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Thursday, April 10, 2003


VATICAN CITY, APR 10, 2003 (VIS) - The following declaration was released early this afternoon:

"The Secretariat of State, having been informed of the latest developments in Baghdad, which mark an important turning point in the Iraqi conflict and a significant opportunity for the future of the people, hopes that the military operations underway in the rest of the country will soon end, with the aim of sparing further victims, civilian or military, and further suffering for those populations.

"Given that the material, political and social reconstruction of the country are on the horizon, the Catholic Church is ready, through her social and charitable institutions, to lend the necessary assistance. The dioceses of Iraq are likewise available to offer their structures to contribute to an equitable distribution of humanitarian aid.

"The Secretariat of State hopes once again that, with the silencing of weapons, the Iraqis and the international community will know how to meet the compelling present challenge which is to definitively bring an era of peace to the Middle East."

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 10, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Giuliano Urbani, Italian minister for Cultural Affairs, and an entourage.

- Archbishop Antonio Canizares Llovera of Toledo, Spain.

- Bishop Tommaso Ghirelli of Imola, Italy.

- Bishop Milan Sasik, apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Mukacheve of the Byzantine Rite, Ukraine, and an entourage.

- Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, with Bishop Giuseppe Betori, secretary general of the same conference.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 10, 2003 (VIS) - Made public yesterday afternoon was a communique from the management of Vatican Radio regarding the latest developments in the case against the radio for the alleged electromagnetic contamination produced by the transmitting station of Santa Maria di Galeria, a few kilometers outside Rome.

A year ago the sentence issued by Rome's penal court established that proceedings should not continue due to the "lack of jurisdiction" over the three directors of Vatican Radio accused over the alleged electromagnetic contamination of the transmitters.

Yesterday's communique from Vatican Radio noted the "annulment" of the earlier sentence. The communique reads as follows:

"In today's sentence the Supreme Court of Cassation, First Penal Section, annulled the sentence of February 19, 2002 handed down by the Penal Court of Rome, First Section, which declared a 'lack of jurisdiction' with regard to the three directors of Vatican Radio relative to the electromagnetic emissions produced by the transmitting center at Santa Maria in Galeria, and it sent the new judgement to the Rome court.

"Vatican Radio lawyers, who opposed the request to annul the above-mentioned sentence, have already shown the unfounded nature of the motives of impugnment adopted by the Public Prosecutor and by the civil side, on the basis of the nature of the pontifical transmitter as a 'central office of the Catholic Church' and as such it is exempt from 'every interference on the part of the Italian State', according to Article 11 of the Lateran Treaty of 1929.

"Vatican Radio takes note of the Court's decision and is waiting to learn the motivation of the sentence which will be filed.

"Vatican Radio repeats in any case that it has always taken into account the international recommendations for protecting the population in the matter of electromagnetic emissions and has faced in a constructive manner the problems linked with the new Italian norms in the office of the bilateral commission between the Italian State and the Holy See, as shown by the results of the repeated joint measurements undertaken by Italian and Vatican technicians.

"Vatican Radio therefore hopes that the unjust accusations in its regard may soon be removed from the horizon, and that its activity may continue with serenity in the context of a responsible and correct relation with Italian authorities and the neighboring population, reassured about the absence of health risks."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 10, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Guillermo Patricio Vera Soto, pastor of the Cathedral of the diocese of Melipilla, Chile, as bishop prelate of Calama (area 43,000, population 159,532, Catholics 132,411, priests 11, permanent deacons 3, religious 11), Chile. The bishop-elect was born in Isla de Maipo, Chile in 1958 and was ordained a priest in 1982.

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