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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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Tuesday, November 30, 2004


VATICAN CITY, NOV 30, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Luis Guillermo Eichhorn of Gualegiaucji, Argentina, as bishop of Moron (area 130, population 670,000, Catholics 548,500, priests 78, permanent deacons 34, religious 147), Argentina.  He succeeds Bishop Justo Oscar Laguna whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese was accepted upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 30, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Seven prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Region V) on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Alfred Clifton Hughes of New Orleans with Auxiliary Bishops Dominic Carmon, S.V.D., and Roger Paul Morin and Archbishop Emeritus Francis Bible Schulte.
- Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Lake Charles. 

    - Bishop William Benedict Friend of Shreveport.

    - Archbishop Thomas Cajetan Kelly, O.P., of Louisville.

- Professor Hans-Gert Poettering, president of the Group of the European Popular Party and of the European Democrats.

  Yesterday evening, the Holy Father received Cardinal Kazimierz Swiatek, archbishop of Minsk-Mohilev, Belarus and apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Pinsk, Belarus.
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DOHA, NOV 30, 2004 (VIS) - Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, addressed an overflow crowd this morning at the Doha International Conference on the Family which began yesterday in the Qatari capital and ends this evening with the Doha Declaration. The cardinal spoke on ''The Complementarity of Men and Women - Building on the Strengths of Mothers and Fathers.''

  He began by noting that "one truth that is present in a profound way in all cultures and religions is that of the family based on marriage, the only worthy and appropriate place for conjugal love," with the couple's "complete, reciprocal self-giving. … A child, God's most precious gift, is the fruit of this mutual self-giving, and the spouses are associated with God, the source of human life, with their complete masculinity and femininity." He said that the loving relationship between 'you' and 'I', through procreation, becomes 'we', a family."

  "Today," he underscored, "an ideology hostile to the family is spreading in some parliaments not only in Europe, but in America too. … In fact, in the past decade, the complementarity between a man and a woman and the overcoming of any opposition between the sexes have strangely been negated. The abuses deriving from a certain kind of 'male chauvinist' domination …are not valid arguments for an exacerbated feminism that considers marriage and the family a place of slavery, and fatherhood and motherhood an unbearable burden that turns into fear."

  Cardinal Trujillo said it is "necessary to oppose ''polyform sexuality", underlining that "recognition of 'de facto' unions, which are a legal fiction, proposing same-sex unions as an alternative to marriage, and inventing new, unacceptable notions of marriage to the point of accepting the adoption of children, are grave signs of dehumanization." This is not discrimination: this is protecting spouses and children.

   Noting that spouses are "cooperators with the love of God the Creator," he said "responsible motherhood and fatherhood express a concrete commitment to carry out this duty, which has taken on new characteristics in the contemporary world. …The roles of father and mother are complementary and inseparable; they presuppose that specific, interpersonal relations are established between the children and the parents.

  "Motherhood," said Cardinal Trujillo, "is closely tied to the personal structure of the human being and the personal dimension of the gift. A mother's contribution is decisive in laying the foundations of a new human personality. … The father's role, which all too often is obscured, is of great importance in the formation of the children's personality and in the decisive choices that concern their future. … This reciprocal influence of the father and the mother is manifested in the complementarity of the paternal and maternal roles in a child's upbringing."

   "The family, a natural society, exists prior to the State, any other political organization or juridical institution. Therefore, the originality and identity of the family based on marriage must be recognized by the political authorities."

 "We are disturbed by the dramatic devaluation of motherhood in our societies," declared Cardinal Trujillo. "Motherhood is … a life in the service of a vocation of the greatest importance for individual persons, for the family, and for the whole of society. … Authentic family policies should take this into consideration." He also stressed "the need for greater awareness of the father's role in the family's educational task."

  In concluding remarks, the council president said that "in the State's protection of the family, the real interests of the State coincide with those of the family and children. It is in the family first of all where human capital is formed on all levels: that is, the wonderful resource that consists of a human person brought up with a sense of responsibility and a job well done.  This is what Pope John Paul II states in the Encyclical 'Centesimus Annus': 'The first and fundamental structure for 'human ecology' is the family, in which man receives his first formative ideas about truth and goodness'."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 30, 20004 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received 4,000 priests and seminarians of the Legionaries of Christ and members of the "Regnum Christi" movement on the 60th anniversary of the priestly ordination of their founder and superior general, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado.

  The Holy Father said that this "happy circumstance" of their founder's anniversary "invites us to recall the gifts that he has received from the Lord in these 60 years of priestly ministry and at the same time it is an occasion to highlight the commitments that you have taken on as Legionaries of Christ at the service of the Gospel."

  "In particular today, coming to see the Successor of Peter, you want to renew the commitment of your total fidelity to the Church and to him who providence wanted as its pastor."

  John Paul II underscored that in order to carry out the "difficult mission" of proclaiming the Gospel "it is necessary to cultivate constant intimacy with Christ, striving to follow and imitate Him docilely. This will make you always ready to respond to the most genuine and profound expectations of the men and women of our time."

  "May the Year of the Eucharist, which began in October," he concluded, "be a promising occasion to grow in love for the Eucharist, source and summit of all of Christian life. ... Stay close to the Eucharist!  Faithful to the charism that characterizes you, continue in your evangelizing mission, while nourishing yourselves with Christ and being fearless witnesses."
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Monday, November 29, 2004


THE POPE WROTE A MESSAGE TO PARTICIPANTS in the International Congress on consecrated life which took place on November 23-27 with the theme "Passion for Christ, passion for humanity."  The Holy Father writes that "in a society in which often love does not find space to be gratuitously expressed, consecrated men and women are called to bear witness to the logic of disinterested generosity. ... Ardor for Christ and for souls, the insatiable thirst for divine love and the desire to bring this love to all human beings must constantly nourish your commitment to personal conversion, sanctity and evangelization."

MADE PUBLIC TODAY WAS A LETTER FROM THE POPE to Cardinal Eugenio Araujo Sales, archbishop emeritus of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in which he appoints him as his special envoy to the celebrations of the centenary of the image "Nossa Senhora do Sameiro" and on the 150th anniversary of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception which will take place in Braga, Portugal on December 8.  The mission which will accompany the cardinal is composed of Msgrs. Eduardo de Melo Peixoto and Domingos Soutinho da Silva from the archdiocese of Braga, Msgrs. Manuel Moreira Vieira and Jose Roberto Rodrigues Devellard of the archdiocese of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro and Msgr. Jean-Francois Lantheaume, secretary of the nunciature in Lisbon.

IN ANOTHER LETTER ADDRESSED TO CARDINAL JAN PIETER SCHOTTE, C.I.C.M., president of the Office of Labor of the Apostolic See, the Pope appoints him as special envoy to the closing celebrations of the year dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception which will take place in Washington D.C. on December 8.  Accompanying the cardinal will be Msgr. Michael J. Bransfield, rector of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C., and Fr. David M. O'Connell, C.M., of the Catholic University of America.
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DOHA, NOV 29, 2004 (VIS) - The Doha International Conference on the Family opened today in the capital of Qatar in the presence of 1,500 guests including Skeikha Moza Bint Nasser Al-Missned, wife of the emir of Qatar and foundress and president of Qatar's Supreme Council for Family Affairs which is sponsoring the conference.

  Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, accompanied by several members of the council, is representing the Holy See. He will address the assembly tomorrow on "The Complementarity of Men and Women: Building on the Strengths of Mothers and Fathers."

   Other guests include Richard Wilkins, director of the World Family Policy Center at Brigham Young University in Utah, which was asked to organize the two-day event,  Dr. Gary Becker, Nobel prize-winning economist from the University of Chicago, members of governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), scholars, academicians and civil and religious leaders, including Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Church in Egypt.

The Doha Conference, which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the First International Year of the Family, intends to both examine the statement in Article 16, no. 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that "The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state," and to review worldwide policies on the family. The conference hopes to show that focusing on the family is a sure guide to sustainable social health and the good of society.

  Regional conferences have preceded the Doha meeting: the World Congress of Families in Mexico City in March; International Family Day in Sweden in May, the European Family Dialogue in Geneva in August and the Pacific and Asian Family Dialogue in Kuala Lumpur last month. There was also a preparatory conference in the Philippines.

  Among the topics on the conference agenda: The Family in the Third Millennium vis-a-vis development, globalization and international policies to protect the family; Religious and Juridic Cases of the Third Millennium Family; The Family and Education, and The Family and the Culture of Dialogue, with a look at the role of the media and its influence on the family. Speakers will discuss the dignity and worth of human life, the benefits of marriage, motherhood and fatherhood, faith and modern families, the role of values on society, ageing and the family and government policy and the family.

   A communiqué on the conference stated that '' the meeting will conclude its events by adopting the Doha Declaration which will carry a message to the states of the world emphasizing the importance of restating the family and will call upon governments to be committed to promoting the role of the family and its protection as a fundamental unit of society.''


VATICAN CITY, NOV 29, 2004 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received 3,000 members of the Pope John XXXIII Community, with its founder and head, Fr. Oreste Benzi, on the 30th anniversary of its foundation.

  After recalling that a few months ago the community was recognized as a private international association of faithful of pontifical law and that it is active in Italy and twenty other countries, the Pope said that since Fr. Oreste "opened the first family house, this community ... has been known for its unique service to the needy and for its style of authentic generosity with the objective of providing love and affection to those who have no family for different reasons."

  John Paul II said that charitable activity "assumes its full value when it is based on the primate of love of God.  In order to truly love our brothers and sisters it is necessary to love God.  Therefore, you dedicate your time opportunely to prayer, listening to the Word of God and you base your whole life on Christ."

  "Continue to care for your spiritual formation and tireless recourse to the sacraments.  In particular, make the Eucharist the center of your family houses and of all your social and educational activities.  In this Year dedicated to the Sacrament of the Altar, revive the contemplative ardor and love for the divine Redeemer who in the Eucharist becomes food of eternal life for us.  Get your spiritual energy from Him in order to be tireless workers of His Gospel, bearing witness to compassion for all those who live in conditions of discomfort or abandonment."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 28, 2004 (VIS) - Today John Paul II spoke about the beginning of Advent and preparation for the Italian National Eucharistic Congress before praying the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  "Today a new liturgical year begins during which we will contemplate with particular fervor the face of Christ present in the Eucharist.  Jesus, Incarnate Word, who died and rose from the dead, is the center of history. The Church adores Him and discovers in Him the ultimate and unifying meaning of all the mysteries of faith: the love of God that gives life."

  "Precisely in these days in Italy," he continued, "preparation has begun for the 24th National Eucharistic Congress that will take place in Bari, Italy from May 21-29, 2005. "Without Sunday, We Cannot Live" is the them of this important ecclesiastical meeting which, by providential coincidence, will highlight the Year of the Eucharist.  I invite the whole ecclesial community in Italy to carefully prepare itself for this spiritual appointment by rediscovering 'with new strength the meaning of Sunday: its 'mystery,' the value of its celebration, its significance for the Christian and human life."

  After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted a group of members of the Italian Red Cross to whom he expressed his appreciation "for the initiatives they promote in so many situations of need" and he hoped for "the complete success of the humanitarian activity that they carry out in Italy and abroad."

  Lastly, John Paul II addressed Ukrainian pilgrims present in the square, assuring them of his prayer for peace in their country.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 27, 2004 (VIS) - Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office, made the following declaration this morning:

  "On the occasion of the visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch, His Holiness Bartholomew I to His Holiness John Paul II on November 26 and 27, for the solemn return to the Patriarch of some of the relics of Sts. Gregory Nazianzus and John Chrysostom, theologians, bishops and doctors of the Church, kept and venerated over the centuries in the patriarchal Vatican Basilica, some media have reported that Pope John Paul II's gesture, of great ecclesiastic importance and expression of the 'comunicato in sacris' existing between Eastern and Western Christians, is a 'reparation' and a way for the Pope to ask for forgiveness on behalf of the Catholic Church for taking the relics from the ecumenical Patriarch during the crusades of the 8th century.

   "Such an interpretation is historically inaccurate since the mortal remains of St. Gregory Nazianzus reached Rome in the 8th century during the iconoclastic persecution in order to be saved. 

  "Without denying that the tragic events of the 8th century, the return - not restitution - to Constantinople of the relics of the two saints, venerated equally in the West and the East, important examples of the search for unity and peace of the Church of Christ, intends in the third millennium, going beyond the controversies and difficulties of the past, to propose once again such an edifying example and to give rise to a choral prayer of Catholics and Orthodox for their full communion." 
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 27, 2004 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Basilica, John Paul II presided at an ecumenical celebration during which he returned some relics of Sts. Gregory Nazianzus and John Chrysostom, bishops of Constantinople and Doctors of the Church, to Bartholomew I, ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

  The Pope and the Patriarch entered the basilica together while the choir sang "Ubi caritas est vera." After greeting the assembly, the Holy Father spoke about the ecumenical significance of the celebration.

  During the Liturgy of the Word texts from the Bible and the two saint-doctors of the Church were read.  The universal prayer was begun by the Pope and concluded by the Patriarch. 

  Before handing over the relics, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, read a letter from the Holy Father to Patriarch Bartholomew in which he recalled their meeting in the basilica on June 29, solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

  The Pope writes that today, on the occasion of the return of the relics of Sts. Gregory Nazianzus and John Chrysostom, "The Lord...gives us the possibility to have here near the tomb of the apostle Peter another fraternal encounter of love, prayer and good will in order to walk together toward the full and visible unity that Christ wants for his disciples."

  The letter says that "in returning these holy relics we see a blessed opportunity to purify our wounded memories, to reinforce our path of reconciliation, to confirm the faith of the doctors of the Church and the faith of the Eastern and Western Churches.  We also see an auspicious moment to show with today's words and gestures the immense riches that our Churches conserve in their traditions."

  "This is a 'propitious moment,'" he exclaimed, " to pray that God will hasten the hour in which we will be able to live together, in the celebration of the holy Eucharist, full communion, and thus contribute in a more effective way to make the world believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord."

  "Beloved brother," concludes the Holy Father, "I will never cease to seek firmly and determinedly this communion among the disciples of Christ, as my desire, in response to the will of the Lord, consists in being servant of communion 'in truth and in love so that the ship - beautiful symbol chosen by the Ecumenical Council of the Churches as an emblem - may not be sunk by the storms and so that it may one day arrive in the port'."

  After the readings, the deacons approached the altar of confession and gave the relics to the Holy Father who kissed them and handed them to the Patriarch.  Bartholomew then thanked the pope.

  "This blessed gift," he said, "takes place due to a gesture of good will ... which deserves honor and thanks to His beloved Holiness.  You follow the example of St. Basil the Great who restored the relics of St. Dionysus, bishop of Milan, who died in exile."

  "A sacred act is celebrated today, which repairs an ecclesiastical anomaly and injustice. This fraternal gesture of the Church of ancient Rome confirms that insurmountable problems do not exist in the Church of Christ, when love, justice and peace meet in the sacred 'diaconia' of reconciliation and unity. ... Any act that heals old wounds and prevents new ones contributes to the creation of necessary proposals in order to continue the dialogue of truth in the love of our Churches."

  The relics of St. Gregory Nazianzus, who died in 390, arrived in Rome from Constantinople with a group of Byzantine nuns in the 8th century during the iconoclast persecutions of Emperors Emperor Leo III the Isaurian, and Constantine who denied the cult sacred images. Those who venerated these images were persecuted.  The relics were kept in the Roman Church of St. Mary in Campus Martius until Pope Gregory VIII asked the nuns to bring them to the Vatican Basilica in 1580 and they were placed in the altar of the Gregorian Chapel.  However, the pontiff wanted the nuns to preserve a relic from the saint's arm.

  The relics of St. John Chrysostom, who died in exile in 407, were moved to Constantinople on the orders of the Emperor Theodosius.  They remained there until the Latin empire of Constantinople, which lasted from 1204 to 1258, when they were transported to Rome.  In 1990, they were moved to the altar of the Chapel of the Choir in St. Peter's after its restoration.

  At the end of the ceremony, the Holy Father and the Patriarch blessed those present and processed to the Chapel of the Pieta, preceded by the deacons who were carrying the relics of the Doctors of the Church.


VATICAN CITY, NOV 29, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. James Kazuo Koda, director of the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Tokyo, Japan, as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese (area 7,316, population 18,290,000, Catholics 89,300, priests 397, permanent deacons 1, religious 1,494).  The bishop-elect was born in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1985.

  On Saturday November 27, it was made public that the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of Auxiliary of the diocese of Erfurt, Germany, presented by Bishop Hans-Reinhard Koch upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 29, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father received today in separate audiences:

- Three prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Region IX) on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Robert William Muench of Baton Rouge.

    - Bishop Sam Gallip Jacobs of Houma-Thibodaux.

    - Bishop Charles Michael Jarrell of Lafayette.

- Archbishop Ambrose B. De Paoli, apostolic nuncio in Japan.

  On Saturday November 27, the Holy Father received in audience His Holiness Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople and an entourage.
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Friday, November 26, 2004


VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation to the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Antofagasta, Chile, presented by Archbishop Jose Patricio Infante Alfonso upon having reached the age limit. Coadjutor Archbishop Pablo Lizama Riquelme succeeds him.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father received today in separate audiences:

- Ali Abdullah Saleh, president of the republic of Yemen, and an entourage.

- Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of  Columbus.

- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2004 (VIS) - John Paul II this morning received the participants in a conference in Rome of directors of prison administrations of the 45 States that adhere to the Council of Europe.

  He noted that they "are reflecting on how to make European prison rules better respond to the needs of prisoners. ... In every civil nation there must be shared concern for preserving the inalienable rights of every human being." Therefore, he said, "you must correct eventual laws and norms which hinder (these rights), especially when it is a matter of the right to life and to health, the right to culture, to work, to the exercise of freedom of thought and to the profession of one's own faith.

  "Respecting human dignity is a value of European culture whose roots are based in  Christianity; it is a universal human value and, as such, is open to the broadest consensus. Every State must take care to see that full attention to basic human rights is guaranteed in all prisons."

  The Holy Father said that "measures that are simply repressive or punitive, to which one normally has recourse today, are inadequate for reaching the objective of an authentic recuperation of inmates. ... It is necessary to abolish those physical and moral treatments that are harmful to human dignity, and to commit yourselves to better qualifying professionally the role of those who work within penal institutes."

  After urging them to seek penalties that are alternatives to prison, "with programs of human, professional and spiritual formation," the Pope spoke of the work of chaplains, whose duty, he said "is a delicate task and in many ways irreplaceable." Further, he said, "how can we fail to note the volunteer institutions and associations dedicated to the welfare of prisoners and to their reinsertion into society?"

  John Paul II underscored that "respect for the human dignity of prisoners must not occur to the detriment of concern for society. For this reason, citizens must be defended, even with those forms of deterrence that are represented by penalties that serve as examples. But the dutiful application of justice to defend citizens and public order must not contrast with the due attention to the rights of prisoners and to rehabilitating them; on the contrary, this is a question of two aspects that must be integrated. Prevention and repression, detention and rehabilitation, are complementary acts."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2004 (VIS) - As they end their "ad limina" visit, bishops from the ecclesiastical provinces of Dubuque, Kansas City in Kansas, Omaha and St. Louis, were received by the Pope this morning who continued his reflections on the exercise of episcopal governance, especially "the relationship which unites you to your closest co-workers in the apostolate, your brother priests."

  He underscored that the fellowship uniting bishops and their priests comes from "the grace of Holy Orders and the one mission entrusted by the Risen Lord to the Apostles and their successors in the Church."

  "Together with fostering mutual trust and confidence, dialogue, a spirit of unity and a common missionary spirit in his relationship with his priests," added the Holy Father, "the bishop is also responsible for cultivating within the presbyterate a sense of co-responsibility for the governance of the local Church" which "demands a sound ecclesiological vision. ... A fundamental goal of your governance should be that of encouraging and coordinating the pastoral work carried out in the great network of parishes and related institutions which make up the local Church. The parish, in fact, is 'pre-eminent among all the other communities in the diocese'."

  John Paul II stated that renewal of ecclesial life "should rightly begin with the revitalization of the parish community, centered ... on preaching the Gospel and celebration of the Eucharist. The Bishop is to play an indispensable role in this revitalization by authoritatively promoting the Church's teaching and proposing a unified pastoral plan capable of inspiring and directing the apostolate of clergy and laity alike." He said that "the entire Christian community needs to be encouraged to move from 'Mass to mission', in the pursuit of holiness and the service of the new evangelization."

  "An essential concern of responsible governance must also be to provide for the future," affirmed the Holy Father. "No one can deny that the decline in priestly vocations represents a stark challenge for the Church in the United States, and one that cannot be ignored or put off. The response to this challenge must be insistent prayer according to the Lord's command. ... I would propose for your consideration that the Catholic community in your country annually set aside a national day of prayer for priestly vocations."

  Concern for the future, said the Pope in concluding remarks,, also involves "attention to seminary training, ... a commitment to holiness and spiritual wisdom, formation in prudent leadership and selfless dedication to the flock" and "a sound continuing education for the clergy."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2004 (VIS) - John Paul II this morning welcomed Ali Abdullah Saleh, president of the republic of Yemen and, in brief remarks in English, thanked him "for the kind sentiments you have expressed on behalf of the people of Yemen."

  "During this period of unrest in your region," said the Pope, "I urge you and all men and women of good will to combat terrorism, striving for peace and justice. This is only possible when people recognize the ongoing need for tolerance and mutual understanding. In this regard, I encourage you in your efforts to foster the spirit of frank and open dialogue between the different religions and peoples of the Arabian Peninsula.   It is my fervent prayer that Almighty God may impart to you and all the Yemeni people, the gifts of peace, harmony and reconciliation."
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Thursday, November 25, 2004


VATICAN CITY, NOV 25, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Angel Polibio Sanchez Loayza, vicar general of the diocese of Machala, Ecuador as bishop of Guaranda (area 3,336, population 169,370, Catholics 161,118, priests 36, permanent deacons 1, religious 88), Ecuador.  The bishop-elect was born in 1946 in Ayapamba, Ecuador and was ordained a priest 1975.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 25, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience five prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Region IX) on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss of Omaha.

- Bishop Fabian Wendelin Bruskewitz of Lincoln.

- Bishop-elect William J. Dendinger of Grand Island.

- Bishop-elect Paul S. Coakley of Salina, accompanied by Bishop Emeritus George Kinzie Fitzsimons.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 25, 2004 (VIS) - Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I will arrive in Rome tomorrow for a two-day visit during which, in an ecumenical celebration in St. Peter's Basilica on Saturday, November 27, he will receive from Pope John Paul the relics of Saints John Chrysostom and Gregory Nazianzus, Bishops and Doctors of the Church.

  Accompanying the patriarch on the plane from Turkey will be Cardinal Roger Etchegaray and Archbishop Edmond Farhat, apostolic nuncio in Turkey. On the return trip to Istanbul, to celebrate the November 30 feast of St Andrew, patron of the ecumenical patriarchate, Bartholomew I will be accompanied by a Holy See delegation comprised of Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Bishop Brian Farrell, Archbishop Farhat and Msgr. Johan J. Bonny.

   Among those who will be at the airport tomorrow to welcome the patriarch will be Cardinal Kasper, Bishop Farrell and Msgr. Fortino, president, secretary and under-secretary of the council, Cardinal Francesco Marchisano, archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, Archbishop Piero Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies and Msgr. Renato Boccardo, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Also present will be the first counselor of the Turkish embassy to the Holy See, and the ambassadors to the Holy See from Greece and Cyprus.

  Patriarch Bartholomew and his delegation will reside at the Vatican's Domus Sanctae Marthae. A welcome dinner offered by the pontifical council will inaugurate the visit to Rome.

  According to a background document from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Patriarch Bartholomew I met John Paul II in Rome on June 29, 2004, at which time he invited the Pope to Istanbul, and also asked if the relics of the saints could be returned from the Vatican, where they were kept in St. Peter's Basilica, to the See of Constantinople. An exchange of letters between the Pope and the Patriarch followed, and this week's encounter is the result of that correspondence.

  "The handing over of the relics," says the communique, "is a deep encouragement to walk the path of unity: the mortal remains of the two Saints, Patriarchs of Constantinople, who did everything possible to safeguard unity between East and West, venerated in their land of origin, welcomed with great honors in the Church of Rome, which for many centuries has preserved and venerated them, walk once again on the path to the East, thanks to this gesture of spiritual sharing which nourishes and fortifies communion between the Sees of Peter and Constantinople."

  Pope John Paul has asked that the relics be placed in two crystal shrines and enclosed in precious alabaster reliquaries. When they arrive in Istanbul on Saturday, they will be placed in a chapel of the patriarchate and, on the feast of St. Andrew, they will be permanently placed in the patriarchal church of St. George.

  Saturday's ceremony in St. Peter's will be transmitted live via television and will be seen in the United States and Greece, among others.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 25, 2004 (VIS) - This morning the Pope received participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Laity who are reflecting on the theme "Discover once again the true face of the Parish."

  John Paul II recalled some of the initiatives promoted by the dicastery, such as the meeting of Catholics in Eastern Europe last year in Kiev, Ukraine "which emphasized the role of lay people in the spiritual and material rebuilding of those nations after years of atheistic totalitarianism." In addition, he referred to the publication of the "Catalogue of the International Associations of the Faithful" as a fruit of "greater collaboration among the different associations, communities and movements."

  "I must mention," he continued, "the intense preparation for World Youth Day which will be celebrated in Cologne, Germany in 2005. This gathering, whose theme is 'We have come to adore Him,' encourages the entire Church and especially young people to take up the path of the Three Magi in order to encounter God, made man for our salvation."

  The Pope indicated that participants in this plenary were beginning to reflect on the parish, a study which will last for years. "The first step ... consists in helping the lay faithful to discover once again the true face of the parish, .... the place par excellence to announce Christ and to educate people in the faith.  Precisely for this reason it must be constantly renewed in order to become the true 'community of all communities,' capable of truly incisive missionary activity."

  "In this year dedicated to the Eucharist," he added, "we must remember that the Eucharist is the beating heart of the parish, font of its mission and presence which continually renews it." John Paul II concluded by expressing his hope that the assembly's reflection on the parish "may help everyone to understand better that the parish community is a place to encounter Christ and our brothers and sisters."
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Wednesday, November 24, 2004


VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Msgr. Gianpaolo Montini, substitute defender of the bond in the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signatura, as promoter of justice in the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signatura.

- Fr. Nikolaus Schoch, O.F.M., as substitute defender of the bond in the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signatura.

- Msgr. Abdou Yaacoub, adjunct promoter of justice in the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signatura, as prelate auditor of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father received today in audience Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, archbishop of Paris.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2004 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke yesterday before the General Assembly on Item 55a, Follow-up to the Outcome of the Millennium Summit. This summit took place in September 2000 and "171 governments from the North and South (hemispheres) signed the Millennium Declaration in the U.N. General Assembly."

  "It is encouraging," he began his talk, "to hear from previous delegations of their commitment to development that has a human face. Indeed, forging links between human rights and development, and recognizing basic freedoms and equality before the law, eliminate many violent conflicts that threaten hopes for the realization of economic and social rights."

  The archbishop noted that there has been progress in accomplishing the Millennium Development Goals, and some countries "have been able to set up a significant process of economic growth, allowing them to pay by themselves the economic cost of the MDGs." Yet, "scarce economic aid and international economic conditions have not allowed the poorest countries to achieve the most important targets in education, health and access to water and sanitation."

  Archbishop Migliore said that total official aid fell far short of "the long-agreed aid goal of 0.7% of national income. ... The ability of the poorest countries, mostly found in Africa, to obtain export and fiscal revenues is dwarfed by rich countries' export subsidies and by tariffs levied on African exports, sometimes ten times higher than those levied on goods traded within OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries."

  The nuncio underscored that "enlightened leadership is expected from the United Nations" which must "help ensure that important new ideas see the light of day, rather than being sidelined" and that "steps will be taken to make national and international governance more consistent."


VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2004 (VIS) - The hymn of the Letter to the Colossians  was the theme of the catechesis of the Holy Father during the general audience celebrated today in the Paul VI Hall.

  John Paul II said that in this Christological hymn we extol "the glorious figure of Christ, heart of the liturgy and center of the entire life of the Church." In the hymn, "we recognize the spirit of faith and prayer of the ancient Christian community."

  Christ, he continued, "is celebrated as 'first-born of all of creation,' that is, created before man, affirming in this way His eternity which transcends time and space." If Christ is "superior to all of creation, so is His creator. Therefore, He can been seen as  'the image of the invisible God,' who is close to us through the creative act."

  The Pope indicated that "Christ, in his divine 'plentitude,' but also through shedding His blood on the Cross, 'reconciles and restores peace' with creation, the heavens and the earth. He brings them back to their original condition, recreating the original harmony, willed by God according to His project of love and life. Creation and redemption are, therefore, connected like stages in the unique event of salvation."

  Before going to the audience in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father greeted 3,500 Italian youths and students in St. Peter's Basilica.  After reminding them that this past Sunday we celebrated the Solemnity of Christ the King, he told them: "May Jesus always be the center of your life! May He be the light and guide of every decision that you take; participate generously with your witness in building up His Kingdom of justice and peace."
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Tuesday, November 23, 2004


VATICAN CITY, NOV 23, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience four prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Region IX) on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Joseph Leo Charron of Des Moines.

- Archbishop James Patrick Keleher of Kansas City in Kansas, with Coadjutor Bishop Joseph F. Naumann.

- Bishop Ronald E. Michael Gilmore of Dodge City.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 23, 2004 (VIS) - The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments has undertaken the task of promoting every year on  December 4, the anniversary of the Constitution "Sacrosanctum Concilium," a day of study on themes of liturgical interest. The celebration this year will start at 9 a.m. in the Hundred Days Room of the Chancery Building. The theme of the 2004 study day is occasioned by the publication of the second edition of the "'Martyrologium Romanum'. Theology, Liturgy, Holiness."

  The Martyrologium, says a communique, "is a liturgical book filled with history and is of great ecclesial interest as it expresses in the most complete way the sense of that particular and renewed attention that the Church reserves to the veneration of the saints, in a special way during the pontificate of John Paul II."

  The study day, which will feature opening remarks by Cardinal Francis Arinze, will offer theological and liturgical reflections as well as specialized contributions in the field of hagiography. For this occasion, several priceless handwritten codes and celebrated print editions of the liturgical book, on loan from the Vatican Library, will be exhibited.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 23, 2004 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council for the Laity will celebrate its 21st Plenary Assembly in Rome from November 24 to 28 on the theme, "Discover once again the true face of the Parish."  Members of the committee of the presidency will participate as well as members and consultors of the dicastery.

  After brief opening remarks by council president, Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, the under-secretary, Professor Guzman Carriquiry will speak about "The present day situation of the laity: crucial questions."

  Among the scheduled topics are: "The parish in a changing world: the great social, cultural and religious challenges"; "The institutional parish: a pastoral, juridical and historic perspective"; "Building up the community parish together: councils, ministers, services and other forms of collaboration and involvement for lay people."  On the third day, Bishop Josef Clemens, secretary of the pontifical council, will speak about the dicastery's future plans and in the afternoon, contributions will be presented for the 11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist.

  A communique that accompanied the announcement of the plenary celebration, indicates that a "Catalogue of International Associations of the Faithful" was recently published in response to John Paul II's invitation to the council in the Apostolic Exhortation "Christifideles laici" to prepare an index of associations that are officially approved by the Holy See.

  The volume, which was published in Italian and which will be translated into English, Spanish and French, is more than 300 pages long and includes 123 associations of the faithful, ranging from the more traditional groups to the newest ecclesial movements and communities. Associations that depend juridically on the Congregations for the Clergy, the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life and the Evangelization of Peoples, as well as groups that work exclusively on the national or diocesan level, are not included in the list.

  Each association is listed according to its official name in the original language, and contains the following data: the year of its foundation, history, identity, structure, presence in the world, activity, publications, web sites and the contact information of the headquarters.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 23, 2004 (VIS) -  The Second World Congress on Consecrated Life, organized for the first time jointly by the Union of Superiors General and the International Union of Superiors General, will take place November 23-27 in Rome on the theme, "Passion for Christ, Passion for Humanity." Nine-hundred religious from 130 countries, representing one million consecrated people in the world, are scheduled to participate, as are theologians, bishops and representatives of other Christian confessions and other religions.

  During the meeting, participants will reflect on consecrated life since the First World Congress in 1993 and the synod dedicated to consecrated life in 1994 in light of the Apostolic Exhortation "Vita Consecrata" and the apostolic letters of John Paul II, "Tertio millennio adveniente" in 1994 and "Novo millennio ineunte" in 2001. 

  During the week, reports and group discussions by continent are scheduled with the purpose of analyzing the challenges of consecrated life at the beginning of the third millennium. The congress was inspired by two Gospel images that illustrate the meaning and purpose of consecrated life: the Samaritan woman who asks Jesus for the "living water" and the Good Samaritan who cares for those who are suffering.
  The religious men and women, according to the working paper of the congress, will try to look for answers to the phenomena of globalization, human mobility and migration, the culture of death and the pro-life movement, pluralism and the path towards dialogue, the secularized vision of life, the post-modern mentality and its influences on society, inter-religious dialogue and ecumenism, and the lack of vocations.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 23, 2004 (VIS) - At 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 27, in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope John Paul II, together with Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, will preside at an ecumenical celebration during which the Pope will turn over to the Patriarch the relics of Saints Gregory Nazianzus and John Chrysostom, Bishops and Doctors of the Church.

  A communique from the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff explains that "the celebration will take place according to the structure of the Liturgy of the Word and will include the following rituals: the introduction and veneration of the relics; Bible and patristic readings with several excerpts from the two Doctors of the Church and troparion songs of the Byzantine liturgy; a moment of prayer consisting of the universal Prayer and the Lord's Prayer, the rite of turning over the relics with a text read by the Holy Father and thanksgiving by the Patriarch; concluding rites."

  "The celebration," says the communique, "is a sign of the desire of the Church of the West and of the East to walk together towards the gift of full unity so that the world will believe in Christ, the One Savior."

  The Orthodox community of Rome will take part in this celebration. The clergy, religious and faithful of the diocese of Rome are also invited.


VATICAN CITY, NOV 23, 2004 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the rector and members of the faculty and staff of the Nicolaus Copernicus University of Torun in Poland who presented him with the title of doctor "honoris causa."  "I accept it with gratitude," said the Pope, "as a sign of dialogue between science and faith in continual development."

  John Paul II recalled that during his visit to the university in June of 1999, he spoke about this dialogue, "which is called to overcome the contrast, made during the Enlightenment, of truth reached through reason and truth known through faith. Today we understand ever more that it is the same truth and that it is necessary for men and women not to walk alone but to try to confirm their own intuition through dialogue with others when reaching the truth on their own."

  "Only in this way," he continued, "will experts and men of culture be capable of assuming that special responsibility which I spoke about in Torun: 'the responsibility of truth; to strive towards it, to defend it and to live according to it'."

  The Pope expressed his joy that the university "is developing with dynamism, putting science ever more in the reach of young people. ... I know that this development is taking place with the help of the local authorities of a city that can certainly be called a 'college town.' May this common work serve the city of Torun, the region and all of Poland."
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Monday, November 22, 2004


VATICAN CITY, NOV 22, 2004 (VIS) - In recent weeks the following prelate died:

- Cardinal Gustaaf Joos, archbishop emeritus of Gent, Belgium, on November 6 at age 81.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 22, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Fr. Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, O.F.M.Cap., vice-provincial of his religious order in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as bishop of Bokungu-Ikelam (area 42,000, population 520,450, Catholics 44,300, priests 18, religious 29), Democratic Republic of Congo. The bishop-elect was born in Boto, Democratic Republic of Congo in 1960 and was ordained a priest in 1988.

- Appointed Fr. Jose Miguel Gomez Rodriguez, director of the Department for Catechesis and Biblical Ministry of the Permanent Secretariat of the Colombian Episcopate, as bishop of Libano-Honda (area 3,477, population 310,000, Catholics 290,000, priests 22, religious 80), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in Bogota, Colombia in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1987.

- Appointed Msgr. Francois Xavier Maroy, vicar general of the archdiocese of Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese (area 8,815, population 1.346,216. Catholics 860,599, priests 187, religious 686). The bishop-elect was born in 1956 in Bukavu and was ordained a priest in 1984.

  On Saturday November 20, it was made public that the Holy Father:

- Appointed Fr. Luciano Nervi, S.M.M., missionary in Malawi, as bishop of Mangochi (area 11,385, population 1,180,000, Catholics 205,000, priests 117, religious 56), Malawi. The bishop-elect was born in Sforzatica di Dalmine, Italy in 1938.

- Erected the diocese of Dori (area 36,896, population 710,000, Catholics 2,726, priests 16, religious 32), Burkina Faso, with territory taken from the diocese of Fada N'Gourma and Ouahigouya, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Koupela.

- Appointed Fr. Joachim Ouedraogo, rector of the Minor Seminary and vicar general of the diocese of Ouahigouya, as bishop of the diocese of Dori. The bishop-elect was born in 1962 in Rouko, Burkina Faso and was ordained a priest in 1991.

- Appointed the following as members of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts: Cardinals Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Attilio Nicora, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and Archbishop-Bishop Agostino Vallini, emeritus of Albano, Italy and prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 22, 2004 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in audience nine prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Region IX) on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke of St. Louis, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Hermann.

- Bishop John Raymond Gaydos of Jefferson City.

- Bishop Raymond James Boland of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, accompanied by Coadjutor Bishop Robert W. Finn.

- Bishop John Joseph Leibrect of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.

- Archbishop Jerome George Hanus, O.S.B., of Dubuque.

- Msgr. Roger J. Augustine, diocesan administrator of Sioux City, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Lawrence Donald Soens.

  On Saturday November 20, the Holy Father received Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 21, 2004 (VIS) - Pope John Paul, addressing the pilgrims in St. Peter's Square during the Angelus, reminded them that today is the feast of Christ the King and the last Sunday of the liturgical year, it is Pro Orantibus Day when the faithful pray for those in the contemplative life and it is also the Day of Migrations, celebrated this year on the theme "The World as a Home: From Mistrust to Welcoming."

  The Pope began his remarks by noting that on "November 21, forty years ago, the Fathers of Vatican Council II promulgated the Dogmatic Constitution that starts with the words' Lumen gentium com sit Christus,' 'Christ is the light of humanity'. Lumen gentium marked a milestone in the Church's journey on the streets of the contemporary world and stimulated the People of God to assume with ever greater decision their responsibilities in building the Kingdom of Christ which will have its complete fulfilment only outside of history."

  "Making the Gospel alive in the temporal order is, in fact, the duty of every baptized person, in particular the lay faithful. A useful aid for this mission is the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, published this year by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to whom I once again express my gratitude."

  The Holy Father, adding that "all human activity, to reach its goal, must be supported by prayer" asked the faithful "to give spiritual and material support to our sisters and brothers" in the contemplative life.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 20, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today welcomed 150 participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which has been meeting for three days in the New Synod Hall on the theme "The Mission of Mature, Experienced Couples with Engaged and Young Married Couples."

  The Pope said the council's work "of spreading the 'Gospel of the Family'" is "a noble and decisive mission. The family, founded on marriage, is a natural, irreplaceable institution and a basic element of the common good of every society. Whoever destroys this basic fabric of human coexistence, not respecting its identity and distorting its duties, causes a deep wound to society and provokes often irreparable damages." He noted that the plenary has been reflecting on the council's work on family issues at both national and international levels.

  The Holy Father underscored the "singular" mission of married couples and Christian families "in building the Church and the Kingdom of God in history.  This mission has lost nothing of its actuality and has, in fact, taken on an urgent nature."

   He counseled "a renewed commitment in favor of young families" and newlyweds. It is usually in the early years of marriage, he said, that couples can experience difficulties. It is then that the Church's pastoral ministry for families, and the "discreet, delicate and generous assistance" of older married couples can play an important role in helping young couples overcome the problems associated with the newness of married life and of having children.

   "I note with pleasure," added John Paul II, "the growing presence throughout the world of movements in favor of families and of life. ... Ten years ago, in my Letter to Families, I underlined how important the rich experience of other families can be, especially when the 'we' of the parents, the husband and wife, is developed ... into the 'we' of the family, with the precious gift of children."
  The Pope concluded his talk with a reference to the Fifth Meeting of Families which the council is helping to plan and which will take place in Valencia, Spain in 2006.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 20, 2004 (VIS) - Members of the International Board of Trustees of Saint Joseph's Hospital in Jerusalem were welcomed by John Paul II to the Vatican this morning.

   "I take this opportunity to encourage you, and all associated with the work of the Hospital," he said in brief remarks in English, "always to give the best of yourselves in generous service to the sick, with the greatest respect for their human dignity and their unique value in the eyes of God. I appreciate the praiseworthy sense of solidarity and concern for the needs of the Palestinian community which led to the establishment of Saint Joseph's as the only Catholic hospital in Jerusalem.  May the Hospital continue to find moral and material support both in the Holy Land and abroad."
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Friday, November 19, 2004


VATICAN CITY, NOV 19, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

- Bishop Eduardo Maria Taussig of San Rafael, Argentina.

- Flavio Cattaneo, director general of RAI-Italian Radio and Television, with his wife.

- Prof. Giuseppe Dalla Torre, rector of the Free University of Mary Most Immaculate, and an entourage.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 19, 2004 (VIS) - Today the Italian newspaper "La Reppublica" published an interview with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in which he says that any society which does not give importance to God will eventually self-destruct.

  According to Cardinal Ratzinger "there is an aggressive secular ideology which is worrying. In Sweden, a Protestant pastor who had preached about homosexuality, based on a line from Scriptures, went to jail for one month. Laicism is no longer that element of neutrality which opens up spaces of freedom for all. It is being transformed into an ideology which is imposed through politics and which does not give public space to the Catholic or Christian vision, which runs the risk of becoming something purely private and thus disfigured. In this sense, a struggle exists and we must defend religious freedom against the imposition of an ideology which is presented as if it were the only voice of rationality, when it is only the expression of a 'certain' rationalism."

  Following is a transcription of excerpts of the interview:

Q: "But for you, what is laicism?"

A: "A just laicism is religious freedom. The State does not impose religion but it gives space to religions with a responsibility toward civil society, and therefore it allows these religions to be factors in building up society."

  Asked about the true essence of Christianity, the cardinal described it as "a history of love between God and men. If this is understood in the language of our times, the rest just follows."

Q: "Where is God in modern society?"

A: "He has been put on the sidelines. In political life, it seems almost indecent to speak of God, as if it were an attack on the freedom of those who do not believe. The world of politics follows its norms and paths, excluding God as something that does not belong to this world. The same in the world of business, the economy and private life. God remains marginalized. To me, its seems necessary to rediscover, and the energy to do so exists, that even the political and economic spheres need moral responsibility, a responsibility that is born in man's heart and, in the end, has to do with the presence or absence of God. A society in which God is completely absent self-destructs. We saw this in the great totalitarian regimes of the last century."

Q: "A big issue is sexual ethics. The encyclical 'Humanae Vitae' produced a gap between the Magisterium and the practical behavior of the faithful.  Is it time to remedy that?"

A: "For me, it is clear that we must continue to reflect. In his first years as pope, John Paul II offered a new anthropological, person-centered approach to the problem, developing a very different vision from the relationship between the 'me' and 'you' of men and women. It is true that the pill has given rise to an anthropological revolution of great dimensions. It has not been, as thought in the beginning, the only solution for difficult situations, but it has changed the vision of sexuality, the human being and the body itself. Sexuality has been separated from fecundity and in this way it has profoundly changed the concept of the human life. The sexual act has lost its purpose and finality which before was clear and specific, so that all forms of sexuality have become equivalent. Above all, from this revolution comes the equalization between homosexuality and heterosexuality. This is why I say that Paul VI  indicated a problem of great importance."

Q: "Homosexuality is a topic that regards love between two people and not just mere sexuality. What can the Church do to understand this phenomenon?"

A:  "Let me say two things. Above all, we must have great respect for these people who also suffer and who want to find their own way of correct living. On the other hand, to create a legal form of a kind of homosexual marriage, in reality, does not help these people."

Q: "Therefore you judge negatively the choice made in Spain?"

A: "Yes, because it is destructive to the family and society. The law creates morality or a moral form, since people habitually think that what the law affirms is morally allowed. And if we judge this union to be more or less equivalent to marriage, we have a society that no longer recognizes either the specific nature of the family, nor its fundamental character, that is to say, the nature of man and woman which is to create continuity - not only in a biological sense - for humanity. For this reason the Spanish decision does not provide a real benefit to these people since in this way we  are destroying the fundamental elements of an order of law."

Q: "Sometimes the Church, in saying no to everything, has met defeat. Should it not at least be possible for a pact of solidarity between two homosexuals to be recognized and protected by the law?

A: "But to institutionalize an agreement of this type - whether the lawmaker wants it or not - would necessarily appear in public opinion like another type of marriage that would inevitably assume a relative value. Let us not forget that with these choices, to which Europe tends today - shall we say - in decline, we make a break from all the great cultures of humanity that have always recognized the very meaning of sexuality: that is, that men and the women were created to be jointly the guarantee of the future of the humanity. Not only a physical guarantee but also a moral one."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 19, 2004 (VIS) - John Paul II sent a telegram of condolence to Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, upon learning of the death yesterday at the age of 92 of his predecessor, Cardinal Juan Carlos Aramburu:

  "Deeply saddened upon learning the news of the death of our beloved Cardinal Juan Carlos Aramburu, archbishop emeritus of Buenos Aires, after a long life of total dedication to God and in service to the Church, living with sobriety and distinguishing himself by prudence and integrity, I wish to express my condolences to you, the auxiliary bishops, clergy, religious communities and the lay people of this archdiocese. I join you in commending to the mercy of the heavenly Father this zealous pastor who with such pastoral charity served his people and the Church.

  "His generous and intense work, first as a priest and then as the bishop of Tucuman and then for 23 years as the archbishop of this particular Church, extending his ministerial work after his retirement in the shrine of St. Cajetan as a witness to the cause of the Gospel, all are proof of his deep love for the Church and his zeal for saving souls.

  "In these moments of pain when the ecclesial community of Buenos Aires and so many Argentinean faithful mourn their beloved pastor, and recalling his participation in Vatican Council II, his service to the universal Church and the welcome he showed me during my pastoral trip to Argentina in 1987, I am happy to impart with affection the comforting apostolic blessing as a sign of hope in the victory of the Risen Lord."


VATICAN CITY, NOV 19, 2004 (VIS) - Members of the post-synodal council of the Special Assembly for Asia, which was held in the Vatican from April 19 to May 14, 1998 on the theme "That they may have life, and have it abundantly," were received this morning by the Holy Father.

  The Pope thanked them for their work, noting their contribution to editing the Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Asia" and to seeing to its application on the Asian continent. He underscored the importance of "fruitful dialogue" which, he said, quoting the exhortation, has a special urgency today "in the multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural situation of Asia, where Christianity is still too often seen as foreign."

  Pointing to the high number of young people in Asia, he said this is both a "reason for optimism because the new generations, filled with promise, are available to dedicate themselves totally to a cause, and a challenge because unfulfilled dreams can only generate disillusionment."

  "In addition," stated John Paul II, "the Church intends to contribute to the cause for peace in Asia, where various conflicts and terrorism cause the loss of many human lives. During the Synod, the Synod Fathers looked with apprehension at the Holy Land, 'the heart of Christianity'" where "the hot spots of war have only grown larger and it is therefore urgent to build peace."

  "To announce the Gospel in depth in Asia," said the Pope, "it is necessary for all believers to penetrate every aspect of life with their faith. ... Especially where they suffer and are not free to profess their faith, the Kingdom of God must be proclaimed with 'a silent witness of life', carrying the cross and following in the footsteps of the suffering and crucified Christ, waiting patiently for the day there will be full religious freedom."

  The Holy Father noted how the synod for Asia had emphasized that dialogue "is a characteristic mode of the Church's life in Asia," pointing out that this extends to dialogue within the Church, with other Christian communities and with "the cultural and religious values of different peoples."

  "Do not be discouraged," he concluded, "because the flock in Asia is small. The efficacy of evangelization does not depend on numbers. ... Christ taught us that what is small and hidden to the eyes of men, can obtain unhoped-for results thanks to the omnipotent intervention of God."
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Thursday, November 18, 2004


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

- Cardinal Bernard Agre, archbishop of Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

- Archbishop Alfio Rapisarda, apostolic nuncio in Portugal.

- Rev. Canon John Peterson, secretary general of the Anglican Communion in London and director of the Anglican Communion Office.

- Kazys Lozoraistis, ambassador of Lithuania, on his farewell visit.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 18, 2004 (VIS) - The 16th Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family began this morning in the Vatican in the New Synod Hall on the theme "The Mission of Mature, Experienced Couples with Engaged and Young Married Couples." Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, council president, gave the opening address, followed by talks by the secretary and under-secretary.

  A communique released by the council notes that the theme was chosen "in order to promote a deeper study of the current situation of families, with special reference to the contribution that so many domestic hearths, who fully live the reality of marriage according to the Word of God and the teachings of the Church, can offer engaged and young married couples, to accompany them on the path of preparation for marriage and then in the first years of married and family life."

  Those working in the pastoral ministry for families, and members of families themselves who "have at heart a successful marriage," says the communique, can be close to newlyweds, "offering discreet, wise and valid help not only to their married children but also to their grandchildren. Grandparents, with their wisdom and affection, can be resources in the inevitable difficulties in the lives of young families. These mature couples, who are rich in human and Christian experience, are precious because they can witness with their own lives and apostolate to the beauty and happiness of family life, when lived according to God's plan."

  According to the program released by the council, some of the topics that will be discussed include: Tenderness in Marriage (young couples); The Couple's Stability, Problems Due to Lack of Understanding; Family and Procreation; Sex Education and Challenges for Young Families, Presentation of the Fifth World Meeting of Families, in Valencia, Spain 2006; Juridical Problems Regarding Life and the Family, and Panorama of Problems Regarding the Family and Life in the U.N. and International Policies.
  An audience with Pope John Paul II is scheduled for Saturday, November 20.
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VATICAN CTIY, NOV 18, 2004 (VIS) - This morning the Pope received religious leaders from Azerbaijan and, speaking Russian, told them their visit reminded him of "the trip that God allowed me to make" to their country in 2002.

  "Welcome, Jeque-Ul-Islam, head of the presidency of the Muslims of the Caucasus Region, which constantly makes an effort to build up peace in an area where, unfortunately, violent conflicts continue. Welcome, Bishop Aleksandr of Baku in the region of the Caspian Sea, part of the Russian Orthodox Church, to which I am united  through affection and esteem. Welcome to the head of the Jewish Community of the Mountain, an old community that offers an example of coexistence and fraternal collaboration in a context which is Islamic in majority."

  After speaking about the late president of the republic, Heydar Aliev and his son, Ilham Aliev, who succeeded him, John Paul II said: "I hope with all my heart that peace returns to Azerbaijan, and that the conflict in Nagorno-Karabaj is resolved soon. This challenge, as well as others, should be addressed with good will in the mutual search for reciprocal openness and understanding and with a true spirit of reconciliation."

  The Holy Father asked God to help the religious representatives "to build up peaceful coexistence, one that is ever more positive," between them and the Catholic community in the country. "To the Catholics in the country and dear Fr. Jan Capla (head of the 'missione sui iuris'), I send affectionate greetings, while I ask Our Lord to help him to continue the evangelical mission in the Caucasus region."

  "May this visit to Rome," he said, "be a symbol for the world: may it show that tolerance is possible and is a value of civilization which builds a foundation for more complete and united human, civil and social development. No one has the right to present or use religions as instruments of intolerance, as means of aggression, violence or death. On the contrary, the friendship and reciprocal esteem among different religions is a rich resource of authentic progress and peace, if also supported by leaders' commitment to tolerance."

  John Paul II concluded by saying, "Muslims, Jews and Christians, in the name of God and civilization, together we wish to appeal for an end to violence and for everyone to set out on the path of love and justice. This is the path of religions. May God help us to take up this path with perseverance and patience!"
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Wednesday, November 17, 2004


VATICAN CITY, NOV 17, 2004 (VIS) - Today's general audience took place in the Paul VI Hall, during which the Pope dedicated the catechesis to Psalm 66, "May all peoples glorify the Lord."

  The Holy Father said that, in this psalm, the phrase "'the earth has yielded its fruit', makes us think of a hymn of thanksgiving, addressed to the Creator for the gifts of the earth, a sign of divine blessing."

  "The divine blessing asked for by Israel manifests itself in the fertility of the land and in fecundity, or the gift of life. ... Thanks to the blessing that Israel begged God for, all of humanity will be able to know 'the way' and the 'the saving power' of the Lord, that is His saving plan. It is revealed to all creatures and all societies that God judges and governs the peoples and the nations in the entire world, leading everyone toward the horizons of justice and peace."

  John Paul II stated that the psalm alludes to the "wall of separation that separated the Jews and the Pagans in the temple of Jerusalem," as described in the Letter to the Ephesians: "'But now in Jesus Christ, you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. In effect, He is our peace: He who made us both one and who has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, enmity. ... So that you are no longer strangers or guests but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God."

  "In this text," he added, "there is a message for us: we must break down the walls of division, hostility and hatred so that the family of God can gather in harmony around one table to bless and praise the Creator for the many gifts with which He enriches our lives, with no distinctions."

  The Holy Father concluded by underscoring that Christian tradition "has interpreted Psalm 66 in a Christological and mariological way.  For the Fathers of the Church, 'the earth has yielded its fruit' refers to Our Lady who gave birth to Christ."

  When greeting pilgrims in different languages at the end of the audience, the Pope addressed the families of members of the Italian military who died one year ago in Nassiriya, Iraq, recalling that "while they were carrying out their mission of peace."
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Tuesday, November 16, 2004


VATICAN CITY, NOV 16, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Carlos Jose Tissera of the clergy of the diocese of Villa de la Concepcion del Rio Cuarto, pastor of the Cathedral in San Francisco, Argentina, as bishop of the same diocese (area 19,611, population 209,600, Catholics 205,400, priests 38, religious 48).  The bishop-elect was born in Rio Cuarto, Argentina in 1951 and was ordained a priest in 1978.
NER/…/TISSERA                               VIS 20041116 (80)


VATICAN CITY, NOV 16, 2004 (VIS) - Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, spoke yesterday afternoon at a round table on "Ethics and Information: Confines, Limits and Impediments in Modern Communication" at the Patristic Institute Augustinianum in Rome.

  He began his remarks by "congratulating the Order of St. Augustine on the occasion of the 1,650th anniversary of the birth of their founder, St. Augustine of Hippo," noting that in the Church of St. Augustine in Rome there are relics of both this saint and Doctor of the Church and his mother, St. Monica. He also spoke of "the Basilica of St. Peter in Cieldoro in Pavia where the relics of St. Augustine have been kept under the main altar for almost 1,300 years." These same relics - the mortal remains of St. Augustine - were brought to Rome for a week and were in Pope John Paul's private apartment from the afternoon of November 11 to the morning of November 12.

  Noting that St. Augustine "has continued to communicate after 1,600 years," Archbishop Foley spoke of communications today and said "for us, the limits of communication should be truth, the dignity of the individual and the common good. Thus, the first principle is, 'Never tell a lie' - for any person or for any cause. The second principle is that the dignity of the person should never be violated - for example, by false propaganda, by pornography, by speech designed to foment hatred. The third principle is that all communication should contribute to the common good, not detract from it. … Thus, authentic communication should foster conformity with just law; it should be an encouragement to contribute to the common good."
CON-CS/ETHICS:INFORMATION/FOLEY            VIS 20041116 (290)


VATICAN CITY, NOV 16, 2004 (VIS) - This morning the Pope received the members of the 10th ordinary council of the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops which is preparing the synod that will take place in October 2005 on the theme, "The Eucharist: source and summit of the life and mission of the Church."

  "The next synod," he said, "will be an auspicious occasion so that in the Church faith in the mystery of the Eucharist is confirmed, so that collegial and hierarchical communion is renewed and so that fraternal charity is promoted."

  Referring to the encyclical "Ecclesia de Eucharistia," published in 2003, and the Apostolic Letter "Mane nobiscum Domine," published this October, the Holy Father underscored that both documents are entrusted to the Church so that "the doctrine and Eucharistic praxis universally find souls ready for communion with the Lord and with their brothers and sisters in charity."

  John Paul II indicated that the pastors of the Church must "be authentic teachers of communion so that the Lord's flock grows in unity as one body, so that the spaces dedicated to pastoral charity increase, and so that collegiality and hierarchal communion flourish through the fruits of the Holy Spirit."

  "May the Church, renewed in the discovery of the gift and mystery of the Eucharist," he concluded, "extend this inexhaustible wealth of life to those near and far through the urgent work of the new evangelization."
AC/SYNOD EUCHARIST/…                            VIS 20041116 (250)

Monday, November 15, 2004


VATICAN CITY, NOV 13, 2004 (VIS) - Pope John Paul today welcomed 50 members of the Christian Office of the Handicapped, founded in 1963 in France by Marie-Helene Mathieu and several families with handicapped members  Noting that their work is inspired by Christian values, he said, "you remind people that the person is not reduced to his aptitudes and place in economic life, but rather is a creature of God, loved by Him for himself, not for what he does."

   The Pope said he knows the sacrifices made by families with a handicapped member, but also the joys they experience "and the affection the (handicapped) have for those who care for them. Your action is both a service and a true mission for the promotion of the human person and the defense of their dignity. ... You accomplish in the heart of  the Church the remarkable service of charity, tenderness and compassion for the handicapped and their families." He told the group and their foundress that they are "one of the signs of the solidarity of the entire Christian community with regard to those wounded in their body and in their spirit."

  "Your presence," stated the Holy Father, "invites me to appeal once again in an urgent manner to all people of good will, especially government leaders and legislators, to have a elevated awareness and humanity so that all human life is protected, especially that of the weakest, the smallest and the poorest, and to stop all actions aimed at eliminating conceived and unborn children, who are defenseless, with man thus making himself the master of life."
AC/CHRISTIAN OFFICE HANDICAPPED/...            VIS 20041115 (280)


VATICAN CITY, NOV 13, 2004 (VIS) - Made public yesterday afternoon was a Message from the Pope to Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, and to the participants in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Italian Association of Radio Listeners and Television Viewers.

  John Paul II writes in the Message dated November 10 that the purpose of this association, started by Catholic Action, is "to promote the dignity of the person, the family, schools and to safeguard the rights and cultural, spiritual and moral interests of citizens."

  "It is necessary," writes the Holy Father, "to help television viewers, especially families, to make mature use of the medium of television in order to know how to discern with balance and wisdom the transmissions that are in line with the Christian vision of the world and of man."

  The Pope says that "the legitimate needs of the worlds of communication and entertainment must be harmonized with the rights of individuals and families, without ever giving in to the illusions of those who want to confuse truth with opinion, and while avoiding exposing the most sacred and intimate aspects of family life to becoming spectacles and being banally vulgarized."

  After expressing his appreciation to the association for having created a system of codes to protect minors, the Pope concludes with the hope that "a constructive dialogue between families and the world of television can be cultivated, promoting serious ethical reflection which is so necessary to those who work in the field of social communication because they carry out a task that important formative aspects."
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