RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Benin’s Ambassador to the Holy See said Pope Benedict’s visit to the African nation this week is a “very big encouragement” for the people of Benin and the whole of Africa. Speaking in an exclusive interview with Vatican Radio, Ambassador Loko notes that the papal visit to Benin coincides with celebrations there marking the 150th anniversary of the start of Christian evangelisation.
Asked about the importance of Pope Benedict’s visit, the Ambassador says great emphasis should be put on the contents of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation of the Second Synod of Bishops for Africa that will be signed and handed over by Pope Benedict during his stay in Benin.
Another key moment will be the Pope’s visit to the tomb of the Beninese Cardinal Bernardin Gantin who died in 2008. Ambassador Loko said Pope Benedict had told him that the late cardinal was “an African who gave a lot to the world” and added that he is the subject of much pride and is seen in his native Benin as “a model of service.”
LEGAL ACTION AGAINST INAPPROPRIATE USE OF THE POPE'S IMAGE
VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2011 (VIS) - Made public today was the following communique from the Secretariat of State concerning a commercial advertising campaign which makes inappropriate use of an image of the Holy Father.
"The Secretariat of State has authorised its lawyers to initiate actions, in Italy and elsewhere, to prevent the circulation, via the mass media and in other ways, of a photomontage used in a Benetton advertising campaign in which the Holy Father appears in a way considered to be harmful, not only to the dignity of the Pope and the Catholic Church, but also to the sensibility of believers".
On the same subject, Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. released the following declaration yesterday afternoon.
"We cannot but express a resolute protest at the entirely unacceptable use of a manipulated image of the Holy Father, used as part of a publicity campaign which has commercial ends.
"It is a serious lack of respect for the Pope, an affront to the feelings of the faithful and an evident demonstration of how, in the field of advertising, the most elemental rules of respect for others can be broken in order to attract attention by provocation.
"The Secretariat of State is examining the steps that may be taken with the competent authorities in order to guarantee adequate protection for the figure of the Holy Father".
CATHOLIC-ORTHODOX DIALOGUE: CARDINAL KOCH VISITS MINSK
VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2011 (VIS) - Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has visited Minsk, the capital of Belarus, at the invitation of Filaret, Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk and head of the Belarusian Orthodox Church which is dependant upon the Patriarchate of Moscow.
While in Minsk, Cardinal Koch participated in an international conference on the theme: "Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue: the ethical values of Christianity as a contribution to social life in Europe". The event was organised by the Institute for Inter-religious Dialogue and Inter-confessional Communication of the Synod of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, and by the Sts. Cyril and Methodius Christian Education Centre, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
According to a communique made public today, the conference "served to underline the desire to continue dialogue on matters of mutual interest, and to develop concrete collaboration in promoting and defending Christian values in Europe".
On Monday 14 November, Cardinal Koch and Metropolitan Filaret were received by Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, who expressed his satisfaction at the good relations that exist between the two confessions in the country".
"The visit to Belarus by the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity", the communique continues, "has highlighted certain specific elements of great importance: the fact that the Catholic Church has been able to restructure and reorganise herself following the fall of the Soviet Union, and that this has happened in harmony with, and often with the support of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, and the civil authorities.
"The spirit of ecumenical fraternity - in a country which among the States of the former Soviet Union is second only to Lithuania in number of Catholics - has consolidated itself over time, becoming a fact of everyday life and a model of reference".