Saturday, 24 March 2007

Pope Invited to Address Europarliament

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 23, 2007 - Pope Benedict XVI has been invited to speak to a plenary session of the European Parliament by its president, Hans-Gert Pöttering.

Pöttering made the invitation today when he was received by the Pope in a private audience.

According to the president's press office, Pöttering "took advantage of this occasion to invite the Pope to speak during a plenary session of the European Parliament."

During his visit to Italy's capital, the German-born president participated in a congress organized by European bishops on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome.

Pöttering had been one of the advocates of recognizing the Christian roots of Europe in its constitution.

Pope John Paul II spoke before the European Parliament in Strasbourg in 1988.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Russian President Putin Meets With Pope Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 13, 2007 The first visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Benedict XVI showed signs of warmer ties between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Vatican press office said that today's meeting, which took place in "a very positive atmosphere," demonstrated the cordial relations that exist between the Holy See and Russia, "as well as the mutual will to continue on this path."

The Holy See continued: "Within this framework, some bilateral topics with shared interest were examined, pertaining to the relations between the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches."

The statement added that current international issues were also analyzed, in particular the situation concerning the Middle East.

The Vatican reported that Putin and Benedict XVI, speaking in German, also addressed "problems of extremism and intolerance ... which constitute a serious menace to the civil coexistence between nations."

The leaders spoke of the need to "maintain peace and to favor a negotiated and peaceful resolution to the conflicts," added the press statement.

Putin gave the Holy Father an icon representing St. Nicholas of Myra.

On Wednesday, in the name of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate, Putin will ask the municipality of Bari, a city traditionally dear to the Russian Orthodox, to hand over possession of the Church of St. Nicholas. The structure was built by the Russian Orthodox early last century.

Additionally, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with states, met with Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, and other members of the president's delegation.

The Holy See does not maintain full diplomatic relations with the Russia, but does maintain a special mission in the country, supported by an ambassador.

Putin met Pope John Paul II in 2000 and 2003.


VATICAN CITY, MAR 13, 2007 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at 11.30 a.m. today, the presentation took place of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Sacramentum Caritatis" on the Eucharist, source and summit of the life and mission of the Church. Participating in the press conference were Cardinal Angelo Scola, patriarch of Venice, Italy, relator general of the 11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, and Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.

The exhortation, which is dated February 22, Feast of the of the Chair of St. Peter, is the final document of the synodal assembly held in Rome from October 2 to 23, 2005. It has been published in Latin, Italian, English, French, Spanish German, Portuguese and Polish.

Archbishop Eterovic explained how the Apostolic Exhortation forms part of the "series of great documents on the sublime Sacrament of the Eucharist such as, for example, those of Servant of God John Paul II 'Ecclesia de Eucharistia' and 'Mane nobiscum Domine.' 'Sacramentum Caritatis' is part of this continuity and, at the same time, re-proposes in an updated form certain essential truths of Eucharistic doctrine, calling for the dignified celebration of the sacred rite and recalling the urgent need to include Eucharistic life as part of everyday life."

The secretary general of the Synod of Bishops pointed out that the document, "in presenting the great truths of Eucharistic faith in a way accessible to modern man, considers various current aspects of [Eucharistic] celebration and calls for a renewed commitment to building a more just and peaceful world, in which the Bread broken for everyone's life becomes ... the exemplary cause in the fight against hunger and against all forms of poverty."

For his part, Cardinal Angelo Scola recalled how the title of the Apostolic Exhortation, "Sacramentum Caritatis," reaffirms "the Holy Father's insistence over these two years of his pontificate on the truth of love," clearly indicating that this is "one of the crucial themes upon which the future of the Church and of humanity depend."

The Exhortation is founded "on the indissoluble bond of three elements: Eucharistic mystery, liturgical action and new spiritual worship." Hence, the text "is divided into three sections, each one of which considers one of the three dimensions of the Eucharist." The sections are entitled: "the Eucharist, a Mystery to be believed," "the Eucharist, a Mystery to be celebrated," and "the Eucharist, a Mystery to be lived."

"The Holy Father's teaching," Cardinal Scola went on, "clearly illustrates how liturgical action (the mystery to be celebrated) is that specific action which makes it possible for Christian life (the mystery to be lived, new worship) to be conformed by faith (the mystery to be believed)." In "a second and very important doctrinal novelty," Benedict XVI also highlights "the importance of 'ars celebrandi' (art of celebration) for an ever greater 'actuosa participatio' (full, active and fruitful participation)."

The first section of the document, "the Eucharist, a Mystery to be believed," highlights the "free gift of the Blessed Trinity" and illustrates "the mystery of the Eucharist on the basis of its Trinitarian origin, which ensures it always remains a gift. ... In this teaching are the profound roots of what the Exhortation says concerning adoration and its intrinsic relationship with Eucharistic celebration."
With reference to Christology and the work of the Spirit, the Holy Father considers "the institution of the Eucharist in relation to the Jewish Paschal supper," in a "decisive passage that illuminates the radical 'novum' that Christ brought to the ancient ritual meal.

"Indeed," the cardinal added, "in the rites we do not repeat an act chronologically situated during Jesus' Last Supper, rather we celebrate the Eucharist as a radical 'novum' of Christian worship." Jesus calls us to enter "the mystery of death and resurrection, the innovative beginning of the transformation ... of all history and all the cosmos."

The chapter on "the Eucharist and the Church" highlights how "the Eucharist is the causal principle of the Church: 'We too, at every celebration of the Eucharist, confess the primacy of Christ's gift. The causal influence of the Eucharist at the Church's origins definitively discloses both the chronological and ontological priority of the fact that it was Christ Who loved us first.' Benedict XVI, while affirming the circularity between the Eucharist that builds the Church and the Church herself that celebrates the Eucharist, makes a significant magisterial option for the primacy of Eucharistic over ecclesial causality."

"The Holy Eucharist brings Christian initiation to completion and represents the center and goal of all sacramental life" said Cardinal Scola quoting from the Exhortation, and he pointed out how the document goes on to consider the Eucharist and the seven Sacraments. "Concerning the Sacrament of Reconciliation the Holy Father insists on the need for 'a reinvigorated catechesis on the conversion born of the Eucharist'," while "the Anointing of the Sick and the Viaticum 'unites the sick with Christ's self-offering for the salvation of all'."

"The irreplaceable nature of priestly ministry for the valid celebration of Mass," is emphasized in the chapter dedicated to "the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Holy Orders," said the patriarch of Venice, adding that the Holy Father "reaffirms and underlines the relationship between priestly ordination and celibacy: 'while respecting the practice and tradition of the Eastern Churches, there is a need to reaffirm the profound meaning of priestly celibacy, which is rightly considered a priceless treasure'."

The great decrease in the number of clergy on some continents "must be faced in the first place by bearing witness to the beauty of priestly life," and by "careful vocational formation." In the chapter entitled "the Eucharist and Matrimony" the Holy Father maintains that "the Eucharist, par excellence a nuptial Sacrament, 'inexhaustibly strengthens the indissoluble unity and love of every Christian marriage'."

"Taking the nuptial nature of the Eucharist as his starting point," said Cardinal Scola, "Benedict XVI reconsiders the theme of the unicity of Christian marriage, with reference to the question of polygamy and to the indissolubility of the marriage bond. "The text contains important pastoral suggestions" concerning Catholics who have divorced and remarried, he added. "The Exhortation, having reaffirmed that despite their situation such people 'continue to belong to the Church, which accompanies them with special concern,' lists nine ways to participate in the life of the community for these faithful who, even without receiving Communion, can adopt a Christian style of life."

Mention is also made in the text "of people who, having celebrated a valid marriage, ... find themselves unable to obtain a nullity of the marriage bond, suggesting that, with appropriate pastoral assistance they commit themselves 'to living their relationship in fidelity to the demands of God's law, as friends, as brother and sister,' in other words transforming their bond into a fraternal friendship."

The second part of the document, "the Eucharist, a Mystery to be celebrated," is dedicated, the cardinal said, "to describing the development of liturgical action in celebration, indicating the aspects that deserve the greatest attention and making a number of significant pastoral suggestions." "The Pope offers a number of indications concerning the richness of liturgical symbols (silence, vestments, gestures, the standing and kneeling positions, etc.) and of art at the service of celebration." In this context the document recalls the importance of the tabernacle being visible in the church and marked by a lamp.

The unity between Eucharistic mystery, liturgical action and new spiritual worship becomes clear "when the Pope highlights the personal conditions for active participation." The document highlights certain pastoral aspects that favor a more active participation in the sacred rites. These include use of the communications media, participation by the sick, prisoners and emigrants, large-scale concelebrations (which must be limited to "extraordinary situations"), and Eucharistic celebrations in small groups. "It also proposes a more widespread use of the Latin language, especially in the great international celebrations, without overlooking the importance of the Gregorian chant."

"The Pope," the cardinal went on, "recalls 'the inherent unity of the rite of Mass' which must also be expressed in the way in which the Liturgy of the Word is practiced." Benedict XVI highlights "the great educational value for the life of the Church, especially at this moment in history, of the presentation of the gifts, the sign of peace and the 'Ite, missa est.' And the Holy Father entrusts the study of possible modifications to these latter two aspects to the competent curial offices." The third and final part of the Apostolic Exhortation, said the cardinal, "demonstrates the power of the mystery - believed and celebrated - to become the ultimate and definitive horizon of Christian existence."

From its opening lines, the patriarch of Venice went on, the Apostolic Exhortation highlights the fact "that the gift of the Eucharist is for man, that it responds to man's hopes. ... In the Eucharistic celebration, Christians find the true and living God, capable of saving their lives. And the interlocutor of this salvation is human freedom." On this subject, Benedict XVI writes: "Precisely because Christ has become for us the food of truth, the Church turns to every man and woman, inviting them freely to accept God's gift."

The cardinal continued: "The anthropological importance of the Eucharist emerges with all its power in the new worship characteristic of Christians. ... On the basis of Eucharistic action, all the circumstances of life become, so to say, 'sacramental.' ... Regenerated by Baptism and 'eucharistically' incorporated into the Church, man can finally be completely fulfilled, learning to offer his 'own body' - in other words, all of himself - as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God."

The patriarch of Venice indicated that "all the faithful are called to a profound transformation of their own lives" which is, as the Pope writes, "'a heartfelt yearning to respond to the Lord's love with one's whole being, while remaining ever conscious of one's own weakness.' "In this context, the responsibility of Christians in public and political life becomes particularly important." Catholic politicians and legislators must, then, "introduce and support laws,' the Holy Father writes, "inspired by values grounded in human nature. There is an objective connection here with the Eucharist."

Another chapter of the document deals with the question of the Eucharist and witness. "The first and fundamental mission that we receive from the sacred mysteries we celebrate is that of bearing witness by our lives," the Holy Father writes. "The Exhortation," said the cardinal, "strongly recommends that everyone, and in particular the lay faithful 'cultivate a desire that the Eucharist have an ever deeper effect on their daily lives, making them convincing witnesses in the workplace and in society at large'."

The document, Cardinal Scola said, does not hesitate to affirm that "the Eucharist ... compels all who believe ... to become 'bread that is broken for others,' and to work for the building of a more just and fraternal world.""Eucharistic celebration involves the offer of bread and wine, the fruits of the earth, and of the life and labor of mankind. ... The question of protecting creation is developed and becomes more profound in relation to the Lord's design for all creation, The truth is not mere neutral matter at the mercy of technical and scientific manipulation, it is desired by God with a view to the recapitulation of all things in Christ. Hence the responsibility to protect creation, a responsibility that falls to Christians who are nourished by the Eucharist."

Cardinal Scola expressed the conviction that "in the authenticity of faith and of Eucharistic worship lies the secret for a revival of Christian life capable of regenerating the People of God. The mystery of the Eucharist throws opens the way to the reality of God, which is love."

At the beginning and end of the document, Benedict XVI highlights the relationship between the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary: "In Mary Most Holy, we also see perfectly fulfilled the 'sacramental' way that God comes down to meet His creatures and involves them in His saving work. ... From Mary we must learn to become men and women of the Eucharist and of the Church."

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XIV

Availability: On Back Order
ISBN: 0385523416
Author: Pope Benedict XVI
Length: 400 pages
Edition: Hardcover
Code: JN-H
Your Price: $24.95

Product Description

In this bold, momentous work, the Pope—in his first book written as Benedict XVI—seeks to salvage the person of Jesus from recent “popular” depictions and to restore Jesus’ true identity as discovered in the Gospels. Through his brilliance as a theologian and his personal conviction as a believer, the Pope shares a rich, compelling, flesh-and-blood portrait of Jesus and incites us to encounter, face-to-face, the central figure of the Christian faith.
From Jesus of Nazareth… “the great question that will be with us throughout this entire book: But what has Jesus really brought, then, if he has not brought world peace, universal prosperity, and a better world? What has he brought? The answer is very simple: God. He has brought God! He has brought the God who once gradually unveiled his countenance first to Abraham, then to Moses and the prophets, and then in the wisdom literature—the God who showed his face only in Israel, even though he was also honored among the pagans in various shadowy guises. It is this God, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, the true God, whom he has brought to the peoples of the earth. He has brought God, and now we know his face, now we can call upon him. Now we know the path that we human beings have to take in this world. Jesus has brought God and with God the truth about where we are going and where we come from: faith, hope, and love.”
Available May 15

Copyright © 2004 by Ignatius Press

Monday, 12 March 2007

Pope John Paul II on the way to canonization

The diocese of Rome has completed its examination of the life and virtues of Pope John Paul II in the first step of the process towards canonisation of the late pontiff.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar General for the diocese, announced on Saturday that the important investigation had been concluded and will be marked by a ceremony at Rome's Cathedral, the Basilica of St John Lateran early next month, the Catholic News Agency reports.

Whereas all popes serve as the Bishop of Rome, the study of John Paul II's life began both there and in Poland, where the young Karol Wojtyla grew up and served as a priest and bishop before being elected Pope.

In January, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the late Pope's longtime secretary and current Archbishop of Krakow announced that the Polish investigation was nearly complete.

Cardinal Ruini emphasised that diocesan officials investigated "the life, virtues and reputation for holiness" of the late Pope. During the diocesan inquiry, church officials interviewed those who knew the Pope and examined documentation.

Although the conclusions of diocesan investigations are only one step, they are an important one on the way to the Pope's eventual beatification and canonisation as a saint, Catholic News Agency says.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints must now conduct a similar investigation and verify miracles attributed to the intercession of Pope John Paul II.

Shortly after John Paul's death, with scores of faithful clamouring for quick canonisation, Pope Benedict XVI, the Pontiff's successor, waived the customary five-year waiting period to open the case for possible sainthood.

According to the Associated Press, Pope Benedict will also preside at a 2 April Mass in memory of John Paul in St Peter's Basilica. The date marks the 2nd anniversary of Pope John Paul's death.

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Holy See Delegation to Visit Vietnam

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 2, 2007 - A Holy See delegation will make a weeklong visit to Vietnam to maintain relations with the country's authorities.

The visit of the Vatican representatives, headed by Monsignor Pietro Parolin, undersecretary for relations with states, will begin Sunday.

The visit takes place after Benedict XVI received Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in audience Jan. 25. The prime minister was the first leader of Hanoi to be received in the Vatican by a Pope.

A Vatican communiqué described that meeting as "a new and important step toward the normalization of bilateral relations."

According to AsiaNews, "The Vatican delegation headed for Hanoi aims for the concrete launch of a process toward diplomatic ties, even if not their immediate realization, and also for the appointment of bishops."

Friday, 2 March 2007

Bishop named among cricket club greats

Port Pirie Bishop Eugene Hurley who once dreamed of wearing the Baggy Green cap as an Australian Test cricketer has been described as one of the South Australian regional centre's best ever cricketers by his former club.

As a left-arm fast bowler of genuine pace for Southport Cricket Club Bishop Hurley played 84 matches, taking 189 wickets at an average of 16.9 with best figures of 6/46 and 11 five-wicket hauls, the Southern Cross reports.

"I feel very humbled and was very surprised," Bishop Hurley, 67, told the Cross.

"It's a very precious thing, not so much for the personal honour, but to be named among men for whom I have the most immense regard as people and cricketers."

The Bishop was a bowler of long spells and also capable of moving the ball through the air and off the pitch, according to Southport cricketers who played with him when he was simply Father Hurley, a young priest of the Port Pirie Diocese.

He made 1,288 runs at an average of 16.3, with a highest score of 59, during his Southport playing days from 1972 to 1977. He also once won the Grewar Medal for best cricketer in the Port Pirie Cricket Association – the only time it was ever won by a Southport player.

"They were a great team and it was a lovely time for me. They've become lifelong friends of mine and I really treasure that," Bishop Hurley said.

"They treated me with great respect and the greatest testament to that is they treated me like everybody else.

"I really appreciated that and never felt uncomfortable playing cricket as a priest. You're all equal on the cricket field.

"It's an enormous privilege to play sport – it's a wonderful way to be part of the community."

Bishop Hurley's inclusion in the all-time best XI at a reunion on February 17 in Port Pirie is thought to be the first time a Catholic bishop has been named in such a line-up. Event organiser Paul Pasculli explained why Bishop Hurley had been picked.

"He was a fantastic bowler. He would have had a great career as a top club cricketer," Paul said.

"I don't think it was considered strange that a priest was playing. He was a good, hard competitor on the field and didn't give any quarter.

"Bishop Hurley was one of our greatest players, indeed one of Port Pirie's greatest ever cricketers."

''Big problems'' for Iraqi Christians, Pontifical agency warns

Christians are facing "big problems" in Iraq, the director of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine's Iraq director says, while some Catholic refugees who have fled the war-torn country say they were safer under Saddam.

The Catholic News Service reports that seen as allies of the West, Christians and their institutions have become targets of extremist Islamic groups in Iraq, say Iraqi Christians.

"Christians are facing a big problem in Iraq. Maybe all Iraqis are facing big problems, but I am talking about the Christians now," said Ra'ed Bahou, the Pontifical Mission for Palestine's regional director for Jordan and Iraq.

Saddam Hussein's regime - no matter how cruel and despotic - kept the lid on any sectarian violence, said one Iraqi Catholic refugee in Jordan, who asked that his name not be used. He said Saddam, a secular leader, was especially good for Christians, as long as they stayed out of the way.

"Saddam (controlled) everything. Nobody could say anything bad especially (about) us Christians," he said. "Christians in the Middle East are very good people. We are peace-loving people."

Another refugee said that after years of living in fear and daily bombings many Iraqi Christians felt they were actually safer with Saddam.

"We are getting tired. When Saddam was in power there was no fighting. Saddam loved the Christians. We were safer with Saddam; now we just leave the country," he said.

Christians make up about 5 percent of the 1.5 million Iraqi refugees in Jordan, said Bahou, whose agency is under the auspices of the New York-based Catholic Near East Welfare Association.

Most of the Christians in Iraq were part of the middle class and had a relatively good standard of living before the war, Bahou said.

At least six Iraqi priests have been kidnapped and five Christian churches bombed in the past few years. At first the Islamic extremists targeted mainly Christians, but now they have turned against each other, said one relief official who works with the Iraqi refugees.

"In the end there will be no Iraq," she said.

New Timor Papal Nuncio presents credentials, and calls for end to conflict

As he presented his credentials to East Timor's president, the country's new Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, has urged the Church and government to work together to free the people from conflict.

UCA News reports that Archbishop Girelli was making his first pastoral visit to East Timor (Timor Leste) this week since he took office as apostolic nuncio to both Indonesia and Timor Leste in 2006.

He celebrated Mass at Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Dili, visited camps for displaced people in and around the capital, and visited Our Lady of Fatima Minor Seminary in Dare, a village of Dili. He also met with leaders of Baucau and Dili dioceses, which cover the predominantly Catholic country.

After the meeting with President Xanana Gusmao, the Jakarta-based nuncio told the media that throughout his three-day visit he asked the Church and the government to build peace and stability in Timor Leste.

"I bring also Pope Benedict XVI's blessing and prayer that Timor Leste be free from crisis as soon as possible," he said.

Bishop Alberto Ricardo da Silva of Dili accompanied Archbishop Girelli to the meeting.

Archbishop Girelli said that aside from talking about Church participation in the fields of education and health, they also discussed long-term cooperation between the Vatican and Timor Leste in order to create peace.

"The president told us that Timor Leste really needs the diplomatic relations with the Vatican," the nuncio added.

Bishop da Silva, who also spoke to the press, said that during the meeting "the nuncio asked the president to work together with the Church to quickly solve the crisis."

A mutiny in April 2006 led to months of arson, looting and gang violence, pitting locals from eastern and western parts of the country against one another. At least 20 people died and 100,000 were displaced, taking refuge in camps, many of them in Catholic churches and centres.

Vatican delegation to visit Vietnam

Meanwhile, the International Herald Tribune reports that a Vatican delegation will talk with Vietnamese officials in Hanoi next week as the Holy See strives for diplomatic relations with the Communist-run country, Vatican officials said on Thursday.

Msgr Pietro Parolin, an undersecretary of state, will lead the delegation, which departs from Rome on Sunday.

The visit will go ahead despite the arrest of a Hue Catholic priest, Fr Nguyen Van Ly, last week.

Although the visit is part of periodic talks between both sides, this appointment followed a recent meeting at the Vatican between Pope Benedict XVI and Vietnam's prime minister.

The Vatican has indicated that official ties between the Holy See and Hanoi could lead to Catholic assistance in medical care and other social services for the Vietnamese people.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Benedict imposes ashes on Gustavo Gutierrez

Pope Benedict, who as Cardinal Ratzinger guided a critical review of the work of Peruvian Dominican Gustavo Gutierrez, imposed ashes on the famous liberation theologian during an Ash Wednesday liturgy, it has been revealed.

Catholic News Service reports that Fr Gutierrez was in Rome to teach a brief course at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas, also known as the Angelicum.

On 21 February, Fr Gutierrez gathered with several hundred faithful in the Basilica of Santa Sabina, where the Pope was opening the Lenten season. Midway through the liturgy, Fr Gutierrez was among a small group who went individually in front of the pontiff for the imposition of ashes on their heads.

Fr Gutierrez's 1971 book, A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, Salvation, presented his concept of the connection between social and political liberation and liberation from sin.

As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the currJustify Fullent pope - then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - helped guide a lengthy critical review of Fr Gutierrez's work. During the 1990s, Fr Gutierrez was asked to write and rewrite articles clarifying some of his theological and pastoral points.

In 2004, the doctrinal congregation expressed approval of Fr Gutierrez's latest article on ecclesial communion, and it was published in the Angelicum university's scholarly review.

Fr Gutierrez said that his problems with the church's teaching authority, or magisterium, were "completely over" and had been settled some time ago. He said that was clearly demonstrated by the fact that he was teaching in a Rome pontifical university, which he said "is very important and significant for me."

Fr Gutierrez said he still freely expresses his views on liberation theology, because it remains "my way of reflecting on the faith."

Cardinal Bertone: Holy See's Diplomacy Serves Humanity

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2007 ( Holy See diplomacy does not seek its own interests, but rather the true good of the human person, says the Vatican secretary of state.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said this at the meeting on "Diplomatic Representations of the Holy See: History, Research and Present Importance," held at Rome's Luigi Sturzo Institute last Thursday.

The Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with 177 countries and participates in 33 intergovernmental organizations and groups. It has 101 apostolic nuncios in nunciatures and two apostolic nuncios at the disposition of the Vatican Secretariat of State and the president of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.

Vatican diplomacy "contributes with its own means to dialogue and collaboration with the civil community and its authorities, which must serve the integral good of the person, who is at the same time citizen and member of the Christian community," noted Cardinal Bertone.

"Pontifical diplomacy acts in this sense in the numerous countries that accept a pontifical representation and in the Areopagus of international organizations and meetings," he added.

International organizations

The Holy See has permanent observers to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in Paris; the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, in Rome; the Council of Europe; the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna; and the World Tourism Organization, in Rome.

Cardinal Bertone said: "The interests that the Church and the Holy See pursue are not for their own advantages but seek only the true good of man and of humanity, because they know, as St. Irenaeus reminds us, that 'the living man is the glory of God.'"

The Church also carries out "its mission of teaching, sanctification and guidance of those who are baptized," the secretary of state said. The Church, he added, promotes everywhere "the right to religious liberty which allows each person to freely seek and find the one who is source of life."