Thursday, June 30, 2011

VATICAN: POPE: PRAYERS FOR AIDS VICTIMS/RATZINGER PRIZE AND OTHER NEWS


BENEDICT XVI'S PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR JULY

VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2011 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for July is: "That Christ may ease the physical and spiritual sufferings of those who are sick with AIDS, especially in the poorest countries". (image source: Radio Vaticana)

His mission intention is: "That religious women in mission territories may be witnesses of the joy of the Gospel and living signs of the love of Christ".

FAITH CONDUCTS REASON TO OPEN ITSELF TO THE DIVINE

VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Benedict XVI conferred the first "Ratzinger Prize", an award established by the "Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI". The prize winners were: Manlio Simonetti, an Italian layman and scholar of ancient Christian literature and Patrology; Olegario Gonzalez de Cardedal, a Spanish priest and professor of systematic theology, and Maximilian Heim, a German Cistercian, abbot of the monastery of Heiligenkreuz in Austria and professor of fundamental and dogmatic theology.

Following some words of greeting from Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti, president of the foundation, the Holy Father pronounced his address.

"According to tradition, theology is the science of the faith", said the Pope. "However, if the foundation of theology - i.e., faith - does not at the same time become a focus of thought, if the practice of theology refers only to itself or if it lives exclusively off borrowings from the humanities, then it becomes empty and baseless".

"Theology calls into question the matter of truth; this is its ultimate and essential foundation. Here an expression used by Tertullian may help us to take a step forward: Christ did not say: I am custom, but: I am the truth". The pagan religions, said the Holy Father "were customary by nature. ... They observed the traditional cultural forms, hoping in that way to maintain the right relationship with the mysterious world of the divine. The revolutionary aspect of Christianity in antiquity was precisely its break with 'custom' out of love for truth". The Gospel of St. John "contains the other fundamental interpretation of the Christian faith: the definition of Christ as Logos. If Christ is the Logos, the truth, then man must correspond to Him with his own logos; that is, with his reason".

"From this we can understand that, by its very nature, the Christian faith had to generate theology. It had to ask itself about the rationality of the faith. ... Thus, although the fundamental bond between Logos, truth and faith, has always been clear in Christianity, the concrete form of that bond has produced and continues to produce new questions. ... St. Bonaventure ... spoke of a dual use of reason: a use irreconcilable with the nature of the faith, and another which belongs to the nature of the faith".

For St. Bonaventure there was a "despotism of reason, when it becomes supreme judge of all things. This use of reason is certainly impossible in the context of the faith" because it seeks to submit God "to a process of experimental trial", said the Pope. In our own time, he went on, "empirical reason appears as the only declaredly scientific form of rationality. ... It has led to great achievements, and no-one would seriously wish to deny that it is just and necessary as a way to understand nature and the laws of nature. Nonetheless there is a limit to such a use of reason. God is not an object of human experimentation. He is Subject and shows Himself only in the relationship between one person and another".

"In this context, St. Bonaventure refers to another use of reason: in the 'personal' sphere, in the great questions raised by the fact of being human. Love wants a better knowledge of the beloved. Love, true love, does not make us blind but causes us to see and part of this is thirst for knowledge, thirst for a true knowledge of the other. For this reason the Fathers of the Church found the precursors of Christianity (apart from in the world of the revelation to Israel) not in the area of customary religion, ... but in the 'philosophers', in people who thirsted for truth and who were thus on the path towards God. When this use of reason is lacking, then the great questions of humanity fall outside the field of reason and are abandoned to irrationality. This is why authentic theology is so important. Correct faith conducts reason to open itself to the divine so that, guided by love for truth, it can gain a closer knowledge of God".

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THE PALLIUM, BOND OF UNITY WITH THE SEE OF PETER

VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2011 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope received the forty metropolitan archbishops upon whom he imposed the pallium yesterday, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles. The archbishops were accompanied by members of their families.

The Holy Father addressed the archbishops (who come from twenty-five different countries) in various languages, highlighting how, "the pallium reminds you of your specific responsibility towards your suffragan Churches and your special bond of unity with the See of Peter".

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THE "OSSERVATORE ROMANO" COMMEMORATES 150 YEARS

VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2011 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Holy Father addressed to Giovanni Maria Vian, director of the "Osservatore Romano" newspaper, marking that publication's 150th anniversary. Its first edition appeared on 1 July 1861.

After reviewing the most significant moments in the history of the daily, traditionally known as "the Pope's newspaper", Benedict XVI writes that "over this century and a half the 'Osservatore Roman' has, above all, testified to the service of truth and Catholic communion by the See of Peter's Successor".

"Over this period - often marked by a lack of points of reference, by the removal of God from the horizon of many societies, even traditionally Christian societies - the Holy See's daily newspaper has stood out as a 'newspaper of ideas', as a source not just of information but of formation. Now it must remain faithful to the role it has played over this century and a half", the Pope writes, "attentive also the Christian East, to the irreversible ecumenical commitment of the various Churches and ecclesial communities, to the constant search for friendship and collaboration with Judaism and other religions, to the cultural debate, to the voice of women, and to bioethical questions which are so decisively important for everyone".

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OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk-Mohilev, Belarus, also as apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the diocese of Pinsk (area 72,700, population 3,146,000, Catholics 50,620, priests 47, religious 228), Belarus.

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Santa Rosa,U.S.A., presented by Bishop Daniel F. Walsh, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Robert F. Vasa.

- Appointed Fr. John Sherrington of the clergy of the diocese of Nottingham, England, pastor of the parish of the Good Shepherd at Arnold, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Westminster (area 3,634, population 4,726,206, Catholics 476,647, priests 629, permanent deacons 10, religious 1,465), England. The bishop-elect was born in Leicester, England in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1989.

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