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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

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Saturday, October 30, 2004


VATICAN CITY, OCT 30, 2004 (VIS) - President Tassos Papadopoulos of Cyprus was welcomed to the Vatican this morning by Pope John Paul who, in his speech in English, greeted not only the president but "the people of your nation, which has always been so deeply faithful to the Christian message."

  "I encourage you and your fellow citizens," said the Pope, "in your ongoing efforts to foster dialogue and tolerance among the diverse ethnic and religious groups in your country, Indeed, it is only by commitment to understanding and mutual respect that long-held tensions can be resolved and lead to unity based on principles of solidarity and justice. I pray that Almighty God may impart on you and all the people of Cyprus the gifts of peace and harmony."

Friday, October 29, 2004


VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Fr. Mario Alberto Molina Palma, O.A.R., pastor of St. Mary Goretti Parish in Guatemala, as bishop of Quiche (area 8,378, population 614,063, Catholics 491,250, priests 30, religious 96), Guatemala.  The bishop-elect was born in 1948 in Panama and was ordained a priest in 1975.

- Appointed Bishop Joaquin Maria Lopez de Andujar y Canolvas del Castillo, auxiliary of Getafe, Spain as bishop of Getafe (area 2,295, population 1,243,212, Catholics 1,118,890, priests 237, permanent deacons 5, religious 666).
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Archbishop Angelo Amato, S.V.D., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2004 (VIS) - The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, under the presidency of Prof. Nicola Cabibbo, professor of theoretical physics at La Sapienza University of Rome, will hold a working group from October 31 to November 2 on Interactions Between Global Change and Human Health. The meeting will take place in the academy headquarters in the Casina Pius IV in the Vatican Gardens.

  Participants, including six pontifical academicians and 23 experts from 11 countries, will discuss topics as varied as Aerosol Effects on Environment, Climate and Health, Emerging Infectious Diseases of Wildlife - Threats to Biodiversity and Human Health, Interactions of Demographic Trends and Human Health, Climate Change and Human Rights and Indicators and Measures of Vulnerability of Human Populations: Future Generations of Models.

  The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, founded in August 1603, has 79 members, included two named on October 25, 2004, of whom 25 are Nobel Prize winners. In addition, there are 7 honorary members and 4 who are academicians "perdurante munere," that is, for the length of time that they hold a specific position, they are members of the academy. Fr. George Coyne, S.J. director of the Vatican Observatory is thus an academician as long as he holds that position. Nine members form the Academy Council and there is a permanent staff of five in the Vatican office.


VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2004 (VIS) - Participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace were welcomed by Pope John Paul this morning who, in his talk to them, highlighted how the social doctrine of the Church can assist Christians in their daily lives and guide them in their commitment to help make the world a place of peace, justice and solidarity.

  The Pope had special words for participants in the First World Congress of Ecclesial Offices Working for Justice and Peace, noting that they had "reflected on the most adequate forms for proclaiming the Gospel in the complex realities of our times."

  He referred to the recently published Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, calling it "an instrument that can help Christians in their daily commitment to make the world more just, in the Gospel perspective of a humanism that is truly solidary." He asked that the Church's social doctrine "be made known, spread in its entirety and witnessed to with a constant and coherent pastoral action."

  "In times like ours," John Paul II added, "marked by globalization of the social question, the Church invites everyone to recognize and affirm the centrality of the human person in every milieu and in every manifestation of sociality." He underscored how the social doctrine "opens people up to the horizons of charity. In fact, this is the hour of charity, including social and political charity, that is capable of animating, with the grace of the Gospel, the human realities of work, the economy and politics, pointing out the paths of peace, justice and friendship among peoples."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2004 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the new ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mohammad Javad Faridzade, as he presented his Letters of Credence to the Holy See.

  The Holy Father, in his speech in French, referred to Iran's concern about "the deterioration of the international situation and the threats that weigh on humanity on different levels." In order to establish a balanced international order, he said, it is necessary that States "take advantage of recognized, stable and effective instruments, like the United Nations and other international organizations. This action to promote peace also implies brave action against terrorism … in order to build a world in which everyone can be recognized as children of the same Merciful and Omnipotent God."

  "The Holy See," he continued, "will spare no effort to convince the leaders of States to always renounce violence and force and to make sure that negotiation always prevails as a means of overcoming disagreements and conflicts that emerge among nations, groups and individuals."

  John Paul II, echoing the words of the ambassador, reaffirmed the duty of believers to announce "the fundamental values expressed in religion which guarantee, through natural law, a sign of the imprint of God in man, the dignity of all persons, and which regulate the relations among men. As I have recalled many times," he added, "Catholic faithful … bear witness in favor of a culture of life that respects man from his conception to his natural death, and that guarantees the defense of his rights and basic duties. Among these fundamental rights, the right to religious freedom is in the forefront."

  "The Holy See," he emphasized, "counts on the help of the Iranian authorities in order to allow the faithful of the Catholic Church present in Iran, as well as other Christians, the freedom to profess their religion and to promote the recognition of the juridical personality of ecclesiastic institutions. … Freedom to worship is an aspect of religious freedom which must be the same for all citizens of a country."

  The Pope concluded by highlighting the need for everyone in Iran "to freely express their religious convictions, to gather with their brothers and sisters to worship God, as well as ensuring, through catechesis, the transmission of religious teaching to children and further study for young people and adults, while respecting the laws of the country."
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Thursday, October 28, 2004


VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Rene Socrates Sandigo Jiron, of the clergy of the diocese of Granada, Nicaragua, episcopal vicar of the region of Rivas, Nicaragua and pastor of St. George, as bishop of Juigalpa (area 12,435, population 271,968, Catholics 131,000, priests 24, religious 46), Nicaragua.  The bishop-elect was born in Diria, Nicaragua in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1992.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2004 (VIS)  - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, India.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2004 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, addressed the Plenary Session of the U.N. General Assembly yesterday on Item 35, A Culture of Peace.

  Stating that "it is very clear that the world needs peace now as much as ever," he noted that "since 1967, the Popes too have played their part, sending a Message on the first day of January every year to all people of good will, each time proposing a fresh theme concerning peace and how to achieve it."

  The archbishop pointed to the work of the United Nations, listing its peacekeeping operations during the year, the creation of a Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate and the current International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World. He noted that "the usually more dominant culture appears sometimes to trigger cultural reactions against true peace and create suspicions about it.  Similarly, globalization seems unable to prevent threats to peace because cultural revivalism tends to create walls that separate people from one another."
  "The defense of peace, so often a fragile entity, must be reinforced," he stated. "This can be achieved by cultivating in the minds of all people of good will the imperative to become in some way agents of peace. They are its architects, its builders and even its bridges."

  Citing UNESCO meetings in various regions of the world, he remarked that "we have to acknowledge that there is already a foundation to build upon in the area of inter-religious cooperation. ... These discussions covered areas such as terrorism, conflict resolution, HIV/AIDS, the role of religious leaders in easing tensions, in counteracting the hijacking of religious values for use as a pretext to justify violence and in supporting disarmament and non-proliferation." The Holy See, said Archbishop Migliore, "calls for a more energetic commitment to underline the deep linkages between the promotion of the culture of peace and the strengthening of the disarmament and non-proliferation process."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2004 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon  in the offices of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, inaugurated the first world congress of Ecclesiastical organizations committed to promoting justice and peace.  The congress will conclude on Saturday.

  According to a communique made public yesterday afternoon, 300 representatives of various Church organizations from 92 countries, as well as delegates from 15 regional episcopal conferences and other international organisms are participating in the conference whose theme is "Announcing the Gospel of Justice and Peace."

  "Throughout its history," said Cardinal Sodano, "the Church, as an institution and through its faithful, has always been committed to promoting justice and peace.  We have the responsibility to follow this path, announcing the Gospel of Christ which is the Gospel of justice and peace."

  After recalling that in his 1967 Encyclical "Populorum progressio," Paul VI wrote that "the world was ill," the secretary of State affirmed: "Since then the illness has gotten worse and the injustices and violence have multiplied; all we have to do is think about the places where humiliation has become a way of life; in the areas where war, guerrilla warfare and terrorism spread; in refugee camps; in those in exile; in racial and religious discrimination; in the work place where people feel like they are being used; in the lack of political freedom and freedom to participate in unions and in so many situations where there is no justice and peace."

  Cardinal Sodano indicated that despite this negative outlook, "the economic, health, work, cultural and spiritual conditions have improved in many parts. However, so many people are subject to human exploitation and they must not be seen as another statistic to be studied in a cold way."

  In his speech, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, emphasized that the objective of the congress is to find more suitable and effective ways to present once again the pastoral activity of the Church in society and to be able to confront the great challenges of today."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2004 (VIS) - This morning John Paul II received Romano Prodi, outgoing president of the European Commission, who is in Rome for the signing of the European constitution tomorrow. Representatives from twenty-five countries that are members of the European Union will also sign the treaty.

  "The Holy See," said John Paul II, "has promoted the formation of the European Union, before it was juridically structured, and has followed with active interest the subsequent phases. The Holy See has always felt the duty to openly express the just longing of a great number of Christian citizens in Europe who have asked it to show interest."

  "Therefore," he continued, "the Holy See reminded everyone that Christianity, in its different expressions, has contributed to the formation of a common conscience of Europeans and has greatly shaped civilizations. Whether or not it is recognized in the official documents, it is an undeniable fact that no historian can forget."

  The Holy Father congratulated Prodi for the work he has carried out during his service to the European Commission and expressed the desire that "the difficulties that have emerged in these days with regard to the new commission find a solution of reciprocal respect in a spirit of harmony among all interested parties."

  "May the European Union," he concluded, "always express the best of the great traditions of its member states, may it work actively on the international level for peace among peoples and may it offer generous help for the growth of the neediest peoples of other continents."

  In a brief declaration on the audience with Romano Prodi, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls said that following the meeting with the Pope, Prodi met with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, who was accompanied by Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for Relations with States. "During the talks, several very current issues were discussed, with special reference to European unity and to the international role of Europe, above all for peace in the world, the development of peoples, especially those in Africa."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received 45 members of the administration of La Scuola Publishers, based in Brescia, Italy on the occasion of the centenary of this company which was founded, as he noted in his talk to them, in May 1904 by a group of Catholic lay people, including the father of  Pope Paul VI and by a number of priests.

  He spoke of the company's history and its "difficult days, including when it was bombed during World War II and destroyed," and then rebuilt with "the help and courage of many generous people." Also present this morning were Bishops Giulio Sanguineti of Brescia and Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, who is from the diocese of Brescia.

  The Pope remarked that La Scuola, which means school in Italian, has in the last century "sought to always remain faithful, even in changing social and cultural situations, to the design and scope of the founders. ... It was conceived and planned to be an instrument to assure Christian inspiration in Italian schools. (It was) not an easy undertaking considering the orientations by not a small portion of current culture. ... The truth of Christ ... is a good for all school workers: parents and children, teachers and students, state and non-state schools."

  Reviewing the past, said John Paul II, is also a good time "to look at the future. Trials and problems are not lacking. The Church has great faith in you as you prepare opportune proposals for the scholastic formation of the new generations. In communion with your bishop and in cordial dialogue with the Italian Catholic community, continue to be sowers of hope, remaining faithful to the ideals of your founders."
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Wednesday, October 27, 2004


VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Assis, Brazil presented by Bishop Antonio de Sousa, C.S.S., upon having reached the age limit. Coadjutor-Bishop Mauricio Grotto de Camargo succeeds him.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Archbishop Dominique Mambertim, apostolic nuncio in Sudan and Eritrea.

  Yesterday evening, he received two prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Angola and Sao Tome on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Fernando Guimaraes of Ondjiva.

    - Bishop Abilio Rodas de Sousa Ribas, C.S. Sp., of Sao Tome and Principe.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2004 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke yesterday in New York before the Third Committee on Item 105b: Elimination of All Forms of Religious Intolerance.

  He defined religious freedom as "man's pursuit of the 'last things', those things that satisfy the deepest, inmost and unfettered longings of the human spirit," adding that "religious beliefs and freedom ... should be considered as a positive value and not be manipulated or seen as a threat to peaceful coexistence and mutual tolerance." 

  Archbishop Migliore pointed out that "religious leaders have a special responsibility in dispelling any misuse or misrepresentation of religious beliefs and freedom. They have in their hands a powerful and enduring resource in the fight against terrorism; and they are called to create and spread a sensitivity which is religious, cultural and social, and which will never turn to acts of terror but will reject and condemn such acts as a profanation. ... Similarly, public authorities, legislators, judges and administrators carry a grave and evident responsibility to favor peaceful coexistence between religious groups and to avail themselves of their collaboration in the construction of society."

  He underscored that "the attitude of those who would like to confine religious expression to the merely private sphere, ignores and denies the nature of authentic religious convictions." Believers, he added,  should be allowed to "maintain appropriate charitable or humanitarian institutions, ... to work in the social, educational and humanitarian field, and to be at the same time religiously distinct, to act in harmony with their respective mission, and without having to disregard any religious commitments or moral values in providing a social good. Attempts to secularize or to interfere in the internal affairs of religious institutions would undermine their raison d'être as well as the very fabric of society."

   "The Holy See," concluded Archbishop Migliore, will continue to vigorously human dignity as well as "freedom of conscience and religious liberty, at both the individual and societal level."


VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2004 (VIS) - Following the catechesis of today's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square in the pouring rain, John Paul II greeted the pilgrims in Dutch, Croatian, Slovenian, Hungarian and Polish. He also had special words for Iraq, pointing out that "every day I accompany in prayer the dear Iraqi population who are so intent on rebuilding the institutions of their country."

  "At the same time," he added, "I encourage Christians to continue with generosity to offer their own basic contribution for a reconciliation of hearts. And lastly, I express my affectionate participation in the pain of the families of victims and in the suffering of hostages and of all innocent people struck by the blind barbarity of terrorism."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2004 (VIS) - During today's general audience, the Pope spoke about the second part of Psalm 48, "Human riches do not save," which "condemns the illusion created by the idolatry of riches."

  Addressing the 20,000 people present in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father affirmed that the psalm proposes "a realistic and severe meditation on death, the unavoidable end of the human existence."

  "Often," he continued, "we try to ignore this reality in every way possible, putting off thinking about it.  But this effort, besides being useless, is also inopportune.  Reflecting on death is beneficial because it puts into perspective so many things that we have made absolute, such as money, success and power."

  John Paul II explained that "then, the psalm suddenly changes. If money cannot 'save' us from death, there is somebody who can redeem us from the dark and dramatic reality, God."

  "In this way," he affirmed, "a horizon of hope and immortality opens up for the just man. … God rescues him and snatches the faithful from the hands of death because He is the only one who can conquer death, inevitable for man."

  The Holy Father indicated that for this reason the psalmist "invites us 'not to fear' and not to envy the arrogant rich man in his glory because when he dies he will be stripped of everything, and will not be able to take with him his gold or silver, fame or success.  However," he concluded, "the faithful will not be abandoned by the Lord Who will show him 'the path of life, the fullness of joy in His presence, endless happiness at His right hand." 
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Monday, October 25, 2004


VATICAN CITY, OCT 25,  2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Hasselt, Belgium presented by Bishop Paul Schruers upon having reached the age limit. Coadjutor Bishop Patrick Hoogmartens succeeds him.

- Appointed Bishop Alojzij Uran, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Ljubljana (area 8,542, population 906,430, Catholics 715,084, priests 563, permanent deacons 4, religious 771), Slovenia, as metropolitan archbishop of the same archdiocese.

  On Saturday October 23, it was made public that the Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of  Kiynada-Mityana, Uganda presented by Bishop Joseph Mukwaya in accordance with Canon 401, para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. Coadjutor Bishop Joseph Anthony Zziwa succeeds him.

- Accepted the resignation from the position of vice-chamberlain, or camerlengo, of  Holy Roman Church presented by Bishop Ettore Cunial and appointed Archbishop Paolo Sardi, apostolic nuncio with special duties, to the same position.

- Appointed Cardinal Jan P. Schotte, president of the Labor Office of the Apostolic See, as his special envoy to the solemn closing celebration of the year dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception which will take place at the National Shrine in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. on December 8, 2004.

- Appointed the following people as ordinary members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences: William D. Phillips, professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, College Park and in the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, U.S.A., and Veerabhadran (Ram) Ramanathan, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of California at San Diego and Director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, U.S.A
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 25, 2004 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Juan Ignacio Siles del Valle, minister of Foreign Affairs and of Worship in Bolivia, with an entourage.

- Two prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Angola and Sao Tome on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Pedro Luis Guido Scarpa, O.F.M. Cap, of Ndlatando.

    - Bishop Benedito Roberto, C.S.Sp, of Novo Redondo.

- Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

  On Saturday, October 23, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Two prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Angola and Sao Tome on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Luis María Perez de Onraita Aguirre of Malanje.

    - Bishop Serafim Shyngo-Ya-Hombo, O.F.M. Cap., of Mbanza-Congo.

- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 25, 2004 (VIS) - Saying the Church's social doctrine must be "known, lived and propagated," Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace today presented the "Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church" in the Holy See Press Office. Work on the volume, published in both Italian and English, began at the council five years ago under the presidency of the late Cardinal Francois-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan.

  Joining Cardinal Martino at the presentation were Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi and Msgr. Frank Dewane, respectively secretary and under-secretary of the council.

   The cardinal pointed out that the book is dedicated to the Holy Father who, in No. 54 of the 1999 Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in America," recommended that "it would be very useful to have a compendium or approved synthesis of Catholic social doctrine, including a catechism which would show the connection between it and the new evangelization."

  The volume, over 500 pages in length, opens with a letter to the president of the pontifical council from Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State. It consists of an Introduction, "An Integral and Solidary Humanism," three parts and a Conclusion entitled "For a Civilization of Live."

  Speaking of "the simple and straightforward structure of the volume," he explained that "Part One, composed of four chapters, deals with the fundamental presuppositions of social doctrine. ... Part Two, composed of seven chapters, deals with the contents and classical themes of social doctrine - the family, human work, economic life, the political community, the international community, the environment and peace. The third part, which is quite brief with one chapter, contains a series of recommendations for the use of social doctrine in the pastoral activity of the Church and the life of all Christians, above all the lay faithful."

  The council president underscored that the Compendium "is made available to all - Catholics, other Christians, people of good will." It is "an instrument for the moral and pastoral discernment of the complex events that mark our time, a guide to inspire, ... and an aid to the faithful concerning the Church's teaching in the area of social morality." It is also, he said, "an instrument for fostering ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue on the part of Catholics with all who sincerely seek the good of mankind."

  Cardinal Martino then listed "certain decisive challenges of great relevance and importance" to which it is hoped the Compendium will respond:  "First is the cultural challenge, which social doctrine deals with by keeping in mind its constitutive interdisciplinary dimension. ... The second challenge arises from ethical and religious indifference and the need for renewed inter-religious cooperation. ... The third challenge is a properly pastoral challenge. The future of the Church's social doctrine in the modern world will depend on the continually renewed understanding of this social doctrine as being rooted in the mission proper to the Church.  ... It depends on the renewed understanding, therefore, of how this doctrine is connected with all aspects of the Church's life and action."


VATICAN CITY, OCT 25, 2004 (VIS) - The following telegram was sent by Pope John Paul to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, U.S.A. upon learning of the death of his predecessor, Cardinal James Hickey, who died yesterday at the age of 84:

  "Deeply saddened by the death of Cardinal James Aloysius Hickey, I offer heartfelt condolences to you and to all the clergy, religious and laity of he archdiocese of Washington. Recalling with gratitude Cardinal Hickey's unfailing commitment to the spread of the Gospel, the teaching of the faith and the formation of future priests, I join you in praying that God our Merciful Father will grant him the reward of his labors and welcome his noble soul into the joy and peace of His eternal kingdom. To all assembled for the solemn Mass of Christian burial, I cordially impart my apostolic blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in the Lord."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 25, 2004 - This morning John Paul II welcomed a group of pilgrims from the Anglican diocese of Rochester, England, who have come to Rome to celebrate the 1400th anniversary of St. Justus, first bishop of Rochester.

  "You are following in the footsteps of Augustine of Canterbury and St. Justus, who were sent by my great predecessor St. Gregory to preach the Gospel in your country.  May your journey be an occasion of spiritual enrichment and an encouragement to persevere on the path towards full communion. I accompany you with my prayers and my blessing."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 25, 2004 (VIS) - This morning the Pope received the Capuchin Tertiaries of the Holy Family, headed by their new superior general, Mother Julia Apesteguia Mariaezcurrena, on the occasion of their 20th General Chapter which coincides with the 150th anniversary of the birth of their founder, Venerable Msgr. Luis Amigo y Ferrer.

  "These are two significant events," the Holy Father said, "that offer you the opportunity to give new vigor to the spiritual experience of your own charism and to stimulate the evangelizing mission which characterizes you."

  John Paul II expressed the "sincere recognition of the Church for your work for the needy, elderly and sick, for young people and needy children, and in education, and  for your joy of living and believing in Christ. At the same time, I share your hope in the future for your history which is yet to be  made."

  "I invite you," he continued, "to intensify every day your union with Christ through contemplation and assiduous prayer and to give vitality to your work in imitating His redeeming action. … In addition, with a profound and rich interior experience, it would be easier to transmit the attractiveness that Jesus arouses in new generations, inspiring in them that penetrating voice of vocation."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 24, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father, in reflections made before  reciting the noon Angelus, reminded the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square that today is World Mission Day, which is "dedicated to prayer and concrete support for missions" and "invites all believers to strengthen their own responsibility in announcing the Gospel to all peoples."

  "I wish to send very cordial greetings and express a profound thank-you to all missionaries committed to evangelization. I would like to assure them of a special remembrance in my prayers. In a special way, I am thinking about all those who crowned their work of witnessing to Christ and serving mankind with the sacrifice of their lives."

  "May Mary, the Queen of Missions, obtain the gift of many vocations to mission life everywhere in the Church."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2004 (VIS) - Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office, in a declaration made today, said: "The Holy Father called the president of the Italian Republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, to express his closeness to him and to wish him renewed youthfulness in serving Italy," after the operation that he underwent this morning to receive a pacemaker.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2004 (VIS) - Thirty-thousand Italian Scouts, members of AGESCI, The Association of Italian Guides and Catholic Scouts and MASCI, the Movement of Italian Catholic Adult Scouts, filled St. Peter's Square this morning for an audience with the Holy Father who told them that their "presence in such great numbers gladdens my heart."

  "Today, he began, "you wished to renew your 'promise' before the Pope, and I am happy to be a witness to your proposal to be faithful to God, Who calls you to live communion and friendship with Him; to be faithful to yourselves, in seeking and fulfilling the project that the Father, in His love, has planned for each of you, and to be faithful to your neighbor who expects from you the gift of a fully human and Christian commitment."

   Citing part of the scouting motto, the Holy Father told the "Brownie and Cub Scouts 'to do your best' every day to grow joyfully in your packs and dens, discovering the marvels of creation. I exhort you, Guides and Explorers, to 'always be prepared to do good, as,  together with your troop, you learn responsibilities and how to be active members of the ecclesial and civil communities to which  you belong. I ask you, Patrols and Rovers, to commit to making the words 'to serve' the motto of your life, with the conviction that the gift of yourselves is the secret that can make our lives happy and full."

  He highlighted the "difficult, yet exhilarating role" of scout leaders from whom, he said, young people "await help in growing harmoniously in order to contribute to the building of a world of friendship and solidarity."

  John Paul II asked the scouts and their leaders to live the Gospel and "to swim 'against the current' to overcome the temptations of individualism, laziness and disengagement."

  Noting that the Year of the Eucharist had just begun, the Pope asked the young people to make the mystery of the Eucharist "a constant reference point in your daily choices."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2004 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, during a Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica, John Paul II urged the students of Roman ecclesiastical universities to place their talents "at the service of the Church, with humility and generosity."

  The Mass was presided over by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, on the occasion of the inauguration of the academic year of  ecclesiastical universities.

  In his homily, the Holy Father invited the students to commit themselves to work "so that the formation you receive in these years will help you 'to behave' ever more in a way worthy of the Christian vocation."

  Exhorting them "to be men and women committed to creating unity between faith and life on the cognitive level and more importantly on the existential level," the Pope emphasized that "the Eucharist is the principle of unity in charity, of community in a plethora of gifts."

  "The Eucharistic mystery," he continued, "is the school where Christians are formed to the 'intellectus fidei,' making an effort to know through adoration and to believe through contemplation. In it, at the same time, they mature their Christian personality in order to be able to bear witness to the truth in charity."

  John Paul II invited students to follow "the example of St. Thomas Aquinas and all the doctors of the Church" and to strive "to obtain from the Sacrament of the Altar the light of renewed wisdom and constant strength in the life of the Gospel."
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Friday, October 22, 2004


VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience seven prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Angola and Sao Tome on their "ad limina" visit:

- Cardinal Alexandre do Nascimento, archbishop emeritus of Luanda.

- Archbishop Damiao Antonio Franklin of Luanda with Auxiliary Bishops Anastacio Cahango and Filomeno do Nascimento Vieira Dies.

- Bishop Gabriel Mbilingi of Lwena.

- Bishop Paulino Fernandes Madeca of Cabinda.

- Bishop Joaquim Ferreira Lopes of Dundo.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2004 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke in New York yesterday before the Sixth Committee on Item 150: International Convention Against the Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings.

  Noting that this issue has been on the U.N. agenda since late 2001, he said that "from the beginning, it has appeared clear that, in spite of the agenda item's name, 'International Convention against the reproductive cloning of human beings', the purpose of this exercise has actually been to find a juridical framework that would allow and accelerate the advancement of medical science in the procurement and use of stem cells, and to identify and ban practices that would be disrespectful to human dignity."

  "From a purely scientific point of view," he pointed out, "the therapeutic progress already achieved with so-called adult stem cells, namely stem cells from bone marrow, cord blood, and other mature tissues appears very promising. Embryonic cloning, for its part, is as yet far from delivering the progress that its advocates suggest."

  The nuncio went on to say that "the distinction that is sometimes drawn between reproductive and therapeutic cloning seems specious. Both involve the same technical cloning process and differ only in goal. Both forms of cloning involve disrespect for the dignity of the human being. In fact, from an ethical and anthropological standpoint, so-called therapeutic cloning, creating human embryos with the intention of destroying them, even if undertaken with the goal of possibly helping sick patients in the future, seems very clearly incompatible with respect for the dignity of the human being, making one human life nothing more than the instrument of another."

   "If adult stem cell research has already demonstrated conditions for success and raises no ethical questions," emphasized Archbishop Migliore, "it is only reasonable that it should be pursued before science embarks on cloning embryos as a source for stem cells, something which remains problematic both scientifically and ethically."

  The Holy See believes that " the choice is not between science and ethics, but between science that is ethically responsible and science that is not. Thousands of lives have been saved by adult stem cells" and evidence shows that " that adult stem cell transplants are safe, and preliminary results suggest they will be able to help people with Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, heart damage and dozens of other conditions."

  In conclusion, the observer said that the Holy See is "convinced that the subject of human embryonic cloning can be best addressed by a juridical instrument, since the rule of law is essential to the promotion and protection of human life."


VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2004 (VIS) - Today, the 26th anniversary of the beginning of his ministry as supreme pastor of the Church, John Paul II received bishops from Angola and San Tome who just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  The Pope said that it was important that among the members of the episcopal conference there is "a fraternal exchange of ideas and collaboration that facilitates the distribution of resources, both material and spiritual, among the dioceses that are most in need. … In this way, you will be able to rebuild the communities destroyed by war, to console wounded hearts and help the people entrusted to you so that they may make progress on the path of the Gospel." 

  "Today more than ever," he continued, "Angola needs peace with justice; specifically reconciliation, rejecting every temptation to resort to violence. … It is time for a deep national reconciliation; we must work ceaselessly in order to offer future generations a country where all members of society coexist and work together fraternally. … I urge you to work tirelessly for reconciliation and to bear authentic witness through acts of solidarity and aid for victims of the decades of violence."

  John Paul II also spoke about the need to defend the family and to proclaim "the liberating message of authentic Christian love," urging educational programs to emphasize that "true love is chaste love, and that chastity offers us solid hope to overcome the forces that threaten the institution of the family, and at the same time, to free humanity of the devastating scourge of AIDS."

  Referring to young people, the Holy Father underlined that "through a life of prayer and a solid sacramental life, they will remain united to Christ in order to pass on the values of the Gospel in their environments and they will generously assume their role in transforming society."

  After emphasizing that Catholic schools are "an especially effective means to ensure" the formation of young people, the Pope said that the bishops must "promote religious and moral teaching, also in public schools, in order to create a consensus in public opinion on the importance of this type of formation. This service, which could come from closer collaboration with the government, is an important form of active Catholic participation in the society of your country."

  John Paul II urged the prelates not to neglect the formation of catechists and agents of the evangelization. In addition, he added, "candidates for the priesthood must be carefully selected and formed," as well as their professors, "with clear human and priestly maturity." Priests, he continued, "are called to give up material goods and consecrate themselves to the service of their brothers and sisters through the complete personal gift of self of celibacy. Scandalous behaviour must always be analyzed, investigated and corrected."

  In concluding, the Holy Father said the "flourishing number of vocations to consecrated life, especially to female religious life, is a magnificent gift from heaven to the Church of Sao Tome and Angola."
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Thursday, October 21, 2004


VATICAN CITY, OCT 21, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Fr. Paul S. Coakley of the clergy of Wichita, U.S.A., and vice chancellor and administrator of the Church of the Magdalen, as bishop of Salina (area 69,087, population 325,112, Catholics 48,510, priests 80, religious 219), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born 1955 in Norfolk, U.S.A. and was ordained a priest in 1983. He succeeds Bishop George K. Fitzsimons whose resignation the Pope accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop Joaquin Carmelo Borobia Isasa of Tarazona, Spain as auxiliary bishop of  the archdiocese of Toledo (area 19,333, population 560,576, Catholics 547,821, religious 468, religious 1,305), Spain.

- Appointed Fr. Angel Rubio Castro, delegate for Consecrated Life of the archdiocese of Toledo, Spain, as auxiliary bishop of the same diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Guadalupe, Spain in 1939 and was ordained a priest in 1964.

- Appointed Cardinal Eugenio de Araujo Sales, archbishop emeritus of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as his special envoy to the celebrations for the centenary of the crowning of the image of "Nossa Senhora do Sameiro" and for the 150th anniversary of the definition of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. These celebrations will take place in Braga, Portugal on December 8, 2004.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 21, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Three prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Angola and Sao Tome on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Jose de Queiros Alves of Huambo, apostolic administrator of Menongue.

    - Bishop Oscar Lino Lopes Fernandes Braga of Benguela.

    - Bishop Jose Nambi of Kwito-Bie.

- Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, and an entourage.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 21, 2004 (VIS) - Archbishop John Foley delivered the homily yesterday at a Mass for the dedication of the Blessed Columba Marmion Room for communications training for seminarians at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. Blessed Columba Marmion O.S.B. (1858-1923), was the third abbot of Maredsous Abbey in Belgium and a noted spiritual author and retreat master. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 3, 2000.
  The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications began by quoting St Paul, who in his Letter to the Ephesians said he had been "entrusted with the special grace, not only of proclaiming to the pagans the infinite treasure of Christ, but also of explaining how the mystery is to be dispensed." The archbishop then asked: "How can we present creatively, imaginatively, compellingly the wonderful news about Jesus Christ and His plan for us if we do not communicate well?"

  "Authentic communication, of course, involves our own spiritual preparation, so that we may be viewed as authentic, credible witnesses of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ... There is no substitute for holiness in communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are, however, techniques of communication. Jesus knew where and when to preach; used parables; He used symbolic actions - in fact, in the sacraments He left us outward signs which signify and confer grace, a created sharing in His own divine life."

   "This evening," said Archbishop Foley in concluding, "as we dedicate a room in honor of one of your most distinguished alumni, Blessed Columba Marmion, who certainly knew how to communicate through books and through preaching, ask his intercession that all of us - through personal holiness, profound learning and inspired techniques might be able to communicate effectively the truly good news of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 21, 2004 (VIS) -  Speaking via a satellite link up from the Hall of the Consistory in the Vatican, the Pope addressed more than a thousand priests from eighty countries who are participating in the international congress organized by the Congregation for the Clergy in La Valletta, Malta. The theme of the meeting which started on October 18 and ends October 23, is "Priests, forgers of saints for the new millennium: Following the footsteps of the Apostle Paul."

  Highlighting that they were meeting in Malta, "an island that preserves the vivid memory of the passage of St. Paul," the Holy Father told the priests that the Lord was inviting them "to be His apostles, especially with holiness of life. You must make the power of the word of truth of the Gospel resound, the word which can only profoundly change man's heart and give him peace. … In this way, you will be credible teachers of the life of the Gospel and prophets of hope."

  "In a troubled and divided world, marked by violence and conflicts, there are those who ask themselves if it is still possible to talk of hope.  But precisely in this moment it is necessary to courageously present the true and complete hope of man which is Christ Our Lord."

  John Paul II said that the model which should inspire priests is Our Lady who "showed her complete availability to do God's will" in responding with her "fiat" to the message of the Archangel Gabriel. In concluding, the Pope recalled that just before dying on the Cross, Jesus entrusted His mother to John: "From that day Mary became the mother of all creatures, especially your mother, to accompany you on your daily path. Go to her constantly in your ministry."
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Wednesday, October 20, 2004


VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Jesus Rocha, auxiliary of Brasilia, Brazil as bishop of Oliveira (area 7,738, population 300,000, Catholics 266,000, priests 40, religious 67), Brazil.  He succeeds Bishop Francisco Barroso Filho whose resignation was accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Elevated the apostolic prefecture of Brunei, Brunei to the rank of apostolic vicariate, with the same name and territorial configuration.

- Appointed Msgr. Cornelius Sim, apostolic prefect of Brunei, Brunei as apostolic vicar of the same vicariate (area 5,765, population 347,000, Catholics 21,500, priests 4, religious 2). The bishop-elect was born in Seria, Brunei in 1951 and was ordained a priest in 1989.

- Appointed Fr. Moacir Silva, diocesan administrator of the diocese of Sao Jose dos Campos and pastor of "Sao Dimas" diocesan Cathedral as bishop of the same diocese (area 3,181, population 803,500, Catholics 624,800, priests 69, permanent deacons 60, religious 211), Brazil.  The bishop-elect was born was in Sao Jose dos Campos in 1954 and was ordained a priest in 1986.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2004 (VIS) - This Friday, October 22, at 5:30 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, John Paul II will deliver the homily and impart his apostolic blessing during the traditional Mass to inaugurate the academic year of ecclesiastical universities. Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, will preside at the Eucharistic celebration.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2004 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, spoke yesterday in the plenary session of the 59th General Assembly dedicated to the analysis of the progress and the international support for NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development) and for the initiative to stop malaria in the next decade in developing countries.

    In his speech the nuncio referred to "the duty of the international community, especially the more powerful countries, of redressing the economic imbalances that penalize Africa" and he recognized that the continent "is doing more and more, notwithstanding the many adversities it faces and the lack of means to overcome them."

    Afterward he spoke about the positive results obtained due to the cooperation of the United Nations and different African organizations, among them, the Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS). "Management of conflicts in Western Africa also deserves special mention. The current trend in harmonizing international, regional and sub-regional levels is not only a measure of the success achieved by the members of the African Union; it is a success that contains valuable lessons for the solving of crises in other parts of the world and for the reform of the U.N. itself. … This management in solidarity of Africa's affairs by Africans will allow important advances in the provision of basic necessities - clean water, food, housing, access to health care and reduction in the spread of malaria and HIV.

    Without disregarding the progress made, such as the adoption of certain accords of the WTO (World Trade Organization) which reopened negotiations in Doha which keep in mind "the various difficulties expressed by African nations," the nuncio expressed regret that  "the recent Councils of Governors of the IMF and of the World Bank, as well as the meeting of the Ministers of Finance of the G-7 which preceded them, failed to agree on the total cancellation of debt of the 27 poorest countries. At least it can be said that consensus was reached for the first time in history on the necessity of eliminating such a debt."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2004 (VIS) - The first part of Psalm 48, "Vanity of riches," was the subject of the catechesis of today's general audience which was held in St. Peter's Square.

  In the presence of 19,000 people, the Holy Father said that this part of the psalm describes the situation of the just man who "must confront 'evil days' because the malice of his foes surrounds him' and men 'boast of the vastness of their riches'. The conclusion reached by the just man is … that great riches is not an advantage; on the contrary, it is better to be poor and to live as one with God."

  The rich man, he continued, "is convinced that he is able to buy everything, even death, trying almost to corrupt it, as he did in order to obtain all other things, success, triumph over others in the social and political sphere, unpunished abuse of power, eating to his heart's content, comforts, pleasures."

  John Paul II indicated that "the final destiny of the rich man, even for as much money as he is willing to offer, will be unalterable. As all men and women, … he will die one day … and will have to leave the gold he loved so much and the material goods so idolatrized on earth."

  "Jesus addresses this unsettling question to those who listen to Him: 'What can man give in exchange for his soul?'  No exchange is possible because life is a gift from God who 'has in his hand the soul of every living being and the breath of all human flesh'."

  Addressing his fellow Poles, the Holy Father thanked them for "their prayers and expressions of unity and for the help that you have given me during these 26 years of pontificate. May the Lord reward you abundantly and bless you."

  Just before the audience, the Pope blessed a statute of St. Teresa de Jesus Jornet e Ibars, foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor, also known as the Little Sisters of Abandoned Aged, which was placed in an exterior niche of the Vatican basilica.  
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Tuesday, October 19, 2004


VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2004 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

- Bishop Oscar Felix Villena, emeritus of San Rafael, Argentina, on October 8 at the age of 87.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2004 (VIS) -  The Holy Father appointed:

-  Bishop Christopher Cardone, O.P. of Gizo, the Solomon Islands, as bishop of Auki (area 4,234, population  122,620, Catholics 35,220, priests 18, religious 15), the Solomon Islands. He succeeds Bishop Gerard Francis Loft whose resignation was accepted in conformity with Canon 401, para 2 of the Code of Canon Law

- Bishop Arnold Orowae, auxiliary of the diocese of Wabag, Papua New Guinea as coadjutor bishop of the same diocese (area 10,790, population  260,000, Catholics 68,000, priests 18, religious 45).
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Bishops Wilton Daniel Gregory of Belleville and William Stephen Skylstad of Spokane, and Msgr. William P. Fay, respectively president, vice president and secretary general of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

- Franjo Zenko, ambassador of Croatia on his farewell visit.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2004 (VIS) - Delegations of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, led by Rabbi Shar Yishuv Cohen and the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, headed by Cardinal Jorge Mejia, started three days of meetings and dialogue on October 17 in Grottaferrata, Italy. Participants have been discussing the theme, "A Common Vision of Social Justice and Ethical Behavior."

  The following statement to the press was issued today after the meeting:
  "1. We are not enemies, but unequivocal partners in articulating the essential moral values for the survival and welfare of human society.

  "2. Jerusalem has a sacred character for all the children of Abraham. We call on all relevant authorities to respect this character and to prevent actions which offend the sensibilities of religious communities that reside in Jerusalem and hold her dear.

  "3. We call on religious authorities to protest publicly when actions of disrespect towards religious persons, symbols and Holy Sites are committed, such as the desecration of cemeteries and the recent assaults on the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem. We call on them to educate their communities to behave with respect and dignity towards peoples and towards their attachment to their faith."

  According to a communique published yesterday afternoon, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Commission for Religious Relations with Jews and Riccardo Segni, chief rabbi of Rome, will analyze the state of Jewish-Catholic dialogue during the first session today at 6 p.m. of a seminar on Catholic-Jewish dialogue that has been organized by the Pontifical Gregorian University.

  Pope Paul VI established the Commission for Religious Relations with Jews on October 22, 1974. In commemoration of that event. Cardinal Kasper, accompanied by  Cardinal Mejia and a delegation of the commission, will visit Rome's synagogue on Friday October 22 during which the Jewish community will gather for the celebration of Shabbat.


VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2004 (VIS) - John Paul II today welcomed Bishop Jan Bernard Szlaga and 300 faithful from the diocese of Pelplin in Poland, and in his remarks to them noted that the purpose of their pilgrimage is to pray for the beatification of Servant of God, Bishop Konstantyn Dominik.

  "It is right," he told his fellow countrymen, "that through prayer you seek to support the process of recognizing his holiness, a process that began in 1961. This is an important contribution because it gives witness to the veneration enjoyed by this candidate to the honors of the altar, and at the same time it creates a spiritual atmosphere of openness to grace that prepares conditions for miraculous interventions. May the faithful pastor of your diocese continue to guard these with special care."
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Monday, October 18, 2004


VATICAN CITY, OCT 18, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- President Nicanor Duarte Frutos of the Republic of Paraguay, with his wife and entourage.

- Archbishop Beniamino Stella of Midila, apostolic nuncio in Colombia.

- Bishop Bernard Bududira of Bururi, Burundi.
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CARDINAL RENATO MARTINO, PRESIDENT of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, presided at a conference at 11:30 this morning in the Holy See Press Office, for the presentation of the volume, "Pope John Paul II and the Challenges of Papal Diplomacy." He was joined by Archbishop Andre Dupuy, apostolic nuncio in Venezuela and Msgr. Pietro Parolin, under-secretary for Relations with States. Archbishop Dupuy edited the volume which was co-published by the pontifical council and the Path to Peace Foundation. Cardinal Martino underscored "the harmonious composition of an extraordinary Magisterium that, over 26 years, has touched all aspects of the realities of our times, setting forth a vigorous series of variations on the unifying theme of the defense of human dignity and its basic rights. ... In reading the pages, and  between the lines, what emerges is the greatness, not only of a very lofty Magisterium, but of a courageous and solid faith, a hope that hopes against hope, a love for truth, for peace and for man which makes John Paul II's pontificate one of the greatest blessings that the Church and the world have received in history."

ARCHBISHOP CELESTINO MIGLIORE, HOLY SEE PERMANENT OBSERVER  to the United Nations, addressed the plenary of the 59th General Assembly of the U.N. on Item 45, the 10th Anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development, that took place in Cairo in September 1994. The nuncio noted that "the well-being and progress of every member of the human family, ... continues to have a heightened significance in the light of the fact that the gap between the rich and the poor of the world is still widening, a situation which poses an ever-increasing threat to the peace for which humanity longs." Pointing to U.N. studies 10 years ago predicting a decrease in the global rate of population growth, he said "it is now a fact that population growth has declined appreciably in many of the industrialized developed nations, and that this decline poses a serious threat to their future."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 18, 2004 (VIS) - John Paul II welcomed the president of Paraguay this morning, Nicanor Duarte Frutos, and expressed his affection for the people of Paraguay, assuring them of remembrance in his prayers.

  "I hope," he added, "that the Christian message which has penetrated the soul of this noble people and has given fruits of holiness in St. Roch and his companion martyrs will inspire and impel all involved in the development of Paraguay on the path of justice and solidarity. Invoking the protection of the Pure and Immaculate Virgin of Caaupe, I bless with all my heart all the people of Paraguay"

  Prior to the papal audience, President Duarte met with Cardinal Sodano, secretary of State, for an exchange of documents ratifying the Accord between the Holy See and the Republic of Paraguay regarding religious assistance to members of the country's Armed Forces and national police that was signed in Asuncion on December 24, 2002.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 18, 2004 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the participants in the World Conference of Women Parliamentarians for the Care of Children and Adolescents, taking place in Rome under the sponsorship of the presidency of the Italian Parliament.

  John Paul II remarked that the objective of the encounter was "to find together efficacious forms of caring for minors by institutions. In this regard I wish to express  my appreciation for this praiseworthy involvement in favor of the youngest members of the population, while I encourage you to pursue this path in the awareness that children and adolescents are the future and hope of mankind."

  "Children are the most precious treasure of the human family," he continued, "but at the same time the most fragile and vulnerable members. Therefore it is important to constantly listen and pay attention to all of their legitimate needs and aspirations. In a special way, no one can remain silent or indifferent when innocent children suffer, are marginalized or wounded in their dignity as human persons."

  The Pope emphasized that "the immense cry of pain of those children who are abandoned and violated in many regions of the earth, should compel public institutions, private associations and all people of good will to become aware again of the duty that we all have to protect, defend and education with respect and love these fragile creatures."

  "To be efficacious," he concluded, "every action of caring for children and adolescents can only be inspired by the dutiful consideration of their fundamental rights."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 17, 2004 (VIS) - With a solemn Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica, John Paul II early this evening opened the Year of the Eucharist, which will end in October 2005. The inauguration took place concomitantly with the closing of the 48th International Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico.

  Following Mass, which was presided over by Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano and several other members of the College of Cardinals, there was the exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

  Via television linkup with Guadalajara, the Pope sent a Message to the closing  ceremony of the Eucharistic congress. He said that "the theme of the congress, 'The Eucharist; Light and Life of the New Millennium', invites us to consider the Eucharistic mystery not only in itself but also in relationship to the problems of our times."

 "The human heart needs light, as it is weighed down by sin, often disoriented and tired, tried by sufferings of every type. The world needs light in the difficult search for a peace that seems so distant, at the beginning of a millennium upset and humiliated by violence, by terrorism and by war."

  John Paul II underscored that life is the greatest human aspiration, adding that "threatening shadows weigh on this universal longing, the shadows of a culture that denies respect for life in every stage; the shadow of an indifference that send countless people to destinies of hunger and underdevelopment: the shadow of scientific research that often aims to serve the egoism of the strongest."

  "We must all feel called," he affirmed, "by the needs of so many of our brothers and sisters," without forgetting that nourishing ourselves with the Body of Christ "means welcoming life itself from God, opening ourselves to the logic of love and sharing."

  The Holy Father invites the faithful to ask, as did the disciples of Emmaus, "the divine Wayfarer, Who knows our hearts, not to leave us as prisoners of evening shadows.  Sustain us in our fatigue, pardons our sins, orient our steps to the path of good. ... Bless all of mankind!"

  "In the Eucharist You made yourself 'the remedy for immortality': give us delight in a full life that makes us walk on this earth as trusting and joyous pilgrims, always looking to the goal, the end of the life that has no end. Stay with us, Lord. Stay with us!"

  The Pope concluded by announcing that the next International Eucharistic Congress will be held in Quebec, Canada in 2008.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 17, 2004 (VIS) - At the noon Angelus, recited with the faithful who had gathered in St. Peter's Square, Pope John Paul's thoughts turned to the International Eucharistic Congress, which will conclude today in Guadalajara, Mexico, and to the 26th anniversary of his pontificate which he celebrated yesterday.

  The Pope pointed out that "for one week the Eucharist has been celebrated and adored as the 'light and life of the new millennium'. 'Light' because the presence of Christ, Light of the world, shines forth in the Eucharistic mystery. 'Life' because in the Eucharist Christ has given Himself, the Bread of life, to us."

  He noted that in the afternoon he would celebrate Mass in St. Peter's, concomitantly with the closing of the congress in Mexico and "in spiritual union" with all participants. "I will thus solemnly start the Year of the Eucharist which will last until October 2005."

 "In the wake of Vatican Council II and the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, the Year of the Eucharist should be a strong time of encountering Christ, present in this sacrament of His Body and His Blood. In this mystery He brings about sacramentally His paschal sacrifice that redeemed mankind from the slavery of sin and established the divine Kingdom of love, justice and peace."

  Following the Angelus prayer, John Paul II said: "I wish to express great gratitude to everyone who, on the anniversary of my election to the Chair of Peter, expressed their best wishes and assured me of their prayers. While I ask the Lord to comfort each person with the abundance of His gifts, I entrust myself to Him and I ask, through the intercession of Mary Most Holy, for His constant help for the fruitful exercise of my ministry in the Church."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 16, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Archbishop Giovanni Tonucci, apostolic nuncio in Kenya, as nuncio in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway. He succeeds Archbishop Piero Biggio who resigned for reasons of health.

- Appointed Msgr. Radeusz Ploski, of the clergy of the archdiocese of Warmia, Poland and chancellor of the Military Ordinariate for Poland, as military ordinary for Poland.  Archbishop-elect Ploski was born in 1956 and was ordained a priest in 1982.
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