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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

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Friday, September 10, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram to Riccardo Di Segni, chief rabbi of Rome, for the Jewish festivities of Rosh Hashanah 5771 (New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), which all fall in the month of September.

  On these feast days, writes the Pope, "it is my pleasure to express the most cordial and sincere best wishes to you and to the entire Jewish community of Rome, together with the hope that these festivities may bring copious blessings from the Eternal One and be a source of intimate joy. May we all feel a growing desire to promote justice and peace, of which the world today has such need.

  "With gratitude and affection I recall my visit to the Great Synagogue. May God, in His goodness, protect the entire community and enable it to develop in shared friendship, both in Rome and in the world".
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VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Pal Schmitt, president of the Republic of Hungary. 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.

  "The cordial discussions provided an opportunity to examine the situation in the country, with particular reference to the contribution the Catholic Church makes to the common good, especially in the fields of family and social life. Attention also turned to the forthcoming six-month Hungarian presidency of the European Union and to certain problems concerning the current international political situation".
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VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Northeast region 3), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  In his address to them, he highlighted how "the evangelising activity of the Catholic Church was and continues to be crucial in determining the identity of the Brazilian people, an identity characterised by harmonious coexistence among people from different regions and cultures. However, although the values of the Catholic faith have moulded the hearts and minds of Brazilians, today we are seeing that new elements in society, practically unknown just a few decades ago, are exercising a growing influence. This has led to many Catholics abandoning Church life and even the Church herself, while in the religious panorama of Brazil we see the rapid expansion of Evangelical and neo-Pentecostal communities".

  "In a certain sense", he told the bishops, "the success of these groups is a sign of a widespread thirst for God among your people. It is also indicative of an evangelisation, at a personal level, which is sometimes superficial. ... In this context it is necessary, first and foremost, for the Catholic Church in Brazil to commit to a new evangelisation which spares no efforts in seeking out lapsed Catholics and people who know little or nothing of the evangelical message, bringing them to a personal encounter with the living person of Jesus Christ Who is active in His Church. Moreover, with the growth of new groups who claim to follow Christ, though divided among various communities and confessions, it is necessary for Catholic pastors to seek compromise and build bridges to establish contact through ecumenical dialogue in truth".

  Benedict XVI highlighted how "the lack of unity is a cause of scandal which, in the final analysis, undermines the credibility of the Christian message proclaimed in society. Today such proclamation is perhaps even more necessary than it was some years ago, because ... intellectual and mortal relativism is having an increasingly negative influence of peoples lives".

  Referring then to the many obstacles impeding the search for unity among Christians, the Pope underlined the need "to reject an erroneous view of ecumenism, one which leads to a certain doctrinal indifference and seeks (in a kind of uncritical irenicism) to level all 'opinions' to a kind of ecclesiological relativism. At the same time the continual increase of new Christian groups, some of which adopt aggressive proselytism, continues to pose a challenge; this shows how the ecumenical panorama continues to be highly diverse and confused".

  The Holy Father encouraged the bishops to continue their efforts "to dialogue with the Churches and ecclesial communities which belong to the National Council of Christian Churches and which, through initiatives such as the Campaign of Ecumenical Fraternity, help to promote Gospel values in Brazilian society".

  "Dialogue among Christians", Pope Benedict went on, "is a current imperative and an indispensable option for the Church. As Vatican Council II said, prayer, conversion and the sanctification of life must lie at the heart of all efforts towards unity".

  Benedict XVI concluded by highlighting how "pastors must remain obedient to the will of the Lord, promoting concrete initiatives free from any kind of conformist reductionism but realised with the sincerity and realism, the patience and perseverance, which flow from the providential action of the Holy Spirit".
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VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See will once again participate in the celebration of European Heritage Days, an initiative of the Council of Europe in which more than 50 countries on the continent take part. The celebrations this year will take place on Sunday 26 September and have as their theme: "European Heritage for Inter-cultural Dialogue".

  A communique made public today explains that the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, the Vatican Museums and the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology are all collaborating in the event.

  On 26 September visitors will be able to enter the Vatican Museums free of charge. Entrance to all catacombs in Rome that are normally open to the public (San Callisto, Domitilla, Priscilla, St. Agnes and St. Sebastian) will also be free.
  Also on 26 September a photographic exhibition will be inaugurated at the San Callisto Catacombs on the Old Appian Way. The exhibition - entitled "The origins of the catacombs of San Callisto: art and history" - will remain open until 27 October.
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VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Bishop Ottorino Assolari C.S.F. of Serrinha, Brazil, on his "ad limina" visit.
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