VATICAN CITY, NOV 8, 2007 (VIS) - This morning, the pontifical academies held their twelfth public session under the presidency of Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of their coordinating council. During the meeting, the academies' annual prize was bestowed upon Antongiulio Granelli, author of a thesis on: "The Cemetery of Panfilo on the via Salaria vetus in Rome."
For the occasion Benedict XVI sent a Message to Archbishop Ravasi, who is also president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. "The celebration of this public session," writes the Pontiff in his Message, "annually renews an opportunity for meeting and collaboration between the pontifical academies ... in order to harmonize their various initiatives, all of which have a precise objective: promoting, both in the Church and the world, a culture worthy of human life, fecundated by faith, capable of proposing the beauty of Christian life and of providing an adequate response to the ever more numerous challenges of today's cultural and religious context."
The Pope dwells on the theme chosen for the session - "Witnesses of His love (Sacramentum caritatis, 85). The love of God as shown by martyrs and by the works of the Church" - indicating how it expresses "the fundamental link between the celebration of the divine Mysteries and the witness of life, between the experience of encountering the Mystery of God ... and the dynamism of a renewed commitment that causes us to be 'witnesses of His love'."
The Holy Father highlights how "it is more necessary than ever to re-present the example of Christian martyrs, both those of antiquity and those of our own time, whose lives and witness, even to the spilling of their blood, are the supreme expression of love of God."
The Pope concludes by mentioning "the works of charity that have flowered down the centuries through the efforts of generous faithful" who "have striven to create and promote charitable initiatives and institutions to meet the needs of the poorest, thus giving concrete expression to the close and indissoluble link between love of God and love of others."
MESS/PONTIFICAL ACADEMIES/RAVASIVIS 071108 (360)