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

Monday, May 19, 2003


VATICAN CITY, MAY 17, 2003 (VIS) - Following is the text of a telegram sent by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of state, in the Holy Father's name, to Archbishop Domenico De Luca, apostolic nuncio in Morocco, for the victims of a terrorist attack yesterday in Casablanca:

"Having learned with emotion of the attacks last night in Casablanca, the Holy Father prays for the numerous victims and for their families in this trial. Denouncing once again the blind violence that strikes innocents, he asks the Almighty to enlighten consciences and to aid men in their efforts for peace. On this sorrowful occasion the Pope assures the people and the leaders of Morocco of his deepest sympathy."



VATICAN CITY, MAY 17, 2003 (VIS) - During a solemn academic ceremony which took place this morning in the Paul VI Hall on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the founding of Rome's La Sapienza University, Giuseppe D'Ascenzo, rector of the university, conferred a doctorate "honoris causa" in Jurisprudence upon the Pope. Among those in attendance were Silvio Berlusconi, president of the Council of Ministries, various ministers, academic authorities and thousands of students. The inter-university chorus of Rome, joined by 21 other choruses from different Italian cities, performed several pieces.

The Council of the Faculty of Law agreed to confer the doctorate "honoris causa" on John Paul II because "the work carried out by the Pontiff throughout his entire pontificate is universally recognized through his affirmation of the law and his defense of human rights in all of their historical forms regarding the person and his individual rights as well as relations among peoples and international law."

At the beginning of today's ceremony, the rector spoke briefly, followed by Carlo Angelici, dean of the Faculty of Law, and Pietro Rescigno, professor of Civil Law.

The Pope then recited the 'lectio magistralis' which focused on the defense and the "broad space" that he has dedicated since the beginning of his pastoral ministry "to the affirmation of human rights, due to the close connection that they have with two fundamental points of Christian morality: the dignity of the person and peace." ... In this regard, the Pope said: "Being conscious of this, I have tried to serve these values with all my strength. But I could not carry out this mission with turning to the law."

"The principle that has guided me is that the human person, exactly as he was created by God, is the foundation and purpose of social life which the law must serve. ... Departing from this conviction, the Church has developed its doctrine on 'human rights' that derive neither from the State nor from any other human authority, but from the person. Therefore, public powers must 'recognize, respect, compose, protect and promote' them; they are 'universal, inviolable and inalienable' rights'."

The Pope emphasized that the Catholic Church "proclaims that in the transcendental dimension of the person there lies the font of one's dignity and one's inviolable rights. ... The Church is convinced that recognizing this anthropological and ethical foundation of human rights is the most valid protection against their violation or abuse."

"During my service as Successor of Peter," he continued, "I have felt the duty to insist with force on some of these rights that, theoretically affirmed, are often misunderstood in the law and in specific behavior. For this reason, I have returned many times to the first and most basic human right which is the right to life. ... In particular, I have insisted that the embryo is a human individual and as such, is entitled to the inviolable rights of the human being. The juridic norm, therefore, is called to define the juridic statute of the embryo."

John Paul II then made reference to another fundamental right, that of religious freedom, which he said "is not simply one among many human rights, but the most fundamental, because the dignity of the human person has its first source it its essential relationship with God."

"Asking that they are expressed in obligatory juridical norms, he continued, "I have also tried to bring light to many other rights such as the right to not be discriminated against", the right to private property, freedom of association, expression and information, the right to housing, "which is closely related to the right to have a family and to have an adequately paid job"; minority rights "to exist, preserve and develop one's own culture; the right to work and workers' rights."

"Finally, I have taken particular care in proclaiming and defending 'openly and strongly the rights of the family from intolerable usurpations of society and the State." Through the family, "the future of the world and the Church is passed on."

As he was concluding, the Holy Father urged that "in this new century which opened a new millennium there may be an ever-more conscious respect for human rights, the rights of every man, and of the entire human person."

Today's doctorate is the tenth doctorate "honoris causa" that the Holy Father has received. He received the first one a year before being elected Pope from the Johannes Gutemberg University in Maguncia, Germany and the last one in 2001 from Cardinal Wyszynski University in Warsaw, Poland.

JPII-DOCTORATE;HONORIS CAUSA;...;...;VIS;20030519;Word: 760;


VATICAN CITY, MAY 18, 2003 (VIS) - Today in St. Peter's Square, John Paul II celebrated Mass in the presence of 50,000 people during which he canonized the Polish Blesseds Jozef Sebastian Pelczar and Urszula Ledochowska and the Italian Blesseds Maria De Mattias and Virginia Centurione Bracelli. Half of the pilgrims present came from Poland for the canonization.

At the beginning of the Mass, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, wished the Holy Father for his 83rd birthday. "I would like to express from the bottom of my heart," he said, "our gratitude for all that you do and to assure you of our prayers and to ask that God's benevolence accompany you every day and be a light on your way."

In his homily, speaking about the new saints, the Pope said that St. Jozef, bishop and founder of the Congregation of the Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, "expressed his own faith in the universal call to holiness. ... The motto of his life was 'Everything for the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the immaculate hands of the Virgin Mary. ... He intended his gift to Christ above all as a response to His love, contained and revealed in the sacrament of the Eucharist."

Speaking about St. Urszula, virgin and foundress of the Ursuline Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Agony, the Holy Father recalled that "in her times she was an apostle of the new evangelization, and with her life and her activity she gave proof of a constant authenticity, creativity and effectiveness of the love of the Gospel. ... From her we can all learn how, with Christ, to construct a more human world, a world in which values such as justice, freedom, solidarity and peace are practiced more and more."

The Pope then spoke about St. Maria De Mattias, virgin and foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters, Adorers of the Blood of Christ: "She was overcome interiorly by the mystery of the Cross. ... Love for Jesus crucified turned into passion for souls and humble abandonment to her brothers and sisters, to her 'beloved neighbor', as she liked to say."

St. Virginia, lay person and foundress of the Sisters of Our Lady of Refuge on Calvary and the Religious Daughters of Our Lady on Calvary, "dedicated herself to helping the needy with extraordinary apostolic zeal, putting aside her noble origins. The efficacy of her apostolate derived from an unconditional adherence to the divine will which she nourished with incessant contemplation and obedient attention to the Lord's Word."

Upon concluding the ceremony and before praying the Regina Coeli, the Holy Father expressed his gratitude for the birthday wishes he received from all over the world. "I ask everyone," he said, "to continue to pray that God helps me to faithfully fulfill the mission He has entrusted to me." Addressing his fellow countrymen at the end, he thanked Aleksander Kwasniewski, president of the Republic of Poland, and the civil and religious authorities for their participation in this canonization.

AC;CANONIZATIONS;...;...;VIS;20030519;Word: 520;


VATICAN CITY, MAY 17, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Fr. Corepiscopo Louis Awad, pastor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, as apostolic exarch for the Syro-Catholic faithful resident in Venezuela. The bishop-elect was born in Zaidal, Syria in 1934 and was ordained a priest in 1957.

- Elevated the apostolic administration of Astana, Kazakhstan to archdiocese with the name "Archdiocese of the Mary Most Holy in Astana" (area 576,400, population 3,985,000, Catholics 90,000, priests 31, permanent deacons 2, religious 59).

- Appointed Bishop Tomasz Peta, apostolic administrator of Astana, Kazakhstan, as first archbishop of Astana, Kazakhstan.

- Elevated the apostolic administration of Almaty, Kazakhstan to diocese with the name "Diocese of the Most Holy Trinity in Almaty" (area 711,600, population 6,267,000, Catholics 59,000, priests 15, religious 13).

- Appointed Bishop Henry Theophilus Howaniec, O.F.M., apostolic administrator of Almaty as first bishop of Almaty, Kazakhstan.

- Established the dioceses of the Most Holy Trinity in Almaty and Karaganda and the apostolic administration of Atyrau, Kazakhstan as suffragens of the archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana, Kazakhstan.

- Conferred the title of archbishop "ad personam" on Bishop Jan Pawel Lenga, M.I.C., of Karaganda, Kazakhstan.

NER; ECE; NA;...;...;...;VIS;20030519;Word: 190;


VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2003 (VIS) - The following communique was released this morning by the "Ecclesia Dei" Pontifical Commission concerning the celebration of Mass on May 24 in St. Mary Major Basilica:

"Many faithful from diverse countries, who take advantage of the 'Ecclesia Dei' indult for the celebration of Mass according to the so-called St. Pius V rite, wish to honor the Holy Father on the approaching 25th anniversary of his election as Supreme Pontiff, and within the context of the Year of the Rosary.

"These faithful wish to express an act of devotion to His Holiness on Saturday, May 24, in the Liberian Basilica of St. Mary Major by reciting the Rosary and by celebrating Mass according to the ancient liturgical rite to which they feel strong bonds.

"They also wish to thank the Holy Father John Paul II for the Motu proprio 'Ecclesia Dei' (July 2, 1988) in which, among otherthings, he affirmed that "respect must be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued some time ago by the Apostolic See for the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition of 1962'.

"The program for May 24 has scheduled the recitation of the Rosary at 3:30 p.m. after which Mass will be celebrated, in the above-mentioned rite, by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei'.

COM-ED;LATIN MASS;...;ST MARY MAJOR;VIS;20030519;Word: 260;


VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2003 (VIS) - Msgr. Piero Monni, Holy See permanent observer to the World Tourism Organization, will attend the 40th meeting of the Commission for Europe and a seminar on the theme "European Integration in the Era of the European Union's Expansion and the Development of Tourism" in Malta from May 21 to 23. He will address the seminar on Thursday, May 22.

In addition to the main theme, participants will prepare the agenda for their next plenary assembly, scheduled to take place in Beijing in October. They will take an in-depth look at the nature and effects of the expansion of the European Union, as well as the role that new countries will be expected to play in the new Union.

According to a press release from Msgr. Monni's office, he will speak on the socio-economic development of the tourism industry as well as the priority that must be given to the cultural, social and religious aspects of tourism, and the values that must inspire and constitute the project of "a Common European House."



VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2003 (VIS) - This morning the Pope received pilgrims who participated in the canonizations of the Polish Blesseds Jozef Sebastian Pelczar and Urszula Ledochowska and Italian Blesseds Maria De Mattias and Virginia Centurione Bracelli which took place yesterday.

Addressing the spiritual daughters and devotees of St. Maria De Mattias, foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters, Adorers of the Blood of Christ in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope said that "during her life she spread the Christian commandment of love, reconciling separations and healing difficult situations and the contradictions of society in her day. It is easy to confirm the reality of her message."

The Holy Father asked the Sisters of Our Lady of Refuge on Calvary, who also participated in the audience, to follow the example of their foundress, Virginia Centurione Bracelli in order "to live today the Gospel, precept of love, as complete adherence to the divine will and as concrete service to one's neighbor, especially those most in need."

The Pope then proceeded to St. Peter's Square where thousands of Polish pilgrims, who had participated in a Mass celebrated there this morning, were waiting for him. In his speech in Polish, John Paul II spoke about the unforgettable encounters with his fellow countrymen since the beginning of his pontificate and emphasized that St. Jozef Sebastian Pelczar, bishop and founder of the Congregation of the Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and St. Urszula Ledochowska, foundress of the Ursuline Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Agony, were "witnesses of mercy."

Speaking about the process of European integration, the Holy Father recalled what he said in 1997 in Gniezno, Poland: "There will be no unity in Europe unless it is based on the unity of the spirit. ... European history, in fact, is a great river in which many currents flow, and the variety of traditions and cultures that form it are its great wealth."

After recalling that Poland and other former Eastern block countries are entering the European Union, he said: "I know that there are many in opposition to integration. I appreciate their concern about maintaining the cultural and religious identity of our nation. However, I must emphasize that Poland has always been an important part of Europe. ... Europe needs Poland. ... Poland needs Europe."

After delivering his speech, the Pope added: "Yesterday I turned 83, entering into my 84th year of life. I know that the day is getting close in which I will have to present myself before God in order to account for my life, from the years in Wadowice to Krakow, and then Rome. I put myself in the hands of Divine Mercy and the Mother of God."

AC;CANONIZATIONS;...;...;VIS;20030519;Word: 380;


VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Aleksander Kwasniewski, president of the Republic of Poland, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

AP;...;...;... ;VIS;20030519;Word: 30;
Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service