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Wednesday, October 22, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT 2008 (VIS) - This morning the Synod Father met in language groups to continue preparing the collective amendments to the more than 50 propositions that have been made.

  This afternoon the meetings of the language groups are scheduled to continue. At the end of the afternoon session the propositions will be delivered to the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT 2008 (VIS) - In his general audience this morning, Benedict XVI proceeded with his series of catecheses on St. Paul, focusing on the Apostle of the Gentile's teaching on "the central role of the Risen Christ in the mystery of salvation". The audience, held in St. Peter's Square, was attended by 17,000 people.

  For Paul, the Pope explained, Christ "is the principle for understanding the world and discovering the path of history". The Apostle of the Gentiles, said the Holy Father "was not concerned with narrating the individual episodes of Jesus' life" because "his pastoral and theological intention, which sought to sustain the nascent communities, concentrated above all on announcing Jesus Christ as the 'Lord', living and present, now among His people".

  The essential characteristic of Pauline Christology, said Benedict XVI, apart from announcing the living Christ, is "announcing the central fact of ... the death and resurrection of Jesus as the culmination of His earthly journey and as the root of the subsequent development of all Christian faith, of all the reality of the Church. For the Apostle, the Resurrection is not some isolated event, separate from His death: the Risen Christ is always same Christ Who before was crucified".

  "The Apostle contemplates in fascination the secret hidden in the Crucifixion-Resurrection and, through the suffering Christ experienced in His humanity, is led back to the eternal existence in which Christ is one with the Father". However, to understand Paul's thought on "pre-existence and ... the incarnation of Christ" we need to know "certain Old Testament texts which highlight the role of Wisdom before the creation of the world, ... such as those that speak of creative Wisdom".

  "These texts ... also speak of the descent of Wisdom which pitched its tent among us" as a premonition of "the tent of flesh" mentioned by St John the Evangelist. "But this descent of Wisdom ... implies the possibility of its being rejected", and St. Paul makes it clear that "Christ, like Wisdom, can be rejected, above all by those who dominate this world, so that in God's plan a paradoxical situation may be created in which ... the Cross ... is transformed into the way of salvation for all humankind".

  In his Letter to the Philippians Paul "further develops this idea of Wisdom which descends to be exalted despite its rejection. ... The gesture of the Son of God is the opposite of pride, it is a gesture of humility which is the realisation of love, and love is divine. Hence Christ's descent, the radical humility with which He contrasts human pride, truly is an expression of divine love, and it is followed by that elevation to heaven to which God draws us".

  In the Letters to the Colossians and Ephesians, Christ is described as "firstborn". This, the Pope explained, means that "the first among many children ... came down to make us His brothers and sisters".

  Finally, in the Letter to the Ephesians the Apostle considers "the divine plan of salvation", saying that "in Christ God wished to recapitulate all things. ... Christ reassumes all things and guides us to God. Thus He involves us in a movement of descent and ascension, inviting us to share in His humility, in other words His love for others and, hence, His glorification".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT 2008 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at midday today, Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany, presented the first volume of the "Opera omina" of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, published in German by the publishing house Herder Verlag.

  Also participating in the press conference were Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti, president of the management board of the Vatican Publishing House, and Fr. Giuseppe Costa S.D.B., director of the same institution.

  Bishop Muller affirmed that "Benedict XVI, during the lengthy course of his academic activities as professor of fundamental and dogmatic theology, produced an autonomous theological 'opus' which without doubt places him among the most important scholars of the 20th and 21st centuries. For more than 50 years, the name of Joseph Ratzinger has been linked to an original overview of systematic theology".

  "In his academic work, Benedict XVI has always drawn from his admirable knowledge of the history of theology and dogma, with which he enlightens others by highlighting the divine vision of man upon which everything rests".

  The bishop of Regensburg indicated that the Pope had ordered the publication of his works in 16 volumes. "In order to put this project into effect", he said, "I founded the 'Pope Benedict XVI Institute' in Regensburg. This will house complete documentation on the life, thought and work of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, theologian, bishop and pontiff".

  "The aim is to produce as complete as possible a presentation of already-published works, integrated with other texts either unpublished or not yet available in German, following a systematic order which creates a link between chronology and subject matter".

  Going on to describe the 16 volumes, Bishop Muller indicated that they begin with two university theses by the future Pope: his graduation thesis on the Augustinian doctrine of the Church, and his teaching degree thesis on Bonaventure's doctrine of the Revelation.

  Volume three "takes as its starting point the inaugural lecture of Professor Ratzinger: 'The God of the Faith and the God of the Philosophers', given in Bonn in 1959", and includes all his reflections on the historical-ideal foundations of Europe.

  Volume four, Bishop Muller explained, "begins with the 'Introduction to Christianity' of 1968, ... while volume six opens with the book 'Jesus of Nazareth' (2007) and brings together all his studies on the subject of Christology".

  Volume thirteen "is a collection of the many interviews given by Joseph Ratzinger" and volume fourteen presents a selection of his "many homilies, including little-known and meditations unpublished until now".

  As for the last two volumes, number fifteen is dedicated to the autobiography of Joseph Ratzinger which appeared in 1997/1998 with the title of "My Life", and his many declarations concerning such people as his predecessor John Paul II or his brother Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, as well as many other addresses delivered during Jubilee Years, etc. Volume sixteen contains a complete bibliography of Joseph Ratzinger's works in German, and an index to all the volumes.


VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Francisco Antonio Nieto Sua of the clergy of the archdiocese of Bogota, Colombia, episcopal vicar for the pastoral zone of "Espiritu Santo", as bishop of the same archdiocese (area 4,019, population 4,253,000, Catholics 3,645,000, priests 725, permanent deacons 58, religious 2,920). The bishop-elect was born in Panqueba, Colombia in 1948 and ordained a priest in 1973.
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