CWNews.com - Pope Benedict XVI podded the government of Romania to ensure equal justice for all religions, during an October 21 meeting with the nation’s new ambassador to the Holy See, Bogdan T?taru-Cazaban.

Eastern-rite Romanian Catholics and their Orthodox counterparts have been in disputes for years over the possession and use of church properties that were seized from Catholics by the Communist government and turned over to Orthodox parishes. The Romanian Catholic Church endured brutal persecution during the Stalinist era, and today Catholics continue to press for compensation for the churches that were confiscated.

Pope Benedict raised the issue indirectly, speaking first about Romania’s liberation from Communist rule. He remarked that "so many years passed under the yoke of a totalitarian ideology leave deep scars in people's mentality,” creating challenges for the government as it strives to establish a new democracy. The Pontiff said that the Romanian people must now resist the lure of materialism and other “false ideologies,” promoting the common good and “making good use of your freedom.” In that context, the Pope said that “injustices inherited from the past should be repaired without being afraid of doing justice.” He spoke more directly about Catholic-Orthodox conflicts, saying that a mixed commission set up in 1998 to mediate disputes about parish property “must be reactivated.”

Citing the advances that have been made in ecumenical affairs—particularly since the visit to Romania by Pope John Paul II-- the Holy Father said: “Commitment to dialogue in charity and truth must be strengthened and joint initiatives promoted.”

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Teachings of Christ

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)

Theophany

At Your baptism in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truth of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion - Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * “You have come, and You have appeared , O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Christ is Born!

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge." (Proverbs 5:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Let us go forward with the heart completely attentive and the soul fully conscious. For if attentiveness and prayer are daily joined together, they become like Elias' fire-bearing chariot, raising us to heaven. What do I mean? A spiritual heaven, with sun, moon and stars, is formed in the blessed heart of one who has reach a state of watchfulness, or who strives to attain it.

St. Philotheus of Sinai