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Thursday, November 8, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received participants in the plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which is meeting to examine the topic of: "Complexity and Analogy in Science: Theoretical, Methodological and Epistemological Aspects".

"In your discussions", said the Pope speaking English, "you have sought to examine, on the one hand, the ongoing dialectic of the constant expansion of scientific research, methods and specialisations and, on the other, the quest for a comprehensive vision of this universe in which human beings, endowed with intelligence and freedom, are called to understand, love, live and work".

"Such an interdisciplinary approach to complexity also shows too that the sciences are not intellectual worlds disconnected from one another and from reality but rather that they are interconnected and directed to the study of nature as a unified, intelligible and harmonious reality in its undoubted complexity. Such a vision has fruitful points of contact with the view of the universe taken by Christian philosophy and theology, with its notion of participated being, in which each individual creature, possessed of its proper perfection, also shares in a specific nature and this within an ordered cosmos originating in God’s creative Word. It is precisely this inbuilt “logical” and “analogical” organisation of nature that encourages scientific research and draws the human mind to discover the horizontal co-participation between beings and the transcendental participation by the First Being.

"The universe", the Holy Father added, "is not chaos or the result of chaos, rather, it appears ever more clearly as an ordered complexity which allows us to rise, through comparative analysis and analogy, from specialisation towards a more universalising viewpoint and vice versa. While the very first moments of the cosmos and life still elude scientific observation, science nonetheless finds itself pondering a vast set of processes which reveals an order of evident constants and correspondences and serves as essential components of permanent creation".

"In the great human enterprise of striving to unlock the mysteries of man and the universe, I am convinced of the urgent need for continued dialogue and cooperation between the worlds of science and of faith in the building of a culture of respect for man, for human dignity and freedom, for the future of our human family and for the long-term sustainable development of our planet. Without this necessary interplay, the great questions of humanity leave the domain of reason and truth, and are abandoned to the irrational, to myth, or to indifference, with great damage to humanity itself, to world peace and to our ultimate destiny", Pope Benedict concluded.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Given below is the text of a telegram sent by the Holy Father to Bishop Rodolfo Valenzuela Nunez of Vera Paz, president of the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala, for the recent earthquake there which has caused dozens of deaths and left hundreds injured throughout the country:

"Deeply saddened to hear the painful news of the earthquake which has left many dead and injured, as well as immeasurable material damage in your beloved country, I wish to express my spiritual closeness to all citizens. I offer fervent prayers for the eternal repose of the victims and pray to the Almighty that He may grant consolation to those affected by this terrible disaster, and inspire in everyone sentiments of fraternal solidarity to face this adversity.

"I also earnestly encourage the Christian communities, civil institutions and men and women of goodwill to lend their assistance to the victims, with generosity of spirit and willing charity".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, and Fr. Gabriele Ferdinando Bentoglio C.S., under secretary of the same dicastery, presented the twenty-third Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea, which will take place in the Vatican's New Synod Hall from 19 to 23 November. It will be attended by 410 participants, from 71 countries across all five continents, and the theme will be "New Evangelisation in the Maritime World".

"The Synod of Bishops and the Year of Faith present a challenge to the chaplains and volunteers of the Apostleship of the Sea who will meet at this congress in order to seek adequate pastoral responses to the problems faced by seafarers", said Cardinal Veglio. Among these problems, he identified the use of modern time-saving technological innovations which, while improving the speed and ease of work at sea, do not always bring corresponding improvements to the lives of seafarers, especially "those who accept employment contracts requiring them to spend many months living away from their families". In recent years this problem has been compounded by "the abandonment of ships and their crews in foreign ports without food or resources, and under increasingly restrictive measures that forbid seafarers from coming to land and expose them to abuse and exploitation. … Another issue is that of piracy, which causes long-term psychological trauma not only to seafarers but also to their families".

The international community has addressed this state of affairs by adopting the Maritime Labour Convention (2006), which "establishes minimum requirements regarding all aspects of working conditions on merchant ships, … and is considered a charter of rights for seafarers".

"The Apostleship of the Sea, through the work of its chaplains and volunteers, has always been concerned also with the welfare of fishermen and their families", continued the cardinal. "There are no precise statistics regarding the accidents affecting workers in this sector, but many international organisations consider fishing to be one of the most dangerous professions in the world. Moreover, aside from regulated work, we must not ignore the phenomenon of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing which is not infrequently connected to human trafficking and forced labour", he said.

Fr. Gabriele Bentoglio then introduced the themes that will be covered during the congress. On the first day there will be a discussion on new evangelisation wherein participants will reflect in particular on the "the proclamation of the Gospel to a growing number of seafarers who belong to the Oriental rites of the Catholic Church or to the Orthodox Church, as well as those of other denominations, without forgetting assistance to seafarers who dock at ports in Muslim countries".

Effective engagement with the maritime industry will be the theme of the second day, which will begin with a presentation by the general secretary of the International Transport Workers Foundation (ITF), which brings together 708 unions representing over 5 million workers in all transport sectors, including over half of all seafarers throughout the world. This organisation shares three aims with the Apostleship of the Sea: "improving the life of seafarers, guaranteeing primary assistance, and responding to their spiritual and material needs".

Fishermen and women will be the theme of the third day. The Apostleship of the Sea will take the opportunity, to encourage the ratification of the Convention on Work in the Fishing Sector, which employs around 36 million people.

The fourth day will be dedicated to the theme of piracy at sea, a phenomenon which particularly affects the Indian Ocean and the waters adjacent to the Horn of Africa, as well as the coasts of Western Africa, South America and the Caribbean. Fr. Bentoglio explained that this "criminal activity is difficult to combat and there is great concern regarding the increase in the violent treatment of hostages and their prolonged detention". On the same day there will also be a discussion on cruises, a growth area in the maritime sector.

Finally, the congress will consider the theme of mission work, focusing on "ecumenical collaboration with other Christian denominations in many ports throughout the world, where possible without neglecting inter-religious cooperation". Finally, two important initiatives for the protection of seafarers will be presented: Seafarers' Rights International (SRI) which links the competence of the shipping industry to the legal world in order to promote the rights and legal protection of seafarers, and Maritime Humanitarian Piracy Response (MHPR), which assists sailors and their families in the event of traumatic incidents caused by pirate attacks.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, has written a message to Hindus for the celebration of Diwali, the festival of lights, which this year falls on 13 November. The message is entitled, "Christians and Hindus: Forming the Young Generation into Peacemakers". The message also bears the signature of Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot M.C.C.J., secretary of the council.

"At this point in time in human history, when various negative forces threaten the legitimate aspirations in many regions of the world for peaceful co-existence, we would like to use this cherished tradition of sharing with you a reflection to explore the responsibility that Hindus, Christians and others have in doing everything possible to form all people, especially the young generation, into peacemakers", reads the English-language text.

"To form young men and women into people of peace and builders of peace is an urgent summons to collective engagement and common action. If peace is to be authentic and enduring, it must be built on the pillars of truth, justice, love and freedom. ... Furthermore, in all education for peace, cultural differences ought surely to be treated as a richness rather than a threat or danger.

"The family is the first school of peace and the parents the primary educators for peace. ... In schools, colleges and universities, as young people mature by relating, studying and working with others from different religions and cultures, their teachers and others responsible for their training have the noble task of ensuring an education that respects and celebrates the innate dignity of all human beings and promotes friendship, justice, peace and cooperation for integral human development. With spiritual and moral values as the bedrock of education, it becomes their ethical imperative also to caution the students against ideologies that cause discord and division.

"While States and individual leaders in the social, political and cultural fields, generally have their own important roles to play in strengthening the education of the young, religious leaders in particular, by reason of their vocation to be spiritual and moral leaders, must continue to inspire the young generation to walk the path of peace and to become messengers of peace. Since all means of communication greatly shape the way people think, feel and act, those involved in these fields must, to the utmost possible extent, contribute to promoting thoughts, words, and works of peace. Indeed, young people themselves ought to live up to the ideals they set for others, by employing their freedom responsibly and by promoting cordial relationships for a culture of peace".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - On 6 November, in the offices of the presidency of the Republic of Burundi in Bujumbura, in the presence of the Head of State Pierre Nkurunziza, the Holy See and the Republic of Burundi signed a framework agreement on "matters of common interest".

Signing for the Holy See as plenipotentiary was Archbishop Franco Coppola, apostolic nuncio to that country, and signing on behalf of the Republic of Burundi was Laurent Kavakure, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The framework agreement, acknowledging the good relations that have developed between the Holy See and Burundi over the last fifty years, defines and guarantees the legal status of the Catholic Church and regulates a number of areas, including canonical marriage, places of worship, Catholic institutions of instruction and education, the teaching of religion in schools, the Church's charitable activities, pastoral care of the armed forces and in prisons and hospitals, and the property and tax regime.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

- Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, apostolic nuncio to Israel and Cyprus, and apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine.

- Archbishop Antonio Franco, apostolic nuncio.

- Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald, apostolic nuncio.

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