Thursday, July 20, 2006


VATICAN CITY, JUL 20, 2006 (VIS) - Faced with worsening situation in the Middle East, the Holy See Press Office has been directed to communicate the following:

"The Holy Father is following with great concern the destinies of all the peoples involved and has proclaimed this Sunday, July 23, as a special day of prayer and penance, inviting the pastors and faithful of all the particular Churches, and all believers of the world, to implore from God the precious gift of peace.

"In particular, the Supreme Pontiff hopes that prayers will be raised to the Lord for an immediate cease-fire between the sides, for humanitarian corridors to be opened in order to bring help to the suffering peoples, and for reasonable and responsible negotiations to begin to put an end to objective situations of injustice that exist in that region; as already indicated by Pope Benedict XVI at the Angelus last Sunday, July 16.

"In reality, the Lebanese have the right to see the integrity and sovereignty of their country respected, the Israelis the right to live in peace in their State, and the Palestinians have the right to have their own free and sovereign homeland.

"At this sorrowful moment, His Holiness also makes an appeal to charitable organizations to help all the people struck by this pitiless conflict."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

How do I make this message stand out more? Catholics are slow on the whole environmental thing. It seems, in general, that we've incorrectly assigned environmentalism to our Pagan friends. Which is just plain wrong. God created this planet before he created us. We understand stewardship of our churches. How much more important is stewardship of this planet? Think of it as the catheral He built himself.

Going vegetarian - or just cutting back on the amount of animal product you consume - will help more than cutting back on driving.


Orthodox, Catholics Unite in Conserving Creation

MANAUS, Brazil, JULY 18, 2006 ( Benedict XVI sent a message
encouraging Christians to collaborate in the protection of the

The message went to the 6th symposium on "Religion, Science and the
Environment," organized by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople,
Bartholomew I.

The conference is being held in the northern Amazon region of Manaus,
Brazil, on "The Amazon: Source of Life."

Benedict XVI's message expresses his appreciation for the values which
inspire the symposium, maintaining that religion has a decisive role to
play in the protection of the environment.

Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, president emeritus of the Pontifical
Councils of Justice and Peace and "Cor Unum," participating in the event,
transmitted the Pope's words.

There are "practical objectives and (the objective) of man's survival
that can and must bring together all people of good will," said the Pope
in his message, which was quoted on Vatican Radio.

Ecumenical collaboration

In the task of protecting creation, the Holy Father makes reference to
the common commitment of Catholics and Orthodox, seen as "an example of
that collaboration" that they must both "seek with constancy to respond
to the call to a common testimony."

"This implies that all Christians must cultivate at the very least
openness of spirit that is dictated by charity and sinks its roots in
faith. In this way they will be able to offer together to the world a
credible testimony of their sense of responsibility for the protection of

According to Vatican Radio, Bartholomew I very much appreciated these
words and wished to announce the Pope's visit to Turkey at the end of

The present symposium, which began in Manaus, gives participants the
opportunity to visit traditional communities, get to know the local
reality and meet with specialists who work in the region.

On boat trips on the Amazon river, local representatives have the time
to debate on topics relating to environmental ethics and issues of
importance to Amazonia, such as the loss of biodiversity, deforestation,
the challenges facing indigenous peoples, etc.

It is the sixth of a series of symposiums, held also in ships that
navigated the waters of the Aegean (1995), the Black Sea (1997), the
Adriatic (2002), the Baltic (2003) and the Danube River (1999).

It is organized by the NGO "Religion, Science and the Environment,"
linked to the Orthodox Church, and cosponsored by U.N. Secretary General
Kofi Annan.