The Holy Father´s Week: November 2, 2009

A report on Benedict XVI´s messages and activities.
by Maribel de Torres | Source:

On the centenary of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, the Pope affirmed that, even though historical-critical method of interpreting biblical texts is legitimate and necessary; it must not be forgotten that the key to the interpretation of Scripture is the faith of the Church. 

The dogmatic constitution "Dei Verbum", he explained, “has stressed the legitimacy and necessity of the historical-critical method, reducing it to three essential elements: attention to literary genres; study of the historical context; examination of what is usually called Sitz im Leben" (roughly translated as "setting in life").
But, he added “to read Scripture as a unit means to read it from the Church as from its vital place, and to regard the faith of the Church as the real key to interpretation.” 

“The faith of the Church is that form of "sim-patia" without which the Bible remains as a sealed book: Tradition does not close access to Scripture, but rather opens it; on the other hand, the decisive word in the interpretation of Scripture corresponds to the Church, in her institutional organizations. It is the Church, in fact, which has been entrusted with the task of interpreting authentically the Word of God written and transmitted, exercising her authority in the name of Jesus Christ " (cfr "Dei Verbum," 10).

The Holy Father mentioned the Institute’s achievements which in the course of this century has increased interest in the Bible and awareness of the importance of the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church.
 “It is the common desire that sacred Scripture become in this secularized world, not only the soul of theology, but also the source of spirituality and vigour of the faith of all believers in Christ”  VATICAN CITY, OCT. 26, 2009

Between faith and reason there is a natural friendship. Benedict XVI said during the general audience in St. Peter's Square considering Monastic and Scholastic theology.  “The twelfth century was a time of a spiritual, cultural and political rebirth in the West”, he affirmed. “Two basic "models" of theology emerged,” he explained:  Monastic theology and Scholastic theology.
The first one grew out of the prayerful contemplation of the Scriptures and the texts of the Church Fathers, stressing their interior unity and spiritual meaning, centred on the mystery of Christ.
Scholastic theology sought to clarify the understanding of the faith by study of the sources and the use of logic, and led to the great works of synthesis known as the Summae.
“Scholastic theology sought to present the unity and harmony of Christian Revelation with a method, called specifically "Scholastic," of the school, which gives confidence to human reason: grammar and philology are at the service of theological learning, but so increasingly is logic, namely that discipline that studies the "functioning" of human reasoning, so that the truth of a proposition seems evident”

This type of theology, "stimulates us to be always ready to answer anyone asking for the reason for the hope that is in us." the Holy Father affirmed, “It reminds us that there is between faith and reason a natural friendship, founded on the order of creation itself.”
 “When love vivifies the prayerful dimension of theology, knowledge, acquired by reason, is broadened. Truth is sought with humility, received with wonder and gratitude: In a word, knowledge grows only if it loves truth.” VATICAN CITY, OCT. 28, 2009
Full text of the general audience address:

Prayer intentions for November centre on safeguarding God’s creation.
The general intention chosen by the Pope: "That all the men and women in the world, especially those who have responsibilities in the field of politics and economics, may never fail in their commitment to safeguard creation."
 The apostolic intention for November is: "That believers in the different religions, through the testimony of their lives and fraternal dialogue, may clearly demonstrate that the name of God is a bearer of peace." VATICAN CITY, OCT. 30, 2009

Other papal messages and activities

The newly beatified founder of the Don Gnocci Foundation was lauded by the Pope who  claimed for himself the motto of the beatification: "Alongside of life, always."
Father Gnocchi (1902-1956) is remembered as a hero of solidarity with victims of World War II. He was called father for the mutilated and of combatants' orphans, since the centre he created offered rehabilitation to those who suffered as a consequence of the war. In 1947 he created a foundation that has evolved into centers that receive patients with various disabilities, as well as patients who are in need of surgical intervention and rehabilitation, elderly people who are not self-sufficient and terminal cancer patients.
 The Pontiff described Blessed Gnocchi as having given "all of himself to the very end," and even at death, gave his corneas to two blind boys. VATICAN CITY, OCT. 26, 2009

 Benedict XVI greeted the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Karekin II, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of his election. The Pope sent a message hoping "That we may be ever more closely united in the sacred bond of Christian faith, hope and love."
The Armenian Apostolic Church is one of six ancient Oriental Orthodox Churches separated from Rome after the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451. A decisive step to overcome this division was taken in 1996, when Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Karekin I signed a joint declaration to dissipate "many of the misunderstandings inherited from the controversies and disagreements of the past."
 VATICAN CITY, OCT. 27, 2009

The Holy father will visit Pope Paul VI's birthplace, Concesio, in November, 30 years after Paul VI's death. VATICAN CITY, OCT. 27, 2009

Papal decoration on a devotion to Mary as she is revered in the Diocese of Jaen, Spain. The Pope has given the Golden Rose to the "Virgen de la Cabeza" (literally, Virgin of the Head), on the centenary of her coronation. JAEN, Spain, OCT. 27, 2009

The Pope offered the sick, newlyweds and youth the example of the Apostles Simon and Jude, "May their evangelical testimony sustain you, dear young people, in the commitment of daily faithfulness to Christ," the Pope said as he concluded his address in St. Peter's Square.” VATICAN CITY, OCT. 28, 2009

The Pope plans to visit Turin in May, on the occasion of the exposition of the Holy Shroud. The last time the shroud was exposed for the public was 10 years ago. The upcoming exposition is scheduled for April 10 to May 23, 2010. TURIN, Italy, OCT. 28, 2009

New auxiliary bishop for Jolliet, Illinois. Benedict XVI named Father Joseph Siegel, a parish pastor, will be ordained bishop Jan. 19 . JOLIET, Illinois, OCT. 28, 2009

Benedict XVI received in audience the new ambassador from Iran to the Holy See, Ali Akbar Naseri. "Iran is a great nation that has eminent spiritual traditions and its people have a profound religious sensibility," the Pontiff said, and he underlined the "urgent need" to establish harmonious relations between believers of different religions. This, he said, will serve to "build a more human world, more conformed to the plan of God on creation."

To this end, the Pontiff praised the meetings held jointed by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Organization for Islamic Culture and Relations: "Contributing to seeking together what is just and correct, those meetings allow all to progress in reciprocal knowledge and to cooperate in the reflection of great questions that affect the life of humanity." VATICAN CITY, OCT. 29, 2009

A genuine revolution is taking place in the realm of social communications of which the Church is ever more responsibly conscious." the Pontiff said to the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. "These technologies make speedy and penetrating communication possible, with a capacity to share ideas and opinions; to facilitate acquiring information and news in a personal way that is accessible to all," he added.
The new means of communication constitute "a challenge for the Church, called to proclaim the Gospel to men of the third millennium, keeping the content unaltered, but making it comprehensible thanks also to the instruments and means harmonious with the mentality and the cultures of today." 
The Holy Father invited those present to "take up the challenges that these new technologies pose to evangelization." VATICAN CITY, OCT. 29, 2009

“Today’s scientists need awe” the Holy Father said to astronomers celebrating the Internacional Year of Astronomy,. He said this year “is meant not least to recapture for people throughout our world the extraordinary wonder and amazement which characterized the great age of discovery in the sixteenth century”
 “At the same time, the great scientists of the age of discovery remind us also that true knowledge is always directed to wisdom, and, rather than restricting the eyes of the mind, it invites us to lift our gaze to the higher realm of the spirit.”
“It is my hope that the wonder and exaltation which are meant to be the fruits of this International Year of Astronomy will lead beyond the contemplation of the marvels of creation to the contemplation of the Creator, and of that Love which is the underlying motive of his creation -- the Love which, in the words of Dante Alighieri, "moves the sun and the other stars" (Paradiso XXXIII, 145)”.  VATICAN CITY, OCT. 30, 2009
Full text:

The Pope received the new ambassador of Panama to the Holy See, Delia Cardenas. In his address he underlined the "irreplaceable elements that create a healthy social fabric and build a vigorous society." Specifically, he referred to the "defense of such primordial aspects as commitment to social justice, the struggle against corruption, the endeavor in favor of peace, the inviolability of the right to human life from the moment of conception to its natural death, as well as the safeguarding of the family based on marriage between a man and a woman."
He also pointed out "the valuable role that Panama is playing for the political stability of the Central American area, at a time in which the present juncture highlights how a consistent and harmonious progress of the human community does not depend solely on economic development or technological discoveries."VATICAN CITY, OCT. 30, 2009

A prayer for the Holy Father 
Christ Jesus, King and Lord of the Church, in your presence I renew my unconditional loyalty to your Vicar on earth, the Pope. In him you have chosen to show us the safe and sure path that we must follow in the midst of confusion, uneasiness, and unrest. I firmly believe that through him you govern, teach, and sanctify us; with him as our shepherd, we form the true Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Grant me the grace to love, live, and spread faithfully our Holy Father’s teachings. Watch over his life, enlighten his mind, strengthen his spirit, defend him from calumny and evil. Calm the erosive winds of infidelity and disobedience. Hear our prayer and keep your Church united around him, firm in its belief and action, that it may truly be the instrument of your redemption. Amen. 

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