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Friday, April 4, 2003


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

- Six prelates from the Scandinavian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Czeslaw Kozon of Copenhagen, Denmark, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Hans Ludvig Martensen.

- Bishop Anders Arborelius of Stockholm, Switzerland, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop William Kenney and Bishop emeritus Hubertus Brandenburg.

- Bishop Jozef Wrobel of Helsinki, Finland.

- Fr. Caesar Molebatsi, president of the World Alliance of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) and an entourage.

Later this afternoon, the Holy Father is scheduled to receive Dominique de Villepin, French foreign minister, and an entourage.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 4, 2003 (VIS) - Msgr. Piero Monni, Holy See permanent observer to the World Tourism Organization, spoke today in Rome at the European Conference on the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Tourism. This April 3-4 meeting was promoted by the WTO and by Italian tourism officials and received financial support from the European Community.

A note from Msgr. Monni's office accompanying his speech stated that "this appointment underscores the problems connected with pedophilia, the negative effects of this phenomenon and the need for specific policies of prevention in the sphere of tourism." The participants also discussed how to fight more efficaciously the war against the sexual exploitation of minors, how to apply or to improve the existing laws against such exploitation and the need for campaigns to report such sexual tourism.

In his talk, the Holy See observer called the exploitation of minors "an alarming reality." Whereas legitimate tourism brings positive social, economic and cultural benefits to societies, he said, "for some time now we have seen a destabilizing and revolting parasite: so-called sexual tourism." He defined the "sexual tourist" as the man or woman "who, with the aim of having sex with minors, organizes periods of vacations in countries that not only tolerate prostitution by minors but often use propaganda to attract the tourist and thus to earn hard cash." He quoted a Canadian minister who spoke on this subject and said: "Sex tourism is a minimal part of the business of exploiting children as sex objects, but it is surely lucrative and unmistakable."

Msgr. Monni stated that the lack of norms in this regard, or even cooperation between police authorities and those exploiting children, only leads to an increase in such tourism and further exploitation. The situation of children around the world is far from satisfying, he said, noting that "millions of children suffer from the evils of war, illness, child labor and sexual exploitation."

The Holy See delegate spoke at length of the Church's role in promoting healthy and sound tourism, and of the ceaseless efforts and determined commitment by religious institutions worldwide to combat the exploitation of children in all forms. He recounted "personally following sisters who, in late evening, went with their jeeps through the streets of Bangkok to gather the minors who were being exhibited in certain locales" and to care for them. "Their courage, which challenged dramatic situations linked to criminal groups, is a memory that follows me as I travel, for the WTO, the roads of the world."

Msgr. Monni addressed the recent efforts by Churches worldwide to fight pedophilia, noting especially efforts made in the United States and the U.S. bishops' document entitled "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People." He remarked that "not only in Europe and the United States, but on all the continents, the episcopal conferences are being activated to face with more adequate means the tentacles of this destabilizing parasite that pedophilia is."



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

- Appointed Fr. Christopher Prowse, vicar general of the archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 27,194, population 3,365,173, Catholics 995,797, priests 611, permanent deacons 1, religious 1988). The bishop-elect was born in East Melbourne, Australia in 1953 and was ordained a priest 1980.

- Appointed Bishop Felix Genn, auxiliary of Trier, Germany as bishop of Essen (area 1,877, population 2,672,963, Catholics 1,006, 394, priests 659, permanent deacons 74, religious 637), Germany.

- Appointed Bishop Antal Spanyi, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, as bishop of the diocese of Szekesfehevar (area 5,170, population 735,000, Catholics 490,289, priests 107, permanent deacons 5, religious 57), Hungary. He accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese presented by Bishop Nandor Takacs, O.C.D. upon having reached the age limit.

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