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Monday, October 27, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 25, 2003 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke yesterday in New York before the Second Committee of the U.N. General Assembly on Agenda Item 93(E): External Debt Crisis and Development.

"From the second decade of this Organization's existence," he noted, "the international community started witnessing the increasing spread of the chronic debt crisis affecting almost all developing countries around the world. ... The total external debt of developing countries increased from $1.5 billion in 1990 to $2.4 billion in 2001.
"The HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) program," added the archbishop, "has yet to find a lasting solution to their debt and debt-servicing problems. ... This recurrent debt crisis has caused an overall outflow of financial resources over the years, which divested those nations of their vital resources essential to their basic development, even to minimum levels of healthcare and education." He affirmed that "it is imperative ... to reverse this trend."

Archbishop Migliore remarked that "the international community faces two challenges: (1) the need to find a solution to all outstanding debt problems, and (2) the need to create a lasting financial system suitable for the development of all countries."

In conclusion the nuncio stressed that "financing for development is not just a technical task. Since human beings are endowed with the inherent capacity for moral choice, no human activity takes place outside the sphere of moral judgment. Therefore, those activities that have enduring consequences on the life of an entire population, particularly on its poorer segments, deserve particular attention and moral scrutiny."



VATICAN CITY, OCT 24, 2003 (VIS) - Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, presided this afternoon at a Mass for the beginning of the academic year of the Roman ecclesiastical universities.

Cardinal Grocholewski read the homily prepared by the Pope who was not present. In his talk, he urged rectors, professors and students to "accompany the effort of study with prayer, meditation with the constant search for the Lord's will."

He commented on the first reading in which St. Paul says "I do not do the good I wish, but the evil I do not wish," noting that this speaks about "the incapacity of human beings to do good and avoid evil. There is, however, a way out: victory over evil comes to us from the benevolence of God, All merciful, which is manifested in Christ. ... Christ, who died and rose from the dead, has overcome evil and has freed us from sin. He is our salvation."

"This news of salvation resounds incessantly also in our time and is the heart of the mission of the ecclesiastical community. Man is looking for - today, as in the past - satisfying answers to questions on the significance of life and death. During the period of theological formation, dear young people, you prepare yourselves to be able to provide answers about the faith in a way which is appropriate for the language and mentality of our time. May everything, therefore, be oriented to this dignified mission: to proclaim Christ and the liberating strength of His gospel."

The Pope recalled what Vatican Council II said about the "permanent duty of the Church 'to examine the signs of the time and to interpret them in the light of the Gospel so that, in a way suitable to each generation, it may respond to the perennial questions of men on the meaning of the present and future life and on their reciprocal relationship'." In concluding, the Holy Father urged that "this be the spirit" with which professors and students dedicate themselves to their studies during these years of "theological and pastoral formation."



VATICAN CITY, OCT 25, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Holy Father to Msgr. Walter Brandmuller, president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences on the occasion of the 14th centenary of the death of St. Gregory the Great. In the days to follow, the committee as well as the National Academy of the Lincei will be commemorating the life of this successor of Peter.

"An attentive seeker of truth," writes the Pope in the message dated October 22, St. Gregory "understood that the patrimony of classical antiquity, in addition to Christian antiquity, constituted a precious foundation for all successive scientific and human development. This intuition continues to be of value currently in view of the future of humanity and especially of Europe. The future cannot be built without considering the past. This is why on many occasions I have urged the appropriate authorities to fully value the rich classical and Christian roots of European civilization, in order to pass on this lifeblood to the new generations."

John Paul II highlights another characteristic of St. Gregory the Great, "his commitment to underscoring the supremacy of the human person, considered not only in his physical, psychological and social dimension but also in constant reference to his eternal destiny."

At the end of the message, the Pope emphasizes that "in order to build a peaceful future in solidarity, we must turn our gaze toward this authentic disciple of Christ and follow his teaching, proposing again the saving message of the Gospel to the modern world with courage."



VATICAN CITY, OCT 25, 2003 (VIS) - Today in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope received a group of pilgrims who came to Rome on the occasion of the fourth centenary of the birth of St. Joseph of Cupertino who was a disciple of St. Francis of Assisi. Among the participants in the audience was Fr. Joachim Giermek, general minister of the Friars Minor Conventuals.

In his speech, the Pope said St. Joseph "is a teacher of prayer. The celebration of the Mass was at the center of his day, followed by long hours of adoration in front of the tabernacle. According to the most authentic Franciscan tradition, he was fascinated and moved by the mysteries of the Incarnation and Our Lord's Passion."

"Secondly, the saint from Cupertino continues to speak to young people, in particular to students who venerate him as their patron. He advises them to fall in love with the Gospel, 'to take off' in the vast ocean of the world and of history, remaining firmly anchored in the contemplation of Christ's face."

John Paul II said that St. Joseph of Cupertino is a "model of exemplary holiness for his brothers of the Franciscan Order of the Friars Minor Conventuals. ... For those who have embraced the ideas of a life of consecration, he represents a loud call to always live in search of the values of the spirit, totally consecrated to the Lord, and a necessary service of charity toward their brothers and sisters."

"Like all saints," he concluded, "St. Joseph of Cupertino never goes out of style! Four centuries later, his testimony continues to represent for everyone an invitation to be saints. Even if he belongs to another age, in certain aspects so different from ours, he shows us an itinerary of spirituality valid for all times; remember the supremacy of God, the need for prayer and contemplation, ardent and faithful adhesion to Christ, the commitment of the missionary proclamation, the love of the Cross."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today was the speech given by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, on October 21 in New York on Item 172 of the agenda of the 58th General Assembly: "International Convention Against the Cloning of Human Beings." His focus was the serious dangers that cloning involves for human dignity and the need for international agreements that regulate all aspects of cloning.

"My delegation," he stated, "wishes to reaffirm its view that the matter before us can be resolved through the earliest ban on human embryonic cloning. It must be clear that the position my delegation takes is not, in the first instance, a religious one. It is a position informed by the process of reason that is in turn informed by scientific knowledge."

"We have heard," the nuncio continued, "a number of statements from a variety of delegations that this is a 'complex' issue. ... The science may be complex, but the issue for us is simple and straightforward. The matter of human cloning that involves the creation of human embryos is the story of the beginning of human life ... (and is) a universal issue because an embryo is a human being regardless of its geography. If reproductive cloning of human beings contravenes the law of nature - a principle with which all delegations appear to agree - so does the cloning of the human embryo that is slated for research purposes. A cloned embryo (for this purpose) ... is destined for pre-programmed destruction."

"In closing," affirmed Archbishop Migliore, "my delegation wants to remind this distinguished assembly that one of the fundamental missions of the United Nations is to uphold the rights of all human beings. If the United Nations were to ban reproductive cloning without banning cloning for research, this would, for the first time, involve this body in legitimizing something extraordinary: the creation of human beings for the express purpose of destroying them."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 26, 2003 (VIS) - Pope John Paul appeared at his study window today to pray the Angelus with the thousands of faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square.
"Still very much alive in my heart," he told the pilgrims, "are the intense emotions I have felt these days, during which so many people gathered close to me on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of my pontificate. I renew my thanks above all to God, rich in mercy, for these 25 years of ministry in service to the Church. I wish above all to express my deep gratitude to my brother cardinals, patriarchs and bishops who wished to participate in such great numbers in this silver jubilee, witnessing in this way to their deep communion with the See of Peter."

"I would also like to thank the heads of State and the government leaders from so many countries, who extended their congratulations to me.

"And lastly, I extend a heartfelt thank you to priests, to consecrated persons and to all the faithful who spiritually joined me with their wishes and with the precious gift of prayer. I am thinking in a special way of the sick who have been very close to me by offering their sufferings. There were also testimonials from Christians of other denominations, as well as from the followers of other religions. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart."

"I ask the Lord," concluded the Holy Father, "to reward you, dear brothers and sisters, for the affection and the support you have shown me. I entrust once again my life and my ministry to the Virgin Mary, mother of the Redeemer and mother of the Church. To her I repeat with filial abandonment: 'Totus tuus!"

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 25, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Filomeno do Nascimento Vieira Dias, vice rector of the Catholic University of Angola and rector of the Major Seminary of the archdiocese of Luanda, Angola as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese (area 34,000, population 4,890,000, Catholics 3,011,000, priests 134, religious 546). The bishop-elect was born in Luanda in 1958 and was ordained a priest in 1983.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

- Six prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Paciano B. Aniceto of San Fernando.

- Archbishop Diosdado A. Talamayan of Tuguegarao.

- Bishop Jesus C. Galang of Urdaneta.

- Bisho Honesto P. Ongtioco of Cubao.

- Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes of Antipolo.

- Bishop Antonio R. Tobias of San Fernando de la Union.

On Saturday October 25 the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
- Bishop Francisco C. San Diego of Pasig, the Philippines, on his "ad limina" visit.

- Bishop Jesse E. Mercado of Paranque, the Philippines, on his "ad limina" visit.

- Ambassador Mbaya Boaz Kidiga of Kenya on his farewell visit.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2003 (VIS) - Today at midday in the Clementine Hall, the Pope received members of the "Pro Petri Sede" and "Etrennes Pontificales" Associations from Belgium who offer their financial help annually for the needs of the Holy See.

In his speech in French, the Pope said: "I am grateful to you for the generous and faithful help that your associations contribute to the Church so that she can pursue, in her communities and in the world, her spiritual and material activities in favor of everyone, and principally in favor of the poorest of our brothers and sisters, so that their dignity be ever-more respected. I ask you to transmit to all the members of your associations my great gratitude for your gifts and your commitment. May they know how to always be attentive to the needy in their everyday life in order to express to them the love of God 'who shows no partiality'!"

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