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Friday, October 31, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 31 OCT 2008 (VIS) - Yesterday evening after the eucharistic celebration in the Vatican basilica presided over by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Holy Father met with professors and students of the Roman pontifical universities on the occasion of the opening of the academic year.

Commenting on what St. Paul says about Christian wisdom, distinguishing between the wisdom of God and the "wisdom of this world", Benedict XVI affirmed that the latter "is a way of living and seeing things divorced from God, following dominant opinions according to the criteria of success and power. 'Divine wisdom' consists in following the mind of Christ; it is Christ who opens the eyes of the heart to follow the path of truth and love".

"St. Paul exhorts those who consider themselves wise according to the criteria of the world to 'become fools' in order to become truly wise before God. This is not an anti-intellectual attitude or an opposition to 'recta ratio'. Paul - following Jesus - opposes a type of intellectual pride in which human beings, even though knowing much, lose the sensibility of truth and the ability to open themselves to the newness of divine action".

The Pope emphasized that the Apostle to the Gentiles "denounced the poison of false wisdom, which is human pride. What is harmful is not knowledge in itself but rather the presumption, the "boastfulness" of what we have come to - or believe we have come to - know. It is precisely in this that revolts and discord have come from within the Church and, analogously, in society. We must, therefore, cultivate the wisdom, not of the flesh, but of the Spirit".

"The 'thinking of Christ' that we have received through grace purifies us of false wisdom. We come to this 'wisdom of Christ' through the Church and in the Church, letting ourselves be carried on the river of its living tradition".

The Holy Father shared his desire with the professors and students that, being faithful to Christ, "we may fervently dedicate ourselves to intellectual work, free of the temptation of pride, and boast always and only in the Lord".


VATICAN CITY, 31 OCT 2008 (VIS) - Today the Pope received members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences whose plenary assembly is meeting from 31 October to 3 November on the theme of: "Scientific Insight into the Evolution of the Universe and of Life".

  At the beginning of his address, the Holy Father asserted that both Pius XII just as John Paul II highlighted the fact that "there is no opposition between faith's understanding of creation and the evidence of the empirical sciences. Philosophy in its early stages had proposed images to explain the origin of the cosmos on the basis of one or more elements of the material world. This genesis was not seen as a creation, but rather a mutation or transformation".

  "In order to develop and evolve, the world must first 'be', and thus have come from nothing into being. It must be created, in other words, by the first Being who is such by essence".

  "To state that the foundation of the cosmos and its developments is the provident wisdom of the Creator is not to say", Benedict XVI continued, "that creation has only to do with the beginning of the history of the world and of life. It implies, rather, that the Creator founds these developments and supports them, underpins them and sustains them continuously".

  While recalling that Galileo "saw nature as a book whose author is God in the same way that Scripture has God as its author", the Pope emphasized that "this image also helps us to understand that the world, far from originating out of chaos, resembles an ordered book; it is a cosmos".

  "The distinction between a simple living being and a spiritual being that is 'capax Dei', points to the existence of the intellective soul of a free transcendent subject". This is why, he concluded, "the Magisterium of the Church has constantly affirmed that 'every spiritual soul is created immediately by God - it is not 'produced' by the parents - and also that it is immortal'.  This points to the distinctiveness of anthropology and invites exploration of it by modern thought".


VATICAN CITY, 31 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The participants in the XIII Conference of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowship" (Hermandad Catolica de las Comunidades y Asociaciones de la Renovacion Carismatica) were received by Benedict XVI this morning in the Vatican.

  "As I have stated on other occasions", the Pope said, "ecclesial movements and new communities, which have flourished since Vatican Council II, constitute a unique gift from the Lord and a invaluable resource for the life of the Church. They should be welcomed with confidence and esteemed for their various contributions so that they might be of efficient and fruitful benefit to all".

  Referring then to one of the conference's themes, "charisms in the life of the local Church", the Holy Father asserted that "what the New Testament tells us about charisms, which appear as visible signs of the coming of the Holy Spirit, is not a historical event of the past, but an ever-living reality: it is the same Divine Spirit, soul of the Church, which acts in the Church in every age and these works, mysterious and efficacious, are made manifest in our time in a providential manner".

  "The movements and new communities are like eruptions of the Holy Spirit in the Church and contemporary society. We can affirm that one of the elements and positive aspects of the Communities of Charismatic Covenant Renewal is the emphasis that the charisms and gifts of the Holy Spirit receive in these and their merit is in having recalled the actuality of these [charisms and gifts] in the Church".

  Benedict XVI continually recalled that in various documents Vatican Council II mentioned the theme of new ecclesial communities and that also "the Catechism of the Catholic Church highlights the value and importance of new charisms in the Church, whose authenticity is guaranteed by their openness to submit to the discernment of ecclesial authority. Precisely because there is a promising flourishing of ecclesial movements and community, it is important that pastors practice a prudent and wise discernment process with them ".

  "I know that various ways are being studied to give papal recognition to new ecclesial movements and communities and that those who have already received it are not few in number. ... Pastors, above all the bishops, should keep this fact in mind when discerning according to their competency".

  The Pope noted that one of the objectives of the Fraternity, "following the indications of ... John Pual II, is safeguarding the Catholic identity of the charismatic communities, encouraging them to maintain close ties to the bishops and the Roman Pontiff", and showing their pleasure for the creation of a permanent center for the formation of members and directors of the charismatic communities.

  "Safeguarding fidelity to Catholic identity and an ecclesial nature in your communities", the Pope concluded, "will allow you to give everywhere a living and active witness of the profound mystery of the Church. Thus the ability of the various communities to attract new members will also grow".
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VATICAN CITY, 31 OCT 2008 (VIS) - This afternoon the Press Office of the Holy See published the following brief:

  "This morning, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience the President of the Republic of Lebanon, His Excellency Gen. Michel Sleiman and his entourage. Following the audience President Sleiman met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, where they were then joined by His Excellency Mr. Fawzi Salloukh, the Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, and His Excellency Msgr. Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.

  In the course of cordial conversation, the Holy See's interest in Lebanon and its continual struggle to safeguard its unique identity was reaffirmed. Vigorous appreciation was then expressed for the effort that the country and its leaders are carrying out with the intention of bringing institutional life back on track of normal political dialogue, in which every component of the Lebanon population might offer its contribution to the common welfare and see their concerns and expectations met with due consideration. Finally, the delicate regional situation was touched upon, expressing hopes for a rapid and just solution to the Palestinian question and noting the conditions and problems of the Christian communities in the Middle East".
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VATICAN CITY, 31 OCT 2008 (VIS) - Benedict's general prayer intention for November is: "That the testimony of love offered by the saints may fortify Christians in their devotion to God and their neighbor, imitating Christ who came to serve and not to be served".

  His mission intention is: "That the Christian communities of Asia, contemplating the face of Christ, may know how to find the most suitable ways to announce Him, in full faithfulness to the Gospel, to the people of that vast continent so rich in culture and ancient forms of spirituality".
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VATICAN CITY, 31 OCT 2008 (VIS) - Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the dicastery charged with promoting the Church's charitable work, will travel to the United States from 3 - 10 November to meet with the bishops of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), whose plenary assembly will be held in Baltimore.

  The cardinal, along with the directors of Catholic Charities, USA and Catholic Relief Services, will study some of the theological elements highlighted in Benedict XVI's encyclical "God Is Love". During the course of his visit he will also give conferences on charity in the archdioceses of New York, Denver, and Newark and will receive a doctorate "honoris causa" from Seton Hall University, the oldest Catholic diocesan university in the United States.

  The main objective of the visit is to encourage the exchange of experience in the pastoral sphere of charity at a time, he asserted in a press release made public today, characterized by "new challenges and opportunities given the rapidly changing demographic and social fabric".
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VATICAN CITY, 31 OCT 2008 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Apostolic Nuncio in Chad and the Central African Republic with members of his family.
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