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Tuesday, February 10, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 10 FEB 2009 (VIS) - As previously advised, there will be no edition of VIS tomorrow, 11 February, 80th anniversary of the institution of Vatican City State with the signing of the Lateran Pacts. Service will resume on Thursday 12 February.
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VATICAN CITY, 10 FEB 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana of the clergy of Bangkok, Thailand, director of the diocesan catechesis centre and secretary of the episcopal commission for catechesis, as bishop of Chiang Mai (area 89,683, population 5,749,882, Catholics 48,927, priests 74, religious 140), Thailand. The bishop-elect was born in Sam Saem, Thailand in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1981. He succeeds Bishop Joseph Sangval Surasarang, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Fr. Marcellin Randriamamonjy of the clergy of Ambositra, Madagascar, former rector of the major inter-diocesan seminary of Vohitsoa, as bishop of Fenoarivo-Atsiranana (area 25,000, population 804,000, Catholics 150,000, priests 34, religious 56), Madagascar. The bishop-elect was born in Sandrandahy, Madagascar in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1992.

 - Appointed Fr. Ignatius Loyola Mascarenhas of the clergy of Delhi, India, rector of the preparatory regional seminary at Kauli, as bishop of Simla-Chandigarh (area 83,560, population 20,134,365, Catholics 13,800, priests 98, religious 352), India. The bishop-elect was born in Delhi in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1977.

 - Appointed Fr. Mario Fiandri S.D.B., director of the Salesian theologate in Guatemala, as apostolic vicar of El Peten (area 36,000, population 701,000, Catholics 522,000, priests 20, religious 49), Guatemala. The bishop-elect was born in Arborea, Italy in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1974.

 - Appointed Fr. Augustinus Kim Jong Soo, rector of the major seminary of the diocese of Daejon, Korea, as auxiliary of the same diocese (area 9,137, population 3,476,805, Catholics 225,560, priests 225, religious 546). The bishop-elect was born in Taehung-dong, Korea in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1989.

 - Appointed Msgr. Binay Kandulna of the clergy of Khunti, India, collaborator of the apostolic nunciature in New Delhi, India, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Ranchi (area 5,299, population 2,993,000, Catholics 116,758, priests 232, religious 1,094), India. The bishop-elect was born in Gondra, India in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1994.
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VATICAN CITY, 10 FEB 2009 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, the presentation took place of an international conference entitled: "Biological Evolution: Facts and Theories. A critical appraisal 150 years after 'The Origin of Species'". The event is due to take place in Rome from 3 to 7 March.

  The congress has been jointly organised by the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, U.S.A., under the patronage of the Pontifical Council for Culture and as part of the STOQ Project (Science, Theology and the Ontological Quest).

  Participating in today's press conference were Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and president of the Committee of Honour of the congress; Fr. Marc Leclerc S.J., professor of the philosophy of nature at the Gregorian University and director of the congress; Fr. Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti, professor of fundamental theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, and Saverio Forestiero, professor of zoology at Rome's Torvergata University and a member of the organising committee.

  Archbishop Ravasi pointed out that the forthcoming congress responds to the need "to re-establish dialogue between science and faith, because neither of them can fully resolve the mystery of human beings and the universe".

  For his part Fr. Leclerc explained that the congress will be divided into nine sessions, focusing on "the essential facts upon which the theory of evolution rests, facts associated with palaeontology and molecular biology; ... the scientific study of the mechanisms of evolution, ... and what science has to say about the origin of human beings". Attention will also be given to "the great anthropological questions concerning evolution, ... and the rational implications of the theory for the epistemological and metaphysical fields and for the philosophy of nature". Finally, he said, "there will be two theological sessions to study evolution from the point of view of Christian faith, on the basis of a correct exegesis of the biblical texts that mention the creation, and of the reception of the theory of evolution by the Church".

  Saverio Forastiero observed that "the relative fluidity of contemporary evolutionary theory is largely due to a series of discoveries made in the last quarter of a century, discoveries which require the synthetic theory to be reconfigured and could lead to a theory of evolution of the third generation".

  "It is my view", he went on, "that this congress represents an opportunity, neither propagandistic nor apologetic, for scientists, philosophers and theologians to meet and discuss the fundamental questions raised by biological evolution - which is assumed and discussed as a fact beyond all reasonable doubt - in order to examine its manifestations and causal mechanisms, and to analyse the impact and quality of the explanatory theories thus far proposed".

  For his part, Fr. Tanzella-Nitti highlighted how "from the perspective of Christian theology, biological evolution and creation are by no means mutually exclusive. ... None of the evolutionary mechanisms opposes the affirmation that God wanted - in other words, created - man. Neither is this opposed by the casual nature of the many events that happened during the slow development of life, as long as the recourse to chance remains a simple scientific reading of phenomena".

  "I hope", he went on, "that the natural sciences may be used by theology as a positive informational resource, and not just seen as a source of problems. ... I do not believe biological evolution is possible in a materialist world, without information, without direction, without a plan. In a created world, the role of theology is precisely that of talking to us about nature and the meaning it has, of the Logos which, as Benedict XVI likes to say, is the uncreated foundation of all things and of history".
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