Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Monday, October 25, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 23 OCT 2010 (VIS) - During yesterday's Thirteenth General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, the Synod Father's approved their Final Message.

  Extracts from the English-language version of the Message are given below:


VATICAN CITY, 23 OCT 2010 (VIS) - During today's Fourteenth General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, held this morning in the presence of the Pope and 162 Synod Fathers, the final list of propositions was presented and voted upon.

  Subsequently the names of the members of the Special Council for the Middle East of the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops were announced. They are:

 - Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.
 - Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
 - His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt.
 - His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon.
 - His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, patriarch emeritus of Jerusalem of the Latins.
 - Archbishop Cyrille Salim Bustros M.S.S.P. of Newton of the Greek-Melkites, U.S.A.
 - Archbishop Boutros Marayati of Aleppo of the Armenians, Syria.
 - Archbishop Joseph Soueif of Cyprus of the Maronites, Cyprus.
 - Bishop Bechara Rai O.M.M. of Jbeil, Byblos of the Maronites, Lebanon.
 - Bishop Antoine Audo S.J. of Aleppo of the Chaldeans, Syria.
 - Bishop Shlemon Warduni, auxiliary of Babylonia of the Chaldeans, Iraq.
SE/                                    VIS 20101025 (210)


VATICAN CITY, 23 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The working sessions of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops concluded this morning with the approval of forty-four propositions which the Synod Fathers have presented to Benedict XVI.

  By order of the Pope, a provisional and unofficial version of the propositions has been made public by the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops. The propositions are given to the Holy Father for him to consider while preparing the Apostolic Exhortation, the official closing document of a Synod.

  The propositions are divided into three sections: The Christian Presence in the Middle East, Ecclesial Communion, and Christian Witnesses of the Resurrection and Love.

  The Synod Fathers recall how "in a world marked by division and extreme positions, we are called to live communion in the Church, remaining open to everyone and avoiding the trap of confessionalism". They also note that "the attention of the whole world should be focused on the tragic situation of certain Christian communities in the Middle East which suffer all manner of trials sometimes even to the point of martyrdom".

  On the subject of migration, they suggest creating "an office or commission entrusted with the study of the phenomenon ... and the factors behind it, so as to find ways of stopping it", and doing everything possible "to boost the presence of Christians in their own countries of origin".

  "To better welcome and guide immigrants to the Middle East", reads another proposition, "their Churches of origin are asked to maintain regular contact with the host Churches, assisting them to set up the structures the immigrants need".

  The section dedicated to the subject of ecclesial communion speaks of communion in the bosom of the Church and calls for greater pastoral care of vocations. It is also suggested that greater use be made "of the Arabic language in the major institutions of the Holy See and official meetings, so that Christians of Arab culture have access to information from the Holy See in their mother tongue".

  "With a view to the pastoral service of our faithful, wherever they are to be found, and to respect the traditions of the Eastern Churches", reads another proposition "it would be desirable to study the possibility of having married priests outside the patriarchal territory".

  The proposition dedicated to the question of ecumenism suggests "working for a common date for the celebrations of Christmas and Easter", and expresses the desire "to inaugurate an annual feast in common for all the martyrs of the Churches of the Middle East".

  In the section dedicated to Christian Witness, the Synod Fathers suggest "the creation of catechetical centres where they are lacking" and highlight the vital importance of "ongoing formation and collaboration between the different Churches at the level of the laity, seminaries and universities".

  Reiterating the importance of the communications media "for Christian formation in the Middle East, as well as for the proclamation of the faith", the Synod Fathers advocate "the aid and maintenance of the existing structures in this area".

  On the question of the family, they stress the need "to make better provisions in centres for marriage preparation, counselling and guidance centres, and in the spiritual and human guidance of young families. ... Child bearing and the good education of children should be encouraged. The practice of home visiting by pastors should be revived", they write.

  The Synod Fathers "commit themselves to ensure young people have the spiritual and theological formation they need" and "to build with them bridges of dialogue so as to bring down the walls of division and separation in societies".

  Inter-religious dialogue must be strengthened so as "to strive for the purification of memory through forgiveness for the events of the past, and to seek a better future together".

  "Initiatives of dialogue and co-operation with Jews are to be encouraged so as to foster human and religious values, freedom, justice, peace and fraternity. Reading the Old Testament and getting to know Jewish traditions lead to a better understanding of the Jewish religion. We reject anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism, while distinguishing between religion and politics", the Synod Fathers say.

  On the subject of relations with Muslims, the Synod Fathers highlight the importance of promoting "the notion of citizenship, the dignity of the human person, equal rights and duties and religious freedom, including both freedom of worship and freedom of conscience". They note how "Christians in the Middle East are called to pursue a fruitful dialogue of life with Muslims, ... leaving every negative prejudice aside, ... and together combating every sort of fundamentalism and violence in the name of religion".
SE/                                    VIS 20101025 (780)


VATICAN CITY, 24 OCT 2010 (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. today in St. Peter's Basilica, Benedict XVI presided at the celebration of the Eucharist to mark the closure of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which has been held in the Vatican for the past fortnight on the theme: "The Catholic Church in the Middle East. Communion and Witness. Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul".

  The Pope concelebrated Mass with 177 Synod Fathers (nineteen cardinals, nine patriarchs, seventy-two archbishops, sixty-seven bishops and ten priests) and sixty-nine collaborators.

  Participating in the Eucharistic prayer were His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon, president delegate "ad honorem"; His Beatitude Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq, president delegate "ad honorem"; Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, president delegate; His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon, president delegate; His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt, relator general; Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, and Archbishop Joseph Soueif of Cyprus of the Maronites, Cyprus, special secretary.

  In his homily, the Holy Father noted how today's first reading and responsorial psalm "stress the theme of prayer, emphasising that it is much more powerful in God's heart when those who pray suffer want and affliction. ... Our thoughts go to our many brothers and sisters who live in the region of the Middle East and who find themselves in trying situations, at times very burdensome, both because of material poverty and because of discouragement, tension and, sometimes, fear.

  "Today", Benedict XVI added, "the Word of God also offers us a light of consoling hope where it presents prayer, personified, that 'will not desist until the Most High responds and does justice for the righteous, and executes judgement'. This link between prayer and justice makes us think of many situations in the world, particularly in the Middle East. The cry of the poor and the oppressed finds an immediate echo in God, Who desires to intervene to create a way out, to restore a future of freedom, a horizon of hope".

  "The synodal assembly which concludes today always kept in mind the icon of the first Christian community described in the Acts of the Apostles: 'The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul'. This is a reality we experienced over these days, in which we shared the joys and pains, the concerns and hopes of Christians in the Middle East. We experienced the unity of the Church in the variety of Churches present in that region. ... Thus have we enhanced the liturgical, spiritual and theological wealth of the Eastern Catholic Churches, as well as of the Latin Church. ... We hope that this positive experience may be repeated in the various communities of the Middle East, encouraging the participation of the faithful in liturgical celebrations of other Catholic rites, thus opening themselves to the dimensions of the universal Church.

  "Joint prayer also helped us to face the challenges of the Catholic Church in the Middle East. One of these challenges is communion within each 'sui iuris' Church, as well as the relationships between the various Catholic Churches of different traditions. As today's Gospel reminded us, we need humility in order to recognise our limitations, our errors and omissions, in order to be able to be truly 'united, heart and soul' Fuller communion within the Catholic Church also favours ecumenical dialogue with other Churches and ecclesial communities. During this synodal assembly the Catholic Church has reiterated its profound desire to pursue such dialogue".

  "The words of the Lord Jesus may be applied to Christians in the Middle East: 'There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom'. Indeed, even if they are few, they are bearers of the Good News of the love of God for man, love which revealed itself in the Holy Land in the person of Jesus Christ. This Word of salvation, strengthened with the grace of the Sacraments, resounds with particular strength in the places where, by Divine Providence, it was written. It is the only Word able to break the vicious circle of vengeance, hate, and violence. From a purified heart, at peace with God and neighbour, arise intentions and initiatives for peace at the local, national, and international level. In these actions, to whose accomplishment the whole international community is called, Christians as full-fledged citizens can and must do their part in the spirit of the Beatitudes, becoming builders of peace and apostles of reconciliation for the benefit of all society".

  The Pope continued: "Conflicts, wars, violence and terrorism have gone on for too long in the Middle East. Peace, which is a gift of God, is also the result of the efforts of men of goodwill, of national and international institutions, in particular of the States most involved in the search for a solution to conflicts. We must never resign ourselves to the absence of peace. Peace is possible. Peace is urgent. Peace is the indispensable condition for a life of dignity for individuals and society. Peace is also the best remedy to avoid emigration from the Middle East".

  Another contribution Christians can make to society is to promote "authentic freedom of religion and conscience, one of the fundamental human rights that each State should always respect. In numerous countries of the Middle East there exists freedom of belief, while the space given to the freedom of religious practice is often quite limited. Increasing this space of freedom is essential in order to guarantee that all members of the various religious communities may enjoy the true freedom to live and profess their faith. This topic could become the subject of dialogue between Christians and Muslims, a dialogue whose urgency and usefulness was reiterated by the Synod Fathers".

  At the end of his homily, the Holy Father recalled how the synodal assembly "often underlined the need to present the Gospel anew to people who do not know it well or who have even moved away from the Church. Frequent mention was made of the need for a new evangelisation in the Middle East. ... For this reason, having consulted with the episcopacy of the whole world and listened to the Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, I have decided to dedicate the next Ordinary General Assembly, in 2012, to the following theme: 'Nova evangelizatio ad christianam fidem tradendam - The new evangelisation for the transmission of the Christian faith'".

  And the Pope concluded: "Dear brothers and sisters of the Middle East! May the experience of these days assure you that you are never alone, that you are always accompanied by the Holy See and the whole Church, which, having been born in Jerusalem, spread through the Middle East and then the rest of the world".
HML/                                    VIS 20101025 (1190)


VATICAN CITY, 24 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Following this morning's concelebration of the Eucharist to mark the end of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  Referring once again to the theme of the synodal assembly - "The Catholic Church in the Middle East. Communion and Witness" - the Pope noted how today also marks World Mission Day, which has as its theme: "Building Ecclesial Communion is the Key to the Mission".

  "There is", he explained, "a surprising similarity between the themes of these two ecclesial events. Both invite us to see the Church as a mystery of communion which, by her nature, is destined for all of man and for all mankind. ... For this reason the next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, due to be held in 2012, will be dedicated to the theme: 'The new evangelisation for the transmission of the Christian faith'. At any time and in any place - also in the Middle East today - the Church is present and works to welcome each human being and offer him Christ, the fullness of life".

  "In today's liturgy", the Pope went on, "we read St. Paul's testimony concerning the final reward the Lord will give 'to all who have longed for his appearance'. This is not a passive or solitary period of waiting; quite the contrary, the apostle lived in communion with the risen Christ, so that 'the message might be fully proclaimed' and that 'all the Gentiles might hear it'. The missionary task is not to revolutionise the world but to transfigure it, drawing strength from Jesus Christ".

  "Christians today, as the Epistle to Diognetus says, also 'show that life is wonderful, and that their shared life is extraordinary. They spend their time on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey established laws, but with their lives they surpass those laws. They are killed and thereby they are given life. Even when they do good they are persecuted and every day their numbers grow'.

  "To the Virgin Mary, who from the crucified Christ received the new mission of being Mother to all those who wish to believe in Him and follow Him, we entrust the Christian communities of the Middle East and all missionaries of the Gospel".
ANG/                                    VIS 20101025 (420)


VATICAN CITY, 23 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed as members of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organisational and Economic Problems of the Holy See, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico, Mexico, and Cardinal Francis Eugene George O.M.I., archbishop of Chicago, U.S.A.

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the territorial abbey of Santissima Trinita di Cava de' Tirreni, Italy, presented by Dom Benedetto Maria Chianetta O.S.B., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Bishop John G. Noonan, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Miami, U.S.A., as bishop of Orlando (area 28,814, population 4,002,000, Catholics 400,923, priests 253, permanent deacons 172, religious 181), U.S.A.
NA:RE:NER/                                VIS 20101025 (130)


VATICAN CITY, 25 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience James Alix Michel, president of the Republic of the Seychelles. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "Having expressed their contentment at the cordiality of bilateral relations, the two parties exchanged opinions on questions of mutual interest. In this context, attention focused particularly on commitment and collaboration for the promotion of human dignity, especially in fields of great social importance such as the family, education of the young and protection of the environment".
OP/                                    VIS 20101025 (130)


VATICAN CITY, 25 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiberg im Breisgau, Germany, president of the German Episcopal Conference.

 - Participants in an international symposium on Erik Peterson.
AP/                                    VIS 20101025 (40)


  "Brothers and sisters, in closing, we say with St. John the Apostle: ... 'This life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us - we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us'. ... This Divine Life ... will always remain the life of our Churches in the Middle East and the object of our witness, sustained by the promise of the Lord: 'Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age'. Together we proceed on our journey with hope".

  "We confess that thus far we have not done everything in our power to experience better communion in our communities. We have not done everything possible to confirm you in your faith and to give you the spiritual nourishment you need in your difficulties. The Lord invites us to conversion as individuals and communities. Today we return to you full of hope, strength and resolution, bringing the message of the Synod and its recommendations, that we might study them together and put them into practice in our Churches, each according to its state. We hope also that this new effort may be an ecumenical effort".
SE/                                    VIS 20101025 (1870)
Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service