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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

International congress to commemorate 50 years since Nostra Aetate

Vatican City, 13 October 2015 (VIS) – On the fiftieth anniversary of the conciliar declaration “Nostra Aetate”, on the relationships between the Catholic Church and non-Christian religions, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the Commission for Religious Relations with Jews and the Pontifical Gregorian University (PGU) have organised an international congress from 26 to 28 October hosted by the PGU to commemorate the event and to analyse its repercussions during the last five decades.

The congress will begin on Monday 26 October with greetings from Fr. Francois-Xavier Dumortier, S.J., rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, and with an introduction by Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J., secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. This will be followed by a screening of the documentary “Nostra Aetate, the Leaven of God”, and interventions from Cardinals Kurt Koch (president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) and Jean-Louis Tauran (president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue). The day will conclude with greetings from representatives of various religions.

On Tuesday 27, in the morning, the theologian Paul Gilbert S.J. and the philosopher Professor Bruna Costacurta from the Pontifical Gregorian University will consider the theme “Interreligious Dialogue: believers at the service of the human person”, a dual reflection from perspectives of philosophy and theology. The next session will be entitled “Violence and the engagement of religions for peace” with the Fr. Rocco D'Ambrosio (PGU) as moderator of the two round table discussions. In the first, the speakers will be the general secretary of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Italy, Abdellah Redouane, and Rabbi David Rosen, international director of interreligious affairs of the American Jewish Committee. In the second there will be interventions from Alberto Quatrucci (Men and Religions, from the Sant'Egidio Community) and Professor B. Wimalaratana of the Buddhist Bellamwila Rajamaha Viharaya temple in Sri Lanka. The theme of the afternoon session will be “The challenge of religious freedom”, with Fr. Franco Imoda, S.J., as the moderator of the two round tables. In the first, the speaker will be Rev. Fr. Christian Rutishauser S.J., Permanent Consultor of the Holy See for religious relations with Jews, and Rabbi Daniel Sperber of the Bar-Ilan University, Israel, while in the second there will be interventions by Rasoul Rasoulipor of the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences of the University of Kharazmi, Iran and Swami Chidananda of the FOWAI (Flame of Who Am I?) Forum, India.

On Wednesday 28 October, the participants in the Congress will attend the morning general audience with the Holy Father, and in the afternoon they will debate the issue of “Education and the transmission of values”. The moderator will be Fr. Bryan Lobo, S.J. (PGU), and the speakers Singh Walia of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University, India; Nayla Tabbara, of the ADYAN Foundation, Lebanon; Rabbi Riccardo Segni, chief rabbi of the Jewish Community of Rome, and Samani Pratibha Pragya of the Jain Vishwa Bharati Institute, United Kingdom.

The Congress will conclude with a presentation by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, entitled “Educating for peace”.

Fr. Lombardi on the “Letter to the Pope from thirteen cardinals”

Vatican City, 13 October 2015 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., has given the following clarification regarding the publication yesterday of a “Letter to the Pope from thirteen cardinals”.

As we are aware, at least four of the Synod Fathers who were included in the list of signatories have denied their involvement (Cardinals Angelo Scola, Andre Vingt-Trois, Mauro Piacenza and Peter Erdo).

Cardinal Pell has declared that a letter sent to the Pope was confidential and should have remained as such, and that neither the text published nor the signatories correspond to what was sent to the Pope.

I would add that, in terms of content, the difficulties included in the letter were mentioned on Monday evening in the Synod Hall, as I have previously said, although not covered extensively or in detail.

As we know, the General Secretary and the Pope responded clearly the following morning. Therefore, to provide this text and this list of signatories some days later constitutes a disruption that was not intended by the signatories (at least by the most authoritative). Therefore it would be inappropriate to allow it to have any influence.

That observations can be made regarding the methodology of the Synod is neither new nor surprising. However, once agreed upon, a commitment is made to put it into practice in the best way possible.

This is what is taking place. There is very extensive collaboration in the task of allowing the Synod to make good progress on its path. It may be observed that some of the “signatories” are elected Moderators of the Circuli Minori, and have been working intensively. The overall climate of the Assembly is without doubt positive.

Cardinal Napier has expressly asked me to clarify the comments published in an interview with “Crux”, which do not correspond to his opinion. With regard to the composition of the “Commission of the 10” for the final text, it was incorrectly written that “… Napier said, adding that he would actually challenge ‘Pope Francis’ right to choose that’”. Cardinal Napier has requested that this be corrected, affirming the exact opposite: “… no-one challenges Pope Francis’ right to choose that”.

I have no further observations to make.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 13 October 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Rev. Msgr. Justin Bernard Gnanapragasam as bishop of Jaffna (area 4,400, population 1,493,720, Catholics 240,682, priests 153, religious 324), Sri Lanka. The bishop-elect was born in Karampon, Sri Lanka in 1948 and ordained a priest in 1974. He has served in a number of roles in the diocese of Jaffna, including parish vicar, parish priest, vice rector and rector of St. Henry's College, dean of the Ilavalai deanery, director of a group of state schools, visiting professor at the major seminary and rector of St. Patrick's College. He is currently vicar general of Jaffna. He succeeds Bishop Thomas Savundaranayagam Emmanuel, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- Rev. Fr. Arthur J. Colgan, C.S.C., as auxiliary of the diocese of Chosica (area 3,418, population 1,931,000, Catholics 1,706,000, priests 131, religious 717), Peru. The bishop-elect was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, U.S.A. in 1946, gave his religious vows in 1966 and was ordained a priest in 1973. He has served in a number of pastoral and administrative roles within his religious Institute, including superior of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in Peru, parish priest, vicar general, episcopal vicar for the archdiocese of Lima, Peru, theological assessor for the Episcopal Commission for Social Action of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference, and provincial superior for the Eastern Province of his congregation in Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.A. He is currently vicar general of the diocese of Chosica, Peru.
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