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Wednesday, September 24, 2003


VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2003 (VIS) - Joaquin Navarro-Valls, Holy See Press Office Director, made the following declaration early this morning:

"Due to intestinal trouble which began yesterday afternoon, the Holy Father will not preside at today's general audience which will take place in the Paul VI Hall.

"Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Soldano will read the catechesis and will greet and bless the pilgrims in the Pope's name."



VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2003 (VIS) - On Tuesday, September 30, in the Holy See Press Office, a conference will be held to present the latest electronic method to receive the daily Holy See Press office bulletin and the news provided by the Vatican Information Service. These services will be provided through TIM (the acronym for Italian Mobile Telephones) and Blackberry, an instrument which allows for the consultation and administration of e-mail wherever the client is.

Mauro Sentinelli and Roberto Pellegrini of TIM will present this new system and offer a demonstration on the uses of Blackberry.

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VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2003 (VIS) - On September 22 in New York, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, O.F.M., archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil, addressed a United Nations meeting on HIV/AIDS. He heads the Holy See delegation to the high level plenary meeting of the U.N. General Assembly devoted to the follow-up of the outcome of the 26th special session: Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS.

In his speech, made public yesterday afternoon, the cardinal stated that "HIV/AIDS has been and remains one of the major tragedies of our time. It is not only a health problem of enormous magnitude; it is a social, economic and political concern as well. ... It is also a moral question, as the causes of the epidemic clearly reflects a serious crisis of values, .... sparing no geographic segment of the human family."

He drew the assembly's attention "to one of the most vulnerable groups of HIV/AIDS victims, namely our children. So many of them have been and continue to be victims of this epidemic, either because they have been infected by the virus passed on to them by birth, or because they have become orphans due to AIDS-related premature death of their parents. ... According to one estimate, by 2010 in Africa alone there will be 40 million AIDS orphans, 95 percent of whom carrying the virus."

"Treatment for these young patients can be met by the advances in medical science," the head of delegation affirmed. He noted the very high cost of medical treatment, "compounded by legal issues," but said the Holy See is "heartened by the World Trade Organization agreement reached August 30, 2003 which will make it easier for poorer States to import cheaper generic pharmaceuticals made under compulsory licensing."

Cardinal Hummes remarked that "the Holy See and Catholic institutions have not shrunk from the global fight against HIV/AIDS," pointing out that "12 percent of care providers for HIV/AIDS patients are agencies of the Catholic Church and 13 percent of the global relief for those affected by the epidemic comes from Catholic non-governmental organizations. The Holy See, thanks to its institutions worldwide, provides 25 percent of the total care given to HIV/AIDS victims."

He said, in closing, that "in order to coordinate better its activities, the Holy See has established an Ad Hoc Committee on the fight against HIV/AIDS ... (which) intends to express particular solicitude for sub-Saharan Africa" and "to pay special attention to the problems of stigma and discrimination accompanying the disease, to access to treatment and care, to education on responsible sexual behavior ' including abstinence and marital fidelity ' and to the care of HIV/AIDS orphans."


VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2003 (VIS) - During this Wednesday's general audience, celebrated in the Paul VI Hall, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, read the catechesis prepared by the Pope who was unable to come from Castelgandolfo due to an intestinal problem.

Before reading the text, Cardinal Sodano told the pilgrims present: "Due to being ill, the Holy Father will not be able to be present during this general audience. Together we will pray for him, trusting that he may quickly recover. His Holiness would like you to know that he is following us via television and, at the end of this gathering, he will speak to us."

Today's commentary on Psalm 8, "The Greatness of God and the Dignity of Man," concludes the cycle of meditations started by the Pope on the psalms and canticles "which are the center of the Liturgy of the Lauds."

In Psalm 8, the Holy Father writes, "a double experience emerges. On one hand, man feels almost crushed by the grandeur of creation" and yet "God watches over man and crowns him as his viceroy. ... God even entrusts the whole universe to this creature, so fragile, so that he may know Him and be sustained by Him."

"The Psalm," he continues, "makes us aware of our grandeur, but also of our responsibility in relation to creation."

In conclusion, John Paul II affirms that "God weaves for us a 'crown of justice' that will reward our fidelity to Him, sustained even during the storms that agitate our heart and mind. He is always attentive to His creatures and would like the divine 'image' to always shine in them, so that they know how to be a sign of harmony, light and peace in the world."

After Cardinal Sodano read greetings in different languages, the Pope, via an audio linkup from Castelgandolfo, greeted and then blessed the pilgrims: "I regret not being able to be with you for this weekly gathering. I hold you all in my heart and bless you with affection."

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VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Alano Maria Pena, O.P., of Nova Friburgo, Brazil as metropolitan archbishop of Niteroi (area 4,722, population 2,094,288, Catholics 1,798,175, priests 109, permanent deacons 17, religiosos 263), Brazil. The archbishop-elect was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1935 and was ordained a priest in 1961 and a bishop in 1975.

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