Protect the rights of migrant workers and families, Vatican official urges

Brussels, Belgium Jul. 13, 2007 (CINS /CatholicOnline) – The rights of immigrant workers and their families must be protected and cannot be viewed by governments as criminals, said a Vatican official at an international meeting on migration.

In a July 9 speech delivered during the first day of the July 9-11 Global Forum on Migration and Development held here, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, said that development "must include each person and the whole person, that is, it must be all encompassing, holistic," because human persons are at the center of creation.

"Unfortunately,” the archbishop said, there are “immigrants in an irregular situation,” who, despite their legal status, “have inalienable human dignity.”

“Therefore their rights must be safeguarded and not ignored or violated,” he said. “An irregular migration status, in fact, does not mean criminality. The solution is better international cooperation that discourages irregularity, with increased legal channels for migration."

The global forum, convened by the Belgian government, brought together nongovernmental and faith-related organizations, labor unions, researchers and government representatives to share information and come up with new initiatives on international labor mobility, human rights of migrants and other immigration and development issues.

"Migrants contribute to their host country's well-being,” Archbishop Marchetto said. “Because of this, their human dignity must be respected and their freedoms guaranteed: the right to a dignified life, to fair treatment at work, to have access to education, health and other social benefits, to grow in competence and develop humanly, to freely manifest their culture and practice their religion.”

Yet, he stressed that “rights and duties go together," adding that migrants have the “duty to respect the identity and the laws of the country of residence, strive for proper integration (not assimilation) into the host society and learn its language.”

“They are to foster esteem and respect for their host country,” the archbishop said, “even to the point of loving and defending it.”

Archbishop Marchetto concluded his talk by renewing the call made by Pope Benedict XVI in his World Day of Migrants and Refugees message for governments who have not yet done so, to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and the Members of their Families.

New Vatican document affirms centrality of Catholic Church

Vatican City, Jul. 13, 2007 (CINS /CWN) - The Vatican has issued a new doctrinal statement confirming the essential role of the Catholic Church in God's plan for salvation.

The short document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), presented in question-and-answer format, addresses questions about the teaching of the Second Vatican Council that the Church founded by Jesus Christ "subsists" in the Catholic Church.

The CDF affirms that while other Christian bodies can play a role in bringing people to salvation, it is in the Catholic Church that "the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth." The Vatican document makes a further distinction between Orthodox churches that have preserved valid sacraments, and should be recognized as "sister churches," and Protestant groups that have not preserved the Eucharistic presence.

The document, entitled "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church," is approved by Pope Benedict XVI and signed by Cardinal William Levada and Archbishop Angelo Amato, the prefect and secretary, respectively, of the CDF.

The full text of the document is available on the Vatican web site. (Scroll down for the English-language version.)

The document opens with the observation that the teachings of Vatican II "contributed in a decisive way to the renewal of Catholic ecclesiology." The teachings of the Council encouraged still further reflection on the nature of the Church, the CDF notes. However, in some cases these reflections have been marred by "erroneous interpretation which in turn give rise to confusion and doubt" about the Church's teaching.

In the first of 5 questions posed and answered, the CDF document asks, "Did the Second Vatican Council change the Catholic doctrine on the Church?" The answer begins with a straightforward statement: "The Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine, rather it developed, deepened and more fully explained it."

Questions #2 and #3 address the teaching of the conciliar document Lumen Gentium (doc) (#8) that the Church of Christ "subsists" in the Catholic Church. The CDF document explains: "It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them." Nevertheless, only the Catholic Church is characterized by identifying marks of Christ's Church: being one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.

The Christian communities separated from the Catholic Church, the CDF continues, "though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation." These communities can act as instruments of salvation, because of their partial participation in "that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church."

In the 4th and 5th questions that complete the document, the CDF draws a clear distinction between the Orthodox and Protestant denominations. The Eastern churches, the document notes, "have true sacraments and above all – because of the apostolic succession – the priesthood and the Eucharist." They are therefore sister churches, even if they fall short of universality because of their separation from the Holy See.

The Protestant communities, on the other hand, "do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders." Because these communities "have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery," the CDF writes, they "cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called "churches" in the proper sense.

Coming Vatican doctrinal document will reaffirm role of Church

Vatican City, Jul. 7, 2007 (CINS /CWN) - The Vatican will soon release a new doctrinal document, addressing the unique role of the Catholic Church in God's plan for salvation, according to informed sources in Rome.

The new document, to be released from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will address questions about the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, in Lumen Gentium, that the Church founded by Christ "subsists in the Catholic Church."

Questions about how the true Church "subsists" in the Catholic Church have drawn a series of answers from the Vatican-- most recently the declaration Dominus Iesus, which was released in 2000 with the approval of Pope John Paul II and signed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

The document to be released on July 10 will repeat and reinforce the fundamental message of Dominus Iesus that the Church founded by Jesus Christ exists fully in the Catholic Church alone. The document will critique the notion that other religious bodies may also represent the Church founded by Christ, and caution against the "ecclesial relativism" that Pope Benedict has criticized in the past.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will release the document on July 10, reports indicate. The plan for release of the document has not yet been confirmed by the Vatican.

Vatican "Explanatory note" on Pope's Letter to China


Letter of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Chinese Catholics

Vatican confirms briefing on motu proprio; publication near

Vatican City,June.29,2007(CINS/CWN) - The Vatican press office has confirmed that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone wednesday briefed a group of bishops on the forthcoming motu proprio expanding the use of the 1962 Roman Missal.

The Vatican Secretary of State spoke to "representatives from various episcopal conferences" about "the content and spirit" of the motu proprio, the Vatican announcement indicated. Pope Benedict XVI  joined the meeting to speak with the bishops for about an hour.

The publication of the document, along with "an extensive personal letter from the Holy Father," will take place "within a few days," the Vatican said. The statement did not confirm the July 7 publication date reported yesterday by the news service.

The Vatican statement did indicate that the text of the motu proprio and the Pope's explanatory letter will now be sent to all of the world's bishops before the document is formally released. That mailing will also indicate when the Pope's new policies will take effect.

Among the prelates who took part in the June 27 meeting at the apostolic palace were Cardinal Camillo Ruini of Rome; Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, the president of the Italian bishops' conference; Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz, the president of the German bishops' conference; Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of Westminster, England; Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, the president of the French bishops' conference; Bishop Kurt Koch of Basel, Switzerland; Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston; and Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis. 

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