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Volume 7, Issue 29

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  • John N. Lupia
    Roman Catholic News Volume 7, Issue 29 THURSDAY 26 APRIL 2007 * * * ... . CHARITY AND JUSTICE AMONG PEOPLES AND NATIONS ... . AUDIENCES ... . ORIGEN: MASTER
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 20, 2007
      Roman Catholic News

      Volume 7, Issue 29

      THURSDAY 26 APRIL 2007

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      VATICAN CITY, APR 26, 2007 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at midday today, a press conference was held to present the 13th plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences which is due to be held in the Vatican from April 27 to May 1 and which has as its theme this year: "Charity and Justice in the Relations among Peoples and Nations."

      Participating in the press conference were Mary Ann Glendon, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and professor of law at Harvard University, U.S.A.; Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences; and Juan Jose Llach, counsellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and professor of economics at Austral University, Argentina.

      An English-language note regarding the theme of the forthcoming plenary was made public today. "Although it is at times a common conviction that the pursuit of charity and justice at the international level is of key importance for contemporary society, at the same time we encounter signs that are working in the opposite direction," the note reads, and goes on to list a number of "worrying recent signs of the times" such as "the re-emergence of nationalism," and signs that "economic and social convergence between developed and developing countries is still confined only to a few of this last category."

      Other "worrying signs" include the high "incidence of poverty and extreme poverty" and the fact that "multilateral institutions such as the UN, the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank ... are demonstrating signs of weakness and tiredness." Furthermore "there are now well-grounded doubts about the possibility of really implementing" the Millennium Goals of halving the number of poor people in the world by the year 2015.

      A further cause for concern is the fact that "the aid that has been given has fallen far short of the goal of allocating 0.7 percent of the GDP of developed countries to foreign aid," and "has often been inefficiently distributed and utilised." Finally, the note mentions the problem of war and terrorism highlighting how the beginning of the new century was "characterised by a notable increase in the social and moral scourge of terrorism. At the same time, the world is still afflicted on a large scale by wars between countries and wars within countries."

      The text then mentions Benedict XVI's Encyclical "Deus caritas est" as a specific source of inspiration. "In particular," the note says, the Encyclical "reminds us that the theological and human virtue of charity must preside over all of the social teaching and all of the social works of the Church and her members. ... The Pope draws our attention to the fact that this teaching is both timely and significant, 'in a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence.'

      "This," the note adds, "is why 'Deus Caritas est' has been correctly described as being in part a social encyclical. It is love (caritas) that animates the Church's care for the needy, the work of lay women and men for justice and peace in the secular sphere, and is the leavening force of the Church in society."

      "Indeed, 'Deus Caritas est' places itself in the long lineage of other social encyclicals, not only because it addresses the virtue of charity but also because it attributes primary importance to the virtue of justice." In the Encyclical, "Benedict XVI declares: 'In today's complex situation, not least because of the growth of a globalized economy, the Social Doctrine of the Church has become a set of fundamental guidelines offering approaches that are even beyond the confines of the Church'."

      "When discussing the relationship between the Church, a 'Community of Love,' and politics," says the note, "the Pope offers the strongest vision that has ever been formulated in the contemporary age on the relationship between politics and justice: 'The just ordering of society and the State is a central responsibility of politics.' Indeed, 'Justice is both the aim and the intrinsic criterion of all politics.' For the Pope, justice (and politics) is not a mere utilitarian or contractual technique but 'by its very nature has to do with ethics'."

      On the other hand, however, the Holy Father "perceives the modern danger of detaching reason from faith" when he states: "if reason is to be exercised properly, it must undergo constant purification, since it can never be completely free of the danger of a certain ethical blindness caused by the dazzling effect of power and special interests."

      The note goes on: "This critical work of faith frees reason from its limits: 'Faith enables reason to do its work more effectively and to see its proper object more clearly.' Not only the historical dimension of the meaning of justice, founded on both the Jewish and Christian traditions and the Roman and Greek inheritance, but also its contemporary meaning, derive from the constant purification that faith brings to reason: 'This is where Catholic social doctrine has its place: it has no intention of giving the Church power over the State. Even less is it an attempt to impose on those who do not share the faith ways of thinking and modes of conduct proper to faith'."

      The note concludes: "The Holy Father, in conformity with this teaching on charity and justice, thus calls for the structures of charitable service in the social context of the present day to promote the wellbeing of individuals, of peoples and of humanity."

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      VATICAN CITY, APR 26, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

      - Five prelates from the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

      - Archbishop Dino De Antoni of Gorizia.

      - Bishop Eugenio Ravignani of Trieste.

      - Archbishop Luigi Bressan of Trento.

      - Bishop Wilhelm Emil Egger O.F.M. Cap., of Bolzano-Bressanone.

      - Archbishop Pietro Brollo of Udine.

      - Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, president of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), accompanied by Cardinals Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, France, and Josip Bozanic, archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia, vice-presidents, and by Msgr. Aldo Giordano, secretary general.

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      VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2007 (VIS) - In today's general audience Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis to Origen of Alexandria, a third century historian and "one of the greatest writers" of Church history. The audience was held in St. Peter's Square in the presence of more than 25,000 people.

      Origen, said the Pope, "took up the legacy of Clement and carried it towards the future in such an innovative way as to effect an irreversible turn in the development of Christian thought. He was a true master ... and an exemplary witness of the doctrine he transmitted."

      The "irreversible turn" effected by Origen, said the Pope, substantially involved "grounding theology in the explanation of Scripture, in other words, the perfect symbiosis between theology and exegesis. Indeed, the characteristic of Origen's doctrine seems to lie in the constant invitation to pass from the reading to the spirit of Scripture in order to progress in knowledge of God.

      "This 'allegorism' - to use the words of Von Balthasar - coincided with the development of Christian dogma through the teaching the Doctors of the Church who, in one way or another, learned the lesson of Origen. Thus tradition and Magisterium, the foundation and guarantee of theological research, come together as 'Scripture enacted'."

      The Pope recalled how Origen's interests ranged from "exegesis to dogma, to philosophy, to apologetics, asceticism and mysticism" and represented "a fundamental and overall vision of Christian life."

      However, the "inspirational core" of Origen's work is "his three-level reading of the Bible." The first reading had "the aim of better identifying the text and presenting the most trustworthy edition. ... This is always the first step," said the Holy Father, "knowing what is written and knowing what historical scripture initially and intentionally meant."

      "In the second place, Origen systematically read the Bible ... minutely, broadly and profoundly," adding "philological and doctrinal notes. Finally, ... he dedicated himself to preaching the Bible, adapting himself to a truly assorted public."

      Also in his homilies, Origen "took advantage of every opportunity to recall the various dimensions of meaning of Sacred Scripture;" meanings that "assist or express a journey of growth in the faith. There is a literal meaning, but the literal meaning hides profundities that do not appear at first view."

      "This second dimension is the moral meaning: what we must do to live the Word." Finally, there is also a "spiritual meaning, in other words the unity of Scripture which, throughout, speaks of Christ. It is the Holy Spirit which helps us understand the Christological content, and so the unity of Scripture in its diversity."

      On this subject, Benedict XVI explained how in his recently-published book "Jesus of Nazareth" he had "sought to show ... this multidimensional aspect of the Word of Holy Scripture, which must first of all be respected in a historical sense." Although "this sense is transcended by Christ in the light of the Holy Spirit."

      Origen, the Pope continued, "effectively came to promote the 'Christian reading' of the Old Testament, responding brilliantly to the challenge of heretics, above all Gnostics and Marcionites who set the two Testaments against one another and even went so far as to reject the Old Testament."

      "I invite you," the Holy Father concluded, "to welcome in your hearts the teaching of this great master of the faith. He reminds us ... that the Church is renewed and rejuvenated in a prayerful reading of Scripture and a coherent life commitment. We pray to the Lord to give us today thinkers, theologians and exegetes who may discover this multidimensionality, this permanent relevance of Sacred Scripture."

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      VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2007 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Pope reminded those present that, "by initiative of the United Nations, this week is dedicated to safety on the roads.

      "I would like," he added, "to address a word of encouragement to the public institutions that seek to maintain highways safe and to protect human life with appropriate means, and to the people who dedicate themselves to research into new technologies and strategies to reduce the many accidents on roads all over the world."

      He concluded: "As I invite people to pray for the victims, the injured and their families, it is my hope that a conscious sense of responsibility towards others may induce drivers, especially the young, to greater prudence and respect for the highway code."

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      VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was the annual Message to Buddhists for the Feast of Vesakh issued by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. The Message is signed by Cardinal Paul Poupard and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, respectively president and secretary of the pontifical council.

      Followers of the Theravada Buddhist tradition in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar will celebrate Vesakh, a moveable feast which marks important events in the life of Gautama Buddha, on May 2. In other countries where the Mahayana Buddhist tradition is followed (China, Japan and Korea), the events of his life are celebrated on different days.

      The Message for Vesakh 2007 - published in English, Italian and French, and entitled "Christians and Buddhists: educating communities to live in harmony and peace" - begins: "Building a community requires concrete gestures which reflect the respect for the dignity of others. ... Yet, there are people today who still need to learn about others and other people's beliefs in order to overcome prejudices and misunderstandings."

      "Education for peace is a responsibility which must be borne by all sectors of society. Of course, this starts in ordinary homes where the family, the fundamental pillar of society, strives to transmit traditional and sound values to children by a deliberate effort to inform their consciences. The younger generations deserve and indeed thrive upon value-based education which reinforces respect, acceptance, compassion and equality."

      With reference to the communications media, the Message states: "The media's power to shape minds, especially of the young, cannot be underestimated. While the irresponsible elements within it are increasingly being recognized for what they are, it is also the case that much good can be effected through quality productions and educational programs. When people working within the media exercise their moral conscience, it is possible to dispel ignorance and impart knowledge, preserve social values, and portray the transcendental dimension of life which arises from the spiritual nature of all people."

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      VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Willy Ngumbi M. Afr., formator of novices of the White Fathers at Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, as bishop of Kindu (area 82,883, population 500,000, Catholics 180,000, priests 21, religious 35), Democratic Republic of the Congo. The bishop-elect was born in Bujumbura, Burundi, in 1965 and ordained a priest in 1993.

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      "during this important time, as the eve of the new millennium
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