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Wednesday, November 12, 2003


VATICAN CITY, NOV 12, 2003 - Following is the telegram sent by the Holy Father to Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, president of the Italian Republic, after the attack this morning in Nassiriya, Iraq in which many Italian soldiers and 'carabinieri' lost their lives:

'I received with deep sorrow the news of the vicious attack in Nassiriya, Iraq in which Italian soldiers lost their lives while generously fulfilling their mission of peace. I express my firmest condemnation of this latest act of violence which, in addition to other savage acts which have taken place in that tormented country, does not aid the process of reconstruction and pacification. In lifting up my fervent prayer for the victims, I ask the Lord to grant Christian comfort to their family members to whom I feel particularly close in this hour of great sadness. I ask you, Mr. President, to convey the expression of my prayerful solidarity to the military and civilians who are at present committed to the arduous task of serving the Iraqi people.'

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VATICAN CITY, NOV 12, 2003 (VIS) - Psalm 141, 'You are my refuge,' was the theme of the Pope's catechesis during this Wednesday's general audience celebrated in St. Peter's Square.

Addressing the crowd of 12,000 people, John Paul said that this psalm was the last prayer recited by St. Francis of Assisi on the night of his death in 1226. 'It is an intense supplication, marked by a series of invocations to the Lord: 'I cry to you O Lord, give heed to my cry'. ' The central part of the psalm is dominated by faith in God who is not indifferent to the suffering of the faithful.'

The psalmist, he continued, invokes God with insistence 'in the face of anguish' and begs Him to intervene by 'breaking the chains of his prison of solitude and hostility and saving him from the abyss of trial and tribulation.'

'As in other psalms of petition, the final perspective is one of thanksgiving that will be offered to God after He has heard the supplicant's prayer. ' When he is saved, the faithful will approach the Lord to give thanks in the liturgical assembly.'

The Holy Father concluded by indicating that 'the Christian tradition sees this psalm as a reference to the persecuted and suffering Christ. In this way, the hopeful goal of the psalm's petition becomes a paschal sign on the foundation of the glory of the life of Christ and of our destiny of resurrection with Him.'

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VATICAN CITY, NOV 12, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Archbishop Orlando Antonini, apostolic nuncio in Zambia and Malawi.

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VATICAN CITY, NOV 12, 2003 (VIS) - Archbishop Giuseppe Pittau, S.J., secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, spoke on behalf of the Holy See Delegation in the twenty-first Session of the Conference of European Ministers of Education, celebrated in Athens, Greece on November 10-12.

In his speech, the archbishop underscored that the session, which is on 'Intercultural Education: managing diversity, strengthening democracy, has never been more relevant. The beginning of this new millennium is characterized by the colossal occurrence of human mobility and emigration, which makes our European societies ever more multiethnic and multicultural.'

The prelate recognized the success of efforts to foster inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue which 'allows us to anticipate a vision of unity in diversity' and gives us 'hope for the future.'

'It is important,' he went on, 'to know how to appreciate the values of one's own culture; but it is also necessary to avoid transforming one's sense of cultural belonging into a barricade against others. A necessary antidote to this danger is the serene knowledge of other cultures, which is not conditioned by negative prejudices.'

The Holy See delegate emphasized the responsibility of educators to teach the 'respect for other cultures, and encourage people to discover the richness of the history and values of others. ' This inter-cultural perspective brings with it a real paradigmatic shift on the pedagogical level, passing from more or less successful models of integration and respect for diversity, to the search for living in a harmony of differences.'
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 12, 2003 (VIS) - Today in the Holy See Press Office, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, presented the program of the eighteenth International Conference on Depression, organized by the same dicastery, which is to take place on November 13-15 in the Vatican. Bishop Jose Luis Redrado, O.H., and Fr. Felice Ruffini, M.I., secretary and undersecretary respectively of the pontifical council, accompanied the cardinal.

During the presentation, Cardinal Lozano recalled that his dicastery has the duty to become familiar with present-day illnesses and 'one of the most important is depression. It has been classified as one of the main 'killer' diseases of our time.'

Referring to modern day culture which is 'devoid of values, based on well-being and pleasure, and in which economic gains count as the supreme goal,' human beings, he said, 'have not been able to escape the ghost of death' despite technological advances and scientific discovery. Sadness and fear of destruction take the upper hand. Death, he affirmed, is 'a danger that provokes fear which can turn into depression in all its forms. This is the reason why we thought it was important to reflect on a deeper level on this illness.'

Cardinal Lozano said that during the conference depression in the modern world will be examined in presentations on the following themes: depression between malaise and illness; depression and religious crisis; the suicide crisis; the media and accentuation of stress. In the second session, he continued, the following topics will be studied: the history of depression; depression, subjective moral references and objective moral references; the rejection of suffering; the search for personal well-being; the meaning of depression and the malaise seen from the Jewish, Islamic, Hindi and Buddhist perspective.

During the third session, the following themes will be considered: the welcoming of depressed people in the medical and hospital context; the role of the family and depression; the pastoral and spiritual care of the depressed and the need for a pastoral care of Christian faith and trust in life.

Among the participants in this conference is Benedetto Saraceno, director of the department of Mental Health at the World Health Organization, as well as professors and psychiatrists from all over the world and various cardinals and bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 12, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Vicaria, Brazil, presented by Bishop Orlando Octacilio Dotti, O.F.M.Cap., in accordance with Canon 401, para. 2, of the Code of Canon Law. Coadjutor Bishop Pedro Sbalchiero Neto, M.S. succeeds him.

Appointed Fr. Luis Morao, O.F.M., apostolic administrator 'sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis' of the Military Ordinate for El Salvador, as auxiliary bishop of Santa Ana (area 3,272, population 950,840, Catholics 821,565, priests 75, permanent deacons 1, religious 182), El Salvador. The bishop-elect was born in Treviso, Italy in 1939 and was ordained a priest in 1966.

Appointed Fr. Jacinto Inacio Flach, spiritual director of the Major Seminary in Viamao, Brazil, as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Porto Alegre (area 18,598, population 3,304,054, Catholics 2,990,500, priests 448, permanent deacons 16, religious 2,562),), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in 1952 in Bom Principio, Brazil and was ordained a priest in 1988.

Appointed Fr. Fabio Reynaldo Colindres Abarca, vicar general of the Military Ordinate for El Salvador, as apostolic administer 'sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis' of the same military ordinate.

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