BRAZIL: CHURCH TEACHES MAN HIS DIGNITY AS CHILD OF GOD VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2010 (VIS REPORT) - Prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Northeast region 5) who have just complete their five-yearly "ad limina" visit were received this morning by the Holy Father. "I wish to speak to you today", the Pope told them, "about how the Church's mission to serve as the leavening of human society through the Gospel teaches human beings their dignity as children of God, and their vocation to the unity of all mankind, whence derive the need for justice and social peace in accordance with divine wisdom". "First, the duty of direct action to ensure a just ordering of society falls to the lay faithful who, as free and responsible citizens, strive to contribute to the just configuration of social life, while respecting legitimate autonomy and natural moral law", the Holy Father explained. "Your duty as bishops, together with your clergy, is indirect because you must contribute to the purification of reason, and to the moral awakening of the forces necessary to build a just and fraternal society. Nonetheless, when required by the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls, pastors have the binding duty to emit moral judgments, even on political themes". "When forming these judgements, pastors must bear in mind the absolute value of those ... precepts which make it morally unacceptable to chose a particular action which is intrinsically evil and incompatible with human dignity. This decision cannot be justified by the merit of some specific goal, intention, consequence or circumstance, Thus it would be completely false and illusory to defend, political, economic or social rights which do not comprehend a vigorous defence of the right to life from conception to natural end. When it comes to defending the weakest, who is more defenceless than an unborn child or a patient in a vegetative or comatose state?" "When political projects openly or covertly contemplate the depenalisation of abortion or euthanasia, the democratic ideal (which is truly democratic when it recognises and protects the dignity of all human beings) is betrayed at its very foundations. For this reason, dear brothers in the episcopate, when defending life we must not fear hostility or unpopularity, rejecting all compromise and ambiguity which would conform us to the mentality of this world". In order to help lay people live their Christian, social and political commitments in a unified and coherent fashion it is necessary, said the Holy Father, to ensure appropriate "social catechesis and an adequate formulation of Church Social Doctrine. ... This also means that on some occasions, pastors must reminds all citizens of the right, which is also a duty, freely to use their vote to promote the common good". "At this point politics and faith come together", he went on. "The specific nature of faith certainly lies in the meeting with the living God, Who opens new horizons far beyond the sphere of reason. ... Only by respecting, promoting and indefatigably teaching the transcendent nature of the human being can a just society be built. ... 'God has a place in the public realm, specifically in regard to its cultural, social, economic, and particularly its political dimensions'", said the Holy Father quoting his Encyclical "Caritas in veritate". Benedict XVI concluded his discourse by joining the Brazilian bishops' appeal for religious education and, "more specifically, for the pluralistic and confessional education of religion in State schools". He also indicated that "the presence of religious symbols in public life is both a recollection of man's transcendence and a guarantee of its respect. They have particular value in the case of Brazil where the Catholic religion is a component part of the country's history".AL/ VIS 20101028 (630)
IMAGES SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA
SCIENTIFIC ACHIEVEMENT MUST AIM AT THE TRUE GOOD OF MAN VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received participants in the plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, who have been meeting to reflect on the theme: "The Scientific Legacy of the Twentieth Century". Addressing the group in English, the Holy Father affirmed that "on the one hand, science is posited by some as a panacea, proven by its notable achievements in the last century. Its innumerable advances ... seemed to confirm the point of view that science might answer all the questions of man's existence, and even of his highest aspirations. On the other hand, there are those who fear science and who distance themselves from it, because of sobering developments such as the construction and terrifying use of nuclear weapons. "Science, of course", he added, "is not defined by either of these extremes. Its task was and remains a patient yet passionate search for the truth about the cosmos, about nature and about the constitution of the human being. In this search, there have been many successes and failures, triumphs and setbacks". "Nonetheless, even provisional results constitute a real contribution to unveiling the correspondence between the intellect and natural realities, on which later generations may build further", the Pope said. "Our meeting here today", he went on, "is a proof of the Church's esteem for ongoing scientific research and of her gratitude for scientific endeavour, which she both encourages and benefits from. In our own day, scientists themselves appreciate more and more the need to be open to philosophy if they are to discover the logical and epistemological foundation for their methodology and their conclusions. For her part, the Church is convinced that scientific activity ultimately benefits from the recognition of man's spiritual dimension and his quest for ultimate answers that allow for the acknowledgement of a world existing independently from us, which we do not fully understand and which we can only comprehend in so far as we grasp its inherent logic. "Scientists do not create the world; they learn about it and attempt to imitate it, following the laws and intelligibility that nature manifests to us. The scientist's experience as a human being is therefore that of perceiving a constant, a law, a 'logos' that he has not created but that he has instead observed: in fact, it leads us to admit the existence of an all-powerful Reason, which is other than that of man, and which sustains the world. This is the meeting point between the natural sciences and religion. As a result, science becomes a place of dialogue, a meeting between man and nature and, potentially, even between man and his Creator". In closing his remarks the Pope proposed "two thoughts for further reflection. First, as increasing accomplishments of the sciences deepen our wonder of the complexity of nature, the need for an interdisciplinary approach tied with philosophical reflection leading to a synthesis is more and more perceived. Secondly, scientific achievement in this new century should always be informed by the imperatives of fraternity and peace, helping to solve the great problems of humanity, and directing everyone's efforts towards the true good of man and the integral development of the peoples of the world. The positive outcome of twenty-first century science will surely depend in large measure on the scientist's ability to search for truth and apply discoveries in a way that goes hand in hand with the search for what is just and good".AC/ VIS 20101028 (590)
CHRISTIANS, HINDUS: ENHANCE RESPECT, TRUST, CO-OPERATION VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, has written a message to Hindus for the feast of Deepavali, which this year falls on 5 November. The text, which also bears the signature of Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, secretary of the pontifical council, calls for reflection "on how best we can strengthen our friendship and co-operation by mutually ensuring and enhancing respect and trust". "Mutual respect", the message reads, is "one of the fundamentals for peaceful and harmonious co-existence as well as progress in society. Trust, on the other hand, nourishes every genuinely human relationship, both personal and communitarian". "Applying the above to our engagement in appreciating and promoting inter-religious dialogue and relations, we well know that respect and trust are not optional extras but the very pillars on which the edifice of our engagement itself stands". The message concludes by stating that "the greater our engagement in inter-religious dialogue, the fuller our respect and trust become, leading us to an increase in co-operation and common action. ... As people who hold in common the wellbeing of individuals and communities, may we give greater visibility with every means in our power to a culture that promotes respect, trust and co-operation".CON-DIR/ VIS 20101028 (220)
AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, Germany.AP/ VIS 20101028 (30)
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Appointed Bishop Lionel Gendron P.S.S., auxiliary of Montreal, Canada, as bishop of Saint-Jean - Longueuil (area 2,075, population 696,000, Catholics 591,000, priests 115, permanent deacons 2, religious 437), Canada. He succeeds Bishop Jacques Berthelet C.S.V., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Fr. Jacques Habert of the clergy of Creteil, France, episcopal vicar with responsibility for the pastoral sector of Charenton-le-Pont / Joinville-le-Pont / Saint-Maurice, as bishop of Sees (area 6,103, population 292,879, Catholics 272,200, priests 166, permanent deacons 17, religious 326), France. The bishop-elect was born in Saint-Malo, France in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1989.