Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Tuesday, December 30, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 30, 2003 (VIS) - Following is the Holy Father's telegram sent to Archbishop Simon Ntamwana of Gitega, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Burundi, upon the assassination of Archbishop Michael A. Courtney, apostolic nuncio in the same country, yesterday afternoon:

'Deeply saddened by the tragic news of the violent death of Archbishop Michael A. Courtney, apostolic nuncio in Burundi, I would like to express my spiritual closeness and my compassion to the Episcopal Conference and the Catholic Church in Burundi. I ask the Lord of life to accept him into His kingdom of light and peace, he who manifested the daily concern of the Successor of Peter for more than three years to all the citizens of Burundi and I invite everyone to commit themselves to follow Christ, rejecting violence, which is a path without a future, and to build up lasting peace, based on justice, respect for others and security for all. As a sign of comfort, I impart the apostolic blessing on you and all the people affected by this drama so that God may watch over you in peace and hope.'



VATICAN CITY, DEC 30, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father's general intention for the month of January is: 'That all men and women may recognize that they are members of God's one family and end wars, injustice and discrimination among themselves.'

His missionary intention is: 'That every mission Church may engage itself in the training of apostolic personnel.'



VATICAN CITY, DEC 30, 2003 (VIS) - Following is a communique from the Secretariat of State, published late on Monday, December 29, upon the news of the assassination of Archbishop Michael Courtney, apostolic nuncio in Burundi:

'The tragic event took place in Minago, a town 50 kilometers from the capital, Bujumbura, where the prelate had gone in order to carry out pastoral obligations.

'The automobile in which the pontifical representative was traveling this afternoon, with a priest, wounded in the attack, a driver and another person, was shot at with fire arms from a nearby hill. Archbishop Courtney, who was taken with great difficulty to the closest hospital in Bujumbura, did not regain consciousness due to serious wounds which provoked an uncontrollable hemorrhage. Despite the doctors' efforts, the prelate died during emergency surgery.

'Upon hearing the news, the Holy Father recollected himself in prayer, entrusting to Christ, the Good Shepherd, the soul of this faithful and generous servant of the Church and the Holy See, who died while carrying out his difficult mission. Afterward he conveyed to the family members of the late archbishop his profound sentiments of participation in the sorrow that afflicts them.

'Archbishop Michael Aidan Courtney, of Irish origin, was appointed apostolic nuncio of Burundi by His Holiness John Paul II on August 18, 2000. Previously, he had lent his inestimable collaboration in pontifical representations in South Africa, Senegal, India, Yugoslavia and Egypt. Before being appointed to Bujumbura, for almost five years he served as permanent observer of the Holy See to the Council of Europe at Strasbourg, France.

'With the death of Archbishop Courtney, the list of missionaries who have given their life for the Gospel during 2003 grows longer. And now, for the first time, the name of a pontifical representative is added to that list of generous faithful. May the Lord grant them eternal rest!'


VATICAN CITY, DEC 30, 2003 (VIS) - According to a communique from the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum,' the Holy Father, 'after remarks made during the Angelus on December 28, when he encouraged nations to be generous to the populations afflicted by the devastating earthquake in Iran, wanted to send ' through the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum' ' a concrete sign of solidarity to the Iranian people.'

'With this gesture,' reads the communique, 'His Holiness wishes to support and encourage the rescue efforts for all those who suffer due to the consequences of the seismic catastrophe.'

'Cor Unum' is an office in the Roman Curia that is dedicated to coordinating the activity of organizations, associations and ecclesiastical groups that do charity work to help people and countries that are affected by natural calamities and war, and that fosters human advancement in developing countries.
Keys: ;EARTHQUAKE IRAN;...;CON-CU ;VIS;20031230;Word: 150;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 30, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Velasio De Paolis, C.S., dean of the Faculty of Canon Law of the Pontifical Urban University, as secretary of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature, elevating him at the same time to the dignity of bishop. The bishop-elect was born in 1935 in Sonnino, Italy and made his perpetual profession in the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles (Scalabrinians) in 1958, and was ordained a priest in 1961. He succeeds Bishop Francesco Saverio Salerno, whose resignation from the office of the secretariat of the same tribunal the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

NA;@;...;DE PAOLIS; SALERNO ;VIS;20031230;Word: 100;

Monday, December 29, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 27, 2003 (VIS) - Following is the text of the telegram of condolence sent by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, in the Holy Father's name, to Archbishop Angelo Mottola, apostolic nuncio in Iran, for the earthquake on December 26 in the region of Bam, Iran which claimed countless victims:

'Upon receiving the news of the earthquake in Iran, in the region of Bam, which caused many deaths, the Holy Father expresses his spiritual closeness to the individuals affected by this terrible tragedy. He entrusts those who died to the mercy of the Almighty and assures the survivors and their families of his solidarity. The Pope conveys his sincere condolences to the authorities of the country and the Iranian people, and invites the international communities to show their support and solidarity concretely to the people who have undergone this trial. His Holiness does not forget the people who courageously take part in the rescue efforts and implores the consolation of divine blessing for all those who have been affected by this dramatic event.'

TGR;EARTHQUAKE IRAN;...;SODANO ;VIS;20031229;Word: 180;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 27, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Bishop Jose Luis Dibildox Martinez of Tarahumara, Mexico as bishop of Tampico (area 22, 671, population 1,183, 640, Catholics 1,110,620, priests 111, religious 178), Mexico. He succeeds Bishop Rafael Gallardo Garcia O.S.A. whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Bishop Francisco Javier Chavolla Ramos of Matamoros, Mexico as bishop of Toluca (area 7,917, population 3,234,580, Catholics 2,878,775, priests 287, religious 483), Mexico.

- Bishop Jesus Murgui Soriano, auxiliary of Valencia, Spain, as bishop of Mallorca (area 3,604, population 702,122, Catholics 557,122, priests 403, religious 1,276, permanent deacons 7), Spain.

On Tuesday, December 24 it was made public that the Holy Father appointed:

- Fr. Pavel Posad, spiritual director of the Seminary of Olomouc, Czech Republic, as bishop of the diocese of Litomerice (area 9,380, population 1,310,476, Catholic 189,200, priests 119, religious 105, permanent deacons 13), Czech Republic. The bishop-elect was born in 1953 in Budkov, Czech Republic and was ordained a priest in 1977. He succeeds Bishop Josef Koukl whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Fr. Paul Ponen Kubi, C.S.C., vice-provincial of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, as auxiliary bishop of Mymensing (area 16,448, population 14,009,701, Catholics 65,220, priests 26, religious 121), Bangladesh. The bishop-elect was born in 1956 in Dewachala, Bangladesh and was ordained a priest in 1986.

NER; RE; NEA;@;...;@ ;VIS;20031229;Word: 250;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 28, 2003 (VIS) - Today, Feast of the Holy Family, before thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus, the Pope said that 'all families learn to be a center of love, unity and openness to life in the school of Nazareth.'

'In our times,' he affirmed, 'a misunderstood sense of our rights sometimes obscures the nature of the institution of the family and the conjugal bond. It is necessary for all those who believe in the importance of the family based on marriage to unite at all levels. It is a human and divine reality that should be defended and promoted as a fundamental good of society.'

John Paul II indicated that Christians, according to Vatican Council II, 'attentive to the signs of the times, must do everything possible 'to promote diligently the good of marriage and the family.' ' It is necessary to proclaim the Gospel of the family with joy and courage. Let us raise our common prayer for this to Jesus, Mary and Joseph for all families, in particular for those who have material or spiritual difficulties.'

Before concluding, the Pope asked for prayers for the victims of the earthquake in Iran and invited 'international organizations, and especially Catholic charitable institutions to generously help our Iranian brothers and sisters who have been affected by this serious catastrophe. May the solidarity of the entire world, especially felt during the Christmas season, help to improve this dramatic situation.'

ANG;HOLY FAMILY;...;@ ;VIS;20031229;Word: 260;

Saturday, December 27, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 25, 2003 (VIS) - In his traditional Christmas message which he read from the atrium of St. Peter's Square, the Pope asked God to save humanity from war and conflict, from the plague of terrorism and from violence.

John Paul II said that with the birth of the Savior 'a wave of tenderness and hope fills our hearts, together with an overpowering need for closeness and peace. ' Beside the crib, the Christmas tree, with its twinkling lights, reminds us that with the birth of Jesus the tree of life has blossomed anew in the desert of humanity. The crib and the tree: precious symbols which hand down in time the true meaning of Christmas!'

'The Son of God,' said the Pope, 'has entered into the history of each person living on the face of the earth. He is now present in the world as the one Savior of humanity. For this reason we pray to him: Savior of the world, save us!'

'Save us from the great evils which rend humanity in these first years of the third millennium,' he exclaimed. 'Save us from the wars and armed conflicts which lay waste whole areas of the world, from the scourge of terrorism and from the many forms of violence which assail the weak and the vulnerable. Save us from discouragement as we face the paths to peace, difficult paths indeed, yet possible and therefore necessary; paths which are always and everywhere urgent, especially in the Land where You were born, the Prince of Peace.'

The Holy Father asked Our Lady to make us 'able to recognize in the Child ' the heralded Savior, who brings hope and peace to all. With you we worship Him and trustingly say: we need You, Redeemer of man, You who know the hopes and fears of our hearts. Come and stay with us, Lord! May the joy of your Nativity reach to the farthest ends of the universe!'

After the message, the Pope delivered Christmas greetings in 62 languages to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square and to everyone who watched on television and listened on the radio. Later he imparted the 'Urbi et Orbi' (to the city and the world) blessing.

MESS;URBI ET ORBI;...;@ ;VIS;20031227;Word: 380;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 25, 2003 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father celebrated Midnight Mass on the Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord. Thirty cardinals concelebrated. During the Gloria, children from different continents laid flowers before an image of the child Jesus.

In his homily, John Paul II said that the words of the prophet Isaiah, ''for to us a child is born, to us a son is given', contain the truth of Christmas. ' A Child is born. In appearance, just another of the world's many children. A Child is born in a stable in Bethlehem. He is born in a condition of extreme deprivation: poor among the poor. But the One who is born is 'the Son' par excellence. ' Like the unnamed and fortunate shepherds, let us too run to meet the One who has changed the course of history.'

'O Child, who willed to have a manger for your crib,' he exclaimed. 'O Creator of the universe, who stripped yourself of divine glory; O Redeemer, who offered your vulnerable body in sacrifice for the salvation of humanity! May the radiance of your birth light up the night of the world. May the power of your message of love thwart the proud snares of the evil one. May the gift of your life make us understand ever more clearly the worth of the life of each human being.'

'Too much blood is still being shed on the earth! Too much violence and too many conflicts trouble the peaceful coexistence of nations! You come to bring us peace. You are our peace! You alone can make of us 'a people purified' and belonging to you for ever, a people 'zealous for good deeds'.'

The Pope asked Our Lady to give us her 'eyes to contemplate him with faith; grant us your heart to worship him with love. In his simplicity, the Child of Bethlehem teaches us to rediscover the real meaning of our existence.'

'O Holy Night, so long awaited, which has united God and man forever! You rekindle our hope. You fill us with ecstatic wonder,' he concluded. 'You assure us of the triumph of love over hatred, of life over death.'

HML;MIDNIGHT MASS;...;@ ;VIS;20031227;Word: 380;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 26, 2003 (VIS) - Today at noon on the feeast of St. Stephen the Martyr, the Pope appeared at the window of his private study overlooking St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered below.

After recalling that St. Stephen 'was charged with false accusations similar to those directed at Jesus and, like the Master, died while forgiving his killers,' the Holy Father said that 'the Church calls the feast day of a martyr 'dies natalis.' The death of a martyr,' he affirmed, 'is a birth in heaven in virtue of the death and resurrection of Christ. For this reason, it is very significant that we celebrate the first martyr the day after Christmas: Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem, gave His life for us so that we, reborn through faith and baptism, would be willing to sacrifice our life for love of our brothers and sisters.'

John Paul II remembered especially 'Christian communities that suffer persecution, and all the faithful who suffer for the faith. May the Lord give them the strength of perseverance and the capability to love those who cause them suffering.'

'May Mary, Queen of the martyrs,' he concluded, 'help us to be 'martyrs', that is, witnesses in every moment of the love of Christ whom we contemplate as a child in the manger in these days.'

ANG;ST. STEPHEN; MARTYR;...;@ ;VIS;20031227;Word: 240;

Tuesday, December 23, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 23, 2003 (VIS) - The Vatican Information service wishes our readers a very Happy and Holy Christmas. As previously advised, the next service will be transmitted on December 29.
Keys: ;@;...;@ ;VIS;20031223;Word: 40;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 23, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- His Beatitude, Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

- Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governatorate of Vatican City State.

AP;@;...;@ ;VIS;20031223;Word: 50;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 23, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message by the Holy Father for the 90th World Day of Migrants and Refugees which will be celebrated throughout 2004 in local churches on a date established by the respective episcopal conferences. This year's theme is: 'Migration in the perspective of peace.'

The Pope writes in the message, dated December 15, that 'unfortunately we are used to witnessing the hopeless journey of immigrants, the desperate escape of refugees, their arrival by any means in the richest countries, seeking to satisfy their personal and family needs. Therefore the question is: How can we talk about peace when situations of tension are reported in so many regions of the world? And how can the phenomenon of migration contribute to building up peace among men?'

After emphasizing that peace 'is not only the absence of conflicts,' the Holy Father encourages 'gestures and concrete efforts of forgiveness and reconciliation, overcoming differences and division. ' There can be no peace without justice and respect for human rights.'

'Creating specific peaceful conditions for migrants and refugees means working seriously to safeguard above all the right not to emigrate, that is to live in peace and dignity in one's own country.'

John Paul II recalls that 'the right to emigrate also exists. ' It is up to governments to regulate the flow of migrants with full respect for the dignity of people and the needs of their families, keeping in mind the needs of the societies that accept these migrants.'

'May no one be insensitive to the conditions in which so many migrants live!' exclaims the Holy Father. After underscoring that we must 'recognize the great effort made by so many public and private organizations to alleviate the troubling situations in many regions of the world,' he writes: 'We must never cease to denounce the traffic of those who, without scruples, abandon people at sea, in precarious boats, people who are desperately seeking a more certain future.'

The Pope indicates that despite these problems, migrants can 'offer a valid contribution in order to establish peace. Migrations can facilitate exchange and understanding among cultures, as well as among people and communities.'

'If the gradual integration of all immigrants is promoted ' there is less of a risk that immigrants form ghettos where they are isolated from the social context, which sometimes results in the desire to gradually take over the territory.'

John Paul II concludes the message by affirming that 'if the 'dream' of a peaceful world is shared by many, if the contribution of migrants and refugees is valued, humanity will be able to become a family and our land will be truly be a 'common house'.'

MESS;MIGRANT REFUGEE DAY;...;@ ;VIS;20031223;Word: 440;

Monday, December 22, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 20, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Ibrahim Rugova, president of the provisional institutions of Kosovo, and an entourage.

- Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.

- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

AP;.;...;. ;VIS;20031222;Word: 50;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 20, 2003 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall in the presence of the Holy Father, members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and the postulators of the respective causes, 18 new decrees were promulgated. Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the congregation, read a discourse about the lives of the Blesseds and Servants of God.

The decrees concern the following causes:


- Blessed Jose Manyanet y Vives, Spanish, priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sons and Daughters of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (1833-1901).

- Blessed Nimatullah Al-Hardini, Lebanese, ne Yusuf Kassab, priest of the Lebanese Maronite Order (1808-1858).

- Blessed Paola Elisabetta, Italian, nee Costanza Cerioli, widow and foundress of the Holy Family Institute and the Congregation of the Holy Family (1816-1865).

- Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla, Italian, mother of a family (1922-1962).

- Venerable Servant of God August Czartoryski, French, priest of the Society of St. John Bosco (1858-1893).

- Venerable Servant of God Maria Guadalupe, Mexican, nee Anastasia Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, cofoundress of the Congregation of the Servants of St. Margaret Mary of the Poor (1878-1963).

- Venerable Servant of God Nemesia Valle, Italian, nee Giulia, religious of the Institute of Charity (1847-1916).

- Venerable Servant of God Eusebia Palomino Yenes, Spanish, religious of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary, Helper (1899-1935).

- Venerable Servant of God Ludovica de Angelis, Italian, nee Antonina, religious of the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy (1880-1962).

- Venerable Servant of God Carl of Austria, Austrian, emperor and king (1887-1922).

- Venerable Servant of God Alesandrina Maria da Costa, Portuguese, lay, of the Union of Salesian Cooperators (1904-1955).


- Servant of God Clemente Augusto von Galen, cardinal, German, bishop of Munster (1878-1946).

- Servant of God Luigi Biraghi, Italian, diocesan priest, founder of the Institute of the Religious of St. Marcelina (1801-1879).

- Servant of God Luigi Monza, diocesan priest, founder of the secular Institute of the Little Apostolic Sisters of Charity (1898-1954).

- Servant of God Benigno of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Italian, nee Angelo Calvi, priest of the Discalced Carmelites (1909-1937).

- Servant of God Maria Teresa of Jesus, Italian, nee Maria Scrilli, foundress of the Congregation of the Religious of Our Lady of Carmel

- Servant of God Rita Amada de Jesus, Portuguese, nee Rita Lopes de Almeida, foundress of the Institute of the Sisters of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (1848-1913).

- Servant of God Maria Nazarena, Italian, nee Maria Majone, cofoundress of the Congregation of the Religious Daughters of the Divine Zeal (1869-1939).

CCS;DECREES;...;SARAIVA ;VIS;20031222;Word: 450;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 21, 2003 (VIS) - Thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square today to pray the noon Angelus with Pope John Paul as he appeared at the window of study overlooking the square. He noted that " Christmas is now very close. As we put the final touches on the nativity scene and Christmas tree here in St. Peter's Square, we must also prepare our soul to live intensely this great mystery of faith."

"In these final days of Advent," the Pope said, "the liturgy places special emphasis on the figure of Mary. The Incarnation of the Redeemer began in her heart with her 'here I am' full of faith, in answer to the divine call. If we wish to understand the true meaning of Christmas, it is thus to her that we must look, her that we must invoke."

He explained in conclusion that "Mary, mother par excellence, helps us to understand the key words of the mystery of the birth of her divine Son: humility, silence, stupor, joy. She exhorts us above all to humility, so that God can find room in our hearts, not darkened by pride or arrogance. She points us to the value of silence, of knowing how to listen to the song of the angels and the crying of the Child, not suffocating them in noise and confusion. Together with her, we pause in front of the nativity scene with stupor, tasting the joy, simple and pure, that that Child brought to all of mankind."

ANG;CHRISTMAS;...;. ;VIS;20031222;Word: 260;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 20, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Fr. Paul Hinder, O.F.M. Cap., definitor general of the Order, as auxiliary bishop for the Apostolic Vicariate of Arabia (the Arabian Peninsula) (area 3,143,669, population 42,250,000, Catholics 1,400,000, priests 40, religious 68). The bishop-elect was born in 1942 in Lanterswill-Steherenberg, Switzerland and was ordained a priest in 1967.

- Msgr. Raffaello Funghini as president of the Appellate Court of Vatican City State.

- Joseph Stiglitz, professor of Economics at Columbia University, as an ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences.

- Yves Quere, professor emeritus of Physics at the "Ecole polytechnique" in Paris, France and co-president of the Inter-Academy Panel on International Issues in Trieste, Italy, as an ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences.

NEA; NA;.;...;. ;VIS;20031222;Word: 140;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 22, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today was Pope John Paul's Message to the patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Angelo Scola, on the occasion of the inauguration of the St. Pius X Institute of Canon Law. The Pope notes that 2003 marks the centenary of the election of Pius X, patriarch of Venice from 1893 to 1903, to the papacy and that this new institute, erected by the Congregation for Catholic Education and linked to the Canon Law Faculty of Holy Cross Pontifical University, is one of the initiatives to mark that anniversary.

"The new institute," he writes, "is part of the 'Studium Generale Marcianum', an initiative through which the Church in Venice wishes to study more deeply and to promote the educational and cultural dimension that is intrinsic to the work of evangelization. . Through the 'Studium Generale Marcianum' the faithful can offer their contributions in scientific research, in teaching and in studies at various levels of education, in an open and constructive dialogue with all social and cultural interlocutors."

"I hope," concludes the Message, "that, at the current time in which the new Europe seeks to give itself an identity, the work of 'Studium Generale Marcianum' can impress upon and show everyone that every culture has man as its centerpiece: 'Culture is that for which man, as man, becomes ever more man'." May faith continue to make fertile the fields of the world to allow a civilization to grow that is ever more human."

MESS;INSTITUTE; PIUS X;...;SCOLA ;VIS;20031222;Word: 260;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 22, 2003 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall, the traditional gathering of the Pope, cardinals, archbishops, bishops and members of the Roman Curia took place during which they exchanged Christmas greetings.

At the beginning of his speech, the Pope recalled that the first gathering with members of the Curia took place exactly twenty-five years ago on December 22, 1978 and he thanked them for the service they render to the Successor of Peter.

"The purpose that moves us is the same: to announce the Gospel of Christ for the salvation of the world. It is a mission that we want to carry out with a spirit of faith and with our soul ready for sacrifice, if necessary, until the 'passio sanguinis.' . May we never fail to be faithful to the One Who has linked us intimately to His priesthood! May He and only He always be at the center of our life: Christ! With the passage of the years, I am more and more convinced that Jesus asks us to be His witnesses, concerned solely about His glory and the well-being of souls."

John Paul II emphasized that the "awareness of Christ's desire for unity among believers - 'ut unum sint' - has stimulated me to intensify ecumenical contacts with representatives of the venerated Orthodox Churches, with the primate of the Anglican Communion and leaders of the other ecclesial Churches and communities."

Referring then to Europe, the Holy Father emphasized that it continues to live through "a crucial phase in its history, while it expands its borders to other peoples and nations. It is important that Europe, enriched throughout the centuries with the treasure of the Christian faith, confirm these origins and revive these roots. The most important contribution that Christians are called to give to the building of the new Europe is above all that of its faithfulness to Christ and to the Gospel."

"Europe," he continued, "needs, in the first place, saints and witnesses." In this sense, he recalled Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, "icon of the good Samaritan who has become for everyone, believers and non-believers alike, a messenger of love and peace."

The Pope told them "to be witnesses; teach peace! This is another commitment, so urgent in our time which sees risks and threats on the horizon, for the peaceful co-existence of humanity. . Peace is still possible today and it is a duty. I wanted to repeat this in my Message for the upcoming World Day of Peace."

AC;GREETINGS CURIA;...;. ;VIS;20031222;Word: 430;

Friday, December 19, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 19, 2003 (VIS) - Pope John Paul this morning welcomed a group of young boys and girls from Italian Catholic Action, who came to wish him a Merry Christmas, and he thanked them for their "very welcome visit."

"There are only a few more days until Christmas," he said, "that great feast which commemorates the birth of Jesus. Two thousand years ago He came into the world to save all of mankind and He constantly comes to visit us. Our Lady, who gave birth to Him in Bethlehem, helps us to welcome him with generosity. Christ's gift to us is peace. I ask you, dear boys and girls, to be messengers of His peace in your families and with your peers."

"As you return home bring my very best Christmas wishes to your dear ones and don't forget to pray for the Pope."

AC;CATHOLIC ACTION;...;. ;VIS;20031219;Word: 150;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 19, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received a group of lawyers who, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his pontificate, presented him with a book of reflections and observations inspired by papal teachings. More than 420 lawyers from all over the world, including experts in Judaism and Islam, contributed to the volume, entitled "John Paul II: Paths of Justice."

The Pope said that he joined them in their "conviction that, in order to promote man and his dignity, and to pursue the common good and understanding among peoples, the only road to take is that of making the 'force' of the law prevail, with due respect for people of every culture, language and religion."

"This is what I wanted to emphasize in the Message for the upcoming World Day of Peace, recalling at the same time the importance and urgency of educating to peace. I hope very much," he concluded, "that this work may contribute to better demonstrate the fundamental duty to safeguard human rights, merits and also the limits of globalization and the value of European integration and peace."

AC;BOOK; JUSTICE;...;. ;VIS;20031219;Word: 200;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 19, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Rigoberto Corredor Bermudez of Buenaventura, Colombia as bishop of Garzon (area 9,667, population 461,000, Catholics 447,000, priests 81, religious 191), Colombia.

- Appointed Fr. Lucas Van Looy, S.D.B., vicar general of the Salesian Society of St. John Bosco, as bishop of Ghent (area 2,995, population 1,400,000. Catholics 174,000, priests 821, permanent 64, religious 2,891), Belgium. The bishop-elect was born in 1941 in Tielen, Belgium and was ordained a priest in 1970. The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese presented by Bishop Arthur Luysterman in accordance with Canon 401, para. 2, of the Code of Canon Law.

NER; RE;.;...;CORREDOR; VAN LOOY; LUYSTERMAN ;VIS;20031219;Word: 120;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 19, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Four prelates from the French Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Bernard Barsi of Monaco.

- Bishop Jean Bonfils of Nice, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Guy de Kerimel.

- Msgr. Gaston Pietri, diocesan administrator of Ajaccio.

- Fernando Estrada Samano, ambassador of Mexico, on his farewell visit.

- Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

AL; AP;.;...;. ;VIS;20031219;Word: 80;

Thursday, December 18, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 18, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Four prelates of the French Episcopal Conference on their 'ad limina' visit:

- Archbishop Jean-Pierre Cattenoz of Avignon.

- Bishop Francois-Xavier Loizeau of Digne.

- Bishop Dominique Rey of Frejus-Toulon.

- Bishop Jean-Michel di Falco of Gap.

- Luvy Salerni Navas, ambassador of Nicaragua, on her farewell visit.

- Ivan Misic, ambassador of Bosnia-Herzegovina, on his farewell visit.

- Cardinal Walter Kasper and Bishop Brian Farrell, L.C., respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

AL; AP;@;...;@ ;VIS;20031218;Word: 80;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 18, 2003 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebration of the Supreme Pontiff published today the calendar of celebrations at which the Holy Father will preside during the Christmas season:


- Wednesday, 24: Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. The Pope will celebrate Midnight Mass in the Vatican Basilica.

- Thursday, 25: Solemnity of the Birth of the Lord. At noon from the central balcony of the Vatican Basilica, the Pope will deliver his Christmas message to the world and will impart the "Urbi et Orbi" blessing.

- Wednesday, 31: At 6 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father will preside at first vespers on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, during which the traditional 'Te Deum" hymn of thanksgiving will be sung for the conclusion of the civil year.


- Thursday, 1: Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. The Holy Father will preside at the celebration of the solemnity within the octave of Christmas in the Vatican Basilica at 10 a.m. on the occasion of the 37th World Day of Peace on the theme 'An Ever Timely Commitment: Teaching Peace.' The Eucharist will be celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State.

JPII-CALENDAR;DECEMBER; JANUARY;...;... ;VIS;20031218;Word: 180;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 18, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father this morning welcomed the bishops and diocesan administrators from the ecclesiastical province of Marseille as well as the archbishop of Monaco, who have just concluded their 'ad limina' visit. He focussed his talk on 'the renewal of the spiritual life of pastors, the faithful and entire communities,' saying it is from this 'that will spring forth a new pastoral and missionary elan.'

He said that 'in this perspective persons committed to the consecrated life have a primordial role to play. Consecrated life in all of its forms, old and new, is a gift from God to the Church.' John Paul II said he wanted 'to repeat with conviction and strength the need for consecrated life in the Church and the world. Indeed, a diocese without communities of consecrated life 'would be deprived of many spiritual gifts, of places reserved for seeking God, of apostolic activities and specific pastoral methods.'

The Pope then turned to the crisis being undergone in France by communities of consecrated life, citing the bishops' quinquennial reports on this subject. He said that this crisis 'is marked in a notable way in the apostolic congregations, by the progressive and constant decrease in the number of members of the diverse institutes, ' and by the weak numbers of candidates for the novitiates.' He noted that 'members are ageing, with the inevitable consequences on the life of the institutes, on their witness, on their government and even on the choices linked to their missions and to where their resources are destined." Now, more than ever, he said, 'leaders of institutes must be attentive to the permanent formation of their members, especially on the theological and spiritual levels.'

The Holy Father added that he was delighted 'to see that congregations are taking care to propose their charisms to the laity of all ages and circumstances and to include them in their mission.'

He lauded the work done by consecrated persons 'in France and in the poorest of countries, especially in Africa' where they see to 'excluded people, illiterate children, street youths, people in precarious situations or poverty, those sick with AIDS, migrants and other displaced peoples.' He urged leaders of congregations 'to never neglect or desert too quickly these essential places for transmitting Gospel values.'

John Paul II underscored many times in his talk the need to devote attention to young people, especially in their early and formative years, and with particular regard for those who are considering a vocation to the religious life. Young people, he said 'need audacious witnesses who call on them to live the Gospel and to place themselves generously at its service.'

The Pope also underlined the need for a fruitful dialogue between institutes and congregations at both the national and diocesan levels. He added that, of all the activities of these communities, he wished to highlight 'the eminent role they play in intellectual research in your country. Religious in France have often been beacons in this domain.'

'In your dioceses,' he went on, 'consecrated life has many faces, with old and new communities existing side by side. ' New communities are a fortune for the Church. Helped by their bishops, ' they still need to mature, to become rooted and sometimes to be organized according to canonical rules.' He said that many times the older congregations can learn much from the enthusiasm and the ardor of new communities. The latter, he remarked, 'have a courage that sometimes is missing in older institutes.'
The Holy Father noted that many of the bishops 'underscored the important role that communities of contemplative life play in your dioceses.' They add, he stated, to the 'apostolic fruitfulness of the parishes, movements and ministries and are for many young people and adults reference points and spaces in which they can find solid bases for building and reaffirming their human and spiritual life.' He said that in particular 'monasteries play a precious role,' especially for those priests, religious and laity who spend time there on retreats.

AL;CONSECRATED LIFE;...;FRANCE ;VIS;20031218;Word: 680;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 16, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Pier Giacomo Grampa, rector of Papio College and pastor-archpriest of Ascona, Switzerland as bishop of Lugano (area 2,811, population 282,181, Catholics 235,669, priests 288, permanent deacons 288, religious 630), Switzerland. The bishop-elect was born in Busto Arsizio, Italy in 1936 and was ordained a priest in 1959. He succeeds Bishop Giuseppe Torti whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

NER; RE;@;...;GRAMPA; TORTI ;VIS;20031218;Word: 90;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 18, 2003 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

- Cardinal Paulos Tzadua of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on December 11 at age 82.

- Bishop Joseph Anthony Ferrario, emeritus of Honolulu, U.S.A., on December 12 at age 77.

- Bishop Luiz Roberto Gomes de Arruda, prelate emeritus of Guajara-Mirim, Brazil on December 6 at age 89.

- Bishop Johannes Sudiarna Hadiwikarta of Surabaya, Indonesia on December 13 at age 59.

- Bishop Augustine Eugene Hornyak, O.S.B.M., apostolic exarch for the Ukrainian faithful resident in Great Britain on November 16 at age 84.

- Bishop William Edward Power, emeritus of Antigonish, Canada on November 29 at age 88.

- Archbishop Fernando Vargas Ruiz de Somocurcio, emeritus of Arequipa, Peru on December 8 at age 85.

Keys: ;DEATHS;...;@ ;VIS;20031218;Word: 130;

Wednesday, December 17, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 17, 2003 (VIS) - At the end of today's weekly general audience, during his multi-language greetings to the faithful, Pope John Paul expressed special thanks to the people of the northern Italian region of Valle D'Aosta, accompanied by their bishop and by civil authorities, for the Christmas trees that they provided for the Vatican. Also present were a choir and musicians from the region who entertained the Pope and the pilgrims present at the audience.

'You came to present me,' said the Pope, 'with the immense tree that has been placed in St. Peter's Square and the trees set up in this audience hall and in other areas of the apostolic palaces and the Vatican. These are a gift from your autonomous region of Valle D'Aosta. Thank you very much! I am especially grateful to all those who made possible this very welcomes Christmas gift which will remind visitors and pilgrims of the birth of Jesus, light of the world.'



VATICAN CITY, DEC 17, 2003 (VIS) - Today in the Paul VI Hall, In the last general audience of this year, the Holy Father spoke about 'An Advent of Hope.'

Addressing some 10,000 people, John Paul II said that 'Advent keeps alive the wait for Christ who will come to visit us with His salvation, fully realizing His kingdom of justice and peace. The annual commemoration of the Messiah's birth in Bethlehem renews in the hearts of believers the certainty that God keeps faithful to His promises. Therefore, Advent is a powerful proclamation of hope that touches our personal and common experience deeply.'

After emphasizing that all human beings 'dream of a more just and unified world where dignified conditions of life and peaceful coexistence make relations among individuals and peoples harmonious,' he said: 'Often it is not this way. ' The mystery of Christmas, which we will relive in a few days, assures us that God is Emmanuel ' God with us. Therefore, we must never feel alone. He is close to us, He became one of us in the virginal womb of Mary. He shared in our earthly pilgrimage, guaranteeing us the joy and peace which we aspire to from the depths of our being.'

The Pope said that Advent highlights 'a second element of hope which regards more generally the meaning and value of life. ' What meaning do our accomplishments on earth have, what awaits us after death? ' Are the search for greater material well-being, the pursuit of ever-more advanced social, scientific and economic goals' enough, he asked, 'to satisfy the most intimate aspirations of our soul? Today's liturgy invites us to amplify our vision and to contemplate the wisdom of God who comes to us from on high.'

A third element of Christian hope is that 'God has taken the initiative to come in contact with man. Becoming a child, Jesus assumed our nature and established His alliance with all of humanity forever.'

'The meaning of Christian hope which Advents proposes,' he concluded, 'is that of confident hope, of docility and joyful openness in encountering the Lord. He came to Bethlehem to be with us forever.'

AG;ADVENT;...;@ ;VIS;20031217;Word: 380;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 16, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Joseph Edra Ukpo of Ogoja, Nigeria as metropolitan archbishop of Calabar (area 7,753, population 2,301,762, Catholics 189,537, priests 38, religious 44), Nigeria. He succeeds Archbishop Brian David Usanga whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

NER; RE;@;...;OGOJA; USANGA ;VIS;20031217;Word: 60;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 17, 2003 (VIS) - Over 17 million faithful from around the world have attended weekly general audiences during the 25-year pontificate of Pope John Paul II, according to information released by the Prefecture of the Papal Household which organizes the Wednesday audiences.

There have been two high points in the past 25 years. In 1979, the first full year of his pontificate, 1.585 million people attended the Holy Father's 45 Wednesday audiences. During the Great Jubilee Year 2000 just under 1.5 million people were present at Pope John Paul's 45 general audiences.

PD;STATISTICS; AUDIENCES;...;@;VIS;20031217;Word: 100;

Tuesday, December 16, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 16, 2003 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, Cardinal Renato R. Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, presented John Paul II's Message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace whose theme is: 'An Ever Timely Commitment: Teaching Peace.' Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, Msgr. Frank J. Dewane and Giorgo Filibeck, respectively secretary, undersecretary and official of the same dicastery, were also present.

Cardinal Martino said that the Holy Father 'wanted to address the topic of international law ' nucleus of the message - in the greater context of teaching peace.'

'The Message opens with an urgent appeal to the heads of nations, jurists, educators of young people, and men and women tempted to resort to terrorism, inviting everyone to consider peace possible and, if possible, also a duty.'

The main part of the Message, he said, is devoted to the theme of teaching legality, understood as the need to 'guide individuals and peoples to respect international order.'

The Message, continued Cardinal Martino, 'recalls the principle according to which 'pacta sunt servanda': 'accords freely signed must be honored'. ' It is opportune to recall this fundamental law, above all in moments when there is the temptation to appeal to the law of force rather than to the force of law.'
The president of the pontifical council said that the Pope considers 'the institution of the United Nations one of the most relevant fruits of international law, after the tragedy of World War II, whose objective is 'the prohibition of resorting to force' even with two exceptions: 'the natural law of legitimate defense' and 'the system of collective security.'

'Due recognition to the U.N.,' continued Cardinal Martino, 'is accompanied by an invitation to a 'reform' of the organization so that it functions more efficiently in pursuit of its own statuary ends which remain valid.'

Referring specifically to the fight against terrorism, the Holy Father 'offers two important indications.' One of them is 'to eliminate the causes of injustice ' while insisting on an education that is inspired by respect for human life in all circumstances.' The second indication concerns 'the mission of international law, called to elaborate legal instruments provided with the effective means of prevention, the monitoring and suppression of crime. In any event, democratic governments know well that the use of force against terrorism cannot justify renouncing the principles of a state of law.'

'The Holy Father,' he said, 'underscores the need for international law never to bypass ethical and moral law. ' Its essential objective is to replace 'the material force of arms with the moral force of law.'

The message concludes by affirming that 'the value of justice is completed by charity. 'By itself, justice is not enough.' ' 'Love must thus enliven every sector of human life and extend to the international order'.'

At the end of the press conference, journalists asked Cardinal Martino about reforming the U.N. in light of the war in Iraq. 'The need for a superior authority,' he said, 'is highlighted in the encyclical 'Pacem in Terris.' John XXIII desired this reform and Paul VI asked the U.N. to conform to the demands of today's world. In his speech to the United Nations in 1995, John Paul II urged the organism to go from an administrative organ to a moral center for the family of nations. This principle was reaffirmed in a letter sent by Cardinal Sodano in June to Kofi Annan.'

Asking for the Holy See's opinion's on Saddam Hussein's capture, the president of the dicastery said: 'The Holy See hopes that this capture and the process that will take place in the appropriate country, may contribute to the pacification and democratization of Iraq and may help to repair the damage of the defeat of humanity which war always is, as John Paul II says.' With regard to (the possibility of) Saddam Hussein being sentenced to the death penalty, Cardinal Martino affirmed that the Holy Father 'has always been against the death penalty, and I too am against it.'

@;MESSAGE WORLD DAY PEACE;...;MARTINO ;VIS;20031216;Word: 680;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 16, 2003 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Basilica John Paul II presided at the funeral of Cardinal Paulos Tzadua, archbishop emeritus of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, who died in Rome on December 11 at age 82. The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the college of cardinals, along with other cardinals.

In his homily, the Pope said that the deceased cardinal was 'a zealous priest and bishop who gave his life for Christ and His Church. ' In imitating Our Lord, he become a servant to his brothers and sisters, putting the qualities that were given to him, as well as the vast knowledge gained through study, at their disposition especially in the field of law. However, beyond his pastoral work, above all he gave of himself, always giving proof of his holiness and constant apostolic zeal.'

'We will remember him as a generous and active pastor from that portion of the Church that is in Africa. ' The people of God are in debt to him for his special concern for the laity to whom he always expressed great attention for their vocation, in line with the teachings of Vatican Council II.'



VATICAN CITY, DEC 16, 2003 (VIS) - Pope John Paul's Message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace on January 1, 2004, was published today. Entitled 'An Ever Timely Commitment: Teaching Peace,' it was published in Italian, French, English, German, Spanish and Portuguese. The Pope addressed the Message to the 'Leaders of the nations, who have the duty of promoting peace!,' to jurists, teachers of the young and 'to you too, men and women tempted to turn to the unacceptable means of terrorism and thus compromise at its root the very cause for which you are fighting!'

The Message, signed on December 8, solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, is divided into ten sections. Following are excerpts:

'A practical initiative

'My first Message for the World Day of Peace, in the beginning of January 1979, was centered on the theme: 'To Reach Peace, Teach Peace'.

'Pope Paul VI ' had wished to celebrate on January 1 each year a World Day of Prayer for Peace.'

'In the twenty-five years of Pontificate which the Lord has thus far granted me, I have not failed to speak out before the Church and the world, inviting believers and all persons of good will to take up the cause of peace and to help bring about this fundamental good, thereby assuring the world a better future, one marked by peaceful coexistence and mutual respect.'

'Humanity needs now more than ever to rediscover the path of concord, overwhelmed as it is by selfishness and hatred, by the thirst for power and the lust for vengeance.'

'The science of peace

'The eleven Messages addressed to the world by Pope Paul VI progressively mapped out the path to be followed in attaining the ideal of peace. ' Indeed, before the tragedy of the wars which at the beginning of the Third Millennium are still causing bloodshed throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, they take on at times the tone of prophetic admonishments.'

'A primer of peace

'I have sought to advance along the path marked out by my venerable Predecessor. 'The result has been a synthesis of teaching about peace which is a kind of primer on this fundamental theme: a primer easy to understand by those who are well-disposed, but at the same time quite demanding for anyone concerned for the future of humanity.

'We Christians see the commitment to educate ourselves and others to peace as something at the very heart of our religion. For Christians, in fact, to proclaim peace is to announce Christ who is 'our peace' (Eph 2:14); it is to announce his Gospel, which is a 'Gospel of peace' (Eph 6:15); it is to call all people to the beatitude of being 'peacemakers' (cf. Mt 5:9).

'Teaching peace
'In my Message for the World Day of Peace on 1 January 1979 I made this appeal: To Reach Peace, Teach Peace. Today that appeal is more urgent than ever, because men and women, in the face of the tragedies which continue to afflict humanity, are tempted to yield to fatalism, as if peace were an unattainable ideal.'

'Peace is possible. ' Peace is a duty. It must be built on the four pillars indicated by Blessed John XXIII in his Encyclical 'Pacem in Terris': truth, justice, love and freedom.'

'Teaching legality

'In this task of teaching peace, there is a particularly urgent need to lead individuals and peoples to respect the international order and to respect the commitments assumed by the Authorities which legitimately represent them.'
'From the very dawn of civilization, developing human communities sought to establish agreements and pacts which would avoid the arbitrary use of force and enable them to seek a peaceful solution of any controversies which might arise. Alongside the legal systems of the individual peoples there progressively grew up another set of norms which came to be known as 'ius gentium' (the law of the nations). With the passage of time, this body of law gradually expanded and was refined in the light of the historical experiences of the different peoples.'

'From the sixteenth century on, jurists, philosophers and theologians were engaged in developing the various headings of international law and in grounding it in the fundamental postulates of the natural law. This process led with increasing force to the formulation of universal principles which are prior to and superior to the internal law of States.'
'Central among all these is surely the principle that 'pacta sunt servanda': accords freely signed must be honored. This is the pivotal and exceptionless presupposition of every relationship between responsible contracting parties. The violation of this principle necessarily leads to a situation of illegality and consequently to friction and disputes which would not fail to have lasting negative repercussions. It is appropriate to recall this fundamental rule, especially at times when there is a temptation to appeal to the law of force rather than to the force of law.'

'Respect for law

'(World War II), with the horrors and the appalling violations of human dignity which it occasioned, led to a profound renewal of the international legal order. ' The task of watching over global peace and security and with encouraging the efforts of States to preserve and guarantee these fundamental goods of humanity was entrusted by Governments to an organization established for this purpose ' the United Nations Organization ' with a Security Council invested with broad discretionary power. Pivotal to the system was the prohibition of the use of force. This prohibition, according to the well-known Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, makes provision for only two exceptions. The first confirms the natural right to legitimate defense, to be exercised in specific ways and in the context of the United Nations: and consequently also within the traditional limits of necessity and proportionality.

'The other exception is represented by the system of collective security, which gives the Security Council competence and responsibility for the preservation of peace, with power of decision and ample discretion.'

'A new international order

'It must be acknowledged, however, that the United Nations Organization, even with limitations and delays due in great part to the failures of its members, has made a notable contribution to the promotion of respect for human dignity, the freedom of peoples and the requirements of development, thus preparing the cultural and institutional soil for the building of peace.'

'The ideals of the United Nations have become widely diffused, particularly through the practical gestures of solidarity and peace made by the many individuals also involved in Non-Governmental Organizations and in Movements for human rights.

'This represents a significant incentive for a reform which would enable the United Nations Organization to function effectively for the pursuit of its own stated ends, which remain valid: 'humanity today is in a new and more difficult phase of its genuine development. It needs a greater degree of international ordering'(.')

'The deadly scourge of terrorism

'Today international law is hard pressed to provide solutions to situations of conflict arising from the changed landscape of the contemporary world. These situations of conflict frequently involve agents which are not themselves States but rather entities derived from the collapse of States, or connected to independence movements, or linked to trained criminal organizations. A legal system made up of norms established down the centuries as a means of disciplining relations between sovereign States finds it difficult to deal with conflicts which also involve entities incapable of being considered States in the traditional sense. This is particularly the case with terrorist groups. 'The scourge of terrorism has become more virulent in recent years and has produced brutal massacres.'

'Even so, if it is to be won, the fight against terrorism cannot be limited solely to repressive and punitive operations. It is essential that the use of force, even when necessary, be accompanied by a courageous and lucid analysis of the reasons behind terrorist attacks. The fight against terrorism must be conducted also on the political and educational levels: on the one hand, by eliminating the underlying causes of situations of injustice which frequently drive people to more desperate and violent acts; and on the other hand, by insisting on an education inspired by respect for human life in every situation.'

'In the necessary fight against terrorism, international law is now called to develop legal instruments provided with effective means for the prevention, monitoring and suppression of crime. In any event, democratic governments know well that the use of force against terrorists cannot justify a renunciation of the principles of the rule of law. Political decisions would be unacceptable were they to seek success without consideration for fundamental human rights, since the end never justifies the means.

'The contribution of the Church

''Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God' 'Why else would peacemakers be called children of God, if not because God is by nature the God of peace? Precisely for this reason, in the message of salvation which the Church proclaims throughout the world, there are doctrinal elements of fundamental importance for the development of the principles needed for peaceful coexistence between nations.'

'International law must ensure that the law of the more powerful does not prevail. Its essential purpose is to replace 'the material force of arms with the moral force of law', providing appropriate sanctions for transgressors and adequate reparation for victims. This must also be applicable to those government leaders who violate with impunity human dignity and rights while hiding behind the unacceptable pretext that it is a matter of questions internal to their State.

'In an Address which I gave to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See on 13 January 1997, I observed that ' 'morality must inspire law; morality can even assume a preparatory role in the making of law, to the extent that it shows the path of what is right and good'.

'Down the centuries, the teaching of the Church, drawing upon the philosophical and theological reflection of many Christian thinkers, has made a significant contribution in directing international law to the common good of the whole human family.'

'The civilization of love

'At the conclusion of these considerations, I feel it necessary to repeat that, for the establishment of true peace in the world, justice must find its fulfillment in charity. ' In fact they are but two faces of a single reality, two dimensions of human life needing to be mutually integrated. ' By itself, justice is not enough. Indeed, it can even betray itself, unless it is open to that deeper power which is love.

'For this reason I have often reminded Christians and all persons of good will that forgiveness is needed for solving the problems of individuals and peoples. There is no peace without forgiveness! I say it again here, as my thoughts turn in particular to the continuing crisis in Palestine and the Middle East: a solution to the grave problems which for too long have caused suffering for the peoples of those regions will not be found until a decision is made to transcend the logic of simple justice and to be open also to the logic of forgiveness.

'Christians know that love is the reason for God's entering into relationship with man. ' Love is also the loftiest and most noble form of relationship possible between human beings. Love must thus enliven every sector of human life and extend to the international order. Only a humanity in which there reigns the 'civilization of love' will be able to enjoy authentic and lasting peace.'

MESS;WORLD PEACE DAY 2004;...;@;VIS;20031216;Word: 1930;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 16, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Carlo Caffarra of Ferrara-Comacchio, Italy, as metropolitan archbishop of Bologna (area 3,459, population 937,808, Catholics 919,135, priests 743, religious 1,421, permanent deacons 76), Italy. He succeeds Cardinal Archbishop Giacomo Biffi whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

NER; RE;@;...;CAFFARRA; BIFFI ;VIS;20031216;Word: 70;

Monday, December 15, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 13, 2003 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall, Pope John Paul welcomed members of the European Olympic Committees, the Italian Association of Opticians and the 'Interdis' group.

In addressing the president and members of the 49 European Olympic Committees who are participating in the annual assembly of the International Olympic Committee, the Holy Father said: 'I welcome this occasion to underline once again the value and importance of sports, especially in the formation of young people. Europe is the cradle of modern sports which come from the competitive exercises of the ancient Greeks which were marked by reciprocal respect and friendship. May the well-known motto of the modern Olympics, 'Citius, Altius, Fortius' (faster, higher, stronger), continue to mark the sporting practices of the new generations.'

The Pope then greeted the Italian Association of Opticians and the Italian Association of Research for Eye Diseases. 'May your patron saint, St. Lucy, whose feast is today, help you to undertake with every greater commitment your activity in favor of those who have eye problems. This is an important service that you perform for society.'

Lastly, in brief remarks, he thanked the 'Interdis' Group for Commercial Distribution for 'the generous support you have given to the Pope's charity initiatives in favor of the most needy.'

AC;SPORTS; OPTICIANS;...;@ ;VIS;20031215;Word: 230;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 14, 2003 (VIS) - At noon today, in remarks made before praying the Angelus with pilgrims who had gathered below his study window overlooking St. Peter's Square, Pope John Paul noted that this third Sunday of Advent is traditionally called 'Gaudete' Sunday, as it is a day that calls the faithful to joy.

'Advent is a time of joy,' he said,. 'because it makes us relive the anticipation of the most joyful event in history; the birth of the Son of God to the Virgin Mary. To know that God is not far but near, not indifferent but compassionate, not extraneous but a merciful Father Who lovingly follows us in respect for our freedom: all of this is reason for a deep joy that daily events cannot mar.'

The Holy Father added that 'an unmistakable characteristic of Christian joy is that it can coexist with suffering because it is all based on love. In fact, the Lord Who is 'near', to the point of becoming man, comes to infuse us with His joy, the joy of loving. Only in this way can we understand the joyful serenity of martyrs in the midst of trials or the smile of the saints of charity before those in pain: a smile that does not offend but rather consoles.'

After praying the Angelus, the Pope addressed the children gathered in St. Peter's Square who had brought him their statues of Baby Jesus for the traditional blessing before Christmas. 'When you place these statues in the nativity scene,' he told them,. 'say a prayer for me and for the many people who turn to the Pope in their difficulties. Merry Christmas to all!'

ANG;GAUDETE SUNDAY;...;@ ;VIS;20031215;Word: 300;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 13, 2003 (VIS) - The funeral for Cardinal Paulos Tzadua, who died Thursday in Rome at the age of 82, will be held on Tuesday, December 16 at 11 a.m. at the Altar of the Confession in St. Peter's Basilica. Cardinal Tzadua, of the title of The Most Holy Name of Mary on Via Latina, was archbishop emeritus of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.

The funeral liturgy will be presided over by the Holy Father who will delivery the homily and lead the rite of Final Commendation and of 'valedictio.' Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, will concelebrate Mass with other cardinals present.



VATICAN CITY, DEC 13, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today was the speech given in Geneva on December 11 by Archbishop John Foley, head of the Holy See delegation to the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society. He focussed on the role of communication and information technologies in promoting development and human rights.

The archbishop stated that 'the Holy See is most interested in the human and moral implications of the information society.Thus, we are particularly grateful that agreement has been reached on the 'Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society' in the Declaration of Principles.' He added that, 'in our commendable concern to make information and communications technology available to the broadest possible range of persons, I would hope that we might remember three basic moral foundations of communication: the overriding importance of truth, the dignity of the human person and the promotion of the common good.'

'In this context,' remarked Archbishop Foley, 'access to information is essential to the development of a healthy society in which all citizens might be well informed and active participants, in keeping with their dignity and in light of the common good. All of us are committed to avoiding the possibility that information and communications technologies and programs might aggravate any inequalities which already exist.' And, he said, 'development must be understood in a fully human way, concretely enhancing every individual's dignity and creativity.'

Noting the Holy See's interest in the role of the media in preserving and constructing peace, the head of delegation said: 'In these days, we cannot build a lasting peace without the cooperation of media networks. They can serve the culture of dialogue, participation, solidarity and reconciliation without which peace cannot flourish.' To this end, he said, 'a courageous contribution of media, instead of featuring violence, immorality and superficiality' could help 'to build better reciprocal knowledge and respect and to foster reconciliation and a more fruitful relationship among peoples of different cultures, ideologies and religions.'

DELSS;MEDIA; ETHICS;...;FOLEY ;VIS;20031215;Word: 330;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 15, 2003 (VIS) - Pope John Paul today welcomed the prelates of the Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference, as they conclude their 'ad limina' visit to Rome and, in his talk to them in English, highlighted 'the figures of two intrepid witnesses to the faith, two holy individuals whose lives are intimately connected with your land: St. Josephine Bakhita and St. Daniel Comboni.'

'From her earliest years,' said the Pope, 'St. Josephine Bakhita knew the cruelty and brutality with which man can treat his fellow man. ' Her life inspires the firm resolve to work effectively to free people from oppression and violence, ensuring that their human dignity is respected in the full exercise of their rights. It is this same resolve that must guide the Church in the Sudan today as the nation makes the transition from hostility and conflict to peace and concord. ' Tribalism and forms of discrimination based on ethnic origin, language and culture do not belong in a civilized society and have absolutely no place in the community of believers.'

Highlighting 'the hardships and pain that afflict those fleeing war and violence ' especially women and children,' the Holy Father noted the efforts of Church agencies to help refugees and displaced persons in these situations. He also pointed to the Church's many contributions to Sudan's social and cultural life and lauded the 'reactivation of the Commission for Interreligious Dialogue. You should do all that you can to encourage this, even as you insist that religious pluralism, as guaranteed by the Sudanese Constitution, should be respected.'

'As you know so well,' John Paul II told the prelates, 'it belongs to the Church to speak out unambiguously on behalf of those who have no voice and to be a leaven of peace and solidarity, particularly where these ideals are most fragile and threatened.'

He noted that St. Daniel Comboni 'was keenly concerned that Africans should have a key role in evangelizing the continent. ' In the course of his missionary activity, he did not let the great suffering and many hardships that he endured ' privation, exhaustion, illness, mistrust ' divert him from the task of preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. Bishop Comboni was moreover a strong advocate of inculturating the faith.'

On the formation of the laity, especially catechists, the Pope suggested that 'It would prove helpful if a simple catechism in the language of the people were prepared and made available. Similarly, suitable texts in local languages could be prepared and distributed as a means of presenting Jesus to those who are unfamiliar with the Christian message and as a tool for interreligious dialogue. This could be especially helpful in those areas exempt from Shari'ah law, particularly in the Federal Capital of Khartoum.'

Urging the bishops 'to cherish your priests with a special love and to regard them as precious co-workers and friends,' he stated that priests 'are called to be detached from material things and to devote themselves to the service of others through the complete gift of self in celibacy. Scandalous behaviour must at all times be investigated, confronted and corrected.'

He also counselled the bishops to, as much as possible, have contact with the faithful and to be attentive to their human and spiritual needs. 'Time and resources should never be spent on diocesan or parochial structures or on development projects at the expense of the people.' He said that 'equity and transparency must be the indispensable traits characterizing all financial matters, with every effort being made to see that contributions are truly used for the purposes intended.'

In concluding, the Pope addressed the question of ecumenical and interreligious cooperation, saying that it would be helpful 'to establish an agency for coordinating the various programs aimed at lending assistance and humanitarian aid throughout the various regions of the country. Such coordination would undoubtedly serve to increase the effectiveness of these programs and could even prove helpful in making contacts for the issue of the government permits necessary for travel to certain areas.'

AL;@;...;SUDAN ;VIS;20031215;Word: 690;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 15, 2003 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of the new ambassador of the Dominican Republic, Carlos Rafael Conrado Marion Landais-Castillo. The Pope expressed his joy due at the 'good relations between the Church and the State' in the country and his desire that they 'continue in the future.'

'It is appropriate,' he said, 'to recognize the activity carried out in your country through the dioceses, parishes, religious communities and apostolic movements.' He mentioned specifically 'ecclesial activity in favor of the disabled, AIDS patients, ethnic minorities, migrants and refugees,' as well as the 'presence of the Church in the field of education.'

John Paul II recalled that although the Church does not propose 'solutions in the public or technical sphere, it must however indicate the motivations and guidance offered in the Gospel in order to illuminate the search for responses and solutions.' Therefore, he continued, its mission is 'to recall, defend and consolidate the genuine ethical, spiritual and transcendental values, particularly at the present moment during which internal and external causes have produced grave deterioration in your country and a descent in the quality of life of Dominicans. While solving these problems, one must never forget that the common good is the objective to achieve for which the Church lends its collaboration to the government and society, without interfering in other realms beyond its mission.'

'In today's world,' he continued, 'it is not enough to limit oneself to the law of the market and its globalization; we must foster solidarity, avoiding the evils that come from a capitalism that puts profit before the person and makes man the victim of so many injustices. A model of development that does not keep in mind these inequalities or confront them decisively would not prosper in any way.'

After emphasizing that 'those who suffer the most are always the poor,' the Pope indicated that 'they must be the objective of the vigilance and attention of the State. ' It is essential to highlight the importance of education and formation as elements in the fight against poverty, as well as respect for fundamental rights that cannot be sacrificed to the detriment of other objectives, as this would attack the true dignity of man.'

John Paul II concluded by expressing his closeness 'to all those who were affected by the earthquake this past September and the recent floods. I applaud the effective solidarity of other regions of the Dominican Republic and other countries in the Caribbean. I ask the Lord to grant the victims the strength and capability to generously give of themselves in order to deal with the devastation suffered, and that they may have the necessary help to be able to lead an ordinary life.'

CD;CREDENTIALS;...;MARION ;VIS;20031215;Word: 470;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 15, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Bernard Hombach Lutkermeier of Juigalpa, Nicaragua, as bishop of the diocese of Granada (area 7,453, population 540,112, Catholics 483,682, priests 54, religious 161), Nicaragua. He succeeds Bishop Leovigildo Lopez Fitoria, C.M. whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

NER; RE;HOMBACH; LOPEZ VIS 20031215 (70);...;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 15, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father received today in separate audiences three prelates of the Episcopal Conference of France:

- Cardinal Bernard Panafieu, archbishop of Marseille, with Auxiliary Bishop Benoit Rivierre.

- Bishop Claude Fedit of Aix.

On Saturday, December 13, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, apostolic nuncio in Sudan and apostolic delegate in Somalia.

- Three prelates of the Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference on their 'ad limina' visit:

- Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe of Yei.

- Bishop Macram Max Gassis of El Obeid.

- Bishop Antonio Menegazzo, apostolic administrator 'sede plena et ad nutum Sanctae Sedi' of El Obeid.

- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

AP; AL;@;...;@ ;VIS;20031215;Word: 120;

Friday, December 12, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 12, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father presided last evening in the Vatican basilica at a Mass for 10,000 students from universities in Rome in preparation for Christmas. Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, celebrated the Eucharist with 47 chaplains from European universities.

In his homily, the Pope said that 'the most intimate human aspirations find their full response only in God. For this reason I encourage you, dear ones, to see to it that your formatives years be ceaselessly sustained by seeking God. Never stop in the face of doubts and difficulties. God ... is near you. His comforting company will make you aware of the mission which you are called to undertake in the university milieu.'

John Paul II underscored that many of the students present in the basilica had taken part in the congress of recent days promoted by the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe and by the Rome diocesan office for the university pastoral ministry 'which dedicated its attention to the process of European integration.'

'In this process you too, who are part of the university world, must offer your contribution. For European unity, great importance is given to social, political and economic structures but the humanistic and spiritual aspects must absolutely not be overlooked. It is indispensable for Europe today to preserve its patrimony of values and to recognize that it was Christianity above all that was the force behind promoting them, reconciling them and consolidating them.'

Then, in a reference to Christmas, the Pope said that 'this is a privileged occasion to underline the most heartfelt Christian values. With
the birth of Jesus, in the simplicity and poverty of Bethlehem, God gave again dignity to the life of every human being; He offered everyone the possibility of participating in his own divine life. May this incomparable gift always find hearts ready to receive it!'
HML;UNIVERSITIES;...;RUINI ;VIS;20031212;Word: 320;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 12, 2003 (VIS) - The Pope today received the artists who will perform at the traditional Christmas concert in the Vatican which will take place late tomorrow afternoon in the Paul VI Hall. He noted that 'this is a show organized to gather funds to build new churches in Rome, especially on the periphery.'

He expressed his best wishes for Christmas to the promoters, organizers and performers. 'Christmas,' he said, 'reminds us that the Son of God, taking on human nature, became the travelling companion of every person throughout time. May this feast, so deeply felt by families, be a propitious occasion to feel the closeness and love of God.'

AC;CHRISTMAS CONCERT;...;@ ;VIS;20031212;Word: 120;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 12, 2003 (VIS) - John Paul II welcomed four new ambassadors to the Holy See this morning, including the first ambassador ever from Qatar, and, after accepting their Letters of Credence, he addressed them as a group in French. Following the audience the Pope greeted each one individually and gave them a personal message of welcome that made reference to the specific situations in their countries.

The new ambassadors are: Birger Dan Nielsen of Denmark, Walter Woon of Singapore, Mohamad Jaham Abdulaziz Al-Kawari of Qatar and Priit Kolbre of Estonia.

'The end of the civil year,' stated the Holy Father, 'is a propitious occasion to analyze the world situation and the events to which we are witnesses. As all diplomats, you attempt to create bonds among persons and among countries, thus favoring peace, friendship and solidarity among peoples. You do so in the name of your governments, who have as their concerns a globalization of fraternity and solidarity, with the certitude that what brings men together is more important than what divides them.'

He went on to say that 'for a lasting development as well as for international stability and the very credibility of government bodies, national or international, those involved in public life, especially in the political and economic domains, must have an ever more refined moral sense in conducting public affairs with, as their primordial goal, the public good, which is the sum of all individual goods.' He asked those in service to their country to 'place your skills in the service of your fellow countrymen, and more broadly, of the international community.'

In conclusion, the Pope said that 'in this season where men and women around the world exchange wishes for peace and happiness, these are what I wish for you, your governments, the people of your nations and, indeed, for all of mankind.'

CD;LETTERSCREDENCE;...;@ ;VIS;20031212;Word: 310;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 12, 2003 - The Holy Father received today in separate audiences:

- Archbishop Luigi Pezzuto, apostolic nuncio in Tanzania.

- Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, apostolic nuncio in Thailand, Singapore and Cambodia; apostolic delegate in Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam.

- Four prelates of the Episcopal Conference of Sudan on their 'ad limina' visit:

- Bishop Joseph Abangite Gasi of Tombura-Yambio.

- Bishop Paride Taban of Torit, with Auxiliary Bishop Akio Johnson Mutek.

- Bishop Rudolf Deng Majak of Wau.

- Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

This evening he is scheduled to receive Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

AP;@;...;@ ;VIS;20031212;Word: 120;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 12, 2003 (VIS) - Following is the telegram of condolences sent by the Holy Father to Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, C.M. of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, upon learning of the death yesterday at the age of 82 of Cardinal Paulos Tzadua, archbishop emeritus of this archdiocese.

'Having learned the sad news of the death of Cardinal Paulos Tzadua, metropolitan archbishop emeritus of Addis Abeba, I wish to send to you, the priests, the religious community and all of the faithful, as well as to the family of the dear deceased cardinal the expression of my heartfelt condolences for the mourning that has struck this archdiocese where he exercised with generosity the episcopal ministry. As I raise fervent prayers to God to give eternal rest to this zealous pastor, I also impart my comforting apostolic blessing as a sign of Christian faith and hope in the Risen Lord.'

TGR;DEATH TZADUA;...;ETHIOPIA ;VIS;20031212;Word: 140;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 11, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Erected the diocese of Mindelo (area 2,207, population 147,489, Catholics 140,114, pritests 20, religious 29), Cape Verde, with territory taken from the diocese of Santiago de Cabo Verde, making it immediately subject to the Holy See.

- Appointed as first bishop of Mindelo Fr. Arlindo Gomes Furtado, pastor of the cathedral of Mindelo. The bishop-elect was born in 1949 in Santa Catarina and was ordained a priest in 1967

- Appointed Msgr. Victor Tamayo Betancourt, pastor of the metropolitan cathedral of Barranquilla, as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of
Barranquilla (area 3,368, population 2.240,000, Catholics 2,050,000, priests 178, religious 426), Columbia. The bishop-elect was born in 1937 in Anori, Colombia and was ordained a priest in 1964.

- Appointed Msgr. Gonzalo Restrepo Restrepo, rector of the Pontifical Bolivian University, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Cali (area 2,602, population 2,431,390, Catholics 1,982,390, priests 295, religious 995, permanent deacons 17), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in 1947 in Urrao, Colombia and was ordained a priest in 1974.

ECE; NER; NEA;@;...;GOMMES; TAMAYO; RESTREPO ;VIS;20031212;Word: 200;

Thursday, December 11, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 11, 2003 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, there was the presentation of the book, 'Faith and Culture. An Anthology of Texts of the Pontifical Magisterium from Leo XIII to John Paul II,' published by the Pontifical Council for Culture. Cardinal Paul Poupard, Frs. Bernard Ardura, O. Praem., Fabio Duque Jaramillo, O.F.M., and Javier Magdaleno Cueva, respectively president, secretary, undersecretary, and official of the council, spoke during the press conference.

Cardinal Poupard said that this volume of more than 1,500 pages covers a great variety of topics of the pontifical magisterium over the course of more than one hundred years: 'From art to technology, ideologies to the family, from sports to politics, universities to cultural identity, from globalization to inculturation.'

This book is meant to serve as a source of reference for episcopal conferences, cultural commissions as well as researchers at universities and institutes in theology, the religious sciences, and professors in the faculties of philosophy, theology, social sciences, education and at seminaries.

In his presentation, Fr. Ardura said that 'the popes, in a span of one hundred years, have been witnesses and protagonists in significant evolution in the field of culture and its relationship with the Christian faith, departing from the concept of 'civilization' in order to achieve a more complete understanding of the human person with the concept of 'culture'.'

Fr. Duque Jaramillo indicated that 'the present anthology is the result of ten years of work' and 'reveals the dynamic understanding that the Church has of the cultural dimension of evangelization. ' This anthology is a true and authentic invitation to verify the development of a passionate dialogue between the message and the person of Jesus Christ and the hopes and desires of modern generations.'

Fr. Javier Magdaleno referred to the volume's many indexes. The first index, he said, 'presents an overall view of the pastoral care for culture.' It is divided into three major sections: faith and cultures: guidelines, challenges and reference points, and concrete proposals. The thematic index includes 'the texts of the magisterium with reference to an identified concept or word in alphabetic order.' The third index 'lists 1,266 different pontifical texts, classified under the name of the pope that wrote them.'
Keys: ;BOOK FAITH; CULTURE;...;POUPARD ;VIS;20031211;Word: 390;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 11, 2003 (VIS) - Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office, released the following statement this afternoon:

'Today, December 11, 2003, the Holy Father John Paul II received in audience Silvan Shalom, minister of Foreign Affairs for the State of Israel. Afterward Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, accompanied by Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary of the Section for Relations with States, met with Mr. Shalom.

'In the course of their conversations, the parties expressed their point of view on the path to follow in order to obtain peace in the Holy Land.

'In particular, the need to find a solution to the current situation was insisted upon, as well as the need for concrete acts of reconciliation on
both sides.

'During the encounter, bilateral issues that concern the life of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land were examined in light of the commitments undertaken with the Fundamental Agreement of 1993.'



VATICAN CITY, DEC 11, 2003 (VIS) - On Tuesday, December 16, at 11:30 a.m. in the Holy See Press Office, the Pope's message will be presented for the 37th World Day of Peace, which will be celebrated on January 1, 2004 on the theme: 'International Law, A Path to Peace.' Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, Msgr. Frank J. Dewane and Giorgio Filibeck, respectively president, secretary, undersecretary and official of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, will speak during the press conference.
OP;MESSAGE PEACE 2004;...;MARTINO ;VIS;20031211;Word: 100;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 11, 2003 (VIS) - A 30-meter high, 110-year old spruce tree from the northern Italian region of Valle D'Aosta will be placed in St. Peter's Square tomorrow, adjacent to the immense nativity scene currently being constructed by Vatican workmen.. The tree, along with twenty other smaller ones that will be placed in and around Vatican City, are the gifts of this Italian region to the Holy Father for Christmas 2003. John Paul II has spent seven summer vacations in Valle D'Aosta.

Three hundred people from Valle D'Aosta, including the president of the region, will symbolically present the tree to the Holy Father at the general audience on Wednesday, December 17. One of the other trees, decorated by regional artisans, will grace the Paul VI Hall: At the foot of the tree will be a handmade nativity scene in wood which last Christmas was in the upper Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi.

That same afternoon, at 4:30 in St. Peter's square, Cardinal Edmund Szoka, president of the Governorate of Vatican City, will preside at the official tree lighting ceremony. He will be joined by officials of Valle D'Aosta and members of local folklore groups and choirs will entertain.
Keys: ;VATICAN CHRISTMAS TREES;...;@ ;VIS;20031211;Word: 210;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 11, 2003 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke yesterday before the 58th session of the General Assembly on Agenda Item 48: the 55th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

He expressed the Holy See's pleasure at participating in this observance, stating that 'this extraordinary development in the protection of
fundamental human rights was based on the greatest traditions of the jus gentium 'the Law of Nations' which is founded upon the objective moral order as discerned by right reason.' He underscored that human rights 'are not a creation of the State but flow from the character and nature of humanity itself. ' In identifying certain fundamental rights which are common to every member of the human family, the Declaration has decisively contributed to the development of international law. Moreover, it has resolutely challenged those human laws which have denied men and women the dignity to which they are entitled because of who they are. Sadly, the fundamental rights, proclaimed, codified and celebrated in the Universal Declaration are still the object of severe and constant violations.'

Archbishop Migliore noted that 'challenges to the proper implementation of human rights' include 'a tendency of some to choose self-serving rights. In some circumstances, what is inalienable to some human beings is simultaneously denied others. A case in point would be the denial of the most fundamental right'that is the right to life itself from which all other rights naturally and logically flow.' There are also threats 'from exaggerated individualism that often leads the stronger to lord it over the weak.'

'The world in which we live today,' he remarked, 'exists under the shadows of war, terrorism, and other threats to human survival and to the innate dignity of the human person. At the source of many of these shadows lies a denial of some of the universal rights. Ironically, it is human beings who cast these shadows. Yet, we have also been given wisdom to use the light of right reason to dispel them.'

In concluding remarks, the archbishop said 'we still need to ask the question: what has happened to everyone's right 'to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized? (art. 28)'. The dignity, freedom and happiness acknowledged by the Declaration will not be fully realized without solidarity amongst all peoples. Inspired by the example of all those framers of this Declaration who have taken the risk of freedom, can we not recommit ourselves also to taking the risk of solidarity - and thus the risk of peace?'

DELSS;HUMAN RIGHTS;...;UN; MIGLIORE ;VIS;20031211;Word: 450;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 11, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Oscar Azarcon Solis, pastor of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral Parish in Thibodaux, U.S.A., as auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles (area 22,685, population 10,985,200, Catholics 4,197,635, priests 1,261, permanent deacons 203, religious 2,621), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in 1953 in San Jose City, Philippines and was ordained a priest in 1979.
NEA;@;...;SOLIS ;VIS;20031211;Word: 70;


VATICAN CITY, DEC 11, 2003 - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Gnassingbe Eyadema, president of the Republic of Togo, and an entourage.

- Archbishop Edmond Farhat, apostolic nuncio in Turkey and Turkmenistan.

- Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, apostolic nuncio in India and Nepal.

- Silvan Shalom, minister of Foreign Affairs for Israel, and an entourage.

- Two prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Sudan on their 'ad limina' visit:

- Bishop Vincent Mojwok Nyiker of Malakal.

- Bishop Cesare Mazzolari of Rumbeck.
AP; AL;@;...;@ ;VIS;20031211;Word: 90;

Wednesday, December 10, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 10, 2003 (VIS) - In today's general audience celebrated in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope continued with his catechesis on the psalms and canticles which are part of the ecclesial prayer of vespers, and spoke of a hymn in chapter 19 of the Apocalypse, composed of alleluias and acclamations.

The Holy Father noted that in this hymn various personalities from the heavenly liturgy speak: 'An 'immense crowd,' made up of the assembly of the angels and the saints. The voice of the 'twenty four elders' stands out as well as that of the 'four living beings,' symbolic figures that seem to be the priests of this heavenly liturgy of praise and thanksgiving. At the end, a single voice rises up which involves the 'immense crowd' in the hymn.'

'At the heart of this joyful invocation is the representation of the decisive intervention of God in history: the Lord is not indifferent to human events, like an isolated and authoritarian ruler. ' On the contrary, His gaze is the source of action because He intervenes and destroys arrogant and oppressive rulers, He rebukes the proud who challenge Him, and judges all those who commit evil.'

John Paul II emphasized that 'our prayer must invoke and praise divine action, the Lord's effective justice, and His glory obtained through the triumph of evil. God becomes present in history, siding with the just and with victims, as the short and concise acclamation of the Apocalypse declares and as is often repeated in the Psalms.'

Following the audience and upon returning to his private apartments, the Pope appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square to greet the members of the Italian Air Force, headed by the Military Ordinate and the head of the Major State of the Armed Forces, on the feast today of their patroness, Our Lady of Loreto.

'The feast of your heavenly patroness,' said the Holy Father, 'gives me the opportunity to invite you to always direct your gaze on Our Lady of Loreto. May she be a model to refer to constantly and a safe guide of your life. Invoke her with confidence in every situation: she will be your aid, consolation and hope. I take this occasion to wish you and your families a Happy and Holy Christmas.'

AG;APOCALYPSE;...;@ ;VIS;20031210;Word: 390;
Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service