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Wednesday, September 3, 2003


VATICAN CITY, SEP 3, 2003 (VIS) - This morning the Pope travelled by car from Castelgandolfo to the Vatican for the weekly general audience which took place in the Paul VI Hall at 10:30 a.m. The theme of this Wednesday's catechesis was Psalm 91, "Praise to the Lord, Creator."

The Holy Father told the 9,000 people present that this psalm begins "with a great call to celebrate and praise the Lord with song and music" throughout the whole day.

After emphasizing that "the fundamental theme of the psalm is good and evil," the Pope indicated that in this canticle "two opposite ways of behavior" are compared. The faithful "penetrate the depth of the Lord's thoughts and in this way their lives are illuminated with light and glory. On the contrary, perverse men ... are incapable of understanding the hidden meaning of human vicissitudes. ... The psalmist is convinced that God will reward the just already in this life, giving them a happy old age and He will punish those who are evil soon."

"Psalm 91," he added, "inspires joy, trust, optimism: gifts that we must ask from God precisely in our time when there is often the temptation of distrust and even desperation."

John Paul II underscored that "the roots of just men are found in God from Whom they receive the lifeblood of divine grace. The life of the Lord nourishes and transforms them, making them prosperous and fruitful, that is, capable of giving themselves to others and bearing witness to the faith. The concluding words of the psalmist," he ended, "are related to the announcement of the perennial fidelity of the Lord."

After greeting the pilgrims in different languages at the end of the audience, the Pope remembered Costantino Marchionni "who died this past Monday while doing work in St. Peter's Square. We raise our prayers to the Lord for him and for all who mourn his loss, and for all victims of work accidents. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine!"

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VATICAN CITY, SEP 3, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from Pope John Paul to Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Unity, asking the cardinal to convey his greetings to participants in a symposium on "The Relationship between Spirituality and Christian Dogma in the East and West," to be held in Ioannina in Epirus, Greece from September 3 to 7.

The Pope notes that the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality at the Antonianum Pontifical Athenaeum in Rome and the Theology Faculty of the Aristotile University of Thessalonica of the Greek Orthodox Church began a series of inter-Christian symposiums in 1992 on such themes as prayer and contemplation, the spirituality of monasticism and the ecclesial dimension of spirituality. He said this 2003 meeting will study the "contribution that spirituality can offer to doctrine, nourishing its development and a deeper study of it."

"Spirituality," added the Holy Father, "creates the suitable psychological context in which to undertake dialogue in an opening and trusting fashion."

He encouraged these joint efforts "aimed at making the convergences emerge between Orthodox and Catholic Christians in adhering to revealed Truth" and said he was pleased at the support offered to such efforts by the pontifical council.

John Paul II closed his Letter, dated August 28, the memory of St. Augustine of Hippo, saying that, while high level meetings are important in the search for communion between the Christian East and West, symposiums such as the one taking place in Epirus are also necessary.

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