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Friday, January 29, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 29 JAN 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the dean, judges, promoters of justice, defenders of the bond, officials and lawyers of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, for the occasion of the inauguration of the judicial year.

  In his address the Holy Father focused his attention on the role of that institution, from the triple perspective of the justice, charity and truth which must inspire it.

  "It is necessary to take account of the tendency - widespread and well-rooted though not always obvious - to contrast justice with charity, almost as if the one excluded the other", said the Pope. "Some people maintain that pastoral charity justifies any measures taken towards the declaration of nullity of the marriage bond. ... Truth itself ... would thus tend to be seen in a functional perspective, adapting itself to the different requirements that arise in each case".

  "Your ministry", he continued, "is essentially a work of justice, a virtue ... of which it is more important than ever to rediscover the human and Christian value, also within the Church. Canon Law ... must always be considered in its essential relationship with justice, maintaining an awareness that the Church's juridical activity has as its goal the salvation of souls".

  "In this perspective it must be borne in mind that, whatever the situation, trial and sentence are fundamentally linked to, and at the service of, justice", said Benedict XVI, and he went on: "Apart from this 'objective' dimension of justice, there exists another dimension ... which concerns the 'operators of the law'; that is, those who make law possible. ... They must be characterised by their exalted practice of human and Christian virtues, in particular those of prudence and justice, but also that of strength".

  This latter virtue "becomes more important when injustice seems the easiest path to follow, in as much as it involves giving in to the desires and expectations of the parties involved, or to the conditioning of the social environment".

  "Everyone who works in the field of the Law, each in his or her own role, must be guided by justice", said Pope Benedict. "I am thinking in particular of lawyers, who must not only take great care to respect the truth of the evidence, but also to avoid taking on ... cases which they know in their conscience to be objectively unsustainable.

  "The action of those who administer justice cannot neglect charity", he added. "A charitable perspective and charitable measures will help us not to forget that those before us are always people marked by problems and suffering. The principle whereby 'charity goes beyond justice' also holds good in the specific field of the work of 'operators of justice'".

  "Our dealings with people", the Pope explained, "must take account of each specific case in order, with delicacy and attentiveness, to facilitate the parties' contact with the tribunal". Likewise, "it is important that effective efforts be made, whenever there seems to be hope of a successful outcome, to encourage the spouses to convalidate their marriage and restore conjugal cohabitation. It is also vital not to stint efforts to establish a climate of human and Christian openness between the parties, founded on the search for truth".

  The Holy Father then highlighted another important question, "that of avoiding pseudo-pastoral demands which place the issue on a merely horizontal plain, in which what counts is satisfying subjective requests in order to achieve a declaration of nullity at any cost, with the aim of overcoming, among other things, the obstacles to receiving the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. ... It would however be a false advantage", he said, "to ease the way towards receiving the Sacraments, at the risk of causing people to live in objective contrast with the truth of their own individual state".

  "Both justice and charity require love for truth, and essentially involve the search for what is true. ... Without truth charity slides into sentimentalism. Love becomes an empty shell to be filled arbitrarily. This is the fatal risk of love in a culture without truth".

  This can happen, the Pope went on, "not only in the practical activity of passing judgment, but also in theoretical studies which have such an influence on concrete judgements. The problem arises when the essence itself of marriage becomes more or less obscured. ... Examination of the conjugal bond in existential, personalist and relational terms must never be undertaken at the expense of indissolubility, an essential property which in Christian marriage has, with unity, a special firmness by virtue of the Sacrament".

  "Marriage enjoys the favour of the law. Hence, in case of doubt, a marriage must be held to be valid until the contrary is proven. Otherwise we run the serious risk of remaining without an objective point of reference for pronouncements of nullity, transforming all conjugal difficulties into a symptom of a failed union whose essential nucleus of justice - the indissoluble bond - is thus effectively denied".
AC/.../ROMAN ROTA                        VIS 20100129 (850)


VATICAN CITY, 29 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Message for the fifty-seventh World Day of Leprosy was published today. It bears the signature of Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Healthcare Ministry. The Day itself is due to be celebrated on Sunday 31 January.

  According to the most recent data from the World Health Organisation (WHO), "in 2009, 210,000 new cases of the disease were recorded. ... The countries most affected are in Asia, South America and Africa. India has the greatest number of sufferers, followed by Brazil".

  Archbishop Zimowski makes a call "to the international community and to the authorities of each individual State, inviting them to develop and reinforce the strategies necessary to combat leprosy, making them more effective and far-reaching especially in places where the number of new cases remains high. This", he continues, "must be done without overlooking educational and awareness-raising campaigns capable of helping those affected, and their families, to emerge from isolation and obtain the necessary treatment".

  At the end of his message, the president of the Pontifical Council for Healthcare Ministry expresses his thanks to the WHO, and to religious, missionaries, non-governmental associations and organisations, and many volunteers for their commitment "to eradicate this and other 'forgotten' diseases".
CON-AVA/WORLD DAY LEPROSY/ZIMOWSKI                VIS 20100129 (220)


VATICAN CITY, 29 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Three prelates from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds.

    - Bishop Terence Patrick Drainey of Middlesbrough.

    - Bishop Terence John Brain of Salford.

 - Bishop Antoni Stankiewicz, dean of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.
AL:AP/.../...                                VIS 20100129 (70)


VATICAN CITY, 29 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Kibungo, Rwanda presented by Bishop Kizito Bahujimihigo, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
RE/.../BAHUJIMIHIGO                            VIS 20100129 (50)

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