VIS REPORT: VIOLENCE IS CONTRARY TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Vatican City, 11 March 2012 (VIS) - At midday today, the third Sunday of Lent, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
The Pope commented on today's reading from the Gospel of St. John which recounts how Jesus drove animal sellers and money changers from the Temple, arousing great wonder among His disciples and the people. "How must we interpret this gesture?" the Pope asked. "First of all we must note that it did not cause any reaction from the guardians of public order, because it was seen as a typically prophetical act. Prophets, in fact, in the name of God often denounced abuses, sometimes with symbolic gestures. If anything, the problem was their authority. That is why the Jews asked Jesus 'what sign can you show us for doing this?'; in other words, show us that you are truly acting in God's name.
"The cleansing of the Temple has also been interpreted as a political-revolutionary gesture", the Holy Father added, "with Jesus being seen as part of the Zealots movement. The Zealots were, indeed, 'zealous' for the law of God and ready to use violence to ensure it was respected. In Jesus' time they were awaiting a Messiah who would free Israel from Roman rule. But Jesus disappointed that hope, causing some disciples to abandon Him, while Judas Iscariot even betrayed Him. The truth is that it is impossible to interpret Jesus as violent. Violence is contrary to the Kingdom of God. It is an instrument of the Antichrist. Violence never serves man, but dehumanises him".
"The words Jesus used while accomplishing His gesture - 'Take these things our of here!Stop making my Father's house a market-place!' - reminded His disciples of the words of the Psalm: 'It is zeal for your house that has consumed me'. The Psalm is a cry for help in a situation of extreme danger caused by the hatred of enemies, which is what Jesus would experience in His passion. Zeal for the Father and His house would take Him to the cross. His is the zeal of the love which pays in person, not that which seeks to serve God through violence. Indeed, the 'sign' Jesus would give as proof of His authority would be His death and resurrection. 'Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up', which St. John glosses with the words: 'he was speaking of the temple of his body'. At Easter Jesus inaugurated a new cult: the cult of love, and a new temple: Himself, the risen Christ, through Whom allbelievers can adore God the Father 'in spirit and truth'".
"The Holy Spirit began to build this temple in the Virgin's womb", Benedict XVI concluded. "Through her intercession let us pray that each Christian may become a living stone in this spiritual building".
Following the Marian prayer the Pope launched an appeal for the people of Madagascar who have been suffering the devastating effects of tropical storms, the most recent of which left at least seventy dead and many missing, as well as causing material damage affecting 70,000 people.
"My thoughts go", he said, "to the dear people of Madagascar who have recently been struck by violent natural calamities that caused serious damage to people, infrastructures and crops. While giving assurances of my prayers for the victims and for their sorely tried families, I encourage the international community to send aid".
BOOK ON THE CHALLENGES OF NEW EVANGELISATION IN LATIN AMERICA
Vatican City, 10 March 2012 (VIS) - The Pontifical Commission for Latin America has recently published a work entitled "Reflections on New Evangelisation in Latin America: Challenges and Priorities". The book, 130 pages long, is the outcome of a study day organised by the commission which took place on 11 November 2011.
The book begins with an introduction by Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and includes the text of three lectures delivered during the course of the study day: "New Evangelisation in the Light of the Pontifical Magisterium" by Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation; "From the Evangelisation of Jesus Christ to the Continental Mission as New Evangelisation" by Bishop Santiago Jaime Silva Retamales, secretary of the Latin American Episcopal Council, and "New Evangelisation in Latin America Today: Challenges and Priorities" by Guzman Carriquiry Lecour, secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. There then follows a list of forty-one recommendations for new evangelisation on the American continent.
The work will be sent to all members and counsellors of the commission, to the bishops of Latin America and to the prefects and presidents of the various dicasteries and offices of the Roman Curia.
A communique from the pontifical commission accompanying today's publication states that the book contains "a number of useful contributions to that 'new evangelisation' which has been repeatedly invoked by John Paul II and by Benedict XVI, ... and which found a significant response in the 'continental mission' launched during the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean held in 2007 in Aparecida, Brazil. That mission is in the process of being accomplished". The book also "aims to contribute to the many discussions and reflections which are taking place in view of the forthcoming General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October, ... and the subsequent Year of Faith".
HOLY SEE PARTICIPATES IN THE WORLD WATER FORUM
Vatican City, 12 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy See has sent a delegation to participate in the Sixth World Water Forum, being held in the French city of Marseille from 12 to 17 March. For the occasion the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has prepared a document entitled: "Water, an Element Essential for Life".
The text highlights how, despite a certain amount of progress, a large part of the world population still does not enjoy guaranteed access to potable water. The document also underscores the need for improved management of water resources by public authorities, private sector operators and civil society, and invites those bodies to act with responsibility, sobriety and solidarity, while taking account of the principles of justice and subsidiarity.
The World Water Fora are organised every three years by the World Water Council. They bring together private and State entities, as well as representatives of various associations, to analyse and develop a long term vision of the status and utilisation of this indispensable resource.
Vatican City, 10 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Thirteen prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Jerome George Hanus O.S.B. of Dubuque.
- Bishop Martin John Amos of Davenport.
- Bishop Richard Edmund Pates of Des Moines, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Joseph Leo Charron C.PP.S.
- Bishop Ralph Walker Nickless of Sioux City.
- Archbishop Robert James Carlson of Saint Louis, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Rice, and by former Auxiliary Bishop Robert Joseph Hermann.
- Bishop John Raymond Gaydos of Jefferson City.
- Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Raymond James Boland.
- Bishop James Vann Johnston of Springfield-Cape Giradeau, accompanied by Bishop emeritus John Joseph Leibrecht.
- Frere Alois, prior of Taize.
- His Grace Rowan Williams, Anglican archbishop of Canterbury and primate of the Anglican Communion.
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 10 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Archbishop Francesco Alfano of Sant'Angelo dei Lombardi - Conza - Nusco - Bisaccia, Italy, as archbishop of Sorrento-Casellamare di Stabia (area 205, population 240,900, Catholics 240,000, priests 169, permanent deacons 6, religious 501), Italy. He succeeds Archbishop Felice Cece, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., archbishop of Vienna, Austria, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the 450th anniversary of the formal renewal of the archbishopric of Prague, due to take place on 12 May.
- Appointed Archbishop Mario Roberto Cassari, apostolic nuncio to Croatia, as apostolic nuncio to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland.