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Wednesday, March 17, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 17 MAR 2010 (VIS) - In remarks to pilgrims at the end of today's general audience, the Pope addressed a special greeting to Irish faithful who are today celebrating the feast of their patron, St. Patrick.

"As you know", said the Holy Father speaking English, "in recent months the Church in Ireland has been severely shaken as a result of the child abuse crisis. As a sign of my deep concern I have written a Pastoral Letter dealing with this painful situation. I will sign it on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the guardian of the Holy Family and patron of the Universal Church, and send it soon after. I ask all of you to read it for yourselves, with an open heart and in a spirit of faith. My hope is that it will help in the process of repentance, healing and renewal".


VATICAN CITY, 17 MAR 2010 (VIS) - In this morning's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI continued his catechesis on St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, today comparing him with his contemporary St. Thomas Aquinas.

"Both of them", the Pope explained, "scrutinised the mysteries of the Revelation, drawing on the resources of human reason in that fruitful dialogue between faith and reason that characterised the Christian Middle Ages, making it a period of great intellectual vivacity, as well as of faith and ecclesial renewal". Both the Franciscan Bonaventure and the Dominican Thomas were members of the mendicant orders which, "with their spiritual freshness, ... renewed the entire Church in the thirteenth century, attracting many followers". Both also "questioned themselves as to whether theology is a practical discipline, or whether it is theoretical and speculative".

"The conclusion reached by St. Thomas is that theology ... is theoretical because it seeks a greater knowledge of God, and it is practical because it seeks to orient our lives towards goodness. But knowledge has the primacy: we first have to know God, then act in accordance with God. This primacy of knowledge over action is significant in the fundamental orientation of St. Thomas' ideas".

For his part, St. Bonaventure "increases the alternatives between theory (primacy of knowledge) and practice (primacy of action) by introducing a third element, which he calls 'wisdom' affirming that it embraces the other two". Wisdom, says Bonaventure, "seeks contemplation (as the highest form of knowledge) and its intention is 'ut boni fiamus', that we should become good. ... Thus, for St. Bonaventure the primacy of love is decisive.

"In this way", the Holy Father added, "St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure give different definitions of man's ultimate destiny, his complete happiness. For St. Thomas the supreme goal ... is to see God. In the simple act of seeing God all problems find their solution and we are happy, nothing else is necessary. For St. Bonaventure, on the other hand, man's final destiny is to love God, the encounter and union of His love and ours. ... In this context, we could say that the highest category for St. Thomas is truth, while for St. Bonaventure it is goodness; yet it would be wrong to see a contradiction between these two positions. ... Both have created different traditions and different spiritualities, thus demonstrating the fruitfulness of faith which is one in the diversity of its expressions".

The Holy Father then turned his reflections to the influence Pseudo-Dionysus, a fourth century Syrian theologian, had on St. Bonaventure. "While for St. Augustine 'intellectus' - seeing with reason and with the heart - is the ultimate category of knowledge", the Pope explained, Pseudo-Dionysus held that "in the ascent towards God it is possible to reach a point in which reason can no longer see. But in the night of the intellect, love can discern ... what remains inaccessible to reason".

"In the dark night of the Cross all the greatness of divine love appears: where reason no longer sees, love does. ... This is not anti-intellectual or anti-rational; it accepts the path of reason but transcends it in the love of the crucified Christ". Thus St. Bonaventure founded "a great school of mysticism which ... represents a high point in the history of the human spirit".

"For St. Bonaventure, all our life is a journey, a pilgrimage, an ascent towards God. But we cannot climb towards the heights of God only by our own efforts. God Himself must help us, He must 'pull us up', Pope Benedict concluded.


VATICAN CITY, 17 MAR 2010 (VIS) - In a brief ceremony following today's general audience, the Holy Father received the honorary citizenship of Romano Canavese, the hometown of Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. which the Pope visited last July during his holiday at the alpine resort of Les Combes.

"What characterises Romano Canavese more than anything else", said Benedict XVI, "is its long history of faith, which begins with the blood of the martyrs (among them St. Solutor) and comes down to our own day. On this occasion, I renew my call to protect and cultivate the genuine values of your tradition and culture, which have their roots in the Gospel and, in particular, to bear witness ... to your faith in the crucified and risen Lord, your attachment to the family and your spirit of solidarity".

The Pope called on the representatives from Roman Canavese, and from the Italian region of Piedmont in which it is located, always "to trust in the assistance of God Who never abandons His children and Who, with loving concern, remains close to those who work for goodness, peace and justice".


VATICAN CITY, 17 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today published the following communique:

  "An international investigative commission on Medjugorje has been constituted, under the presidency of Cardinal Camillo Ruini and dependent upon the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Said commission - made up of cardinals, bishops, specialists and experts - will work privately, submitting the results of its work to the authority of the dicastery".
OP/INVESTIGATIVE COMMISSION/RUINI                VIS 20100317 (80)


VATICAN CITY, 17 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Jose T. Sanchez, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy.
AP/.../...                                VIS 20100317 (30)


VATICAN CITY, 17 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Valdemir Ferreira dos Santos of the clergy of the archdiocese of Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil, pastor of the parish of "Nossa Senhora das Candeias" and archdiocesan bursar, as bishop of Floriano (area 60,930, population 193,111, Catholics 173,799, priests 162, permanent deacons 1, religious 703), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Itajai de Nova Canaa, Brazil in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1987. He succeeds Bishop Augusto Alves da Rocha, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Elevated Bishop Milan Sasik C.M., apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the eparchy of Mukachevo of the Byzantine rite, Ukraine, as eparchial bishop of the same ecclesiastical circumscription (area 12,800, population 1,272,000, Catholics 371,000, priests 232, religious 205).
NER:RE/.../FERREIRA:ALVES:SASIK                    VIS 20100317 (150)
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