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Monday, September 21, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 19 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel met on 16 and 17 September to continue negotiations on the "Economic Agreement", according to a communique released yesterday afternoon.

  "The delegations", the text reads, "worked constructively towards furthering their shared goal". The commission is next due to meet on 28 and 29 October and not on 14 and 15 of October as previously announced.


VATICAN CITY, 19 SEP 2009 (VIS) - This morning in Castelgandolfo Benedict XVI received Catholic patriarchs and major archbishops from the Oriental Churches, in response to a request the prelates had made on various occasions in the past.

  Participating in the meeting were Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, alongside the "Heads and Fathers" of all the Eastern Catholic Churches in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

  They are: His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon; Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq; Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine; Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil C.SS.R., Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India; His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt; His Beatitude Gregorios III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek Melkites, Syria; His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon; His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, Lebanon; Archbishop Lucian Muresan of Fagaras and Alba Iulia of the Romanians, Romania; His Beatitude Baselios Moran Mor Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars, India, and His Beatitude Fouad Twal, patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins.

  According to a communique, the representatives of the Eastern Churches spoke to thank the Holy Father for his initiative and highlighted the two facets of the faithfulness that characterises them: "the bond with the Christian East and the bond with Peter's Successor, the universal Pastor, with his charism of unity in truth and in love". They also focused on "a number of more general themes, such as the phenomenon of migration ... and the ecumenical and inter-religious context in which their Churches live".

  In his address to them the Holy Father recalled how, since the start of his pontificate in 2005, he had begun "an 'ideal' pilgrimage into the heart of the Christian East; another stage of this pilgrimage is today's meeting", he said, "and it is my intention to continue".

  He then referred to the request made by the representatives of the Oriental Churches to have "more frequent contact with the Bishop of Rome in order to strengthen the communion of your Churches with Peter's Successor and together examine, as necessary, themes of particular importance".

  "As for me, I feel a primary duty to promote that sinodality which is so dear to Eastern ecclesiology, and which was greeted with appreciation by Vatican Council II", the Pope said. He then went on to refer to the Apostolic Letter "Orientale lumen" in which John Paul II reiterated "the hope that the Eastern Catholic Churches may 'flourish' and with new apostolic vigour execute the task entrusted to them ... to promote the unity of all Christians, especially Eastern Christians, in keeping with the decree on ecumenism".

  "The ecumenical question is often connected to the inter-religious question. In these two areas the Church as a whole needs that experience of coexistence which your Churches have matured since the first Christian millennium".

  Recalling then how today's meeting would serve to examine the problems currently troubling the prelates, the Holy Father said: "In particular, I do not forget the appeal for peace you placed in my hands at the end of last October's assembly of the Synod of Bishops. And, on the subject of peace, our thoughts go out first and foremost to the regions of the Middle East".

  Pope Benedict concluded: "I take, then, this opportunity to announce a Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, which I have called and will take place from 10 to 24 October 2010 on the theme: 'The Catholic Church in the Middle East: communion and witness: The whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul'". At the end of the meeting, the Holy Father lunched with the representatives of the Eastern Churches.
AC/EASTERN CHURCHES/...                    VIS 20090921 (670)


VATICAN CITY, 19 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was the Letter in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the millennium of the archdiocese of Alba Julia, Romania, due to take place there on 29 September. The Letter, written in Latin, is dated 24 August.

  Also made public today were the names of the members of the mission accompanying the cardinal. They are Msgr. Ferenc Potyo, vicar general of the archdiocese of Alba Julia, and Msgr. Gergely Kovacs, bureau chief at the Pontifical Council for Culture.
BXVI-LETTER/SPECIAL ENVOY/RODE                VIS 20090921 (130)


VATICAN CITY, 20 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At midday today, before praying the Angelus with faithful gathered in the inner courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father commented on a passage for the Letter of James, the second reading of today's Mass, which focuses on the question of true wisdom.

  "Like God from Whom it comes, wisdom does not need to impose itself by force because it possesses the indomitable vigour of truth and love, which is self affirming", said Pope Benedict. "Therefore is it peaceful, mild and compliant; it is not partisan, nor does it use lies; it is indulgent and generous, and may be recognised by the fruits of goodness it brings forth abundantly.

  "Why not pause now and again to contemplate the beauty of this wisdom?" he added. "Why not draw - from the uncontaminated font of the love of God - the wisdom of the heart which detoxifies us from the dross of lies and selfishness? This applies to everyone but, first and foremost, to those who are called to be promoters and 'weavers' of peace in religious and civil communities, in social and political dealings, and in international relations".

  The Holy Father noted how, "in our own time, perhaps because of certain typical internal dynamics of mass societies, we not infrequently see a lack of respect for truth and for keeping one's word, alongside a widespread tendency to aggression, hatred and violence".

  Yet, "in order to accomplish works of peace, we must become men and women of peace", he said, "enrolling ourselves in the school of the 'wisdom that comes from on high', in order to assimilate its qualities and produce its effects".

  "If each person, in his or her own environment, manages to reject lies and violence in their intentions, words and actions, carefully cultivating feelings of respect, understanding and esteem for others, this would perhaps not resolve all the problems of daily life, but it would make it possible to face them more serenely and effectively".
ANG/WISDOM/...                            VIS 20090921 (350)


VATICAN CITY, 20 SEP 2009 (VIS) - In remarks following today's Angelus, Benedict XVI noted how the "many situations of conflict in the world bring almost daily tragic news of victims, both military and civilian".

  "These are events to which we can never accustom ourselves, events that provoke profound reproof and dismay in societies that have peace and civil coexistence close at heart".

  Having then reiterated the fact that the recent attack against the Italian contingent in Afghanistan "caused me profound grief", the Pope said: "I join in prayer with the suffering of the families and the civil and military communities. At the same time I express the same sentiments to the other international contingents, which have also recently suffered victims and which work to promote peace and the development of institutions necessary for human coexistence".

  "I give assurances to all that I mention them before the Lord, with a special thought for the dear civilian population. And I invite everyone to raise prayers to God".

  The Pope also encouraged people "to promote solidarity among nations in order to contrast the logic of violence and death, favour justice, reconciliation and peace, and support the development of peoples on the basis of love and mutual understanding, as I wrote recently in my Encyclical 'Caritas in veritate'".

  Benedict XVI then went on to refer to his forthcoming apostolic trip to the Czech Republic, due to take place from 26 to 28 September. There, he said, "I will visit the capital Prague, also visiting Brno in Moravia, and Stara Boleslav, site of the martyrdom of St. Wenceslas, the main patron of the country".

  "The Czech Republic lies, geographically and historically, at the heart of Europe. Having traversed the drama of last century, it needs, as does the entire continent, to rediscover reasons for faith and hope", said the Pope.

  The Holy Father also gave assurances that, following in the footsteps of John Paul II who visited the Czech Republic on three occasions, "I will pay homage to the heroic witnesses to the Gospel, old and new, and encourage everyone to live in charity and truth".

  He concluded: "Even now I would like to express my thanks to those who will accompany my journey with their prayers, that the Lord may bless it and make it fruitful".
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VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At midday today in Castelgandolfo the Pope received participants in a congress, regularly held at this time of year, for recently-consecrated bishops.

  Addressing them, the Holy Father recalled the importance of "not forgetting that one of a bishop's essential tasks is that of helping priests - by example and fraternal support - to follow their vocation faithfully and to work enthusiastically and lovingly in the Lord's vineyard".

  Priests, said the Pope, must "remain united to the Lord; this is the secret of the fruitfulness of their ministry". Increased workload, difficulties, and the new requirements of pastoral care "must never distract us from intimate and personal union with Christ. Our readiness and openness to people must never diminish or overshadow our readiness and openness towards the Lord.

  "The time that priests and bishops consecrate to God in prayer is always time well spent", he added. "This is because prayer is at the heart of pastoral work, it is the 'lymph' which gives it strength, it is a support in moments of uncertainty and discouragement, and an endless source of missionary fervour and of fraternal love towards everyone".

  The Holy Father went on: "At the heart of priestly life is the Eucharist". In this context he indicated how "one special way to prolong the mysterious sanctifying action of the Eucharist throughout the day is the devout recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, as is Eucharistic adoration, 'lectio divina' and the contemplative prayer of the Rosary. The holy 'Cure of Ars'", he concluded, "showed us the importance of priests' immersing themselves in the Eucharist and of educating the faithful in the Eucharistic presence and in communion".
AV/.../NEW BISHOPS                        VIS 20090921 (290)


VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

 - Archbishop Renato Boccardo of Spoleto-Norcia.
AP/.../...                                VIS 20090921 (40)


VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Maria Inmaculada Garcia Abrisqueta, president of the Spanish association "Manos unidas", as a member of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".
NA/.../GARCIA                            VIS 20090921 (40)

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