Vatican City, Nov 13, 2006 (CNA) -
Prior to reciting the Angelus on Sunday with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI said that to eliminate the “scandal” of hunger, a new model of global development must be adapted and that everyone must do their part in safeguarding creation.
Referring to the latest United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, which confirmed that that over 800 million people live in a state of undernourishment, and that, “too many people, especially children, die of hunger," the Holy father asked, “how can we face this situation which, though repeatedly denounced, shows no sign of improving, indeed, in some ways is getting worse?”
“In order to make a significant impression, it is necessary to 'convert' the global development model,” the Holy Father said.
“It is certainly necessary,” Pope Benedict continued, “to eliminate the structural causes linked to the system of managing the world economy, which restricts the majority of the planet's resources to a minority of the population. This injustice has been stigmatized on a number of occasions by my venerated predecessors, Servants of God Paul VI and John Paul II.”
“Individuals and families can and must do something to alleviate hunger in the world by adopting a style of life and consumption compatible with the safeguarding of creation," and showing "justice towards those who cultivate the land in all countries" of the world, the Pope said.
The Holy Father tied his comments to the Italian celebration of Thanksgiving, which also took place Sunday. The theme of this year’s Day of Thanksgiving was, "The earth, a gift for the entire human family."
In Christian families, the Pope said, "children are taught always to thank the Lord before eating, with a brief prayer and the sign of the cross. This custom must be conserved and rediscovered, because it educates people not to take their 'daily bread' for granted but to recognize it as a gift of Providence.”
"We should become accustomed to blessing the Creator for all things," the Pope added. "Jesus taught His disciples to pray by asking the heavenly Father not for 'my' but for 'our' daily bread. In this way, He wished every man and woman to feel a shared responsibility for their fellows, that no one may lack the necessities of life. The products of the earth are a gift intended by God 'for the entire human family.'”
Thanksgiving, Pope Benedict said, "invites us, on the one hand, to give thanks to God for the fruits of agricultural labor. On the other, it encourages us to make a real commitment to defeating the scourge of hunger."
Vatican City, Nov 13, 2006 (CNA) - Meeting at the Vatican today with the new ambassador of Japan, Kagefumi Ueno, Pope Benedict XVI called for Japan to continue fostering bilateral and multilateral talks to bring about the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
The Holy Father encouraged Japan "to continue decisively in its efforts to contribute to establishing a just and lasting peace in the world, especially in the Far East.”
‘In the face of the current crisis in the region,” he said, “the Holy See encourages bilateral and multilateral negotiations, in the conviction that the solution must be found through peaceful means, and with respect for the commitments assumed by all sides to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."
At the same time he expressed his hope, "that the international community may continue and intensify its humanitarian aid efforts to the most vulnerable populations, especially in North Korea, so that any interruption does not bring serious consequences to the civilian population." He also underlined Japan's "generous contribution" in "helping poorer countries."
"Interdependence between peoples, as it gradually develops, must be accompanied by a decided commitment to ensure that the fatal consequences of the great disparity ... between developed and developing countries do not become worse, rather that they change into authentic solidarity that stimulates the economic and growth of the poorest nations," the Holy Father continued.
"Today more than ever," the Pope continued, "the search for peace between nations must be a priority of international relations... Violence can never be a just response to the problems of societies, because it destroys the dignity, the life and the freedom of the human being it claims to defend. Cultural, political and economic progress are important in order to build peace."
The Pope noted that, “the rich cultural and spiritual traditions,” of Japan have contributed to the growth of fundamental human values.”
The spiritual dimension of society, he said, "which promotes authentic dialogue between religions and cultures cannot but favor a shared fraternal and united journey, which alone is capable of favoring the integral development of man."
Finally, Benedict XVI expressed his joy for "the respect the Catholic Church enjoys in Japan," and offered greetings to the bishops and all the faithful, encouraging them "to live ever more firmly in the communion of faith, and to continue in their commitment in favor of peace and reconciliation between the peoples of the region, generously collaborating with their compatriots."
St. Louis, Mo., Nov 13, 2006 (CNA) - The Catholic Church’s chief liturgist told a St. Louis congregation on Saturday that Latin should be used more frequently in the liturgy.
The Latin language is currently “in the ecclesiastical refrigerator ... Mass today should be in Latin from time to time,” Cardinal Francis Arinze reportedly told more than 250 people at the Gateway Liturgical Conference, sponsored by the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
Cardinal Arinze, 74, is the head of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. He was the keynote speaker on the final day of the conference.
In his address, titled "Language in the Latin Rite Liturgy: Latin and Vernacular," Cardinal Arinze said the early church used Greek but it was "Latinized" in the fourth century, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
"The Roman rite has Latin as its official language," he said. The great religions of the world all "hold on" to their founding languages: Judaism to Hebrew and Aramaic, Islam to Arabic, Hindu to Sanskrit and Buddhism to Pali, he reportedly said.
Latin "suits a Church that is universal. It has a stability modern languages don't have," he said. The Cardinal also said it’s no small matter for priests or bishops from around the world to be able to speak to each other in a universal language and lauded the possibility that "a million students" gathered for World Youth Day every few years could "say parts of the Mass in Latin."
He suggested that larger parishes offer Mass in Latin at least once a week and that smaller, rural parishes offer it at least once a month. Homilies, he said, should always be in the vernacular.
Any priest can celebrate the Vatican II “Novus Ordo” Mass in Latin, though permission must be obtained from a local bishop to celebrate the Latin Mass in the old, Tridentine Rite. Last month, Vatican officials said Pope Benedict XVI would soon loosen restrictions on the Tridentine Mass, allowing individual priests to celebrate it without the approval of the local bishop.
Vatican City, Nov 13, 2006 (CNA) - The Holy See has published the official schedule for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Turkey, which will take place November 28 to December 1 and will include meetings with various political leaders and representatives of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches as well as with leaders of Islam and Judaism.
On Tuesday, November 28, the Pope will arrive in Ankara at 1pm. The day’s activities will include a visit to Atatürk Mausoleum, the welcome ceremony, a visit to the President of Turkey followed by meetings with the deputy prime minister, the president for religious affairs, Ali Bardakoglu, and the Diplomatic Corps. Bardakoglu, who was one of the harshest critics of the Pope’s lecture in Ratisbona last September, has since said that the visit would be “a positive step toward developing dialogue between Islam and Christianity.”
On Wednesday, November 29, the Pope will celebrate Mass at Ephesus, where tradition says the Virgin Mary resided. Later, in Istanbul, he will go to pray at the patriarchal Church of St. Gorge followed by a private meeting with the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I.
On Thursday November 30, the Feast of St. Andrew, the Pope will participate in a “Divine Liturgy” with Bartholomew I at the patriarchal Church of St. George, after which they will sign a joint declaration. Later he will make a visit to the once great Cathedral of Hagia Sophia (which is now a museum) and to the Apostolic Armenian Cathedral, where he will meet with Patriarch Mesrob II. Afterwards he will meet with the Grand Rabbi of Turkey and then have dinner with the members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Turkey.
On Friday, December 1, the Pope will celebrate Mass in Holy Spirit Cathedral, and then, after a farewell ceremony, he will depart for Rome.
This will be third visit to Turkey by a Pope. Pope Paul VI visited in 1967 and Pope John Paul II in 1979.
Vatican City, Nov 13, 2006 (CNA) - The diocesan phase of the beatification process of Pope John Paul I, who reigned for only 33 days, came to completion on Saturday at the cathedral of his native diocese of Belluno.
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of the Saints gave its permission to open the beatification process in June 2003, after the late Pope was named a Servant of God. This title recognizes the late Pope’s heroic Christian virtues.
The diocesan phase began in November 2003. The miraculous curing of an Italian man of his cancer has been attributed to the intercession of the “smiling Pope.”
According to a BBC report, nearly 200 witnesses have so far given evidence of John Paul I’s Sanctity, with reports now being handed over ceremonially to Rome for further study.
Pope John Paul I succeeded Pope Paul VI. He died in 1978 and was succeeded by Pope John Paul II.
Mexico City, Mexico, Nov 13, 2006 (CNA) -
The Bishops’ Council of the Archdiocese of Mexico said last week a new law passed by the Mexico City legislature legalizing gay unions is a farce intended to placate minority groups. The council also expressed support for Cardinal Norberto Rivera, who was harassed recently at the Cathedral of Mexico City.
In a statement, the Council said the new norm, which opens the door to gay marriage, is a response to “minority and radical groups” and “shows contempt for the view of the majority of Catholics,” who “represent more than 80% of our city’s population.”
The Council also warned that the law has several legal inconsistencies and disregards other religious confessions, groups and institutions of Mexican society. “It attacks moral values, human rights and the will of God revealed in Sacred Scripture,” the statement affirms.
The Council also decried as “cowardly and sacrilegious” the harassment by a group of protestors against Cardinal Norberto Rivera on November 5th at the Cathedral of Mexico City. As they disrupted the celebration of the Mass, protestors demanded that the cardinal refrain from publicly speaking out on political matters.
“We desire to express to him our full communion and our recognition of his courageous pastoral ministry and in the name of each one of our vicariates we pledge our support and solidarity,” the Council stressed. “May he know that he is not alone, that his people are with him and encourage him with their affection and their prayers in these difficult moments.”
The government of Mexico City recently announced it would provide security at the Archdiocesan Cathedral to prevent future harassment of Cardinal Rivera.
Vatican City, Nov 13, 2006 (CNA) - Representatives of more than 150 Catholic universities worldwide will gather in Rome this week for the International Conference on the University and Catholic Social Doctrine.
The Nov. 17-18 conference is organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Congregation for Catholic Education.
The conference will address how the Church’s Social Teachings are in line with the goals of the Catholic university and how they can help Catholic universities reach their scientific and educational goals, reported Fides.
The work will be introduced by Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.
The opening address will be given by the Pope’s vicar for the diocese of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, on the theme “Anthropological and Social Questions Today.”
He will be followed by Archbishop Jozef Zycinsky of Lublin, on “Catholic Social Doctrine and the Inter-disciplinary Dimension.”
Numerous Catholic universities have said they will participate: 65 in Europe, 31 in Africa, 28 in South America, 15 in North America, 10 in Asia, 5 in Oceania.
Madrid, Spain, Nov 13, 2006 (CNA) - Bishop Demetrio Fernandez of Tarazona said this week persons do not determine their own sex, despite what Congress says, because in the beginning, “God created man, male and female He created them.”
In a letter entitled, “God Loves Homosexuals Too,” the bishop responded to a new law approved by the Justice Committee of the Spanish Congress, which would allow people to change their names or their sex on their national identity cards, without having undergone a surgical procedure or legal process.
Bishop Fernandez warned that the law “is against the truth of man” and is of no help to persons with homosexual tendencies. In addition, he said, “It sows confusion in the social environment in which we live.”
The bishop noted that God “does not have contempt for any of his creatures” and He loves homosexuals “because they are persons, created by God for his glory.”
“There are no first-class and second-class persons. Much less throw-away persons,” he stressed.
Nevertheless, he explained that because of original sin, “all of natural creation” has been distorted. “Beginning with original sin, all of nature suffered a distortion, an unbalance that affects us all. And within that nature, man is born wounded by sin. Man created in the image and likeness of God knows that this image is disfigured, distorted,” he said.
Bishop Fernandez also stressed that “one does not choose one’s sex, no matter what Congress says. Whatever a person’s inclination may be, you should accept yourself as you are and live out your sexuality in a climate of chastity, which teaches you to love freely. Human sexuality is also damaged because of sin, and it must be redeemed through an ever-growing love, which all men can attain with the grace of God.”
Likewise, he explained that love “is not necessarily expressed through the exercise of sexuality,” and he said that although the world is “super-eroticized,” “the redemption of Christ is abundant grace for living chastity with freedom, in the personal situation in which each one of us finds ourselves.”
Bishop Fernandez emphasized that for young people today, these kinds of laws make it “more difficult to live according to the plan of God.”
“For this reason, we must seek out the light where it can be found, in the risen Christ, the New Man, for these issues of sexuality as well, that are of such concern to people,” he said.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov 13, 2006 (CNA) - The Bishops’ Conference of Argentina has called for an increase in dialogue “in order to overcome the excessive fragmentation that is weakening our society” and for a greater willingness to “find the necessary consensuses to help us reaffirm our identity and grow in social friendship.”
In a statement entitled, “The Common Good and Dialogue,” the Argentinean bishops gathered for the 92nd Plenary Assembly said, “This path, united to a true spirit of reconciliation that is born of the truth, is strengthened in justice and made complete in love, is what will allow us to strengthen the institutions of the nation.”
Despite “the achievements that, through the efforts of many Argentineans, have been achieved in recent years, poverty levels, social exclusion, and inequality remain high,” the bishops stressed. “Therefore, it is necessary that, living more austerely, we be concerned much more with the poor and be committed with a spirit of solidarity to increasing the riches of the country and more equally distributing them,” they said.
During a press conference presenting the statement, Bishop Guillermo Garlatti, president of the Bishops’ Committee on Education, said the prelates would also be releasing a letter this week addressing issues related to the country’s educational laws.
Washington D.C., Nov 13, 2006 (CNA) -
A national Catholic publication is inviting high school students to share their faith experience through a writing contest.
Our Sunday Visitor is asking Catholic teens: "How has your Catholic faith helped you live out Matthew 25?"
Students should write a 250-word essay, answering the question above, and submit it to Our Sunday Visitor by Jan. 8, 2007. The staff will select the three best essays to be published in the Jan. 28 issue, which will feature an In Focus section dedicated to Catholic schools.
Authors of the published essays will receive a one-year subscription to Our Sunday Visitor, "Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Church History" by Matthew Bunson and "When Did We See You, Lord?" by Bishop Robert Baker and Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR.
Essays must be submitted to Our Sunday Visitor Essay Contest, 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750, via fax to (260) 359-9117 or via e-mail to [email protected] (please type "Essay Contest" in the subject line).