THE POPE RECEIVES PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY VATICAN CITY, 8 OCT 2010 (VIS REPORT) - The Holy See Press Office today released the following communique: "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France. "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. "The cordial discussions focused on the international political situation, including the Middle East peace process, the position of Christians in various different countries, and increasing the representation of world regions in multilateral organisations. Attention subsequently turned to underlining the importance of the ethical and social dimension of economic problems, in the light of the Encyclical 'Caritas in veritate'. "Having then recalled His Holiness' apostolic trip to Lourdes and Paris in 2008, and President Sarkozy's visit to the Vatican of the preceding year, the two men reiterated their joint desire to maintain permanent dialogue at various institutional levels, and to continue constructive collaboration on matters of mutual interest".OP/ VIS 20101008 (180)
SYNOD FOR THE MIDDLE EAST TO BEGIN ON SUNDAY VATICAN CITY, 8 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, today held a briefing in the Holy See Press Office to inform journalists of the significance and of certain organisational aspects of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, due to be held in the Vatican from 10 to 24 October. The theme of the forthcoming synodal assembly is: "The Catholic Church in the Middle East. Communion and Witness. Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul". Archbishop Eterovic explained that "what we mean by Middle East, apart from Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories, are the following sixteen States: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Syria, Turkey and Yemen. This vast region of 7,180,912 square kilometres is home to 356,174,000 people, of whom 5,707,000 are Catholic, representing 1.6 percent of the population. The number of Christians stands at about 20,000,000; that is, 5.62 percent of the population". "Apart from the Church of the Latin tradition, since earliest times there have been six 'sui iuris' Eastern Catholic Churches, each with its own patriarch, father and head of the Church: the Coptic Church, the Syrian Church, the Greek-Melkite Church, the Maronite Church, the Chaldean Church and the Armenian Church. ... The variety of traditions, spirituality, liturgy and disciplines is a great treasure to be conserved not only for the Eastern Catholic Churches, but for the whole Catholic Church presided over in charity by the Bishop of Rome, Universal Pastor of the Church". The Special Assembly for the Middle East, Archbishop Eterovic continued, will be attended by 185 Synod Fathers including 101 ordinaries from the ecclesiastical circumscriptions of the area, and twenty-three from the diaspora who have responsibility for faithful of the Eastern Catholic Churches who have emigrated from the Middle East to all corners of the world. Also present will be thirty-six experts and thirty-four auditors, both men and women. The sittings of the synodal assembly will also be attended by a number of fraternal delegates representing fourteen Churches and ecclesial communities with deep roots in the Middle East. The Synod Fathers will be addressed by three special guests invited by the Holy Father: Rabbi David Rosen, director for inter-religious affairs of the American Jewish Committee and the Heilbrunn Institute for International Inter-religious Understanding, Israel; Muhammad al-Sammak, political counsellor to the Grand Mufti of Lebanon, for Sunni Islam, and Ayatollah Seyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Ahmadabadi, professor at the Faculty of Law at the Shahid Beheshti University of Tehran and Member of the Iranian Academy of Sciences, for Shia Islam. The secretary general then went on to explain some specific characteristics of this Synod. "For the first time", he said, "almost all the ordinaries of the Middle East will meet with the Bishop of Rome"; moreover it "will be the shortest ever synodal assembly, lasting only fourteen days". This, he explained, "is the result of the relatively lower number of participants, which during the Ordinary General Assemblies can include as many as 250 Synod Fathers", and because the "complex situation in Middle Eastern countries means we do not want to keep the pastors from their flocks for too long". Arabic will be one of the official languages of this Synod, along with French, English and Italian, said Archbishop Eterovic. "The aims of the Special Assembly for the Middle East are mainly of a pastoral nature" and can be divided into two main points: "reviving communion between the venerable 'sui iuris' Eastern Catholic Churches that they may offer an authentic, joyful and attractive witness of Christian life", and "strengthening Christian identity through the Word of God and the celebration of the Sacraments". The Synod, the archbishop concluded, is "a joyous occasion to present the riches of the Eastern Catholic Churches to the entire world, especially to Christians, that they may offer greater spiritual and material support to their brothers and sisters in the Middle East, in particular those who live in difficult situations because of violence, terrorism, emigration and discrimination".SE/ VIS 20101008 (700)
AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 8 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences seven prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Bruno Pedron S.D.B. of Ji-Parana. - Bishop Joaquin Pertinez Fernandez O.A.R. of Rio Branco. - Bishop Eloi Roggia S.A.C., prelate of Borba. - Bishop Carillo Gritti I.M.C., prelate of Itacoatiara. - Bishop Sergio Eduardo Castriani C.S.Sp., prelate of Tefe. - Bishop Jesus Moraza Ruiz de Azua O.A.R., prelate of Labrea. - Bishop Gutemberg Freire Regis C.SS.R., apostolic administrator of the prelature of Coari. This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.AL:AP/ VIS 20101008 (120)
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 8 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Douglas Regattieri, vicar general of Carpi, Italy, as bishop of Cesena-Sarsina (area 1,530, population 166,500, Catholics 159,500, priests 167, permanent deacons 32, religious 133), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Vallata di Concordia, Italy in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1973.