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Thursday, June 26, 2003


VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2003 (VIS) - The Pope this morning welcomed the bishops of the ecclesiastical provinces of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, Patna and Ranchi in India and, in his talk to them in English, highlighted the task of evangelization and the need for constant interreligious dialogue.

Noting that all baptized persons are charged with the task of evangelization, of "preaching the Gospel to the whole creation," the Holy Father said: "How unfortunate it is then that even today in many places in India unnecessary obstacles still impede the teaching of the Gospel. Citizens of a modern democracy should not suffer because of their religious convictions. Nor should anyone feel compelled to hide his or her religion in order to enjoy fundamental human rights, such as education and employment."

In particular the Pope underscored the challenge of "first evangelization," saying that the initial contact with those who have not yet heard the Good News "demands of us all an intelligent and credible expression of the faith." He urged the bishops to ensure that they have "well-trained laity equipped and ready to be teachers of the faith." Nothing must erode the good rapport that exists between bishops and catechists, he added. "At the same time, personal views originating from caste or tribal affinity should never be allowed to cloud the authentic teaching of the Church."

Turning to interreligious dialogue, John Paul II pointed out that the Church is always respectful of differing cultures and people of different religions. "Interreligious dialogue will not only increase mutual understanding and respect for one another, but will also help to develop society in harmony with the rights and dignity of all." Remarking that the Church attempts to "dialogue" also through her institutions, schools, hospitals and dispensaries, he stated: "It is unfortunate that some of the Church's honest attempts towards interreligious dialogue at its most basic level have sometimes been hindered by a lack of cooperation from the government and by harassment from certain fundamentalist groups. India has strong traditions of respect for religious differences."

Telling the bishops he is "keenly aware of the trials" they face, the Holy Father affirmed: "It is disheartening to see the work of the Church often compromised by a lingering tribalism in certain parts of India. At times this tribalism has been so strong that some groups have even refused to receive bishops and priests not from their clans, thus crippling the proper functioning of Church structures and obscuring the essential nature of the Church as communion. Tribal or ethnic differences must never be used as a reason for rejecting a bearer of God's word."

The Pope said that he hoped bishops, priests and religious would not lose zeal for their ministries because of the hardships they face. "It is my hope that you will all continue to work closely together. In today's circumstances there is an even greater need for mutual relations. Some difficult and painful conflicts regarding the management of institutes and the ownership of property have arisen in your region. These issues, however, are not insurmountable for those who live the Gospel in a spirit of fraternal love and service."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2003 (VIS) - The Pope's Message was published today for the 24th World Tourism Day which will take place on September 27 on the theme: "Tourism: a driving element in the fight against poverty, for the creation of employment and for social harmony."

In the Message, written in Italian and dated June 11, the Holy Father writes that "the next World Tourism Day will focus on tourism in relation to pockets of poverty on every continent. The drama of poverty is one of the greatest present-day challenges, while the gap between different areas of the world continues to grow, despite the availability of the necessary means to provide relief, humanity having achieved extraordinary scientific development and technology."

"It is not possible," continues John Paul II, "to remain indifferent and inert to poverty and underdevelopment. We cannot close ourselves off in our own selfish interests, abandoning innumerable sisters and brother in misery, and, even more serious, allowing many of them to die an inexorable death."

The Pope emphasizes that "tourist activity can play a relevant role in the fight against poverty, from an economic, social and cultural point of view. Travel allows one to get to know places and different situations, and one realizes how great the gap is between rich countries and poor countries. Furthermore, one can evaluate better the resources and local activities, promoting the involvement of the poorest segments of the population."

"We must make an effort," he continues, "never to allow the well-being of a few privileged to be achieved to the detriment of the quality of life of many others."

The Holy Father concludes by expressing the desire that "tourist activity become ever more an effective instrument to reduce poverty, to promote the personal and social growth of individuals and peoples, to consolidate participation and cooperation among nations, cultures and religions."

Today at noon, Archbishops Stephen Fumio Hamao and Agostino Marchetto and Fr. Michael Blume, S.V.D, respectively president, secretary and undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, presented the Message in the Holy See Press Office.

Archbishop Fumio indicated that "despite the high figures in tourism - for example last year there were 715 million international trips for this reason alone - we must always note that a considerable part of humanity encounters grave limitations in ... enjoying free time."

For his part, Archbishop Marchetto referred to the duty to "promote the ethics of tourism," as the Holy Father indicated in his Message for World Tourism Day in 2001. "This is," he said, "an indispensable condition if we want tourism to put its energies to the service of the fight against poverty, and to promote the creation of dignified job possibilities and social harmony among individuals and peoples. All these elements are considered very important for the social doctrine of the Church."



VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2003 (VIS) - Seventy participants in the annual meeting of ROACO, the Works of Assistance to the Oriental Churches, were welcomed by the Pope this morning. He thanked them for their generous aid to and support of the Christian Churches of the Orient, mentioning in particular their assistance in the Holy Land and Iraq.

ROACO, under the auspices of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, is composed of 19 different organizations throughout the world including the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, the Pontifical Mission for Palestine, Misereor, Aid to the Suffering Church, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and Work of the East, to name but a few. Members provide financial as well as spiritual assistance.

The Pope said that ROACO's help to these churches is "even more appreciated, bearing in mind the dramatic events of recent times. I am thinking of the recent war in Iraq, the conflict in the Holy Land which, unfortunately, is never-ending, and also of the continual famine in Eritrea and Ethiopia." Not only must economic assistance be intensified, he said, but "it is necessary to make the spirit of divine charity grow."

The Holy Father noted that "the Holy Land continues to be a theater of conflicts and violence and the Catholic communities there are suffering and need to be supported and helped in their many urgent situations. A heartfelt cry arises from those populations, invoking a stable and lasting peace."

He expressed his gratitude to ROACO for "the thoughtful solidarity you showed towards the Christians so very tried by the recent conflict in Iraq. I pray God that peace will quickly be consolidated in that country and that the populations, so tried because of a lengthy international isolation, can finally live in harmony."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience six prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Michael Minj, S.J., of Gumla.

- Bishop Joseph Minj of Simdega.

- Bishop Gabriel Kujur, S.J., of Daltonganj.

- Bishop Julius Marandi of Dumka.

- Bishop Felix Toppo of Jamshedpur, S.J., accompanied by Bishop emeritus Joseph Robert Rodericks.

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2003 (VIS) - Forty metropolitan archbishops will receive the pallium from the hands of Pope John Paul II on Sunday June 29, Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, at 6 p.m. in St. Peter's Square. The new metropolitans are:
1. Archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan of Milwaukee, U.S.A.

2. Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg, Germany.

3. Archbishop Jose Carlos Melo of Maceio, Brazil.

4. Archbishop Hugo Barrantes Urena of San Jose de Costa Rica, Costa Rica.

5. Archbishop Joao Braz de Aviz of Maringa, Brazil.

6. Archbishop Juan Francisco Sarasti Jaramillo of Cali, Colombia.

7. Archbishop Braulio Rodriguez Plaza of Valladolid, Spain.

8. Archbishop Fulgence Rabemahafaly of Fianarantsoa, Madagascar.

9. Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes of Gandhinagar, India.

10. Archbishop Antonio Canizares Llovera of Toledo, Spain.

11. Archbishop Marc Ouellet of Quebec, Canada.

12. Archbishop Werner Thissen of Hamburg, Germany.

13. Archbishop Alois Kothgasser of Salzburg, Austria.

14. Archbishop Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary.

15. Archbishop Bernard Panafieu of Marseille, France.

16. Archbishop Hippolyte Simon of Clermont, France.

17. Archbishop Michel Coloni of Dijon, France.

18. Archbishop Guy Thomazeau of Montpellier, France.

19. Archbishop Albert Rouet of Poitiers, France.

20. Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone of Genova, Italy.

21. Archbishop Flavio Calle Zapata of Ibague, Colombia.

22. Archbishop Francisco Robles Ortega of Monterrey, Mexico.

23. Archbishop Antonio Ciliberti of Catanzaro-Squillace, Italy.

24. Archbishop Francisco Chimoio, O.F.M.Cap., of Maputo, Mozambique.

25. Archbishop Hector Gonzalez Martinez of Durango, Mexico.

26. Archbishop Jose Maria Arancedo of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz, Argentina.

27. Archbishop Peter Fernando of Madurai, India.

28. Archbishop Vincent Coulibaly of Conakry, Guinea.
29. Archbishop Guillermo Jose Garlatti of Bahia Blanca, Argentina.

30. Archbishop Francisco Javier Martinez Fernandez of Granada, Spain.

31. Archbishop Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga of Quito, Ecuador.

32. Archbishop Yannis Spiteris of Corfu, Greece.

33. Archbishop Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

34. Archbishop Antonio Arregui Yarza of Guayaquil, Ecuador.

35. Archbishop Mario Luis Bautista Maulion of Parana, Argentina.

36. Archbishop Charles Bo, S.D.B., of Yangon, Myanmar.

37. Archbishop Paul Grawng of Mandalay, Myanmar.

38. Archbishop Tomasz Peta of Astana, Kazakhstan.

39. Archbishop Giuseppe Mani of Cagliari, Italy.

40. Archbishop John Ha Tiong Hock of Kuching, Malaysia.

In addition, two metropolitan archbishops will receive the pallium in their respective metropolitan sees: Archbishops Alapati Mataeliga of Samoa-Apia, Samoa and Florentinus Sului Hajang Hau, M.S.F., of Samarinda, Indonesia.

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