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My People

Vol. 18, Issue 11, November 2005

"If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land." — 2 Chronicles 7:14


Faithfulness To Word Of God Is Key To Christian Life
Vatican Urges Continued Commitment To Youths
In Defense of Life: Words To Ponder
U.N. Needs Renewal To Meet Needs Of Poor
Modern Advances Require Rethinking Of Role Of Elderly
Only Jesus Christ Can Truly Set Us Free
Moratorium On Landmines Urged
Light to the Nations: A Christian Perspective on World News
Pray the News


Faithfulness To Word Of God Is Key To Christian Life

Pope Benedict XVI emphasized the central place of the Word of God in the life of the Church and the individual Christian in a message to participants in an international congress commemorating the 40th anniversary of Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum). The Pope's message, dated September 16, follows:

"I offer my most cordial greeting to all of you who are taking part in the Congress on Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church, an event organized by the Catholic Biblical Federation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of Dei Verbum, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation. I congratulate you on this initiative, connected with one of the most important Documents of the Second Vatican Council.

"I greet the Cardinals and Bishops, who are the first witnesses of the Word of God, the theologians who investigate, explain and, translate it into today's language, the Pastors who seek in it appropriate solutions for the problems of our time.

"I warmly thank all who work in the service of the translation and circulation of the Bible, providing the means for explaining, teaching, and interpreting its message. In this regard, my special thanks go to the Catholic Biblical Federation for its activity, the biblical ministry it promotes, and its faithful support of the directives of the Magisterium as well as to its spirit of openness to ecumenical collaboration in the biblical context.

"I express my deepest joy at the presence at this Congress of "Fraternal Delegates" of the Churches and Ecclesial Communities of East and West, and I greet with cordial respect the representatives who have spoken on behalf of the great world Religions.

"The Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, whose drafting I personally witnessed as a young theologian, taking part in the lively discussions that went with it, begins with a deeply meaningful sentence: 'Dei Verbum religiose audiens et fidenter proclamans, Sacrosancta Synodus. . .' ('Hearing the Word of God with reverence, and proclaiming it with faith, the Sacred Synod. . .') (n. 1).

"With these words the Council points out a descriptive aspect of the Church: she is a community that listens to and proclaims the Word of God.

"The Church does not live on herself but on the Gospel, and in the Gospel always and ever anew finds the directions for her journey. This is a point that every Christian must understand and apply to himself or herself: only those who first listen to the Word can become preachers of it.

"Indeed, they must not teach their own wisdom but the wisdom of God, which often appears to be foolishness in the eyes of the world (cf. 1 Cor 1:23).

"The Church knows well that Christ lives in the Sacred Scriptures. For this very reason – as the Constitution stresses – she has always venerated the divine Scriptures in the same way as she venerates the Body of the Lord (cf. Dei Verbum, n.21).

"In view of this, St Jerome, cited by the conciliar Document, said that ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ (cf. Dei Verbum, n. 25).

"The Church and the Word of God are inseparably linked. The Church lives on the Word of God and the Word of God echoes through the Church, in her teaching and throughout her life (cf. Dei Verbum, n. 8). The Apostle Peter, therefore, reminds us that no prophecy contained in Scripture can be subjected to a personal interpretation. 'Prophecy has never been put forward by man's willing it. It is rather that men impelled by the Holy Spirit have spoken under God's influence' (2 Pt 1:20).

"We are grateful to God that in recent times, and thanks to the impact made by the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, the fundamental importance of the Word of God has been deeply re-evaluated. From this has derived a renewal of the Church's life, especially in her preaching, catechesis, theology, and spirituality, and even in the ecumenical process. The Church must be constantly renewed and rejuvenated and the Word of God, which never ages and is never depleted, is a privileged means to achieve this goal. Indeed, it is the Word of God, through the Holy Spirit, which always guides us to the whole truth (cf. Jn 16:13).

"In this context, I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of Lectio divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God Who is speaking, and in praying, responds to Him with trusting openness of heart (cf. Dei Verbum, n. 25). If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church - I am convinced of it - a new spiritual springtime.

"As a strong point of biblical ministry, Lectio divina should therefore be increasingly encouraged, also through the use of new methods, carefully thought through and in step with the times. It should never be forgotten that the Word of God is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (cf. Ps 119[118]:105).

"In invoking God's Blessing upon your work, your projects, and the Congress in which you are taking part, I join in the hope that enlivens you: May the Word of the Lord make progress (cf. 2 Thes 3:1) to the very ends of the earth, so that through the proclamation of salvation the whole world through hearing it may believe, through belief it may hope, and through hope it may come to love (cf. Dei Verbum, n. 1). I thank you with all my heart!"


Vatican Urges Continued Commitment To Youths

Francisco Dionisio, representing the Vatican delegation to the United Nations, urged continued commitment to young people in a U.N. meeting October 6 in New York. This meeting of the 60th General Assembly focused on "World Program Of Action For Youth To The Year 2000 And Beyond."

Mr. Dionisio's statement follows:

"My delegation is pleased to participate in this important discussion on the World Program of Action for Youth. It was once said flippantly: "youth is wasted on the young"; nevertheless, the Holy See is pleased that the United Nations continues to have a high regard for their importance.

"Recently, at a gathering of hundreds of thousands of young people in Cologne (Germany), Pope Benedict XVI echoed the sentiments of young people around the world, saying, 'We are concerned for the state of the world and we are asking: "Where do I find standards to live by, what are the criteria that govern responsible cooperation in building the present and the future of our world?"'

"Young people aspire to be great. But to achieve greatness, they must be mindful of others, especially those who are without. Nor can they achieve this alone. They need the leadership and resources of governments, the interest and cooperation of non-governmental organizations, and the good will and hard work of all people.

"In the light of this concern, my delegation has carefully followed developments since the launch ten years ago of the World Program of Action for Youth. Its ten priority areas for action touched upon significant issues and themes that affect the lives of young people and our world.

"The Secretary-General's 2005 World Youth Report returns to some troubling elements that still affect young people's lives today. Addressing one of those concerns, my delegation reiterates its position on the use of the expression 'sexual and reproductive health,' as contained in the Report. My delegation understands it as a holistic promotion of the health of women, men, youth, and children. It does not consider abortion or access to abortion as a dimension of these terms.

"The Holy See also continues to be fully committed to the role of youth in the global economy, poverty, education, and employment. Currently in the world, there are over 196,000 Catholic primary and secondary schools attended by more than 51 million children and youths. Additionally, there are almost 1,000 Catholic universities, colleges, and other institutes, educating more than 4 million young adults. Young people are being helped to receive the education they deserve and are encouraged to give back to others. Education is the gift that continues to give.

"With respect to youth in relation to society, environment, leisure, and participation, by means of thousands of youth groups around the world, the Catholic Church shares and promotes the importance of caring for one's self, the environment, and one's peers.

"Regarding youth at risk, health, drugs, delinquency, and discrimination against girls and young women, there are almost 12,000 Catholic hospitals and institutions of healthcare and preventative medicine throughout the world. Trained local professionals, through their work there, support the principle that all human life is sacred, and that each person has worth. The young are clearly cared for as precious and vulnerable members of society.

"Mr. President, the ability to accomplish the specific goals of the ten priorities boils down to commitment. The round table discussion for young people called it 'making commitments that matter.' We know that we live in a complex and complicated world, and many young people know that such commitment requires three things: recognizing needs, especially in the poorest members of our world; planning a response; and following through.

"The Holy See encourages the U.N. to continue to identify the needs of the world's young people, especially of the poorest and weakest of them. It further recommits itself to working together with the international community to develop realistic, appropriate, immediate, and long-term responses. Building a better world is a lifelong process. Oftentimes it is a very long journey. But young people recognize that their journey is just beginning. And precisely given their youth, they are still at the initial steps in paving a path for success in the future. Every person of every age matters as we work together to build a world that is safe and happy for young people. . .



Words To Ponder

Fred H. Summe
Fred H. Summe, vice president of Northern Kentucky Right to Life
by Fred H. Summe

A great author or speaker possesses the ability to express profound thoughts in few words, and in a form readily understood.

The following are examples of such, which are worthy of being read and pondered.

Terri Schiavo

"A fundamental moral principle consistent with faith in God revealed in Jesus Christ is to always care rather than kill…Although it may sometimes appear to be an act of compassion, killing is never a means of caring. . .A person who is in a 'persistent vegetative state' is not a vegetable, especially not to those who know her and love her. The love that Mrs. Schiavo's parents and siblings have toward her, and the care they display toward her, is of immense value. It should be humbly acknowledged that no one – no physician, no ethicist, no judge, nor any other human being – can absolutely know the effect that the power of love has upon someone even as severely disabled as Mrs. Schiavo."
– Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker, United Methodist Church

"I should like particularly to underline how the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory…"
– John Paul II, March 20, 2004, Address to the Participants in the International Congress


"The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God Himself, the author and guarantor of that law."
– Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae

"The unconditional commitment to every unborn life, to which the Church feels bound from the very beginning, permits no ambiguity or compromise."
– Pope John Paul II to German Bishops


"The taking of the life of another human being has a life-changing impact on a person…I can't give it a name, but I can tell you…I struggled…with enormous grief and depression."
– Post-abortive mother quoted in Forbidden Grief

"They wonder what the child would be like, who he or she would look like, the voice, the smile, the joy in the eyes, the beautiful ring of the word, 'Mommy.' They imagine it all! That is their grief; they do imagine what their lives would be like if they had not had the abortion."
– Bishop Robert F. Vasa, Baker, Oregon


"When, as today, there is a market in human organs, when fetuses are produced to make spare organs available or to make progress in research and preventive medicine, many regard the human content of these practices as implicit. But the contempt for man that underlies it, when man is used and abused, lead – like it or not – to a descent into hell."
– Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI

Roe v. Wade

"Roe v. Wade is increasingly recognized as bad law, bad medicine, and bad social policy. Most Americans object to an unlimited right to abortion. Therefore such a policy can be kept in place only by extraordinary life support – by insisting that Roe is untouchable, regardless of the evidence. Abortion advocates know that any return of this issue to the democratic process would produce a very different policy from what the Court created. But false judicial doctrines do not have a right to live. Human beings do."
– Committee for Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops


"Not all issues have the same weight as abortion and euthanasia. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion, even among Catholics, about waging war or applying the death penalty, but not, however, with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
– Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI

"Many people are very, very concerned with the children of India and with the children of Africa where quite a few die of hunger, and so on. Many people are also concerned about all the violence in this great country of the United States. These concerns are very good. But often these same people are not concerned with the millions who are being killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today – abortion which brings people to such blindness.

"And for this I appeal in India and I appeal everywhere – 'Let us bring the child back.' The child is God's gift to the family. Each child is created in the special image and likeness of God for greater things – to love and to be loved."
– Mother Teresa, Address at National Prayer Breakfast, Washington, D.C.


U.N. Needs Renewal To Meet Needs Of Poor

Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, addressed the Summit of the Heads of State and Government during the U.N.'s 60th General Assembly on September 16. In his address, the Cardinal emphasized the need for reforms so that the U.N. could meet the needs of the poor, and promote peace and solidarity.

Cardianl Sodano's address follows;

"It is my honor to convey the most cordial greetings of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to you and to the Heads of State and Government here assembled, and to the other representatives of the Organization's Member States.

"My voice also echoes the sentiments of Catholics throughout the world who look to the United Nations as an institution that is ever more necessary for the peace and progress of the whole of humanity.

"Sixty years have passed since that day, June 26, 1945, when this Organization was born, with a view to implementing the four great goals listed in the Preamble of its Statute. Much has been achieved in the service of humanity during these years.

"Nevertheless, time has taken its toll upon this agency, as upon every human undertaking. It is now widely believed that the U.N. needs to be renewed, in response to the great challenges of the present day.

"It is true that the U.N. is not a super-government. Rather, it is the result of the political will of individual member countries.

"Yet ordinary men and women, the many millions who constitute the 'we the people' of the U.N. Charter, are saying to the leaders of nations: give us a modern institution, capable of taking resolutions and then enforcing them.

"This is an insistent appeal issued to us by men and women who are disheartened by promises made and not kept, resolutions adopted and not enforced.

"Their cry must instill in us the determination necessary to undertake an institutional reform of the U.N., a reform that is attentive to the real demands of our peoples rather than to the balance of power.

"In this regard, it must be said that the mechanisms established in Chapters VI and VII of the Statute of the United Nations retain all their value and contain the criteria necessary for pre-empting the threats to peace and for guaranteeing collective security.

"Today, however, this juridical framework must be complemented by the necessary international juridical instruments for disarmament and the control of arms, for the fight against terrorism and international crime, and for effective cooperation between the United Nations and regional agencies, in order to resolve situations of conflict.

Responsibilities of the U.N.

"The long history of peacekeeping operations, with their successes and failures, offers a rich reservoir of experience from which to develop parameters for future action in conflict resolution.

"To this end, the Holy See is in favor of the creation of an agency to restore peace to countries that have suffered armed conflicts. The Holy See, in other words, is in favor of the Peacebuilding Commission, intended to design and implement an ambitious strategy to overcome those elements of ethnic rivalry which give rise to conflicts and which could reignite them in the future.

"The tragedies that have occurred in the Balkans, in the Middle East, and in Africa should cause us to reflect. What is important now is the commitment we make to foster a culture of conflict prevention, but we must also explore thoroughly the problem of the use of force to disarm the aggressor.

"The 'responsibility to protect' arises from a very important political and juridical concept, developed progressively in the 60 years of the U.N.'s existence. In essence, it refers to the pre-eminent dignity of every single man and woman over the State and over every ideological system.

"In connection with the reform of the U.N., the Holy See asks Member States to have the courage to continue their discussions on the application and practical consequences of the 'Responsibility to protect,' in order to find the most opportune solution, through the Security Council and in accordance with the indications given in Chapter VII of the U.N. Statute, to those situations in which national authorities either cannot or will not protect their own populations in the face of internal or external threats. The Statute of the United Nations, in its Preamble, says specifically that the United Nations Organization was created 'in order to save future generations from the scourge of war.'

"For this purpose, it remains an obligation in justice in the service of human dignity to attain and even to surpass the Millennium Development Goals, thereby establishing an essential pre-condition for peace and collective security, and for the elimination or substantial reduction of the threat from terrorism and international crime.

Commitment to development

"Focusing our attention now on the great theme of development, we must acknowledge that recent years have witnessed a number of promising gestures on the part of governments. For example, the proposal for new mechanisms to finance development (the U.S. Millennium Challenge Account, the International Finance Facility, the Nouveaux mécanismes de taxation internationale recently proposed by the French Government and other States, etc.), and especially the recent decisions of the G8 Summit at Gleneagles, are greatly appreciated by the Holy See.

"However, much work remains to be done in order to achieve greater economic and financial solidarity. This must include a solution to the debt problem of the poorest countries and of average-income countries with serious foreign debt problems, together with the relaunching of public development aid (O.D.A., Official Development Assistance) and a generous opening of markets to assist poor countries.

"It is true that such actions by developed countries must be accompanied by a renewed commitment on the part of the governments of developing countries, who have a duty to combat corruption, to guarantee the rule of law, and above all to take responsibility for the social aspects of development, such as education, job security, and basic health care for all.

"To a world already exposed to pandemics, while others are at risk of breaking out, to the millions without access to basic health care, medicine, and drinking water, we cannot offer an ambiguous, reductive, or even ideological vision of health. For example, would it not be better to speak clearly of the 'health of women and children' instead of using the term 'reproductive health'? Could there be a desire to return to the language of a 'right to abortion'?

Holy See's Contribution

"Mr. President, the Holy See has a spiritual mission first and foremost, but in consequence of this it has a duty to be present in the life of nations and a commitment to promote justice and solidarity among peoples.

"Armed with this conviction, the Holy See reaffirms its full support for the objectives of this Summit and undertakes to do what it can to help the Summit produce the desired fruits rapidly, so that an era of peace and social justice may quickly follow. The words spoken by the late Pope John Paul II on his famous Journey to Chile in 1987 have lost none of their relevance: 'Los pobres no pueden esperar' – the poor cannot wait! Thank you!"


Modern Advances Require Rethinking Of Role Of Elderly

As people live longer in today's society, the role of the elderly must be rethought. The elderly are a valuable resource and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

The United Nations recently considered the elderly during a meeting of the Third Commission of the General Assembly on follow-up to the International Year of Older Persons: Second World Assembly on Aging.

Mons. Celestino Migliore, representing the Vatican, spoke at an October 4 meeting in New York. His address follows:

"Three years ago, in Madrid, the Holy See described the elderly as 'the guardians of the collective memory, conservers of inter-generational relationships, and transmitters of authentic values that defined their existence.' But we need to remind ourselves that these noble sentiments will remain empty words if we remember the elderly only when we need them. The fact that people now live longer requires a rethinking of the role of the elderly in society and in the process of development. It would be well, therefore, to create a wide range of opportunities to make use of the potential, experiences, and expertise of older persons. This approach and attitude will enable them both to remain connected to society and to continue to make a mark in the world, whether for volunteerism or work. Further, and perhaps more importantly, carving out a niche for the elderly starting from the simple and continued appreciation of their presence by their own family will prevent their stigmatization and exclusion.

"In many societies, caring for dependent and sick individuals is done by older people, particularly older women. In that context, it is important that the availability of, and access to primary health care for older persons be integrated within a larger process of development, with a focus on their specific medical needs and adequate nutrition. These processes might include a safety net where pensions and other schemes are inadequate.

"While it is true that the social protection of the elderly is a main responsibility of Governments and private institutions, the Holy See reaffirms the important role also of the family in their comprehensive security, as well as in mental, physical, and spiritual health.

"For its part, the Holy See offers its support to older persons through various assistance programs. At present, Catholic agencies and organizations in every continent care for the aged in over 13,000 facilities, including more than 500 centers in Africa, 3,000 in the Americas, and 1,400 in Asia.

". . .While social security programs and medical benefits are essential, my delegation notes here how important are compassion, love, respect, appreciation, and fondness for the elderly. We encourage Governments to teach in schools these values with respect to the elderly, members of civil society to exercise them in the home and for such values to be continuously promoted in the media.

"Social support services are an extension of the common duty to provide for older family members who are neglected, in order to reduce the impact of globalization-driven migration and family fragmentation. In low income countries where informal employment and poverty coexist, the nutritional status of the elderly is at risk oftentimes because of poverty, responsibility for supporting grandchildren, living alone, and a whole variety of age-related disabilities. A basic social pension and the protection of pension rights are important ways to reach and support the elderly.

"The projected demographic transition demonstrates a dramatic increase in numbers of the elderly by 2050, noting the transition from a regime of high fertility and high mortality to low population growth, both in developed and in developing countries. According to the statistics, today there are more than six hundred million people who are over sixty years of age, and it is estimated that by 2050 they will be more than three times that number. It is also calculated that by 2030, 71% of this elderly population will live in developing countries and between 12% and 16% will be in developed countries.

"These trends teach us two things: first, that every country must become and remain, as the Madrid Summit of 2002 fittingly said, 'a society for all ages' and second, that extra caution may be advisable when fiscal and international policies enter the realm of human engineering. . ."


Only Jesus Christ Can Truly Set Us Free

The 25th Meeting For Friendship Among Peoples was held in Rimini on the Adriatic Coast of Italy during the week of August 21. The theme of the meeting this year was "Freedom is the greatest good that the Heavens have bestowed upon humanity."

Pope Benedict XVI had Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, send a message in his name to Bishop Mariano De Nicolo of Rimini. Cardinal Sodano's message, dated July 25, follows:

"With this Message, the Holy Father makes himself spiritually present with deep joy at the 26th Meeting in Rimini on the theme: Freedom is the greatest good that the Heavens have bestowed upon humanity.

"At a moment in history and culture when nothing is as misunderstood as the term 'freedom,' this year's theme is extraordinarily important. It is quite true: above all, God has our freedom at heart. He wants us to be free, He loves us as free people, even to the point that He accepts the risk of allowing us to drift away from Him, while He preserves within us the possibility of recognizing Him without inner limitations.

"But why does God love our freedom? It is because He sees in us the image of His Incarnate Son, Who freely complied with the Father's plan, freely accepted a body, and freely humbled Himself even to death on the Cross, in that sacrificial oblation which every day the Sacrament of the Eucharist actualizes on the altar.

"We too will experience true freedom only when, complying with Christ's plan without reserve, we can also share in His freedom.

"Genuine freedom is therefore the fruit of a personal encounter with Jesus. In Him, God gives and restores to us that freedom we would otherwise have lost forever because of our first parents' sin.

"What happened to the Samaritan woman of whom John speaks in his Gospel (cf. 4:5-43) happens to each one of us: she felt inwardly reborn and had the perception of returning to being truly free in the encounter with that 'Man' Who told her everything she ever did and revealed to her His true face and destiny.

"On the other hand, the rich young man (cf. Mt 19:16-22) did indeed recognize the possibility of human fulfillment in the Lord but could not muster the courage to follow Him radically, for, as the Gospel says, he had too many possessions. He erroneously presumed that true freedom, which he ardently desired, was free from the restrictions and bonds that go with every form of obedience.

"Thus, although to all appearances he remained free to act according to his own autonomous choices, he went away sad.

"We can certainly attempt to build our lives on doing without Christ, but only if we are prepared to suffer the consequences of being lonely and forlorn forever.

"The Message that the Holy Father sends to all those who are taking part in the meeting is that it is Jesus Christ alone Who sets us free!

"It is impossible to think of freedom without reflecting on the term 'liberation,' which is part of your Movement's name. Jesus is our liberation! Liberation from sin, from our false desires, ultimately, from ourselves.

"Ubi fides ibi et libertas; these words, spoken on the occasion of the late Mons. Giussani's funeral, His Holiness now confirms, repeating that liberation is the most beautiful existential reverberation to which faith can give rise in our lives.

"With these sentiments, the Holy Father sends to the participants his very best wishes for the successful outcome of the meeting, and he imparts his Blessing to everyone as a pledge of abundant heavenly favors. . ."


Moratorium On Landmines Urged

Mons. Silvano Tomasi, C.S., intervened on behalf of the Vatican, urging a moratorium on the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer or exportation of landmines. The intervention came on August 4 in Geneva, Switzerland, at a meeting of the U.N.

Mons. Tomasi's statement follows:

"Since the Second World War, the use of mines in about 20 conflicts in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America has left us with sufficient hindsight, information, and experience to make an objective and well-grounded judgment of the viewpoint of international humanitarian law and a strictly pragmatic vision regarding the consequences of the use of a whole category of weapons.

"Humanitarian organizations, United Nations agencies and development agencies, have unanimously recognized the need for serious reflection on the legitimacy of the use of mines. The deceased, injured, and handicapped victims of landmines can be counted by the thousands, and it is not difficult to perceive the obstacles to the return of refugees and, consequently, to the development of numerous regions contaminated by unexploded landmines.

"Some countries that stockpile landmines have realized their very high failure rate. They have therefore decided to remove from their military inventories certain types of mines whose use would pose a grave humanitarian problem, disproportionate to any military benefit. One can only hail such cautious and responsible decisions.

"It is in this spirit that my Delegation understands the resolution of the European Parliament adopted in 2004, which calls for an immediate moratorium on the use, stockpiling, production and transfer or exportation of landmines. . .

"A pause for reflection is essential. But it would be insufficient and inadequate to limit reflection to the matter of improving the quality of mines, knowing that such weapons were not conceived as precise weapons; on the contrary, they are scattered over large surface areas.

"This makes the principle of distinction between military and civil targets extremely difficult, if not impossible, to observe, especially in densely populated regions.

"Moreover, even if it were possible to reduce the failure rate of landmines, the consequences continue to be sufficiently serious to require further discussion on this weapon's very nature, and not merely on the quality of its manufacture and the technological means to improve it. Imprecision and the high rate of unexploded ordinance call the legitimacy of this weapon into question. . .

"To conclude, the Holy Spirit is of the opinion that consultations in this field are more than necessary; they should begin without delay and include the States, the NGOs, the CICR, and all who are involved in humanitarian mine clearance.

"While awaiting the results of these consultations, however, the international community cannot and must not be satisfied with counting the victims and assessing the damage caused by landmines.

"If, for various reasons, it is impossible to come to an immediate agreement on the definitive banning of the production and use of this sort of weapon, the Holy See vigorously supports the idea of a moratorium on the proposals, while awaiting the adoption of an adequate international instrument. . ."


Light to the Nations: A Christian Perspective on World News

Celebrating 25 Years Of Solidarity

Castel Gandolfo, Italy – The Polish independent trade union Solidarity (Solidarnosc) recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. On August 23, Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter to Archbishop Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland, who was his envoy to the celebration.

The Pope's letter, said in part:

"Twenty-five years have passed since the memorable days during which the workers in the dockyards of Gdansk, and subsequently in other industrial establishments, gave birth to the trade union movement that took the name 'Solidarnosc.'. . .

"We are all aware of the great importance that the birth of this trade union has had in the events of Poland and in the history of the whole of Europe. Not only did it peacefully bring about unexpected political changes in Poland, setting the Polish People on the path of freedom and democracy, but it also pointed out to other peoples of the former Eastern Bloc the possibility of atoning for the historical injustice that left them behind the 'Iron Curtain.'

"I know how dear to the heart of my great Predecessor, the Servant of God John Paul II, it was that this act of historical justice take place, and that Europe breathe with her two lungs – the Western and the Eastern. I know how he supported 'Solidarnosc' with his authority and, when necessary, also with skillful diplomacy.

"I also know that it was a just cause whose best proof is the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the admittance to the European Union of the countries which had remained behind it after the Second World War.

"I congratulate the Poles who had the courage, with the Church's support, to unite spirits, ideas, and forces, and their union has borne fruit throughout Europe to this day. I cordially hope that everyone may enjoy not only freedom, but also the financial well-being of the Country, both families and individual citizens.

"Please convey my greeting to the Authorities of the Republic, to the former and current activists of the Independent Union 'Solidarnosc,' as well as to the other participants in the Jubilee celebration. . ."

(Source: L'Osservatore Romano English edition)


Pray The News

Because we are sons and daughters of God, saved by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do not merely read the news but make the news. We direct the course of world events by faith expressed in action and intercession. Please pray for the stories covered in this paper. Clip out this intercessory list and make it part of your daily prayer.

  • We pray that Americans will seek the will of God and vote in the November elections.
  • We pray that Christians will seek political office and follow the moral and social teachings of the Church.
  • We pray that society will reach out especially to young people and to the elderly and will treat them with dignity and respect.
  • We pray in thanksgiving for the lives and examples of the saints.
  • We pray that this Thanksgiving Day will be a time of grateful thanksgiving to God and of sharing the Good News of Jesus with others.


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