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Friday, July 4, 2003


VATICAN CITY, JUL 4, 2003 (VIS) - Seong Youm, the new ambassador to the Holy See from Korea, presented his Letters of Credence this morning to Pope John Paul who, in his speech of welcome, noted that "today marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of a legation of the Republic of Korea to the Holy See."

"The Gospel has been able to grow and flourish on Korean soil," said the Pope. "The great number of Koreans elevated to the honors of the altar shows how holiness has planted solid roots among the people and this gives brilliance to the universal Church."

He said that during his two visits to Korea he saw "the progress and victories of freedom and well-being of a young and dynamic society. I also saw the bitterness of many people in noting that the peninsula, inhabited by one people, is forced to live a painful division. The feelings of hostility and opposition between the two nations are surely cause for concern, but there is also reason to hope in knowing that there is a concrete will to alleviate tensions through dialogue and meetings."

The Holy Father added that "this political path will probably find greater strength and credibility if the more developed area of the peninsula will know how, within its possibilities, to assume the urgent necessities of the other area."

"The Holy See," he said, "views with favor every effort for dialogue and cooperation, as well as constant attention to the weakest parts of the population. The present and future must be built on solid bases of respect for the human person and the constant search for justice and peace. To this end, in the present juncture, there is need to tirelessly pursue efforts aimed at the progressive, balanced and verifiable elimination of weapons of mass destruction and, especially, nuclear ones."

Turning to the Catholic community in Korea, John Paul II noted that "it is a promising reality that enjoys esteem and respect. It undertakes its mission inspired by the Gospel and gives concrete religious witness through its educational, welfare and charitable institutions, appreciated by so many."

However, he stated, the Catholic Church "cannot hide her concern for the sad phenomenon of abortion, which is a terrible social wound. There is also the widespread practice of artificial birth control and the spreading of a pragmatist mentality that justifies and encourages genetic manipulations, even the most impartial, as well as the death penalty. In the face of these serious threats to life, the Church feels it her duty to recall the values in which she believes, values that are mankind's patrimony because the natural law is written by God in the heart of every person."

Pope John Paul concluded by affirming that "a program whose priority objective is the defense of life and the family can only benefit the solidarity and stability of the Korean society."

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VATICAN CITY, JUL 4, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Five prelates from the Catholics Bishops' Conference of India on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Mariadas Kagithapu, M.S.F.S., of Visakhapatnam.

- Bishop Pudhota Chinniah Balaswamy of Nellore.

- Bishop John Mulagada of Eluru.

- Bishop Bali Gali of Guntur.

- Bishop Innayya Chinna Addagatla of Srikakulam.

- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
- Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments.

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VATICAN CITY, JUL 4, 2003 (VIS) - At noon in the Clementine Hall, the Pope received in a special audience Cardinal Corrado Bafile, who turns 100 today, and members of his family. The cardinal was born in Aquila in the Abruzzi region of Italy.

In a letter for the occasion, dated June 19 and made public today, the Holy Father writes to the cardinal referring to his hundred years of life: "It is a truly significant milestone which Providence has allowed you to reach."

"I think especially about how you, having embraced the priesthood in your adult years, have always been at the service of the Holy See, carrying out important and delicate offices for long periods of time. After twenty years of much-appreciated work in the Secretariat of State, Blessed John XXIII ... appointed you as apostolic nuncio in Germany and consecrated you archbishop in 1960." After 15 years of diplomatic service in Bonn, Pope Paul VI "entrusted you with the task of directing the Dicastery of the Causes of Saints and included you among the members of the College of Cardinals. It was May 24, 1976."

John Paul II expressed his gratitude to Cardinal Bafile for all that he has done "as a generous and competent collaborator of mine and of my venerated predecessors. I would like to especially underscore the spiritual convictions that have always guided your actions. All of those who have had the privilege to be by your side not only in the service of the Apostolic See, but also in the Sodality of the 'Abruzzesi' in Rome and in the Legion of Mary, unanimously testify to the apostolic and priestly dedication that always has inspired your service in the different stages of your long life."

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VATICAN CITY, JUL 4, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Erected the diocese of Kimbe, Papua Nuova Guinea, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Rabaul, making it a suffragan of the same metropolitan Church.

- Appointed Bishop Alphonse Chaupa, auxiliary of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, as the first bishop of Kimbe (area 15,500, population 260,000, Catholics 125,000, priests 47, religious 139), Papua Nuova Guinea.

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