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Monday, November 24, 2003


VATICAN CITY, NOV 22, 2003 (VIS) - Today John Paul II received bishops from Belgium at the end of their 'ad limina' visit. In his speech, he emphasized the difficulty of their ministry, but also the signs of hope for the Church in their country.

'The information that I receive about the situation of the Church in your country,' said the Pope, 'is particularly troubling to me. Real and serious concern cannot be hidden about the scarce regularity and importance of religious practice in your country which affects Sunday Mass and the sacraments, especially baptism, reconciliation and marriage. In addition, the consistent drop in the number of priests and the persistent crisis of vocations are a serious concern for you.'

'The rapid changes that you notice,' he continued, ' surely correspond to a sensitive evolution of society, characterized by great secularization which could make one think that Belgian society has turned its back on its Christian roots. Your country, in addition, has recently approved new and disturbing legislation on material relative to the fundamental dimensions of human and social life, such as birth, marriage and the family, illness and death. You have never stopped addressing these issues .. which profoundly affect the ethical dimension of human life.'

'Therefore, it is a new pastoral terrain, unsteady and difficult, where you live your mission as pastors of the Church of Christ ' In a society that loses track of its traditional points of reference and that promotes general relativism in the name of pluralism, our first duty is to introduce Christ, His Gospel of peace which sheds new light on man's destiny. ' I invite you therefore to actively continue dialogue with civil society and the Belgian people ' and to explicitly introduce the values of Christian faith and the rich experience of human beings throughout history and cultures, not in order to impose your own model but out of respect for the truth of which you are ministers in the name of Christ and respect for dialogue itself which demands that the legitimate and individual identity of each person is taken into account.'

John Paul II praised, 'the quality of pastoral collaboration' of the bishops and their priests, 'the ever-more active participation of the lay faithful in the mission of the Church' and their 'attention in educating young people. I congratulate you,' he said, 'for having clearly reaffirmed the principles of Catholic teaching and your devotion to your identity.'

'But in addition to difficulties,' the Holy Father concluded, ' ' you emphasized the signs of a possible renewal: the vigor of pilgrimages, the attraction of the silence of monasteries, the increase in the number of adult catechumens, ' the desire for a more authentic spiritual life. The hope of believers ' illuminates the life of the lay faithful. In important discussions that provoke Belgian society it is necessary that you give double testimony: testimony to the prophetic word, taking a clear position in line with the Gospel and testimony of action, of men and women committed in the good times and difficulties of daily life, in married and family life, in work and social and political responsibilities.'

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VATICAN CITY, NOV 22, 2003 (VIS) - Today in three pontifical letters, written in Latin and made public today, the Pope appoints special envoys for the following celebrations: the Second American Missionary Congress in Guatemala on November 25-30, the re-opening of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Parramatta, Australia on November 29, and the Fifth Centenary of the election of Pope Julius II in Savona, Italy on November 30.
Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, will go as a special envoy to Guatemala, accompanied by Msgrs. Giuseppe Cavallotto, rector of the Pontifical Urban University, Gustavo Rodolfo Mendoza Hernandez, chancellor of the archdiocese of Guatemala, and Fr. Damian Ac Cahuec, of the clergy of the apostolic vicariate of Peten, Guatemala.

Cardinal Edward I. Cassidy, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, special envoy to Australia, will be accompanied by Msgr. Francisco M. Padilla, counselor of the apostolic nunciature in Australia, Fr. John Boyle, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Seven Hills in the diocese of Parramatta, and Fr. Peter Blayney, judicial vicar of the diocese of Parramatta.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, special envoy to Savona, Italy will be accompanied by Msgrs. Andrea Giusto, vicar general of the diocese of Savona-Noli and Piero Pioppo, counselor of the nunciature in service to the secretariat of State.

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VATICAN CITY, NOV 23, 2003 (VIS) - Before praying the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, John Paul II recalled that today, last Sunday in the liturgical year, the Church celebrates the solemnity of Christ the King.

'Over the months,' explained the Pope, 'we have contemplated all His mysteries, from His birth to His ascension into heaven ' now with the apostle Paul we recognize that God's design is to 'echo in Christ all things, from the heavens and the earth'.'

'Looking at Him whom eastern liturgy calls the 'Pantocrator' or Almighty,' he continued, 'the mission of believers, who are called to cooperate in a variety of ministries and charisms, takes on great importance in building up His kingdom. In this context, I would like to place ' the Congress on Sacred Music of the Association of St. Cecilia, organized on the centenary of the Motu proprio 'Tra le sollecitudini' with which Pope St. Pius X issued an important instruction on sacred music.'

The Holy Father concluded his brief remarks by greeting participants in the congress which is taking place in Rome and expressed gratitude to 'all who put their musical talents and competency at the service of the liturgy.'

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VATICAN CITY, NOV 22, 2003 (VIS) - This afternoon in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope attended a concert of sacred music given in his honor by the Italian Association of St. Cecilia, whose feast is celebrated today, upon the centenary of the 'motu proprio' by Pope Pius X 'Tra le sollecitudini,' on sacred music.

At the end of the concert, in which various choruses sang 'The Passion according to St. Mark' by Msgr. Lorenzo Perosi, the Pope expressed his gratitude for the gift of a bell which was engraved with the biblical expression 'Cantate Domino canticum novum.'

'Your association,' said the Holy Father, 'is dedicated to St. Cecilia who is popularly known as the patron of music. This young Roman martyr invites believers to walk faithfully toward an encounter with Christ, blessing our earthly pilgrimage with the joy of song and music. May St. Cecilia accompany each and every one of you, dear brothers and sisters, from heaven, and help you to fully realize your mission in the Church.'

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VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2003 (VIS) - The council of the general secretariat of the Synod of Bishops for the Special Assembly on Asia celebrated its seventh meeting on November 18 and 19 in the main office of the general secretariat.

Under the presidency of Cardinal Jan P. Schotte, C.I.C.M., general secretary of the Synod, three cardinals, five archbishops and five bishops participated in the meeting.

According to a communique made public today, during the sessions an overview of the situation of the Church in different nations was presented. In addition, they discussed the application of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation 'Ecclesia in Asia.' Later, there was an exchange of opinions about the different experiences in local Churches. The next meeting is scheduled for November 18-19, 2004.

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VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2003 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff communicated today that:

- Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, will take possession of the diaconate of St. Michael the Archangel, Via Marica, 6, Rome on Saturday, November 29, at 6:30 p.m..

- Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, metropolitan archbishop of Florence, Italy, will take possession of the title of St. Andrea delle Fratte, Via Sant'Andrea delle Fratte, 1, Rome on Sunday, November 30 at 6 p.m.

- Cardinal Francesco Marchisano, archpriest of the patriarchal Vatican Basilica, vicar general of the Vatican City State, president of the Fabric of St. Peter's and president of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology, will take possession of the diaconate of St. Lucia del Gonfalone, Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 12, Rome on Tuesday, December 2 at 4:30 p.m.



VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the office of archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church, presented by Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia, and at the same time, appointed Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran to the same office.

- Appointed the following cardinals, created in the consistory of October 21, 2003, as members of the following dicasteries:

- Cardinals Jean-Louis Tauran and Attilio Nicora of the Council of Cardinals and Bishops of the section for Relations with States in the Secretariat of State.

- Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

- Cardinals Justin Francis Rigali, Jospi Bozanic, Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Mƒn, Philippe Barbarin and Marc Ouellet of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments.

- Cardinals Jean-Louis Tauran, Juli n Herranz, Javier Lozano Barrag n and Attilio Nicora of the Congregation for Bishops.

- Cardinals Renato Raffaele Martino, Javier Lozano Barrag n, Stephen Fumio Hamao, Attilio Nicora, Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, Gabriel Zubeir Wako, Telesphore Placidus Toppo and Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man of the Congregation the Evangelization of Peoples.

- Cardinals Angelo Scola and Tarcisio Bertone of the Congregation for Clergy.

- Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

- Cardinals Francesco Marchisano and Peter Erdo of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

- Cardinal Julian Herranz of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature.

- Cardinals Ennio Antonelli and Josip Bozanic of the Pontifical Council for Laity.

- Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

- Cardinals Angelo Scola and George Pell of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

- Cardinals Stephen Fumio Hamao, Bernard Panafieu and George Pell of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

- Cardinals Renato Raffaele Martino, Stephen Fumio Hamao and Gabriel Zubeir Wako of the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum.'

- Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

- Cardinal Carlos Amigo Vallejo of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry.

- Cardinal Peter Erdo of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

- Cardinals Bernard Panafieu and Telesphore Placidus Toppo of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

- Cardinals Francesco Marchisano and Rodolfo Quezada Toru¤o of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

- Cardinals Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien, Eusebio Oscar Scheid and Ennio Antonelli of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

- Cardinals Renato Raffaele Martino and Justin Francis Rigali of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.

- Cardinals Francesco Marchisano and Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church.

- Cardinal Julian Herranz of the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei'.

In addition, His Holiness appointed Cardinals Javier Lozano Barrag n, Eusebio Oscar Scheid and Marc Ouellet, as counselors of the Pontifical Commission for Latin American and Cardinals Carlos Amigo Vallejo and Rodolfo Quezada Toru¤o, as members of the same pontifical commission.

- Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary of the section for the Relations with States of the Secretariat of state, as consultant of the Congregation for Bishops.

It was made public on November 22 that the Holy Father appointed the following people as 'ad quinquennium' consultants of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace: Fr. Enrique Colom, Chile, professor of social morality and social doctrine of the Church in the Faculty of Theology of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome; Frs. Wolfgang Ockenfels, O.P., Germany, lecturer of Christian social sciences in the Faculty of theology of the University of Trier; Fr. Maciej Zieba, O.P., Poland, former collaborator of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in the publication of the social agenda; Sr. Helen Alford, O.P., Great Britain, Dean and professor in the Faculty of social sciences of St. Thomas Aquinas Pontifical University, Rome; Simona Beretta, Italy, professor of international economic politics in the Faculty of political science at the Catholic University of Milan; Professor Carl A. Anderson, U.S.A., consultant of the Pontifical Council for the Family; Professor Antonio Boggiano, Argentina, Supreme Court Judge; M. Rene Valery Mongbe, Benin, Deputy of the National Assembly of Benin; Oscar R. de Rojas, Venezuela, Interregional Advisor in Development Administration at the Department of Social and Economic Affairs at the United Nations; Edoardo Greppi, Italy, professor of international law in the Faculty of Law at the University of Torino.

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VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Archbishop Brendan Michael O'Brian, president of the Canadian Bishops' Conference, accompanied by Archbishop Andre Gaumond of Sherbrooke, Canada, and Msgrs. Mario Paquette and Peter Schonenbach, vice-president and secretary general respectively of the same conference.

- Seven prelates of the French Episcopal Conference on their 'ad limina' visit:

- Archbishop Fran‡ois Garnier of Cambrai.

- Archbishop G‚rard Defois, bishop of Lille, with Auxiliary Bishop Jean-Luc Brunin.

- Bishop Jean-Paul Jaeger of Arras.

- Archbishop Thierry Jordan of Reims, with Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Boishu.

- Bishop Marcel Herriot of Soissons.

On Saturday November 22, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Archbishop Giovanni d'Aniello, apostolic nuncio in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

- Raniero Avogadro, ambassador of Italy, accompanied by his wife, on his farewell visit.

- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

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