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Thursday, November 6, 2003


VATICAN CITY, NOV 6, 2003 (VIS) - Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office, made the following declaration yesterday afternoon at the end of the Holy Father's audience with Vladimir V. Putin, president of the Russian Federation:

'This afternoon the Holy Father received Vladimir V. Putin, president of the Russian Federation. The meeting, which was very cordial, lasted 30 minutes. The Holy Father asked that the icon of Our Lady of Kazan be kept in the room and he showed it to President Putin.'

Navarro-Valls then quoted Putin in reference to his last visit with the Pope: 'Although three years have gone by, it seems like yesterday.'

'During the conversation, topics of mutual interest were reviewed, specifically Catholics in Russia and their ecclesiastical structures. Both parties expressed hope for a positive development in the dialogue between the Holy See and the Patriarchate of Moscow.

'On international issues there was an exchange of opinions on the conflict in the Holy Land and on the Iraqi question.

'At the same time, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano met with Igor Ivanov, minister of Foreign Affairs, and other ministers in the entourage. During their conversation, they exchanged opinions on the situation of ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox. They then examined the new initiatives for peace in the Holy Land and in Iraq.'



VATICAN CITY, NOV 6, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father this morning welcomed the trustees of the John Paul II Cultural Center located in Washington, D.C., telling them that 'it is with gratitude and encouragement that I note your efforts to promote contact, interaction and understanding between peoples and cultures.'

'In fact,' he added, 'it is just such mutual exchange that is so necessary today for building the culture of peace, the civilization of love that must ever be the guiding light for our world in this new millennium. May your work be crowned with success. Thank you for your commitment and may God bless you always!'

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VATICAN CITY, NOV 6, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Pope received in audience Mary McAleese, president of Ireland, on the occasion of her visit to Rome in order to participate in the celebrations for the 375(th) anniversary of the Pontifical Irish College.

John Paul II expressed his 'deep affection for the Irish people' and asked the president to convey his 'warm greetings and the assurance of his prayers' to the citizens of her country.

'Ireland,' he said, 'with its rich Christian history and its outstanding patrimony of spiritual and cultural values, has an essential role to play in the building of the new Europe and the affirmation of its deepest identity. It is my hope,' he concluded, 'that the Gospel message will provide continued inspiration and encouragement to all who are committed to the advancement of Ireland in the path of justice and solidarity, and above all in the great work of national reconciliation.'

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VATICAN CITY, NOV 6, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Archbishop Pier Giacomo De Nicolo, apostolic nuncio in Switzerland and in the Principality of Liechtenstein.

- Bishop Kurt Koch of Basel, Switzerland.

- Bishop Joan Enric Vives Sicilia of Urgell, Spain.

- Victor A. Hidalgo Justo, ambassador of the Dominican Republic, on his farewell visit.
- Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general of the diocese of Rome and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

- Archbishop Henryk Jozef Nowacki, apostolic nuncio in Slovakia.

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VATICAN CITY, NOV 6, 2003 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent Observer to the United Nations, spoke yesterday in New York before the Second Committee on Item 91(a): International Trade and Development.

In opening remarks, he noted that 'the primary purpose for the Holy See's participation in international forums, is to help promote the dignity of the human person and contribute to the common good of the entire human family. In the area of economic relations, and specifically in trade matters, the Holy See advocates an equitable and just system, which fosters the dignity and integral development of the human person. '

'At times,' he added, 'and in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, it may be necessary for governments to play a more important role in the economy. Thus, the relationship between governments and markets should be viewed as complementary rather than competitive or even antagonistic. ' Trade policy needs to be organized in a way that it contributes to the sustainable economic development. On their part, the less developed countries must also take the necessary steps to avoid corruptive and unethical practices which, in the past, have affected negatively their development process and the well-being of their populations.'

'What is needed,' concluded Archbishop Migliore, 'is a greater degree of international solidarity among all the nations of the world and an abandonment of those group interests that can promote their own selfish objectives while disregarding the common good. At the same time, corruptive practices, both in developed and developing countries, must be curtailed so that the fruits of trade and a healthy development can be enjoyed by all sectors of society - rich and poor - and not only by the privileged few.'

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VATICAN CITY, NOV 6, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Kevin John Patrick McDonald of Northhampton, England as metropolitan archbishop of Southwark (area 3,000, population 4,048,900, Catholics 377,726, priests 401, permanent deacons 71, religious 922), England. The archbishop-elect was born in Stoke-on-Trent, England in 1947 and was ordained in 1974. The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese presented by Archbishop Michael George Bowen in accordance with Canon 401, para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

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