STRENGTHENING THE MISSIONARY SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANS
VATICAN CITY, OCT 1, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from Benedict XVI to Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, for the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, patron saint of missions, in which he recalls that "the 'Pilgrimage of Lisieux' and the 'Missionary Cooperation' of the French Episcopal Conference hope that the year 2007 will be a Year of Mission in Lisieux."
In the text, which is dated September 12, the Pope affirms that with such a hope the faithful are encouraged "tirelessly to recognize the importance of mission, so that Christ may be known and loved everywhere." [After all it is the commission which Christ himself gave to all disciples, and as baptised Catholics we too are given this commission]This is what Pius XII wrote 50 years ago in his Encyclical "Fidei donum" when he invited Christians "to pay renewed attention to missions at the confines of the earth, affirming the need for cooperation among the entire Church in order to spread the Gospel." [Not that this may be mentioned, but how is the Catholic Church to spread the Gospel of Christ to all peoples when there is so much infighting, even between those who prefer the Ordinary and those who prefer the Extraordinary form of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?]
"With this same spirit," writes Benedict XVI in his Letter, "and aware of the concern felt in France for the missions of the Church, it is my hope that missionary vocations may be forthcoming among priests consecrated people and laity, like those of missionaries of earlier centuries who traversed all the continents. May the Lord awaken in the hearts of many young people the desire to commit themselves completely to announcing the salvation of Christ, above all in Africa, South America, Asia and Oceania!" [Pity , they left out North America. Somewhere along the line, Europe and North America lost the "announcement." ]
The Pope recalls how "Therese of Lisieux, without leaving her Carmelite convent, ... lived, in her own way, an authentic missionary spirit, ... presenting the entire world a with a new spiritual path, which earned her the title of Doctor of the Church. From Pius XI to our own times, Popes have never failed to reiterate the links between prayer, charity and action in the mission of the Church."
"I hope, then," the Holy Father concludes, "that the celebrations in Lisieux for this Year of Mission may strengthen the baptized in their sense of mission, through prayer, the witness of life and Christian commitment in all its forms, so that all the faithful may become missionaries in the places where they live." [I guess that means, we are responsible for the re-evangelisation of North America. Let's get those beads working this October, after all it is the Month of the Rosary]
BXVI-LETTER/MISSIONS/LISIEUX:DIASVIS 071001 (370)
ENSURE THAT THE RIGHT TO LIFE IS RESPECTED EVERYWHERE
VATICAN CITY, OCT 2, 2007 (VIS) - Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, yesterday participated in the general debate of the 62nd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which is currently being held in New York.
At the beginning of his English-language talk, Archbishop Mamberti pointed out that "forgetting, or partially and selectively accepting," the principle of respect for human dignity "is what lies at the origin of conflicts, of environmental degradation and of social and economic injustices."
He went on: "The Holy See welcomes the initiative to hold the High-Level Dialogue on Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Understanding and Cooperation for Peace which, ... will take place here shortly. Indeed, dialogue among peoples of different cultures and religions is not an option; it is something indispensable for peace and for the renewal of international life."
Referring to conflict prevention and to efforts aimed at achieving and maintaining peace, the secretary for Relations with States indicated that the Holy See looks forward "to the day that peacekeeping efforts in Darfur will finally be fully operational." Furthermore, "there is need for a renewed commitment, involving all member countries, in the pacification and reconstruction of long-suffering Iraq," and "in the search for a solution, through dialogue, of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians."
"Renewed commitment is needed in assuring that Lebanon will continue to be a free and independent country," the archbishop added, while on the subject of Myanmar, he reiterated Benedict XVI's appeal of last Sunday: "Through dialogue, good will and a spirit of humanity, may a solution to the crisis be found quickly for the good of the country and a better future for all its inhabitants."
Recalling that the year 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Archbishop Mamberti said "the most important part of our work in this context is to ensure that the inherent right to life is respected everywhere."
"We must work to stop and reverse the culture of death embraced by some social and legal structures that try to make the suppression of life acceptable by disguising it as a medical or social service. In this sense, the abolition of the death penalty should also be seen as a consequence of full respect for the right to life."
SS/HUMAN RIGHTS/UN:MAMBERTIVIS 071002 (400)
INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION HOLDS ITS PLENARY
VATICAN CITY, OCT 2, 2007 (VIS) - The International Theological Commission is holding its annual plenary session in the Vatican's "Domus Sanctae Marthae" from October 1 to 5, under the presidency of Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The meeting, under the chairmanship of Fr. Luis Ladaria S.J., secretary general of the commission, will examine plans for a document on natural moral law which has, according to a communique, "the aim of ... advancing the search for the foundations of a universal system of ethics." Attention will also be given to a draft document concerning the "nature of theology, its meaning and methods."
The Holy Father will meet the members of the International Theological Commission on October 5, at the conclusion of their plenary session.
.../THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION/LEVADAVIS 071002 (140)