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Thursday, November 13, 2003


VATICAN CITY, NOV 13, 2003 (VIS) - As is tradition during the month of November which is dedicated the repose of the souls of the dead, the Holy Father presided today at a Mass in the Vatican Basilica in remembrance of the cardinals, archbishops and bishops who died during the course of the last year. The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, along with the other cardinals.

In the homily, the Pope said that 'the memory of the cardinals that have left us was particularly present during the recent consistory. In this moment, I remember especially: Hans Hermann Groer, Gerald Emmet Carter, Aurelio Sabattani, Francesco Colasuonno, Ignacio Antonio Velasco Garcia, Corrado Ursi and Maurice Michael Otunga. I also remember Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid.'

John Paul II also asked those present to pray for the bishops who have died in recent months. 'It is consoling,' he said, 'to think that these venerated brothers of ours, who were zealous servants of the Gospel during their earthly life, are now in the provident 'hands' of God who has welcomed them into the eternal embrace of His love.'

'In their pastoral care, they educated the faithful,' he concluded, 'by word and example in the true and eternal values, as they themselves tried to become models for the flock entrusted to them. Therefore, we trust that the Lord will reward His faithful servants.'



VATICAN CITY, NOV 13, 2003 (VIS) - Yesterday in Potsdam, Federal Republic of Germany, the Holy See and the state of Brandenburg signed an accord which regulates the relations between the Catholic Church and the state.

Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, apostolic nuncio in Germany, and Mattias Platzeck, president minister, signed the treaty for their respective states, the Holy See and Brandenburg.

'The present accord,' reads a communique made public today, 'departing from agreements with the German Reich and Prussia which are still in force ' and acknowledging the reciprocal independence of Church and State and their desire for mutual cooperation, gives a permanent code to the relations between the Catholic church and the state.'

'The twenty-five articles in the accord and related final protocol regulate various aspects of these relations, such as religious freedom and the juridical state of the Catholic Church in civil society; its freedom of activity in the cultural, educational, pastoral and charitable fields; its presence in social communication, hospitals and clinics, in preventative institutions and prisons; its responsibility for the preservation of ecclesiastical monuments; the collection of the Church tithe; financial assistance from the state for the Church. The teaching of Catholic religion in public schools and the ecclesiastical management of schools and institutions of formation at all levels will also be regulated.'
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