I consider the publication of the stolen letters an immoral act of unheard-of gravity, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, Substitute of the Secretariat of State, said in an interview published today in LOsservatore Romano entitled The papers stolen from the Pope. Above all, the archbishop explained, because it was not only a violation, already very serious in itself, of the confidentiality to which anyone would be entitled, as rather a vile offence to the relationship of trust between Benedict XVI and anyone who turns to him even to express, in conscience, protests. According to Mgr. Becciu, the Pope was not merely robbed of letters. Violence has been done to the consciences of those who turn to him as Vicar of Christ; an assault has been made on the ministry of the Successor of the Apostle Peter. In the interview conducted by the editor-in-chief of the Holy Sees daily Gian Maria Vian, the Substitute of the Secretariat of State declared: there can be no renewal that tramples on the moral law, even on the basis of the principle that the end justifies the means, a principle which, among other things, is not Christian.
(Sir Europe - Brussels) - Illegal business practices persist (deceptive advertising, misleading or fraudulent offers), online shopping increases but remains essentially linked to domestic markets, and only a few citizens are actually aware of their rights and of the legal protection they enjoy as consumers. These are some of the outcomes of the Spring Consumer Markets Scoreboard, published today by the European Commission, which reveals improvements in several Member States. The report shows that the countries with the best conditions for consumers are Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Austria, Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and Sweden, all of which are above the EU average. The report takes into account different factors for assessing the situation, such as the quality of regulation protecting consumers and businesses, the effectiveness of resolving disputes and handling complaints, and consumer trust in authorities, retailers, advertisers and consumer organisations. The safety of products on the market is also taken into account. EU Commissioner John Dalli remarked: Only consumers who are aware of their rights and know how to use them can fully exploit the potential of the Single Market to enhance innovation and growth.
The Norms specify that the duty of vigilance and intervention falls to the Ordinary of the place. The Apostolic See can intervene if asked either by the Ordinary himself, by a qualified group of the faithful, or even directly by reason of the universal jurisdiction of the Supreme Pontiff. If there arises in a spontaneous way among the faithful a certain cult or some devotion, the competent Ecclesiastical Authority has the serious duty of looking into it without delay and of diligently watching over it. If the faithful request it legitimately - the Holy Sees recommendation -, the competent Ecclesiastical Authority can intervene to permit or promote some form of cult or devotion, but they must be careful that the faithful not interpret this practice as approval of the supernatural nature of the fact on the part of the Church. In grave circumstances, for example in order to correct or prevent abuses in the exercise of cult and devotion, to condemn erroneous doctrine, to avoid the dangers of a false or unseemly mysticism, the competent authority can - and indeed must - intervene motu proprio. Finally, in doubtful cases that do not put the good of the Church at risk, the Ecclesiastical Authority is to refrain from any judgment and from any direct action. However, it must not cease from being vigilant by intervening if necessary, with promptness and prudence.
To judge the fact according to positive and negative criteria and then if it is the case to permit some public manifestation of cult or of devotion, overseeing this with great prudence. This is the procedure recommended in the preliminary Note to the Norms regarding the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations. The document lists among the positive criteria the moral certitude, or at least great probability of the existence of the fact, acquired by means of a serious investigation, the personal qualities of the subject or of the subjects, in particular psychological equilibrium, honesty and rectitude of moral life, sincerity and habitual docility towards Ecclesiastical Authority, the presence in the revelation of a true theological and spiritual doctrine and immune from error, healthy devotion. The negative criteria include doctrinal errors attributed to God himself, or to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or to some saint in their manifestations, evidence of a search for profit or gain strictly connected to the fact, the presence of gravely immoral acts committed by the subject or his or her followers and psychological disorder or psychopathic tendencies in the subject, that with certainty influenced on the presumed supernatural fact, or psychosis or collective hysteria. (continued)
The value of private revelations is essentially different from that of the one public revelation which demands faith, Benedict XVI stated in his Verbum Domini. According to the Pope, in fact, the criterion for judging the truth of a private revelation is its orientation to Christ Himself. If it leads us away from Him, then it certainly does not come from the Holy Spirit, who guides us more deeply into the Gospel, and not away from it. In other words, private revelation is an aid to this faith, and it demonstrates its credibility precisely because it refers back to the one public revelation: it is a help which is proffered, but its use is not obligatory. Ecclesiastical approval of a private revelation - the Holy Father explained in the document which inspired the Norms published today - essentially means that its message contains nothing contrary to faith and morals; it is licit to make it public and the faithful are authorized to give to it their prudent adhesion. A private revelation can introduce new emphases, give rise to new forms of piety, or deepen older ones, the Pope wrote in the quoted text, it can have a certain prophetic character and can be a valuable aid for better understanding and living the Gospel at a certain time; consequently it should not be treated lightly. (continued)
Aiding the Pastors of the Catholic Church in their difficult task of discerning presumed apparitions, revelations, messages or, more generally, extraordinary phenomena of presumed supernatural origin. This is -Card. William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, explained in the preface - the aim of the Norms regarding the manner of proceeding in the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations published today by the aforesaid Vatican Dicastery. The document, drafted by the same Congregation more than thirty years ago, was approved by Pope Paul VI on 24 February 1978 and promulgated by the Dicastery the following day. At that time it was sent to bishops for their information without, however, being officially published, but as today the contents of these norms are already in the public domain, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has thought it opportune to publish them in six languages. The issue of the problems stemming from the experience of supernatural phenomena, Card. Levada recalled, was also raised as a pastoral concern during the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God in October 2008. This concern was also recognized by the Pope in his Verbum Domini which, according to the Congregation, is to be seen as an invitation to pay appropriate attention to these supernatural phenomena. (continued)
(Sir Europe - Brussels) - The challenge of water. Every drop matters: this is the topic of the international conference that today opened the European Green Week, which this year is focussed on water resources. Over three thousand people are expected to attend the Weeks events and visit the over 50 stalls set up in the Belgian capital. The parties concerned, NGOs, governmental delegates and EU officers - the European Commission explains - will try to find solutions to the main problems of water, such as how to protect the availability of good-quality water when faced with a quick population rise and an even more obvious climate change. The schedule includes the screening of the films La soif du monde, Oceans and Africa turns green. During the Week, the European Business Awards for the Environment will be given to European companies that combine innovation and competitiveness with excellent environmental performance. Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik explained: Water is a vital resource, which human work substantially impacts. During the Week, I hope the hundreds of experts and parties gathered here will be able to develop the existing strategies as well as new ideas to protect this resource that is so precious for all of us. The topic will also be addressed from a global perspective with ministers and experts from the developing countries.
(Sir Europe - Brussels) - As well as helping thousands of citizens find solutions to their personal problems with the EU institutions, the European Ombudsman helps make such institutions more attentive and responsive to the citizens claims. Nikiforos Diamandouros, the European Ombudsman (also known as a public defender in some countries), announced the report about his offices work in 2011. Diamandouros, a Greek jurist, reveals that last year 22 thousand citizens, businesses, NGOs and associations contacted the Ombudsman for explanations or enquiries, mostly about the transparency of deeds and decisions; in addition, the Ombudsman received 2510 complaints against the EU institutions and so had to open 396 investigations about the transparency of the institutions, the availability of documents, trade relations with EUs suppliers, episodes of alleged discrimination. Firstly, such complaints concerned the EU Commission, followed by the EU Agencies, the Staff Selection Office and the European Parliament. The largest number of complaints came from Spain (361), which outnumbered Germany (308), Poland and Belgium. In 66% of the investigations closed in 2011, the Ombudsman managed to reach a positive outcome, to the citizens satisfaction.
In presenting the VII World Meeting of the Families, the archbishop of Milan, card. Angelo Scola, pointed out that the chosen title - The Family: work and celebration - aptly expresses the need of the unity of the self and the importance of its relational nature. The archbishop placed emphasis on the relevance of the meeting, partly due to the extraordinary number of accredited journalists, which is as important as the coverage given to the event by the Italian and international press. According to card. Scola, at the centre of the desire and actual accomplishment of todays men and women is the model of family that sociologists call ‘normally-composed or ‘normally-constituted, the ideal of which is the faithful and life-embracing relationship between a man and a woman. It is precisely such ‘normally-composed or ‘normally-constituted family that has been brought back to the centre of attention of all of our society through Family 2012, and this - the archbishop stated - sounds good to me. At the end, card. Scola made a special mention of the victims of the earthquake: This is an event that gives prominence to affections through the familys objective love, and in this context we wish to express our sympathy with the victims, ensuring them of our prayers and our material support.
In our prayers and in our hearts, we sympathise with the populations and the families affected by the new earthquake shock. This is how card. Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, began his speech at this mornings press conference in Milan, for the presentation of the VII World Meeting of the Families, due to take place from 30th May to 3rd June (www.family2012.com). The cardinal mentioned that the overall purpose of this pastoral theological congress is to deal, from an anthropological and theological perspective, with the theme of the event: The family: work and celebration. The congress will place emphasis - he continued - on the fact that the so-called normally-constituted family, in other words, a stable couple with one or more children, is happier and more beneficial to society, as proven by the sociological surveys that have been conducted about this. The cardinal explained that, even if such family is poorer, it is richer in human relationships, it produces human capital for labour, for the market and for business, and creates celebrations at home, in the religious community and in society. Finally, card. Antonelli pointed out that, when in a crisis, one should understand peoples pain and should promote a sound family, not a hybrid one, which is essential for peoples happiness and to the benefit of society.
(Sir Europe - Bratislava) - A project of a Museum of the crimes of communism in Slovakia starts to assume concrete contours. Members of the civil association Quiet heroes that tries to preserve the memory of those who were active in the fight against totalitarianism in 1948-1989, met with the rector of St. Elizabeth University of Health and Social Sciences in Bratislava to discuss possibilities to establish the new museum at its premises. The building of the first medical school where blessed Zdenka Schelingova studied as well offers a suitable space for this purpose, affirmed Prof. Vladimir Krcmery. According to Frantisek Neupauer, president of the Quiet heroes association, a complete concept of the project will be introduced on 18 June, preceded by days of hard work full of negotiations and requests for the support of the plan addressed to state authorities, municipality and entrepreneurs. Our goals transform into reality. Thanks to the support of the rector we hope to succeed in the realization of our intentions, added Frantisek Neupauer, expressing joy over the fact that Slovakia will join the range of post-communist countries that already have a museum commemorating the crimes of the totalitarian regime.