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Wednesday, January 28, 2004


VATICAN CITY, JAN 28, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 28, 2004 (VIS) - Pope John Paul's Lenten Message for 2004 on the theme "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me," will be presented in the Holy See Press Office at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow by Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum." Joining him will be Msgr. Karel Kasteel, council secretary and Fr. Angelo D'Agostino, S.J., founder and medical director of "Nyumbani," The Children of God Relief Institute of Nairobi, Kenya.


VATICAN CITY, JAN 28, 2004 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke yesterday in Stockholm, Sweden as head of the Holy See delegation to the Fourth Stockholm International Forum, "Preventing Genocide: Threats and Responsibilities." The conference began January 26 and ends today. The previous meetings were on the Holocaust, on Combating Intolerance, and on Truth, Justice and Reconciliation.

He began by noting that "humanity has seen world wars, genocides, mass murders, and ethnic cleansings. However, among all forms of large-scale violence, genocide sets itself apart by the evil motivation behind it, namely, its specific intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a nation, a race, an ethnic or religious group, a defenseless or vulnerable group of human beings, simply for being such. Indeed, genocide literally means to kill a race or a tribe. "

"My delegation," he stated, "wishes to highlight three specific points: first, the need to implement existing legal instruments against genocide; second, the central role of the international, regional and sub-regional Organizations; third, the commitment to education and vigilance against genocide."

The nuncio emphasized that the instruments and structures against genocide "have not prevented new genocides from happening. ... The international community is duty-bound to examine why they failed; have (they) become wanting in the face of evolving criminal strategies, or due to a lack of political will to implement them or due to interests overriding the survival of a nation or a group, or due to all these factors combined."

International organizations, he underscored, "have the task to muster international resolve to implement ... the juridical instruments and structures" for "they are the privileged fora . ... In this regard, the United Nations remains the central forum for global international rule making. ... However, not all member States, in particular developing countries, have the technical capacity to cope with all the international obligations."

Archbishop Migliore closed by stating that "educating individuals and communities ... on the horrors of genocide ... is a perennial and ever-timely duty incumbent upon us all. Genocide remains, unfortunately, a constant menace in some regions of the world" and "is latent in places where eliminating the other is considered a 'fast solution' to drawn-out rivalries and unresolved conflicts."


VATICAN CITY, JAN 28, 2004 (VIS) - In today's general audience celebrated in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope continued the Wednesday catechesis with commentary on the psalms, and spoke about Psalm 10, "The faith of the just is in the Lord."

"The spiritual tone of the entire hymn," said the Pope, "is expressed well by the concluding verse: 'The Lord is righteous, He loves righteous deeds.' This is the root of all faith and the source of every hope in the day of darkness and trial. God is not indifferent to good and evil. He is a good God and not a dark power, indecipherable and mysterious."

John Paul II indicated that in the first of the two episodes of the psalm "the godless one is described in his apparent triumph," as the one who wants "to violently strike his victim, the faithful" and the faithful "feels alone and powerless before the eruption of evil." He went on to say that in the second episode, "the Lord, seated on his celestial throne, embraces with His penetrating gaze the entire human world. From that transcendent position, sign of omniscience and divine omnipotence, God can examine and evaluate each person, distinguishing good from evil and condemning injustice with force."

"The Lord," he added, "is not a remote sovereign, closed in His golden world, but rather He is a vigilant Presence that is on the side of good and justice. He sees and provides, intervening with His word and action." The godless one, "rained down upon with coals fire and brimstone, symbols of God's judgement," experiences first hand that "there is a God Who judges on the earth."

The Pope emphasized that "the last verse opens up the horizon to the light and peace destined to the just man who will contemplate his Lord, a just judge, but overall a merciful liberator: 'The upright will behold His face.' It is an experience of common joy and of serene faith in God Who frees man from evil."

"Many just men throughout history have had a similar experience," he concluded. "Many stories describe the faith of the Christian martyrs in the face of tempests and their firmness in not shunning the trial."
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 28, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis, auxiliary of Brasilia, Brazil, as metropolitan archbishop of Aparecida (area 1,300, population 220,000, Catholics 198,000, priests 94, permanent deacons 2, religious 301), Brazil. The archbishop-elect was born in Capela Nova, Brazil in 1937 and was ordained a priest in 1968. He succeeds Cardinal Aloisio Lorscheider, O.F.M., whose resignation from the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo, auxiliary of Sao Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, as metropolitan archbishop of Belo Horizonte (area 7,420, population 4,325,642, Catholics 3,244,231, priests 548, religious 2,303), Brazil. The archbishop-elect was born in 1954 and was ordained a priest in 1977. He succeeds Cardinal Serafim Fernandes de Araujo whose resignation from the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Archbishop Joao Braz de Aviz of Maringa, Brazil, as metropolitan archbishop of Brasilia (area 5,814, population 2,043,169, Catholics 1,573,240, priests 209, permanent deacons 22, religious 668), Brazil. He succeeds Cardinal Jose Freire Falcao whose resignation from the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.
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