt gift from the Virgin?

  "Yes", he cried, "that is how it was! ... This popular Marian prayer is a vital spiritual means to increase our intimacy with Jesus and to learn, in the school of the Blessed Virgin, always to carry out the divine will".

  "Yet in order to be apostles of the Rosary, it is necessary to gain a personal experience of the beauty and profundity of this prayer, so simple and universally accessible. ... The Rosary is a school of contemplation and of silence. At first sight it may seem like a prayerful accumulation of words and hence not easily compatible with the silence which is rightly recommended for meditation and contemplation. In reality though, this regular repetition of the Ave Maria does not disturb inner silence, rather it ... nourishes it".

  The Pope recalled that, as in the case of the Psalms in the Liturgy of the Hours, "silence rises up through the words and phrases, not as a vacuum but as a presence of ultimate meaning which transcends the words themselves and, together with them, speaks to the heart. ... Even when prayed in large groups ... the Rosary must be seen as a contemplative prayer, and this cannot come about if an atmosphere of inner silence is lacking". Furthermore, he went on, the Rosary "is interwoven with elements from Holy Scripture" such as "the enunciation of the mystery using ... words taken from the Bible. ... The first part of the Ave Maria comes from the Gospel; ... the second part ... rings out like the response of children who, addressing themselves imploringly to their mother, express their own adherence to the plan of salvation. ... Thus the minds of those who pray remain anchored in Scripture and in the mysteries it contains".

  Finally, Pope Benedict spoke of World Mission Day, which is being celebrated today. Once again he evoked the figure of Barotlo Longo who, famous for his spirit of charity, wished the shrine of Pompeii to be "open to the whole world as a centre whence to irradiate the prayer of the Rosary and a place of intercession for peace among peoples. Dear friends", the Pope concluded, "I wish to confirm both these goals - the apostolate of charity and the prayer of peace - and entrust them once more to your spiritual and pastoral efforts".

  The prayer over, Benedict XVI departed from the shrine of Pompeii and at 6.30 p.m. began his return journey to the Vatican by helicopter.
PV-ITALY/ROSARY/POMPEII                    VIS 20081020 (520)


VATICAN CITY, 19 OCT 2008 (VIS) - Following a number of news agency reports concerning the caption under Pope Pius XII's photograph in Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Museum, and the cause for his beatification, Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. yesterday released the following declaration:

  "As is already known, the Holy See representative to Israel has in the past raised objections concerning the caption about Pius XII in the Yad Vashem Museum. It is, therefore, to be hoped that this be the subject of a new, objective and profound examination on the part of the museum management.

  "However, though important, this fact cannot be considered decisive in determining any papal journey to the Holy Land, which, as is known, the Pope would like to undertake but which has yet to be definitively planned.

  "As for the cause of beatification, I reiterate what was said recently that the Pope has not yet signed the decree on the heroic virtues of Servant of God Pius XII, a signature that is necessary for the continuation of the cause. He is dedicating profound thought and reflection to the matter and in such a situation it is not appropriate to seek to exercise pressure upon him in one way or in another".
OP/PIUS XII/LOMBARDI                        VIS 20081020 (220)


VATICAN CITY, 20 OCT 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope received participants in the national congress of the Italian Surgical Society, who are meeting to consider the theme: "Towards a Surgery that Respects the Sick".

  After highlighting how, in the past, it was possible only to alleviate the suffering of the sick, whereas today, thanks to the advances of science and technology, it is possible to cure them, the Holy Father called attention to the risk of "abandoning patients at the moment in which it is felt impossible to obtain appreciable results".

  Although it may no longer be possible to hope for a cure, "that person's suffering can be relieved", because patients "have a dignity which must be honoured, and which constitutes the necessary foundation of all medical activity. Respect for human dignity, in fact, requires unconditional respect for each individual human being, born or unborn, healthy or sick, whatever their condition may be".

  The Pope referred to the importance of doctors discovering "the most appropriate means to communicate with each patient. Such means of communication, while respecting the truth of the facts, will aim to sustain hope which is an essential element of therapy. ... Patients want to be listened to, not just subjected to sophisticated diagnoses".

  "On the one hand, it is undeniable that the will of the patient must be respected, without forgetting, however, that the individualistic exaltation of autonomy leads to an unrealistic, and certainly impoverished, reading of human reality. On the other hand, the professional responsibility of doctors must bring them to suggest treatments that aim at the true good of patients, with an awareness that their specific competencies generally make them better capable of evaluating the situation than the patients themselves".

  Benedict XVI concluded by stressing the need "to promote a sense of responsibility among family members towards their sick relative. This is an important factor in order to avoid increasing the sense of alienation that a person inevitably suffers if entrusted to a form of medical care that is highly technological but lacks sufficient human sentiment".
AC/HUMAN DIGNITY ILLNESS/...                VIS 20081020 (360)


VATICAN CITY, 20 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - His Beatitude Fouad Twal, patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins.

 - Four prelates from the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Eugenio Arellano Fernandez M.C.C.J., apostolic vicar of Esmeraldas.

    - Bishop Luis Antonio Sanchez Armijos S.D.B. of Tulcan.

    - Bishop Nestor Montesdeoca Becerra S.D.B., apostolic vicar of Mendez, accompanied by Bishop Pietro Gabrielli S.D.B., apostolic vicar emeritus.
AP:AL/.../...                                VIS 20081020 (80)

Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service