1183Volume 7, Issue 16
- Jan 22, 2007Roman Catholic News
Volume 7, Issue 16
THURSDAY 15 FEBRUARY 2007
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. COMMUNIQUE ON THE VISIT OF THE PRESIDENT OF KOREA
. POPE PRAYS FOR REUNION OF FAMILIES IN KOREA
. ASH WEDNESDAY: POPE TO PRESIDE AT MASS IN SANTA SABINA
. MEETING OF PONTIFICAL REPRESENTATIVES TO LATIN AMERICA
. OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
. PAPAL CONDOLENCES FOR BOMB ATTACK NEAR BEIRUT
. PROMOTE THE MATURATION OF MORAL CONSCIENCE
. THE ABSENCE OF GOD IS WORSE THAN MATERIAL POVERTY
. HOLY FATHER'S MESSAGE FOR LENT 2007
. THE VARIETY OF CHARISMS IS INSEPARABLE FROM LIFE OF CHURCH
. FORMATION OF CONSCIENCES IN FUNDAMENTAL VALUES
. THE CHURCH WAS BORN IN BELIEVERS' HOUSES
. CATALOGUE OF LINKS
. EUCHARISTIC PRAYER IN HONOR OF THE SORROWFUL HEART OF MARY
. DAILY REMINDER
. ROMAN CATHOLIC NEWS ARCHIVES
. COPYRIGHT NOTICES
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COMMUNIQUE ON THE VISIT OF THE PRESIDENT OF KOREA
VATICAN CITY, FEB 15, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received in audience Roh Moo-hyun, president of the Republic of Korea, accompanied by his wife and an entourage, according to a communique released today by the Holy See Press Office.
"The president" the communique reads, "then went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. During their discussions, mention was made of the cordial relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Korea, as well as of the understanding and cooperation that exist between the Catholic Church and the civil authorities.
"Attention turned to the political and social situation of eastern Asia and, in particular, to the evolution of the process of reconciliation on the Korean peninsula and to the respect and promotion of human rights in that region."
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POPE PRAYS FOR REUNION OF FAMILIES IN KOREA
VATICAN CITY, FEB 15, 2007 (VIS) - During the course of his meeting today in the Vatican with Roh Moo-hyun, president of the Republic of Korea, the Pope gave his guest a Letter, written in English, in which he affirms that the visit "serves to strengthen the good relations that exist between [Korea] and the Holy See," and that it "is also a clear sign of [the president's] esteem for the Catholic Church.
"I would ask you," the Holy Father adds, "to convey my affectionate greetings to the people of Korea, and to assure them of my prayers for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and throughout the region.
"For over fifty years, the Korean people have suffered the consequences of division. Families have been split, close relatives have been separated from one another. ... I pray for a speedy solution to the problem which impedes so many from communicating with one another."
Pope Benedict's Letter continues: "Sadly, the modem world is marked by an increasing number of threats to the dignity of human life. I wish therefore to commend all those in your country who work to uphold and defend the sanctity of life, marriage and the family, areas in which, as you know, the Catholic Church in Korea is particularly active.
"The risk of a nuclear arms race in the region is a further source of concern, fully shared by the Holy See. I urge all interested parties to make every effort to resolve the present tensions through peaceful means and to refrain from any gesture or initiative that might endanger the negotiations, while ensuring that the most vulnerable part of the North Korean population has access to humanitarian aid."
"Your country," the Holy Father concludes, "has experienced remarkable economic growth in recent times. ... At the same time, I am conscious that not all citizens are yet able to benefit fully from this increased prosperity. I therefore urge your government to work in harmony with all those who seek to promote the common good and social justice."
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ASH WEDNESDAY: POPE TO PRESIDE AT MASS IN SANTA SABINA
VATICAN CITY, FEB 15, 2007 (VIS) - At 4.30 p.m. on February 21, Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, Benedict XVI will preside at a moment of prayer in the church of St. Anselm on Rome's Aventine Hill. There will follow a penitential procession to the basilica of Santa Sabina attended by cardinals, archbishops, bishops, the Benedictine monks of St. Anselm, the Dominican Fathers of Santa Sabina and lay faithful.
Following the procession, the Pope will preside at a Eucharistic celebration in the basilica of Santa Sabina, with the traditional rite of blessing and the imposition of the ashes.
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MEETING OF PONTIFICAL REPRESENTATIVES TO LATIN AMERICA
VATICAN CITY, FEB 15, 2007 (VIS) - From February 15 to 17, a meeting of pontifical representatives to Latin America will be held in the Vatican. The gathering has been called by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., in view of the Fifth General Assembly of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM), due to be celebrated in Aparecida, Brazil from May 13 to 31.
According to a communique made public today, following an introduction by Cardinal Bertone, the 20 pontifical representatives, together with Archbishops Leonardo Sandri, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, and Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, will exchange information and reflect upon the social, religious and ecclesial situation in Latin America.
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, will speak upon the fifth general assembly of CELAM. Cardinal Re is one of three cardinals appointed by the Pope to preside at the forthcoming CELAM meeting, the other two being Cardinals Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop of Santiago de Chile, and Geraldo Majella Agnelo, archbishop of Sao Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, who are also due to speak at the current meeting.
For his part Cardinal Claudio Hummes O.F.M., prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, will present some reflections on the situation of the clergy and sects. Moreover the pontifical representatives will have the opportunity to study materials prepared by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and the Congregation for Catholic Education, and by the Pontifical Councils for the Family, "Justice and Peace," and for Promoting Christian Unity.
The meeting will come to an end on Saturday, when the participants will be received in audience by the Pope.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 15, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Three prelates from the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Luigi Conti of Fermo.
- Archbishop Gianni Danzi, prelate of Loreto, pontifical delegate to the shrine of Loreto.
- Bishop Silvano Montevecchi of Ascoli Piceno.
This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
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OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
VATICAN CITY, FEB 15, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Francesco Coccopalmerio, auxiliary of Milan, Italy, as president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in St. Giuliano Milanese, Italy in 1938, he was ordained a priest in 1962 and consecrated a bishop in 1993. He succeeds Cardinal Julian Herranz Casado, whose resignation from the same office the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Bishop Bruno Bertagna, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and auditor general of the Apostolic Camera, as vice president of the same pontifical council, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Tiedoli di Borgo Val di Taro, Italy in 1935, he was ordained a priest in 1959 and consecrated a bishop in 1991.
- Appointed Msgr. Juan Igancio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru of the personal prelature of Opus Dei, as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.
- Appointed Fr. Jean Claude Randrianarisoa of the clergy of the archdiocese of Antananarivo, Madagascar, rector of the inter-diocesan seminary of theology of Faliarivo, as bishop of Miarinarivo (area 18,000, population 445,284, Catholics 247,000, priests 43, religious 71), Madagascar. The bishop-elect was born in Nandihizana Carion, Madagascar in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1991. He succeeds Bishop Raymond Razakarinvony, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
VATICAN CITY, FEB 14, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Fr. John Moolachira of the clergy of the diocese of Tezpur, India, former rector of the minor diocesan seminary and pastor of Udalguri, as bishop of Diphu (area 15,222, population 1,090,150, Catholics 44,840, priests 44, religious 136), India. The bishop-elect was born in Puthusserykadavu, India in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1978.
- Appointed Msgr. Daniel Fernandez Torres of the clergy of the diocese of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, pastor of the parish of "Nuestra Senora del Carmen," as auxiliary of the archdiocese of San Juan de Puerto Rico (area 1,056, population 1,427,970, Catholics 1,063,808, priests 296, permanent deacons 225, religious 690), Puerto Rico. The bishop-elect was born in Chicago, U.S.A. in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1995.
VATICAN CITY, FEB 9, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Luis Tineo Rivera of the clergy of the archdiocese of Caracas, Venezuela, pastor of the parish of "la Anunciacion del Senor" and director of the diocesan weekly "la Iglesia Ahora," as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 790, population 4,760,000, Catholics 3,465,000, priests 545, permanent deacons 13, religious 1,941). The bishop-elect was born in Cumana, Venezuela in 1948 and ordained a priest in 1980.
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WOMEN DID NOT ABANDON JESUS
VATICAN CITY, FEB 14, 2007 (VIS) - The role of women in the history of the Church was the theme chosen by Benedict XVI for his catechesis at today's general audience, which was held in the Paul VI Hall in the presence of 20,000 people.
"Jesus chose 12 men as fathers of the new Israel, 'to be with Him and to be sent out to proclaim the message'," said the Holy Father, "but ... among the disciples many women were also chosen. ... They played an active role within the context of Jesus mission. In the first place ... the Virgin Mary, who with her faith and her maternal care worked in a unique way for our redemption. ... Having become a disciple of her Son, ... she followed Him even to the foot of the cross where she received a maternal mission for all his disciples in all times."
After mentioning other women who appear in various parts of the Gospel - such as Susanna, and Lazarus' sisters Martha and Mary - the Pope pointed out that "the women, unlike the Twelve, did not abandon Jesus at the hour of His Passion. Outstanding among them was Mary Magdalene ... who was the first witness of the Resurrection and announced it to the others." Pope Benedict also recalled how St. Thomas Aquinas referred to Mary Magdalene as "the apostle of the apostles."
In the first Christian communities, Benedict XVI went on, "the female presence was anything but secondary." St. Paul "starts from the fundamental principle according to which among the baptized 'there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female'." Furthermore, "the Apostle admits that in the Christian community it is quite normal that there should be women who prophesy, in other words who pronounce openly under the influence of Holy Spirit for the edification of the community."
Therefore St. Paul's subsequent assertion that "women should be silent in the churches" must "be relativized," said the Pope, and he explained that "the problem ... of the relationship between these two apparently contradictory indications should be left to the exegetes."
"The history of Christianity would have developed quite differently without the generous contribution of many women," said the Pope and he recalled how John Paul II had written: "The Church gives thanks for each and every woman ... for all the manifestations of the feminine 'genius'."
"We share this appreciation, giving thanks to the Lord because He leads His Church, generation after generation, indiscriminately using men and women who know how to bring their faith to fruition ... for the good of the entire body of the Church.
After the audience, relatives of three Israeli soldiers - Ehud Goldwaser and Eldad Regev, held by the Lebanese group Hezbollah since July 2006, and Gilad Shalit, in the hands of the Palestinian group Hamas since June 25 - handed the Pope the copy of a letter in which they request the immediate and unconditional liberation of their loved ones.
Prior to the audience in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope had met in the Vatican Basilica with bishops from the Italian region of the Marches, who are currently undertaking their "ad limina" visit. The prelates were accompanied by civil authorities and faithful from their various dioceses.
The Holy Father also recalled that on September 1 and 2, he will participate in a national meeting of Italian youth at the shrine of Loreto, Italy, and he invited young people to attend in large numbers. In closing, he read a prayer to the Virgin Mary asking, among other things, that she watch over this pastoral initiative so that it may be "fertile soil for the Italian Church."
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PAPAL CONDOLENCES FOR BOMB ATTACK NEAR BEIRUT
VATICAN CITY, FEB 14, 2007 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. sent a telegram of condolence, in the Pope's name, to His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon, for yesterday's bomb attack north of Beirut in which three people were killed and around 20 injured:
"Profoundly grieved by the terrible attack that struck Lebanon this morning, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI asks Your Beatitude to express his spiritual closeness to the injured and to the relatives of the victims, and give them assurances of his prayers. Entrusting to divine providence those who died so tragically, the Holy Father invokes the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary upon the entire Lebanese nation. He calls upon the Lebanese people and their representatives to unanimously reject violence and hopes that, in this dramatic event, they may find the motivation for a commitment in favor of national unity and the common good."
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PROMOTE THE MATURATION OF MORAL CONSCIENCE
VATICAN CITY, FEB 13, 2007 (VIS) - Late yesterday morning, the Holy Father received in audience participants in an international congress on Natural Law, being promoted by the Pontifical Lateran University.
In his address, which was made public this morning, the Pope began by noting "the great advantages" of technological progress. He also mentioned, however, "the threats menacing the destruction of nature," and also noted "another danger, less visible but no less alarming: the method that enables us to have an ever greater understanding of the rational structures of matter, makes us ever less capable of seeing the source of this rationality: creative Reason."
For this reason, the Holy Father went on, "there is an urgent need to reflect upon the question of natural law and to rediscover its truth" which "is common to all mankind. ... This law has as its first and most general principle that of 'doing good and avoiding evil'," from which "derive all the other more specific principles that regulate ethical judgements on the rights and duties of everyone."
These include: "the principle of respect for human life from conception to natural end," because "life is not the property of man but a gratuitous gift of God;" and "the duty to seek the truth, a necessary supposition for all authentic human maturation." Another of the principles is human freedom, which since it "is always shared with others, ... can only be found in that which is common to everyone: the truth of human beings, the fundamental message of existence itself, in other words the 'lex naturalis'."
Pope Benedict also dwelt upon the need for justice and solidarity, values expressed in "obligatory norms that do not depend upon the will of the legislator, nor even upon the consensus that States may give them. They are, in fact, norms that precede any human law and as such they cannot be repealed by anyone."
"Natural law," he affirmed, "is the source from which, along with fundamental rights, flow ethical imperatives that must be honored. Modern legal ethics and philosophy reveal the widespread influence of the postulates of juridical positivism. As a consequence legislation often becomes a mere compromise between various interests; there is an attempt to transform into law private interests or desires that clash with the duties deriving from social responsibility.
"In this situation, it is well to recall that all legal systems, both internal and international, ultimately draw their legitimacy from their rooting in natural law, in the ethical message inscribed in human beings themselves. ... Knowledge of this law ... increases with the development of moral conscience. The primary concern for everyone, and especially for those charged with public responsibilities, must then be that of promoting the maturation of moral conscience."
"What we have said so far has very concrete applications if referred to the family," explained the Pope, "in other words 'the intimate partnership of married life and love established by the Creator and qualified by His laws.' ... Indeed, no law made by man can overturn the norms written by the Creator, without inflicting a dramatic injury to society in what constitutes its most basic foundation."
"Finally, I feel the need to reaffirm once again that not everything that is scientifically possible is also ethically legitimate. Technology, when it reduces the human being to an object of experimentation, ends up by abandoning the weak to the power of the strongest. Entrusting oneself blindly to technology as the only guarantee of progress, without at the same time presenting an ethical code, ... would be an act of violence against human nature, with devastating consequences for everyone."
"Scientists must also contribute in helping us to acquire a profound understanding of our responsibility for man, and for the nature entrusted to him. On this basis it is possible to develop a fruitful dialogue between believers and non believers, between theologians, philosophers, jurists and scientists, all of whom can also give legislators precious guidance for individual and social life."
The Pope concluded his talk by expressing the hope that the conference will "bring not only a greater sensitivity among scholars towards moral natural law, but also help to create the conditions ... for an ever greater awareness of the inalienable value of 'lex naturalis' for a real and coherent progress of individual life and of the social order."
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THE ABSENCE OF GOD IS WORSE THAN MATERIAL POVERTY
VATICAN CITY, FEB 13, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today in the Holy See Press Office, the presentation took place of Benedict XVI's Message for Lent 2007. Participating in the press conference were Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum," Msgr. Karel Kasteel and Fr. Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, respectively secretary and under-secretary of the same dicastery, and Fr. Oreste Benzi, president of the John XXIII Foundation.
Until now the pontiffs' Lenten Messages have concentrated, said Archbishop Cordes, "on works of charity in the sense of the social commitment of Christians." However, Benedict XVI's Message this year "focuses forcefully upon God the Father of Jesus Christ and has, therefore, not an anthropocentric but a theocentric emphasis. ... This alteration is also discernable in the preaching of Benedict XVI in general. He seems to want us to address ourselves more intensely to the Father in heaven, to entrust ourselves to His Son, Jesus Christ."
"Of course, Benedict XVI is also aware that God seems to be the great missing presence of our time, whether man knows it or not. ... Clearly, the Pope cannot accept this impoverishment. The absence of God is worse than material poverty because it kills all sure hope and leaves man alone with his pain and grief."
The president of "Cor Unum" pointed out how in this year's Message, "the Pope resumes the reflections on 'eros and 'agape' he began in his Encyclical, and sees these two forms of love come together in all their fullness in the crucified Christ. He writes: 'only the love that unites the free gift of oneself with the impassioned desire for reciprocity instills a joy, which eases the greatest of sacrifices.'
"Thus," Archbishop Cordes added, "the Pope also uses his Lenten Message to go back to the pain that weighs upon our lives through our own or others' fault, and he invites us to raise our eyes from the depths to the heights, 'they shall look on Him whom they have pierced'." The Holy Father reveals "a sensitivity to the despair of the world, not exclusively, perhaps not even principally, to eliminate misery by one's own efforts, but to seek energy in the fountain of love against all forms of resignation."
Archbishop Cordes concluded by pointing out that no one, "by appealing for us to turn to Christ, seeks to substitute the service of man with service to God."
For his part Fr. Oreste Benzi indicated that Lent must be, for all Christians, "a renewed experience of the love of God, donated to us in Christ, a love that in our turn we must 're-donate' to our fellow man, especially to the needy and the suffering."
In this context, Fr. Benzi enumerated the tasks facing the communities and movements recognized by the Church. These include: "the struggle to defend women from abortion, recognition of the true family, the fight against drugs, the commitment to show a real welcome to immigrants ... and gypsies, the commitment to help prisoners, ... the commitment not to be employees of charity but lovers of Christ, the commitment to be a [united] people, and the struggle for freedom from slavery and prostitution."
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HOLY FATHER'S MESSAGE FOR LENT 2007
VATICAN CITY, FEB 13, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was The Message of Benedict XVI for Lent 2007. The text, dated November 21, 2006, has as its title a verse taken from the Gospel of St. John: "They shall look on Him whom they have pierced." The full English-language version of the document is given below:
"'They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.' This is the biblical theme that this year guides our Lenten reflection. Lent is a favorable time to learn to stay with Mary and John, the beloved disciple, close to Him Who on the Cross, consummated for all mankind the sacrifice of His life. With a more fervent participation let us direct our gaze, therefore, in this time of penance and prayer, at Christ crucified Who, dying on Calvary, revealed fully for us the love of God. In the Encyclical 'Deus caritas est,' I dwelt upon this theme of love, highlighting its two fundamental forms: 'agape' and 'eros.'
"The term 'agape', which appears many times in the New Testament, indicates the self-giving love of one who looks exclusively for the good of the other. The word 'eros,' on the other hand, denotes the love of one who desires to possess what one lacks and yearns for union with the beloved. The love with which God surrounds us is undoubtedly 'agape.' Indeed, can man give to God some good that He does not already possess? All that the human creature is and has is divine gift. It is the creature then, who is in need of God in everything. But God's love is also 'eros.' In the Old Testament, the Creator of the universe manifests toward the people whom He has chosen as His own a predilection that transcends every human motivation. The prophet Hosea expresses this divine passion with daring images such as the love of a man for an adulterous woman. For his part, Ezekiel, speaking of God's relationship with the people of Israel, is not afraid to use strong and passionate language. These biblical texts indicate that 'eros' is part of God's very heart: the Almighty awaits the 'yes' of His creatures as a young bridegroom that of his bride. Unfortunately, from its very origins, mankind, seduced by the lies of the Evil One, rejected God's love in the illusion of a self-sufficiency that is impossible. Turning in on himself, Adam withdrew from that source of life Who is God Himself, and became the first of 'those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.' God, however, did not give up. On the contrary, man's 'no' was the decisive impulse that moved Him to manifest His love in all of its redeeming strength.
"It is in the mystery of the Cross that the uncontainable power of the heavenly Father's mercy is revealed in all of its fullness. In order to win back the love of His creature, He accepted to pay a very high price: the blood of His only begotten Son. Death, which for the first Adam was an extreme sign of loneliness and powerlessness, was thus transformed in the supreme act of love and freedom of the new Adam. One could very well assert, therefore, together with Saint Maximus the Confessor, that Christ 'died, if one could say so, divinely, because He died freely.' On the Cross, God's 'eros' for us is made manifest. 'Eros' is indeed - as Pseudo-Dionysius expresses it - that force 'that does not allow the lover to remain in himself but moves him to become one with the beloved'. Is there a more 'mad eros' than that which led the Son of God to make Himself one with us even to the point of suffering as His own the consequences of our offences?
"Dear brothers and sisters, let us look at Christ pierced in the Cross! He is the unsurpassing revelation of God's love, a love in which 'eros' and 'agape,' far from being opposed, enlighten each other. On the Cross, it is God Himself Who begs the love of His creature: He is thirsty for the love of every one of us. The Apostle Thomas recognized Jesus as 'Lord and God' when he put his hand into the wound of His side. Not surprisingly, many of the saints found in the Heart of Jesus the deepest expression of this mystery of love. One could rightly say that the revelation of God's 'eros' toward man is, in reality, the supreme expression of His 'agape.' In all truth, only the love that unites the free gift of oneself with the impassioned desire for reciprocity instills a joy, which eases the greatest of sacrifices. Jesus said: 'When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.' The response the Lord ardently desires of us is above all that we welcome His love and allow ourselves to be drawn to Him. Accepting His love, however, is not enough. We need to respond to such love and dedicate ourselves to communicating it to others. Christ 'draws me to Himself' in order to unite Himself to me, so that I learn to love the brothers with His own love.
"'They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.' Let us look with trust at the pierced side of Jesus from which flow 'blood and water'! The Fathers of the Church considered these elements as symbols of the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. Through the water of Baptism, thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit, we are given access to the intimacy of Trinitarian love. In the Lenten journey, memorial of our Baptism, we are exhorted to come out of ourselves in order to open ourselves, in trustful abandonment, to the merciful embrace of the Father. Blood, symbol of the love of the Good Shepherd, flows into us especially in the Eucharistic mystery: 'The Eucharist draws us into Jesus' act of self-oblation ... we enter into the very dynamic of His self-giving.' Let us live Lent then, as a 'Eucharistic' time in which, welcoming the love of Jesus, we learn to spread it around us with every word and deed. Contemplating 'Him whom they have pierced' will move us in this way to open our hearts to others, recognizing the wounds inflicted upon the dignity of the human person; it will move us, in particular, to fight every form of contempt for life and human exploitation and to alleviate the tragedies of loneliness and abandonment of so many people. May Lent be for every Christian a renewed experience of God's love given to us in Christ, a love that each day we, in turn, must 'regive' to our neighbor, especially to the one who suffers most and is in need. Only in this way shall we be able to participate fully in the joy of Easter. May Mary, Mother of Beautiful Love, guide us in this Lenten journey, a journey of authentic conversion to the love of Christ. I wish you, dear brothers and sisters, a fruitful Lenten journey, imparting with affection to all of you, a special Apostolic Blessing."
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THE VARIETY OF CHARISMS IS INSEPARABLE FROM LIFE OF CHURCH
VATICAN CITY, FEB 8, 2007 (VIS) - The Pope today received participants in the annual meeting of bishops, friends of the "Focolare" movement, who are considering the theme: "Christ crucified and abandoned, light in the cultural night," and participants in the ninth congress of bishops, friends of the Sant'Egidio Community, who are studying the question: "The globalization of love."
The Pope told the bishops that their closeness to these movements "highlights the vitality of new groupings of the faithful, and expresses the communion between charisms that constitutes a typical 'sign of the times'."
This "multiplicity and unity of charisms and of ministries is inseparable from the life of the Church," said the Holy Father. "The Holy Spirit wants the variety of the movements [to be] at the service of the one Body which is, of course, the Church, and He brings this about through the ministry of the people He has placed to run the Church of God: the bishops in communion with Peter's Successor."
"In the wealthy Western world where, although cultural relativism does exist, there is no lack of a widespread desire for spirituality, your movements testify to the joy of the faith and the beauty of being Christian. In the vast deprived areas of the earth, they communicate the message of solidarity and stand alongside the poor and weak with that love, human and divine, that I sought to bring to everyone's attention with my Encyclical 'Deus caritas est'."
"The Focolare movement," he continued, "highlights the charism and service of unity, which it puts into effect in various social and cultural fields ... and through ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue. The Sant'Egidio Community, placing prayer and liturgy at the core of its own existence, wishes to be close to those suffering distress and social marginalization."
"Together we can face with greater fortitude the pressing challenges that call our attention at the beginning of this third millennium," such as "the search for justice and peace, and the urgent need to construct a more fraternal and united world, starting with the countries from which a number of you come, wracked by bloody conflicts."
Benedict XVI made particular mention of Africa "a continent," he said, "that I carry in my heart and that I hope may finally see a period of stable peace and real development. The forthcoming synod of African bishops will surely be an appropriate moment to show the great love that God reserves for the beloved people of Africa."
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FORMATION OF CONSCIENCES IN FUNDAMENTAL VALUES
VATICAN CITY, FEB 10, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received a delegation from the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of France, led by their secretary Michel Albert. During the course of the ceremony, the Pope received a medal commemorating his admittance to the academy as a foreign associate member.
Having expressed his thanks for the medal, the Holy Father recalled how the academy "is a center for exchange and debate, offering citizens and legislators the opportunity to reflect, and to discover forms of political organization more favorable to the common good and to individual development."
In the modern world, it is more urgent than ever "to call our contemporaries to pay heed to these two questions" said the Pope, observing that "the growth of subjectivism, which leads each individual to consider himself as the sole point of reference and to believe that what he thinks is true, must encourage us to form consciences in those fundamental values that cannot be disdained without endangering human beings and society itself."
Benedict XVI continued his address by evoking the figure of Andrei Sakharov, a member of the academy whose place on the academy he himself had taken following Sakharov's death, saying his example reminded us "of the need in personal and public life to have the courage to speak the truth and to follow it, to be free from one's environment which often tends to impose particular points of view and forms of behavior."
"One of the challenges facing our contemporaries, and particularly young people," he continued, "consists in not living merely for the exterior world, but in developing an interior life." This inner life is "the place that unifies being and action, the place to recognize our dignity as children of God called to freedom. ... What brings joy to the human heart is knowing oneself to be a child of God, this is a good and beautiful life, ... this is the victory over death and falsehood."
The Pope again returned to the example of Sakharov, saying: "If under the communist regime his exterior freedom was fettered, his interior freedom, which no one could take away from him, authorized him to speak out firmly to defend his compatriots in the name of the common good. Today too it is important that human beings do not let themselves be fettered by external chains such as relativism, the search for power and profit at all costs, drugs, disordered personal relationships, confusion over marriage, and the failure to recognize human beings at every stage of their existence from conception to natural death, as if it were thinkable that there could be stages [of life] in which a human being does not truly exist."
"We must have the courage to remind our contemporaries what human beings and humanity are," the Holy Father concluded, and he invited "civil authorities and people charged with the transmission of values to be courageous in affirming the truth about human beings."
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THE CHURCH WAS BORN IN BELIEVERS' HOUSES
VATICAN CITY, FEB 7, 2007 (VIS) - Benedict XVI's catechesis during this morning's general audience was dedicated to the Roman couple Priscilla and Aquila, who collaborated with St. Paul in Corinth. Having been expelled from Rome by the emperor Claudius following disturbances involving followers of Christ, they arrived in Corinth about the year 50 and there met Paul who, like them, was a tentmaker.
Priscilla was very active in the Christian community in Rome, she and her husband Aquila played a vital role in the early Church, said the Pope, "welcoming into their house the groups of local Christians when they came together to hear the Word of God and celebrate the Eucharist. This kind of meeting is called in Greek 'ecclesia.' ... Thus it was the Church that gathered in Priscilla and Aquila's house to celebrate Christ in the holy mysteries. So we see that the Church came into being in the houses of the believers.
"Until the third century," the Holy Father added, "Christians did not have their own specific places of worship," and so during the first and second centuries "the houses of Christians became true 'churches.' ... Thanks to the faith and the apostolic commitment of lay faithful, of families, and of couples like Priscilla and Aquila, Christianity has reached our own generation. It did not grow only thanks to the announcement of the Apostles. To put down roots in the people, to develop, ... it needed the commitment of these families, ... who provided the 'humus' for the growth of the faith.
"And still, it is only in this way that the Church grows. In particular, this couple showed how important the actions of Christian married couples are! ... All houses can be transformed into little churches."
"It is not by chance that in his Letter to the Ephesians, Paul compares the marriage bond to the communion that exists between Christ and the Church. We could even say that the Apostle indirectly models the entire life of the Church upon that of the family. The Church is, in truth, the family of God."
Benedict XVI concluded: "So we render homage to Aquila and Priscilla as models of a married life responsibly committed to the service of the entire Christian community. And in them we see the model of the Church, family of God for all times."
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7. THE BEATIFICATION OF MAMA GILI
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Dolores Immacolata "Mama" Gili (1892-1985)
MAMA GILI GUILD
The Mama Gili Guild was established several years ago to gather,
collect, and publish information on Dolores Immacolata Gili
(1892-1985) for an investigation into her cause as a Servant of God,
as well as to promote her cause and to perpetuate her cult by
directing prayer groups assembled in her honor. It has continuously
enjoyed the ecclesiastical approval of Theodore Cardinal McCarrick,
and the Most Reverend John Joseph Myers, Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey.
Get a copy of the book about Mama Gili written by her eldest daughter
Claudia. Claudia Gili Phaneuf, Dolores Immacolata Gili: Mama Gili
(Mama Gili Guild, 1989). The 2005 Edition is available from the Mama
Gili Guild by contacting Fr. Dante: address and phone number below.
The cost of the book, last time I checked, was $5.00 plus postage.
Call or write today regarding favors granted through the intercession
of Dolores Immacolata "Mama" Gili," or, for more information about the
book and the cause of her investigation for canonization to:
Rev. Dante DiGirolamo, Director
Mama Gili Guild
P. O. Box 455
Kearny, New Jersey 07032
Phone (973) 412-1170
Fax (973) 412-7011
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conversion and salvation of the whole world."
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"during this important time, as the eve of the new millennium
approaches unity among all Christians of the various confessions will
increase until they reach full communion." John Paul II, Tertio
Millennio Adveniente, 16
"Keep close to the Mother of God as if you were the child Jesus
clinging to her robes while walking down a dusty and busy crowded
street and you will always be safe."
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