Thursday, December 23, 2010

SUPPORT LIFE FROM CONCEPTION - POPE BENEDICT XVI


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BY FR. JOSELITO JOPSON

VATICAN CITY - The Holy Father addressed the Philippine bishops of Luzon including Pasig Bishop Franciso C. San Diego, D.D. on the recently concluded Ad Limina visit from November 27 – December 7, 2010.

From the New Advent Website, the visit ad limina means, technically, “the obligation incumbent on certain members of the hierarchy of visiting, at stated times, the “thresholds of the Apostles”, Sts. Peter and Paul, and of presenting themselves before the pope to give an account of the state of their dioceses.

The object of the visit is not merely to make a pilgrimage to the tombs of the apostles, but, above all, to show the proper reverence for the Successor of St. Peter, to acknowledge practically his universal jurisdiction by giving an account of the condition of particular churches, to receive his admonitions and counsels, and thus bind more closely the members of the Church to its divinely appointed head.”

According to Vice-Chancellor Fr. Mark See, the visit was highlighted by an audience of the bishops to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and a visit to the different dicasteries of the Roman Curia, which is a term used by Vatican corresponding to a ministry or department as subdivisions of the Papal Curia.

If a bishop has difficulty traveling from one dicastery to another, as in the case of Bishop San Diego, Fr. Mark observed, “The bishops with their fraternal kindness extended to the bishop assistance in their long walk to the different offices of the dicastery.”

Last November 25, the 35 Luzon Bishops celebrated Mass at the crypt of St. Peter where they also had the opportunity to venerate the remains of the Prince of the Apostles and recite the Creed.

They concelebrated at the 4 major Basilicas of St. Peter, St. Paul, Sta. Maria Maggiore, and St. John Lateran. They also attended Pope Benedict’s general audience last December 1 at St. Peter’s Basilica and celebrated mass at the Our Lady of Peace Chapel where the remains of St. Josemaria was laid.

The message of the Holy Father

In the audience of the Holy Father with the Luzon Bishops including our very own Bishop Francisco, he commended them for their commitment to uphold life from conception and their efforts to counter any move to push for the approval of the Reproductive Health bill.

“In the light of this prophetic task, I commend the Church in the Philippines for seeking to play its part in support of human life from conception until natural death, and in defense of the integrity of marriage and the family,” said Pope Benedict.

“The task of proclamation touches upon issues relevant to the political sphere,” explained the Roman Pontiff. “For her part, the Church contributes most toward the building of a just and charitable social order when, by preaching the truths of the Gospel, and bringing to bear on all fields of human endeavour the light of her doctrine and of a Christian witness, she respects and fosters the political freedom and responsibility of citizens,” quoting Gaudium et Spes, no. 76.

Pope Benedict also underscored the role of social communications and the Church’s commitment to uplift the lives of the poor.

“It is important that the Catholic laity proficient in social communications take their proper place in proposing the Christian message in a convincing and attractive way. If the Gospel of Christ is to be a leaven in Filipino society, then the entire Catholic community must be attentive to the force of the truth proclaimed with love.”

Noting how the Filipinos remain without employment, the Holy Father appreciated the charitable actions and prophetic statements of the bishops on behalf of the poor and called on everyone to fight against corruption.

“There is a clear and consistent application of the rule of law through the land,” the Pope explained.

Though Bishop San Diego came back from a long and tiring flight, he was still able to celebrate the Holy Eucharist for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception last December 8 at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral.

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