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Monday, October 15, 2012


Vatican City, 14 October 2012 (VIS) - "God can conquer the heart of a person with many possessions and lead him towards solidarity and sharing with the poor and needy, so that he can enter into the logic of giving", said the Pope commenting on today's Gospel reading which narrates Jesus' meeting with a rich young man.

"Jesus teaches that it is very difficult but not impossible for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God", said the Holy Father in his remarks before praying the Angelus. "Indeed, through the 'the logic of giving', a person may follow the path of Jesus Christ Who, as the Apostle Paul wrote, 'for your sake ... became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich'".

Benedict XVI went on to remind faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square that the young man in question had scrupulously observed all the commandments of God's Law, but "had not found true happiness. For this reason, he asked Jesus 'what must I do to inherit eternal life?' On the one hand he was attracted, like everyone else, to the fullness of life; on the other, being used to his wealth, he thought he could somehow 'buy' eternal life, perhaps by observing some special commandment".

Christ was aware of the man's desires but also of his weakness, "his sense of attachment to his great riches". Therefore He suggested giving everything to the poor so that "his treasure - and therefore his heart - should be in heaven and not on earth. Jesus told the man: 'Come, follow me!' However, instead of welcoming Jesus' invitation with joy, he went away sadly because he could not give up his possessions, which could never give him happiness and eternal life".

It was at this point that Jesus pronounced the famous phrase: "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God". However, seeing His disciples' perplexity he added: "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God". Commenting on this parable, St. Clement of Alexandria wrote: "Let it teach the prosperous that they are not to neglect their own salvation, as if they had been already condemned, nor, on the other hand, to cast wealth into the sea, or condemn it as a traitor and an enemy to life, but learn in what way and how to use wealth and obtain life".

"The history of the Church", the Pope concluded, "is full of examples of rich people who have used their wealth evangelically, even attaining sainthood. Suffice to mention St. Francis, St. Elisabeth of Hungary and St. Charles Borromeo".

After praying the Angelus the Pope mentioned yesterday's beatification in Prague, Czech Republic, of Frederic Bachstein and thirteen companions of the Order of Friars Minor, who died for their faith in 1611. "They are the first blesseds of the Year of Faith, and martyrs", he said. "They remind us that believing in Christ also means being ready to suffer with Him and for Him".

Finally, the Holy Father concluded by noting that "today Poland and Polish parishes throughout the world are celebrating the 'Day of the Pope', with the theme: 'John Paul II - the Pope of the Family'. ... It is my hope that all Polish families may burn with the living flame of faith, goodness and evangelical love".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - On 14 October, Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot M.C.C.J., secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, addressed the Istanbul World Forum, dedicated to the theme: "Justice and the Construction of a New Global Order". In his remarks during the meeting, which took place from 13 to 14 October, Fr. Ayuso examined the essential contribution that social justice and religious freedom make to peace, and the indispensable role religions have in promoting peace and justice in global society.

"Religion", said Fr. Ayuso speaking English, "has a role in contributing to the national conversation of any given society. That conversation needs to engage with all the complexities that societies face in the modem world. Concepts such as 'justice' and 'social justice' are an integral part of that conversation. Thus, we ask ourselves, what is the contribution of religion to the national conversation about 'justice' and 'social justice'? Justice is a divine attribute, and religious teaching certainly contributes to the reflection on the right ordering of relationships, in other words, social justice. Catholic tradition, however, maintains that justice is accessible by means of human reason, to all men and women of goodwill, both religious and non religious".

"Both believer and non believer can subscribe to the innate dignity of the human person, and agree that such dignity is the reason for the inalienable rights of each individual, the protection of which is the objective of justice. ... These rights are antecedent and independent of the State, and the measure of the justice of the State is the extent by which it respects and vindicates these antecedent rights, for justice requires that all persons should be left in the free enjoyment of their rights. ... When the State fails to administer justice or, indeed, acts unjustly, it no longer has any moral authority or legitimacy. This implies that the State is subject to judgement, that it does not have absolute power, that it can, and indeed, must be held to account. Our question is, therefore, who or what can hold the State to account, to ensure that it acts justly? The question is not political but moral, although the answer will require political choices".

"Since the ultimate question is moral in nature then it follows that the hallmark of a civil and just society is the proper and due space afforded to religion, which has a unique contribution in being the voice for the voiceless, a voice for the downtrodden, a voice for the oppressed, a voice for the persecuted, a prophetic voice calling all to act in peace and justice. Religion calls forth the conscience of society to act genuinely in favour of the common good. Religion, therefore, has a role in political debate, not in providing concrete political solutions, which lies outside the competence of religion, but to recall to society the objective moral norms at the basis of justice and the just society".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Before lunching yesterday with Synod Fathers, the Council Fathers of Vatican II and presidents of the world's episcopal conferences, Benedict XVI greeted those present with some brief remarks.

"It was a fine tradition begun by Blessed Pope John Paul II to include a communal luncheon as part of the Synod. And it is a great honour for me to be sitting between His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople and Archbishop Rowan Williams from the Anglican Communion", the Holy Father said.

He continued: "For me this communion is a sign that we are on the journey towards unity and that we are progressing in our hearts; the Lord will help is to progress externally too. This joy, I believe, also gives us strength in the mandate to evangelise. 'Synodos' means 'shared journey', 'journeying together', and thus the word 'synodus' makes me think of the famous journey the Lord made with the two disciples of Emmaus who, to some extent, represent today's agnostic world. Jesus, their hope, had died; the world was empty; it truly seemed either that God did not exist or that He was not interested in us. With this desperation in their hearts and, nonetheless, with a small flame of faith, they walked on. The Lord walked mysteriously with them, and helped them to a better understanding of the mystery of God, of His presence in history, of his silent presence at our side. In the end, at dinner, when the words of the Lord had inflamed their hearts and illuminated their minds, they recognised Him and finally their hearts began to see.

"In the same way, during the Synod we and our contemporaries journey together", the Pope added. "We pray to the Lord to enlighten us, to inflame our hearts that they might see, to illuminate our minds. And we pray that, at dinner, at Eucharistic communion, we may truly be opened and see Him, and thus inflame our world with His light".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy See and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea today signed an agreement regulating relations between the Catholic Church and the State. The signing ceremony took place in the city of Mongomo in the presence of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, president of Equatorial Guinea, and many other leading government figures.

The Agreement was signed on the part of the Holy See by Archbishop Piero Pioppo, apostolic nuncio to the country and, on the part of Equatorial Guinea, by Agapito Mba Mokuy, foreign minister.

The Agreement, which is made up of nineteen articles and an additional protocol, will come into effect with the exchange of the instruments of ratification.

"Within the context of the independence and autonomy of Church and State, and in order to further their shared desire to collaborate", reads an explanatory note released today, the Agreement "establishes a juridical framework for reciprocal relations recognising, in particular, the juridical status of the Church and her institutions. The Agreement also covers canonical marriage, places of worship, educational institutions, and spiritual assistance to Catholic faithful in hospitals and prisons".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Duitama-Sogamoso, Colombia, presented by Bishop Carlos Prada Sanmiguel, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

On Saturday 13 October it was made public that the Pope appointed Cardinal Gaudencio B. Rosales, archbishop emeritus of Manila, Philippines, as his special envoy to the tenth plenary assembly of FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences). The event is to be held at the Xuan Loc Diocese Pastoral Centre from 19 to 25 November, and the concluding ceremony will take place in the cathedral of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

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