Pope’s three wishes for CHRISTmas * Benedict XVI – This time, that year *The market must never neglect solidarity – Community Co-operatives

December 14, 2011 by  
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The Pope is Set to FinVatican, December 9, 2011: Late Wednesday afternoon, 7 December, thanks to a “tablet” connected to the power grid, Benedict XVI lit the largest Christmas tree in the world from the papal apartments. This electronic “tree” is located in the Italian town of Gubbio. Before flipping the switch he addressed a few words – by television – to those attending the ceremony.

“Before lighting the tree”, he said, “I would like to express three wishes. This Christmas tree is formed on the slopes of Mt. Ingino at whose summit is found the basilica of Gubbio’s patron saint, St. Ubaldo. When we look at it our eyes are lifted up, raised toward the sky, toward the world of God”.

“My first wish, therefore, is that our gaze, that of our minds and our hearts, not rest only on the horizon of this world, on its material things, but that it in some way, like this tree that tends upward, be directed toward God. God never forgets us but He also asks that we don’t forget Him”.

“The Gospel recounts that, on the holy night of Christ’s birth, a light enveloped the shepherds, announcing a great joy to them: the birth of Jesus, the one who brings us light, or better, the One who is the true light that illuminates all. The great tree that I will light up shortly overlooks the city of Gubbio and will illuminate the darkness of the night with its light”.

“My second wish is that we recall that we also need a light to illumine the path of our lives and to give us hope, especially in this time in which we feel so greatly the weight of difficulties, of problems, of suffering, and it seems that we are enshrouded in a veil of darkness. But what light can truly illuminate our hearts and give us a firm and sure hope? It is the Child whom we contemplate on Christmas, in a poor and humble manger, because He is the Lord who draws near to each of us and asks that we reeceive Him anew in our lives, asks us to want Him, to trust in Him, to feel His presence, that He is accompanying us, sustaining us, and helping us”.

“But this great tree is formed of many lights. My final wish is that each of us contribute something of that light to the spheres in which we live: our families, our jobs, our neighbourhoods, towns, and cities. That each of us be a light for those who are at our sides; that we leave aside the selfishness that, so often, closes our hearts and leads us to think only of ourselves; that we may pay greater attention to others, that we may love them more. Any small gesture of goodness is like one of the lights of this great tree: together with other lights it illuminates the darkness of the night, even of the darkest night”.

Benedict XVI – This time, that year


Holy tablet batmanThe Holy Father’s comment on December 11, 2005  hit me once again this year to prompt me do our humble bit of sharing them around. So here are excerpts of what Pope Benedict XVI said, following the Angleus, in St. Peter’s Square:“The true spirit of Christmas is one of reflection, sobriety & a joy that does not come from outside but from within. But that attitude is under assault by “today’s consumer society.” The crib can help us, in fact, to understand the secret of the true Christmas, because it speaks of humility and the merciful goodness of Christ, who “though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor” (2 Corinthians 8:9).His poverty enriches those who embrace it and Christmas brings joy and peace to those who, as the shepherds, accepted in Bethlehem the words of the angel: “And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12). It continues to be a sign for us also – men and women of the 21st century. There is no other Christmas.The Pope said that the Christmas crib is “a simple but effective way to introduce the faith to children,” adding that the scene brings home “the humility and merciful goodness of Christ.” “The Nativity scene helps us contemplate the mystery of the love of God, which is revealed to us in the poverty and simplicity of the grotto in Bethlehem. Assembling the Nativity scene in the home can turn out to be a simple but effective way of presenting the faith to pass it on to one’s children,” he addedThe Holy Father warned that commercialization is polluting the true, religious meaning of Christmas. He said at the Vatican: “It is unfortunate that in today’s society of consumer ism, the Christmas season suffers from… Commercial pollution. This risks [changing] it’s spiritual authenticity, which is characterized by meditation…and by a joy that is not exterior but intimate.”The Pope told Christians worldwide to celebrate Christmas by setting up scenes in their homes showing the birth of Christ. It is easy to agree with Pope Benedict when we look at the madness of Christmas shopping and the stress it causes. It is becoming more and rarer in stores to see any connection between Christmas and the Bible. Consumers must look at thousands of ads as companies do their best to sell their non-Biblical goods. The true spirit of Christmas seems to be hidden by the special offers, non-CHRISTmassy Christmas songs and orgies or drunken office parties.What’s the purpose of Christmas, anyway? Is it a time for sharing warm, joyous times with our friends and family? And expressing love and appreciation? Or is it an opportunity for self-indulgence/receiving/acquisition? If it’s the former, there must be better ways of achieving the objective.

The market must never neglect solidarity – Community Co-operatives
 Benedict XVI
Vatican City, December 10, 2011: This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received representatives from the Confederation of Italian Cooperatives, and from the Italian Federation of Cooperative Credit Banks, who were accompanied by their ecclesiastical assistant Msgr. Adriano Vincenzi.

In his remarks to them the Pope dwelt on the importance Catholic cooperatives have had in Italy since their emergence in the wake of Leo XIII’s Encyclical “Rerum novarum”. That document, the 120th anniversary of which falls this year, “favoured the fruitful presence of Catholics in Italian society through the promotion of cooperative and mutual societies, the development of social enterprises and many other public works characterised by various forms of participation and self-management. The purpose of such activity has always been to provide material support for people and constant attention to families, drawing inspiration from the Magisterium of the Church”, he said.

“The heart of cooperative efforts has always lain in the search for harmony between the individual and community dimensions. This is a concrete expression of the complementarity and subsidiarity which Church social doctrine has always sought to promote between citizens and the State, a balance between safeguarding the rights of the individual and promoting the common good, in order to develop a local economy capable of responding to community needs. Cooperative activities are likewise characterised by their great concern for solidarity, while still respecting the due autonomy of the individual”.

 “In a period of great change, of persistent economic uncertainty, and of difficulties in the world of work, the Church feels the need to announce Christ’s message with renewed vigour. … And you, dear friends, must be aware that Catholic cooperatives have an important role to play in this field”, the Holy Father told his audience.

 Benedict XVI invited members of cooperatives to make their specific contribution “to ensure that the economy and the market never neglect solidarity”, in order “to promote a culture of life and the family, and to favour the creation of new families with access to dignified work which respects the creation that God has entrusted to our responsibility and care”. He also invited them “to value man in his entirety, irrespective of any difference in race, language or religion”.

Finally, the Pope recalled how Catholic cooperatives are characterised by their “Christian inspiration, which must constantly guide them”, because “for Christians loving others is not mere philanthropy but an expression of the love of God. … Never forget the importance of developing this spiritual dimension as you seek to respond to contemporary challenges and social emergencies, in order to continue to work in the logic of gratuitousness and responsibility, promoting wise and sober consumption”.

Pope against death penalty

December 7, 2011 by  
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PopeVatican City, December 02, 2011: Pope Benedict XVI expressed his support this week for efforts by the Rome-based Community of Sant’Egidio to abolish the death penalty worldwide.

“I express my hope that your deliberations will encourage the political and legislative initiatives being promoted in a growing number of countries to eliminate the death penalty,” the pontiff said in English during his weekly audience on November 30.

He added that he hoped the group would “continue the substantive progress made in conforming penal law both to the human dignity of prisoners and the effective maintenance of public order.”

Sant’Egidio this week hosted an event in Rome that brought together justice ministers and government officials from countries that have abolished the death penalty, together with witnesses, former death row inmates and relatives of crime victims.

The group has campaigned for decades against capital punishment, calling on governments and international institutions to abolish or suspend all executions.

The United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of a moratorium on the death penalty in 2007.

“Asia is the continent where the death penalty is most present,” said Stefano Argentino of Sant’Egidio, but he added that the latest ‘good news’ for the campaign came from Mongolia.

After Mongolia’s President Tsakhia Elbegdorj commuted all capital sentences to 30-year jail terms in January 2010, the government is now set to adopt a UN protocol binding it to abolish the death penalty.

The Philippines, Cambodia, Timor L’Este, Nepal and Bhutan, along with the Central Asian ex-Soviet republics, are the only countries in Asia who do not have the death penalty.

China is reported to carry out the most capital punishments of any country in the world, while Iran has the highest number of executions to population ratio.

Other Asian countries, including Afghanistan, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Laos, the Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand, have suspended capital punishment while still handing down death sentence verdicts.

– ucan

Encouraging Initiatives to Eliminate the Death Penalty

December 2, 2011 by  
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Holy FatherVatican City, November 30, 2011: Following his catechesis this morning, the Holy Father delivered greetings in various languages to groups attending his general audience. Speaking English to delegations from a number of countries participating in a meeting being promoted by the Sant’Egidio Community on the theme “No Justice without Life”, he said: “I express my hope that your deliberations will encourage the political and legislative initiatives being promoted in a growing number of countries to eliminate the death penalty and to continue the substantive progress made in conforming penal law both to the human dignity of prisoners and the effective maintenance of public order”.

He then turned to greet students of the Pontifical French Seminary in Rome, and a delegation from the French diocese of Belley-Ars accompanied by Bishop Guy Bagnard, who have come to Rome with a portrait of St. John Mary Vianney for the Vatican Basilica in commemoration of the Year for Priests. “Following the example of St. John Mary Vianney”, he told them, “let us rediscover the importance of prayer in our lives”.

The Holy Father also welcomed nuns of the Congregation of Daughters of Divine Charity who, accompanied by Cardinal Vinko Puljic, archbishop of Vrhbosna, Bosnia Herzegovina, have come to Rome on a pilgrimage of thanksgiving for the recent beatification in Sarajevo of five members of their order martyred during World War II. “Grateful for their witness, let us pray to God to give us the courage to persevere in our service”, the Pope said.

Finally, he thanked representatives of the Italian Federation of Bakers for their gift of a number of “panttoni” which will be used for the Pope’s charity.

– vis

The face of the dying Christ, teaches us to defend life *Pope set to light world’s largest Christmas tree using iPad

December 1, 2011 by  
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PopeVatican City, November 26, 2011: This morning in the Vatican the Holy Father received 500 participants in an international conference on the theme: “Health Pastoral Care, Serving Life in the Light of the Magisterium of Blessed John Paul II”, organised by the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care. It was John Paul II who established the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, as well as the World Day of the Sick, and the Good Samaritan Foundation which offers health care services to poor people in a number of countries. Extracts from Benedict XVI’s remarks to the group are given below:

 “Over the long and intense years of his pontificate, Blessed John Paul II proclaimed that serving the sick in body and spirit must be a constant part of the ecclesial community’s commitment to evangelisation, in accordance with Jesus command to the Twelve to go forth and heal”, he said. “The mystery of suffering seems to obscure the face of God, almost making Him a stranger, or even identifying Him as the person responsible for human suffering; however the eyes of faith can see into the depths of this mystery. God became incarnate, He came close to man, even in the most difficult situations. He did not eliminate suffering, but in the risen Christ, in the Son of God Who suffered unto death, and death on a cross, He showed us that His love descends even into man’s deepest abyss and brings him hope. … In the Son, Who was ‘given’ for the salvation of humankind, the truth of love is, in some way, proven through the truth of suffering, and the Church, born from the mystery of Redemption upon the Cross of Christ, must meet man on the long path of his suffering”.

“Your proximity and the care you show to our sick brothers and sisters, often alone and suffering not only physically, but also spiritually and morally, places you in a privileged position to bear witness to the salvific action of God, His love for mankind and the world which embraces even the most painful and terrible situations. The Face of the Saviour, dying upon the cross, … teaches us to defend and promote life, whatever its state and condition, recognising the dignity and value of each individual human being, who was created in the image and likeness of God, and is called to eternal life. “The slow Calvary of the final years of life of Blessed John Paul II bore witness to this vision of pain and suffering illuminated by the death and resurrection of Christ”, Pope Benedict added. “His profound humility, rooted in his intimate bond with Christ, enabled him to continue to guide the Church, and to address an even more eloquent message to the world, even when his physical strength was failing”.

“Dear friends”, the Holy Father concluded, “in the service you provide in the various fields of health pastoral care, may you too experience that ‘only if I serve my neighbour can my eyes be opened to what God does for me and how much He loves me'”.

– vis

Pope set to light world’s largest Christmas tree using iPad


Pope Benedict UsingVatican City, November 14, 2011: With a tap on an iPad, Pope Benedict XVI will light the world’s largest electronic Christmas tree in the Italian town of Gubbio without having to leave his home in Vatican City.

The City of Gubbio and the Diocese of Gubbio announced at a news conference Nov. 12 that the Pope would light the tree via a video link set up by the Vatican Television Center. The tree-lighting ceremony takes place on the evening of Dec. 7, the eve of the Immaculate Conception.

From his apartment in Vatican City, the Pope will turn on the tree using an application on the iPad 2. Before lighting the tree, the Pope will send a video message to the citizens of Gubbio thanking the volunteers on the committee who organized the event and who have been responsible for setting up the tree for decades.

The electronic tree extends more than 2,000 feet upon the face of Mount Igino near Gubbio, and uses more than 25,000 feet of electrical cable. Built in 1981, it was recognized in 1991 by the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest Christmas tree and stays lit until the Epiphany.

– catholicnews

Do not lose your public voice – Pope to bishops

November 30, 2011 by  
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20 bishops of New York gathered in the Vatican’s Apostolic PalaceVatican City, November 26 2011: Pope Benedict XVI has told bishops of the United States not to be silenced by those who seek to muzzle Catholicism in public life. “Despite attempts to still the Church’s voice in the public square, many people of good will continue to look to her for wisdom, insight and sound guidance,” Pope Benedict said in his address to 20 bishops of New York gathered in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on Nov. 26. The Pope called upon them to “exercise the prophetic dimension of your Episcopal ministry by speaking out, humbly yet insistently, in defense of moral truth, and offering a word of hope, capable of opening hearts and minds to the truth that sets us free.” New York’s bishops are in Rome for their regular “ad limina” visit to update the Pope and the Vatican on the health of the Church in their state. Their delegation is the second of 15 U.S. groups that will make their way to Rome in the coming months.

The dioceses represented this morning were New York, Albany, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Ogdensburg, Rochester, Rockville Centre and Syracuse. At the Apostolic Palace, they heard from Pope Benedict about the need for a “new evangelization” of the United States, where people of many religious and political persuasions have shown an “increased sense of concern … for the future of our democratic societies.”  Their concern stems from “a troubling breakdown in the intellectual, cultural and moral foundations of social life,” accompanied by “a growing sense of dislocation and insecurity, especially among the young, in the face of wide-ranging societal changes.” A new evangelization of this society, the Pope said, would require spiritual and intellectual renewal within the Church. “We ourselves are the first to need re-evangelization,” he said, adding that “only through such interior renewal will we be able to discern and meet the spiritual needs of our age with the ageless truth of the Gospel.”  

Catholic universities, he noted, should play a leading role in bringing the Gospel to society. Pope Benedict praised those schools that had found “a renewed sense of their ecclesial mission” and shown faithfulness to their Catholic identity. “Young people have a right to hear clearly the Church’s teaching and, most importantly, to be inspired by the coherence and beauty of the Christian message,” the Pope stated, “so that they in turn can instill in their peers a deep love of Christ and his Church.” He praised the bishops for tackling clerical abuse, saying the Church’s “conscientious efforts to confront this reality” could “help the broader community to recognize the causes, true extent and devastating consequences of sexual abuse, and to respond effectively to this scourge which affects every level of society.” Pope Benedict added that the Church is “rightly held to exacting standards in this regard,” and said “all other institutions, without exception, should be held to the same standards.”

The Pope also welcomed the new English translation of the Mass, saying the new translation should inspire an “ongoing catechesis,” helping the faithful grasp “the true nature of the liturgy” as a participation in “Christ’s saving sacrifice for the redemption of the world.”  The Pope indicated that a right understanding of worship was essential for the Church’s mission in society. “A weakened sense of the meaning and importance of Christian worship,” he observed, “can only lead to a weakened sense of the specific and essential vocation of the laity to imbue the temporal order with the spirit of the Gospel.” In the afternoon the visiting bishops celebrated Mass together at the basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, where the apostle St. Paul is buried. The “ad limina” visit takes its name from the Latin phrase “ad limina apostolorum,” meaning “to the threshold of the apostles” Sts. Peter and Paul. The visiting bishops also offered Mass at St. Peter’s tomb.

– cna/ewtn news

Cardinal urges priests to spice up ‘dull, irrelevant’ sermons

November 17, 2011 by  
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Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi told a conference in Rome that priests need to avoid becoming 'irrelevant'. Image: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

Vatican City, November 16, 2011: A Vatican cardinal has appealed to clergy to liven up “dull, flavourless” sermons in an address at a conference in Rome.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, claimed that homilies had become “irrelevant” to worshippers who were used to the thrill and excitement of modern technology such as the television and the internet. He said: “The advent of televised and computerised information requires us to be compelling and trenchant, to cut to the heart of the matter, resort to narratives and colour.”

The cardinal described the theological language used by priests in their sermons as “grey, dull and flavourless” and appealed to priests to use the graphic and dramatic imagery of the Bible to illustrate their sermons with colour and intrigue.

The Bible was “crowded with stories, symbols and images”, he said, which were appropriate for “the children of television and the internet” who grace church pews.

Speaking at the conference the cardinal encouraged priests to use social media networks to communicate the faith and the Word of God. He said: “We need to remember that communicating faith does not just take place through sermons. It can be achieved through the 140 characters of a Twitter message.”

Cardinal Ravasi was appointed president of the Pontifical Council for Culture in September 2007. In November last year Pope Benedict XVI elevated him to the College of Cardinals. The cardinal, who some see as a possible future pope, blogs regularly for the Italian financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

Debate: Does it matter if a priest is a bad public speaker?

Vatican City, November 10, 2011: Is good oratory absolutely crucial or is it low down on the list of sought after priestly qualities?

This week priests were urged to spice up “dull, flavourless” homilies by using colourful language and stories drawn from the Bible. The advice came from Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. He told delegates in Rome that homilies had to be compelling in order to engage worshippers used to the thrill of television and the internet. Most people would agree that homilies should engage their listeners. But by encouraging clergy to compete with Facebook and The X Factor, isn’t there a danger of putting style over substance? A priest may resort to gimmicks in order to grab people’s attention. They may think their main duty is to entertain.

Pope Benedict XVI, in the book-length interview, God and the World, suggested that a talent for public speaking might not be such a crucial quality for clergy:

“Recently a parish priest in a large German city told me that he had come to his vocation by the particular agency of a priest who was actually bereft of all exterior gifts. He was a hopeless preacher, a dreadful singer, and so on, and yet under his care the parish really blossomed. In the end four or five priestly vocations were awakened in this city parish, something that happened neither under his predecessor nor under his successor, both of whom were far more capable. We can see here how the humble witness of someone who does not have the gift of persuasive speech can itself become a sermon, and how we should thank God for the variety of gifts.”

On the other hand, homilies delivered poorly, even if they are full of truth and wisdom, may leave Catholics uninspired and drifting away from their faith. If homilies were entertaining then they might engage those who are struggling to listen. So, does it matter if a priest is a bad public speaker? Or is it far down the list of sought after priestly qualities?

– madeleine teahan

Pope on Stem Cell Research

November 16, 2011 by  
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Pope_Benedict_XVIVatican City, November 14, 2011: Here is the text of an address Benedict XVI gave Saturday to participants in an international conference on stem cell research, which was held at the Vatican.


Dear Brother Bishops,
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,
Dear Friends,

I wish to thank Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, for his kind words and for promoting this International Conference on Adult Stem Cells: Science and the Future of Man and Culture. I would also like to thank Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, President of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Health Workers, and Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life for their contribution to this particular endeavour. A special word of gratitude goes to the many benefactors whose support has made this event possible. In this regard, I would like to express the Holy See’s appreciation of all the work that is done, by various institutions, to promote cultural and formative initiatives aimed at supporting top-level scientific research on adult stem cells and exploring the cultural, ethical and anthropological implications of their use.

Scientific research provides a unique opportunity to explore the wonder of the universe, the complexity of nature and the distinctive beauty of life, including human life. But since human beings are endowed with immortal souls and are created in the image and likeness of God, there are dimensions of human existence that lie beyond the limits of what the natural sciences are competent to determine. If these limits are transgressed, there is a serious risk that the unique dignity and inviolability of human life could be subordinated to purely utilitarian considerations. But if instead these limits are duly respected, science can make a truly remarkable contribution to promoting and safeguarding the dignity of man: indeed herein lies its true utility. Man, the agent of scientific research, will sometimes, in his biological nature, form the object of that research. Nevertheless, his transcendent dignity entitles him always to remain the ultimate beneficiary of scientific research and never to be reduced to its instrument.

In this sense, the potential benefits of adult stem cell research are very considerable, since it opens up possibilities for healing chronic degenerative illnesses by repairing damaged tissue and restoring its capacity for regeneration. The improvement that such therapies promise would constitute a significant step forward in medical science, bringing fresh hope to sufferers and their families alike. For this reason, the Church naturally offers her encouragement to those who are engaged in conducting and supporting research of this kind, always with the proviso that it be carried out with due regard for the integral good of the human person and the common good of society.

This proviso is most important. The pragmatic mentality that so often influences decision-making in the world today is all too ready to sanction whatever means are available in order to attain the desired end, despite ample evidence of the disastrous consequences of such thinking. When the end in view is one so eminently desirable as the discovery of a cure for degenerative illnesses, it is tempting for scientists and policy-makers to brush aside ethical objections and to press ahead with whatever research seems to offer the prospect of a breakthrough. Those who advocate research on embryonic stem cells in the hope of achieving such a result make the grave mistake of denying the inalienable right to life of all human beings from the moment of conception to natural death. The destruction of even one human life can never be justified in terms of the benefit that it might conceivably bring to another. Yet, in general, no such ethical problems arise when stem cells are taken from the tissues of an adult organism, from the blood of the umbilical cord at the moment of birth, or from fetuses who have died of natural causes (cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Dignitas Personae, 32).

It follows that dialogue between science and ethics is of the greatest importance in order to ensure that medical advances are never made at unacceptable human cost. The Church contributes to this dialogue by helping to form consciences in accordance with right reason and in the light of revealed truth. In so doing she seeks, not to impede scientific progress, but on the contrary to guide it in a direction that is truly fruitful and beneficial to humanity. Indeed, it is her conviction that everything human, including scientific research, “is not only received and respected by faith, but is also purified, elevated and perfected” (ibid., 7). In this way science can be helped to serve the common good of all mankind, with a particular regard for the weakest and most vulnerable.

In drawing attention to the needs of the defenceless, the Church thinks not only of the unborn but also of those without easy access to expensive medical treatment. Illness is no respecter of persons, and justice demands that every effort be made to place the fruits of scientific research at the disposal of all who stand to benefit from them, irrespective of their means. In addition to purely ethical considerations, then, there are issues of a social, economic and political nature that need to be addressed in order to ensure that advances in medical science go hand in hand with just and equitable provision of health-care services. Here the Church is able to offer concrete assistance through her extensive health-care apostolate, active in so many countries across the globe and directed with particular solicitude to the needs of the world’s poor.

Dear friends, as I conclude my remarks, I want to assure you of a special remembrance in prayer and I commend to the intercession of Mary, Salus Infirmorum, all of you who work so hard to bring healing and hope to those who suffer. I pray that your commitment to adult stem cell research will bring great blessings for the future of man and genuine enrichment to his culture. To you, your families and your collaborators, as well as to all the patients who stand to benefit from your generous expertise and the results of your work, I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing. Thank you very much!

– zenith

Pope highlights need to harmonize business and family life

October 20, 2011 by  
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Pope Benedict XVIVatican, October 17, 2011: Pope Benedict XVI called for new ways of doing business, in keeping with the dignity of workers and their families, during an October 15 address to promoters of Catholic social doctrine.

“Family and work are privileged places for the construction of the vocation of man, collaborating in the creative work of God today,” he told the “Fondazione Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice,” a Vatican-based lay organization that spreads the Church’s social teaching around the world.

Its members met in Rome for a two-day conference on the relationship between family and business.

In his speech to the foundation, the Pope recalled how the Second Vatican Council “spoke of the family in terms of the domestic church, an ‘untouchable sanctuary’ where the person matures in affection, solidarity and spirituality.”

“The economy with its laws must always consider the interests and the protection of this primary cell of society,” the Pope noted.

His comments coincide with important anniversaries in the history of Catholic social teaching. Pope Leo XIII published the first modern encyclical on the topic, “Rerum Novarum,” 120 years ago in 1891.

Meanwhile, 2011 also marks 30 years since Blessed John Paul II’s family-centered apostolic exhortation “Familiaris Consortio,” and two decades since he addressed economic questions in the encyclical “Centessimus Annus”

Pope Benedict said that although “great changes have taken place in the world” since the days of Leo XIII, the Church “always promotes the human person and the family, in their context in life, even in business.”

He stressed the economy’s need for good families, observing that “it is primarily in the family that we learn the right attitude for living in society,” including the “world of work, economics, business.”

In these fields, he said, values from family life help people to be “led by charity, the logic of generosity, solidarity and responsibility for one another.”

Pope Benedict recognized that the present economic crisis has hit families hard. He highlighted his 2009 encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” as a guide to building a more humane society and economy, based on “a new harmonious synthesis between family and work.”

“It is not the task of the Church to define the ways to tackle the crisis,” the Pope acknowledged.

But Christians, formed by the Church’s teaching, have a duty “to denounce evil, to testify and to keep alive the values that underpin human dignity and to promote those forms of solidarity that promote the common good,” helping humanity become “more and more the family of God.”

– cna / ewtn news

Pope to host multi-faith meeting for peace

October 20, 2011 by  
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Pope to host multi-faith meeting for peaceVatican, October 19, 2011: Over 200 spiritual leaders, including Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, will attend a multi-faith meeting being hosted by Pope Benedict on October 27 in Vatican to promote world peace, reports the Indian Express.

The pontiff is hosting the multi-faith meeting, begun by his predecessor Pope John Paul II, the Vatican said in a statement.

The spiritual leaders invited are from Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, Confucianists, Baha’i, Jains, Jews, Taoists and Zoroastrian traditions.

Among the Hindu invitees are Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan Gandhi, who has already participated in an earlier meeting. Three Jains, five Sikhs and 67 Buddhists leaders are in the list of invitees.

Around 70 Muslim leaders, including from Iran and Saudi Arabia, will also be present on the occasion.

– ucan

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