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Friday, September 25, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 25 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The family, "founded on marriage as a conjugal alliance in which man and woman mutually give and receive", was the central theme of the Holy Father's meeting today with prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Northeast 1-4), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  In his remarks the Pope noted how, in their reports to him, the bishops had highlighted the fact that "families are beleaguered and under siege". Yet, he pointed out, "despite all negative influences", the people of north-eastern Brazil "remain open to the Gospel of life".

  "The Church", Benedict XVI went on, "tirelessly teaches that the family has its foundation in marriage and in God's plan". Yet "the secularised world is dominated by profound uncertainty on this matter, especially since western societies legalised divorce. The only recognised foundation seems to be individual subjectivity, expressed in a desire to live together".

  "In this situation the number of marriages is falling because no-one wants to commit themselves on such fragile and unpredictable grounds, the number of 'de facto' unions is increasing and divorces are on the rise. It is in this fragile scenario that the drama of so many children is played out - deprived of the support of their parents, victims of apprehension and abandonment - and social disorder grows".

  "The Church cannot remain indifferent before the separation and divorce of couples", Pope Benedict cried, "before the break-up of homes and the repercussions on children, who need extremely precise points of reference for their instruction and education: in other words determined and confident parents who participate in their upbringing".

  "This is the principle that is being undermined and compromised by the practice of divorce, through the so-called extended and mobile family which increases the number of 'fathers' and 'mothers' and leads to a situation today in which the majority of those who feel orphaned are not children without parents but children with a surplus of parents. This situation, with its inevitable ... crisscross relationships cannot but generate internal conflict and confusion that contributes to giving children a distorted idea of the family".

  "The firm conviction of the Church is that the true solution to the problems which married couples currently face and which weaken their union is a return to the solidity of the Christian family, a place of mutual trust, of reciprocal giving, of respect for freedom and of education to social life".

  "With all the understanding the Church feels towards certain situations, couples in their second marriage are not like those in their first; theirs is an irregular and dangerous situation which must be resolved, in faithfulness to Christ, finding, with the help of the priest, a way possible to rehabilitate everyone involved", the Holy Father said.

  He then invited the prelates to encourage priests and pastoral care centres "to accompany families so as to ensure they are not seduced by the relativist lifestyles promoted by cinema, television and other communications media". And the Pope concluded: "I trust in the witness of families who draw the strength to overcome trials from the Sacrament of Marriage. ... It is on the foundation of families such as these that the social fabric must be recreated".
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VATICAN CITY, 25 SEP 2009 (VIS) - On 22 September Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi C.S., Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations at Geneva, addressed the twelfth ordinary session of the Human Rights Council.

  Speaking English Archbishop Tomasi affirmed that "achieving development is not only a matter of eliminating material poverty, but also of principles and values guiding economies and societies in all countries irrespective of their per-capita income level".

  "My delegation", he went on, "notes with interest the work that is being accomplished by the Task Force aiming at creating a list of right-to-development criteria and operational sub-criteria around three main components: human-centred development, an enabling environment, and social justice and equity".

  The Holy See permanent observer also highlighted how, "in the context of the development process, the human person is not only a receiver of aid but also the real actor of his or her integral development and of the relations among peoples and persons. As restated in the recent Encyclical Caritas in Veritate: 'Man is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life'".

  "The cultural component of the right to development ... cannot be complete without including the ethical and spiritual dimensions of the person", he said. "These qualitative dimensions should be reflected among the human-centred criteria of this right that are being elaborated by the Task Force".

  "States therefore are called to remove obstacles to development due to the violation of human rights, and the international community to support the development process, especially in the poorest countries. In this context the principle of subsidiarity is particularly relevant. Solidarity and subsidiarity can be viewed as complementary".

  Archbishop Tomasi concluded by assuring his delegation's support for "the adoption of criteria of social justice and equity that imply moral imperatives prompting action for the protection of human rights and for an equitable sharing of benefits from development, including, among others, access to food, housing education, health and employment".
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VATICAN CITY, 25 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences five prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Augusto Alves da Rocha of Floriano.

    - Bishop Juarez Sousa da Silva of Oeiras.

    - Bishop Alfredo Schaffler of Parnaiba.

    - Bishop Plinio Jose Luz da Silva of Picos.

    - Bishop Pedro Brito Guimaraes of Sao Raimundo Nonato.
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VATICAN CITY, 25 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Vatican Information Service will issue special bulletins on Saturday 26 September and Sunday 27 September covering the Pope's apostolic trip to the Czech Republic.
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