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Tuesday, October 28, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2008 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Pope to Fr. Marco Tasca, minister general of the Friars Minor Conventual and chancellor of the St. Bonaventure Pontifical Theological Faculty ("Seraphicum"), for the occasion of an international congress which opened today in Rome. The congress has as its theme: "Vatican Council II in the Pontificate of John Paul II".

  The event has been organised by the St. Bonaventure Theological Faculty and the Institute for Documentation and Study of the Pontificate of John Paul II.

  After recalling how Vatican Council II (1962-1965) was convened by John XXIII, the 50th anniversary of whose election to the Cathedra of Peter falls today, Benedict XVI writes that "the conciliar documents have not lost their relevance with the passing of time; their teachings have shown themselves to be especially pertinent to the new exigencies of the Church and the present globalised society".

  Referring to his predecessor, the Holy Father highlights how John Paul II, "in almost every document he produced, and even more so in his decisions and acts as Pontiff, welcomed the fundamental tenets of Vatican II, thus becoming a qualified interpreter and coherent witness of the Council. His constant concern was to make everyone aware of the advantages that would ensue from welcoming the conciliar vision, not only for the good of the Church, but also for that of civil society and of the people in it".

  "We are all debtors of that extraordinary ecclesial event", writes Benedict XVI. "The vast doctrinal patrimony, which we rediscover in its Dogmatic Constitutions in its Declarations and Decrees, still stimulates us to a deep appraisal of the Word of the Lord in order to apply it to the Church today, bearing in mind the many requirements of the men and women of the modern world, who have an urgent need to know and experience the light of Christian hope".

  The Pope assures participants in the congress that the "Doctor Seraphicus" (St. Bonaventure), "in the richness of his thought, can still offer you valid guidelines with which to approach the conciliar documents in order to seek satisfying answers to the many questions of our time".
MESS/JOHN PAUL II VATICAN II/TASCA            VIS 20081028 (380)


VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2008 (VIS) - Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, has written a message to Hindus for the celebration of Diwali, the festival of lights, which this year falls on 28 October. The message is entitled, " Christians and Hindus: Together in Favour of Non-violence".

  In the English-language Message, the cardinal proposes "considering together how we can live harmoniously in today's society, witnessing to the truth, light and hope that Diwali celebrates. While religions are often blamed for society's ills, we know that it is rather the manipulation of religion, contrary to its fundamental beliefs, that is used to carry out so many forms of violence".

  "In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus called on His disciples to love their enemies, to pray for those who hated them. ... In the Hindu tradition, non-violence is one of the more important teachings. Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Indian nation, is respected and held in high regard by people of different generations around the world for his complete dedication to the service of humanity. During the course of his struggle for freedom, he realised that 'an eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind'. Throughout his life, he developed among others, the concept of 'Ahimsa' (non-violence).

  "He is a model for non-violence and he led by example to the point of laying down his life because of his refusal to engage in violence.

  "Non-violence is not merely a tactical manoeuvre but is the attitude of one who, as the Pope affirmed, 'is so convinced of God's love and power' that he is not afraid to tackle evil with the weapons of love and truth alone. Love of one's enemy is the revolution of love, a love that does not rely ultimately on human resources but is a gift of God.

  "Non-violence is encouraged by many other religions. Non-violence is central to our beliefs as the way to promote truth, light, mutual respect, freedom and harmony. As religious leaders called to uphold the truth found in our respective religions, let us help to foster non-violence among our followers and support it in their actions.

  "Let us do all we can to promote the sacredness of human life, the good of the poor and lowly in our midst and collaborate, through dialogue, to foster the dignity of the human person regardless of race or caste, creed or class. As Hindus and Christians, especially in the present situation, let us be won over by love without reserve, with the conviction that non-violence is the only way to build a global society that is more compassionate, more just and more caring".
CON-DIR/DIWALI/TAURAN                    VIS 20081028 (460)


VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Johan Bonny of the clergy of Bruges, Belgium, rector of the Pontifical Belgian college in Rome and official of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, as bishop of Antwerp (area 2,570, population 1,474,367, Catholics 1,284,682, priests 789, permanent deacons 76, religious 2,312), Belgium. The bishop-elect was born in Ostend, Belgium in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1988. He succeeds Bishop Paul Van den Berghe, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
NER:RE/.../BONNY:VAN DEN BERGHE                VIS 20081028 (110)

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