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Friday, December 11, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 11 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a Message to Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, metropolitan archbishop of Genoa, Italy, and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), for the occasion of a conference entitled: "God today: to be with Him or without Him changes everything". The conference is being held in Rome from 10 to 12 December.

  "The issue of God", writes the Pope in his Message, "is central in our time, which often tends to reduce man to a single dimension - the 'horizontal' dimension - in the belief that his openness to the Transcendent is irrelevant to his life. However, the relationship with God is essential for the journey of humankind. ... The Church and all Christians have the task of causing God to be present in this world, of seeking to open access to God for all men and women".

  The Holy Father then goes on to highlight how, on the one hand, the conference "aims to show the various paths that lead to affirming the truth about the existence of God, the God Whom humanity has always in some way known and ... Who revealed Himself ... fully and definitively in Jesus Christ" and, on the other, it seeks "to throw light on the essential importance that God has for us, for our personal and social life, ... and for the salvation awaiting us after death".

  These themes will be examined from various points of view: through theological and philosophical reflection, through the longing for God that is apparent in the arts, and through the development of the sciences "which seek to look into the depths of natural mechanisms, fruit of the intelligent work of God the Creator".

  "In a cultural and spiritual situation such as the present, where there is a growing tendency to relegate God to the private sphere, to consider Him as irrelevant and superfluous or even to reject Him explicitly, it is my heartfelt hope that this event may contribute, at the least, to dispersing the shadow that makes modern man hesitant and timorous before the idea of openness to God", writes the Pope.

  And he concludes his Message: "The experiences of the past, even the recent past, teach us that when God disappears from man's horizon, humankind loses its sense of direction and risks taking steps towards its own destruction". Yet "faith in God opens man to the horizon of a certain hope".
MESS/CEI CONFERENCE/BAGNASCO                VIS 20091211 (420)


VATICAN CITY, 11 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Nguyen Minh Triet, president of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "This was the first meeting of a president of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam with His Holiness and with high-ranking officials of the Secretariat of State.

  "The Holy See expressed its pleasure at the visit, a significant stage in the progress of bilateral relations with Vietnam, and expressed the hope that outstanding questions may be resolved as soon as possible.

  "The cordial discussions provided an opportunity to touch upon certain themes concerning co-operation between Church and State, also in the light of the Message the Holy Father sent to the Church in Vietnam for the opening of the current Jubilee Year. Attention likewise turned to the current international situation, with particular reference to the commitment of Vietnam and of the Holy See in the multilateral field".
OP/AUDIENCE/PRESIDENT VIETNAM                    VIS 20091211 (210)


VATICAN CITY, 11 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following English-language communique at midday today:

  "Today the Holy Father held a meeting with senior Irish bishops and high-ranking members of the Roman Curia. He listened to their concerns and discussed with them the traumatic events that were presented in the Irish Commission of Investigation's Report into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.

  "After careful study of the report, the Holy Father was deeply disturbed and distressed by its contents. He wishes once more to express his profound regret at the actions of some members of the clergy who have betrayed their solemn promises to God, as well as the trust placed in them by the victims and their families, and by society at large.

  "The Holy Father shares the outrage, betrayal and shame felt by so many of the faithful in Ireland, and he is united with them in prayer at this difficult time in the life of the Church.

  "His Holiness asks Catholics in Ireland and throughout the world to join him in praying for the victims, their families and all those affected by these heinous crimes.

  "He assures all concerned that the Church will continue to follow this grave matter with the closest attention in order to understand better how these shameful events came to pass and how best to develop effective and secure strategies to prevent any recurrence.

  "The Holy See takes very seriously the central issues raised by the report, including questions concerning the governance of local Church leaders with ultimate responsibility for the pastoral care of children.

  "The Holy Father intends to address a Pastoral Letter to the faithful of Ireland in which he will clearly indicate the initiatives that are to be taken in response to the situation.

  "Finally, His Holiness encourages all those who have dedicated their lives in generous service to children to persevere in their good works in imitation of Christ the Good Shepherd".
OP/MEETING BISHOPS/IRELAND                VIS 20091211 (340)


VATICAN CITY, 11 DEC 2009 (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
AP/.../...                                VIS 20091211 (40)

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