Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

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...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Friday, February 27, 2004


VATICAN CITY, FEB 27, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father sent a telegram of condolence to the authorities of Macedonia through the apostolic nunciature in Bosnia-Herzegovina upon the death of Boris Trajkovski, president of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in a plane crash in which other passengers and crew members lost their lives as well.

In the telegram, the Pope conveys his condolences to the government and to the people of Macedonia and prays that "President Trajkovski's resolute commitment to peace will inspire the nation to continue steadfastly upon the path of dialogue, mutual respect and reconciliation."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 27, 2004 (VIS) - Pastors from the province of Besancon and the archbishop and auxiliary bishop of Strasbourg were welcomed this morning by Pope John Paul as they conclude their "ad limina" visit. He noted in his talk that his visits with the different provinces of France are drawing to a close and he thanked the bishops and faithful for their "courageous commitment in proclaiming the Gospel."

The Pope paid homage to the late nuncio in Burundi, Archbishop Michael Courtney, assassinated last December, who had been posted in Strasbourg as the Holy See permanent observer to the Council of Europe. "He was a convinced artisan of cooperation among States on the European continent. Today I invite the local Churches to commit themselves ever more firmly in favor of European integration. To achieve this result, it is important to re-read history and recall that, throughout the centuries, the Christian anthropological, moral and spiritual values largely contributed to fashioning the different European nations and to weaving their deep bonds. .Union cannot be achieved to the detriment of these values nor in opposition to them."

John Paul II stressed that it is not economic or political interests, or alliances of convenience, that forge bonds among peoples. Rather, what must be placed as the building blocks of a unified Europe are the values common to all. "Thus, a Europe will be born whose identity rests on a community of values, a Europe of fraternity and solidarity" that seeks "the promotion of man, respect for his inalienable rights and the common good."

He highlighted "the centuries-old presence of the Church in different countries of the continent through its participation in unity between peoples and cultures and in social life, notably in the educational, charitable, health care and social domains." The Pope also noted that, during their last assembly, the French episcopal conference had discussed the question of the place of the Church in society.

He then turned his attention to the "integral formation of young people, notably those who will be the nation's leaders tomorrow. . The Church hopes to enlighten them with the Gospel and the Magisterium. Here Catholic universities have a specific mission, . to help youth to analyze particular situations and to envisage how to always place man at the center of their decisions."

Pointing to the role of Christians in social life in all its forms, John Paul II said: "In political life, in the economy, in the workplace and in the family, it is up to the faithful to make Christ ever present and to make the Gospel values shine forth," and to highlight man's dignity, central place in the universe and primacy over individual interests.

"The participation of Christians in public life, the visible presence of the Catholic Church and other religious denominations takes nothing away from the principle of secularity nor from the State's prerogatives. . A well understood secularity must not be confused with secularism; it cannot erase personal and community beliefs. . Religion cannot merely be placed to one side in the private sphere."

The Holy Father stressed the importance of knowing one's own religion and being aware of the traditions of other religions, pointing out the strong Muslim presence in France "with whom you try to maintain good relations and to promote inter-religious dialogue which is, as I've said before, a dialogue of life. Such a dialogue should also revive in Christians an awareness of their faith and their attachment to the Church."

In concluding, the Pope told the prelates it was up to them "to intensify relations with civil authorities and other categories of elected people in your country, in national and European parliaments, especially Catholic parliamentarians, and with international institutions."
AL/./FRANCE VIS 20040227 (630)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 27, 2004 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of the new ambassador of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Miroslav Palameta. In his speech in Croatian, he focused on finding solutions to the problems that affect local populations and emphasized "it is the challenge of a multiethnic and multicultural society like Bosnia-Herzegovina" to find solutions that are beneficial to all.

The Pope referred to "the unresolved question of the refugees and exiles of Banja Luka, Bosanska Posavina and other areas in Bosnia. . The more time that passes, the more urgent the duty becomes to respond to their legitimate aspirations: their suffering requires our solidarity."

"We must address and resolve," he continued, "eventual situations of injustice and exclusion, guaranteeing each group of people in Bosnia-Herzegovina their respective rights and duties, assuring them equal opportunities in social life through democratic structures that are able to resist the temptation to subject some groups to others. Democracy must be built with patient tenacity one day at a time, always using means and methods worthy and respectful of a civil society."

After urging citizens to take up "the path of peace and justice," the Holy Father asked them to create "conditions for sincere forgiveness and authentic reconciliation, freeing the memory of rancor and hatred derived from injustices suffered and from artificially constructed prejudices. This great task requires the active collaboration and serious commitment of all components of society, including political leaders."

The Pope underscored that "we must not ignore our differences, we must respect them," and said that those who "have responsibility at various levels are called to make a greater effort in order to resolve the problems that affect local populations."

"Bosnia-Herzegovina wants to join the other European countries in building a common house. May this desire be fulfilled as soon as possible." He concluded: "The Holy See supports this path to unification and hopes that a great family of peoples and culture will be built in Europe as a result of everyone's contribution. The European Union is not only an extension of it borders, but it means growing together in respect for every cultural tradition and in a commitment to justice and peace on the continent and in the world."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 27, 2004 (VIS) - The seventh meeting of the Council for the Special Assembly for Oceania of the Synod of Bishops was held in Rome on February 18 and 19, under the presidency of Cardinal Jan Schotte, C.I.C.M, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, according to a communique released today by the secretariat.

In attendance were four cardinals, five archbishops and four staff members of the Synod of Bishops.

After an opening speech by the secretary general on the activities of the secretariat between the sixth and seventh meetings, reports were read, and then debated, on the diverse initiatives that have been undertaken up to now on this continent aimed at spreading the application of the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Oceania."

The eighth meeting of this council will be held in Suva, Fiji in 2006 during the Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Catholic Bishops' Conferences of Oceania.


VATICAN CITY, FEB 27, 2004 (VIS) - As is customary at the beginning of Lent, the Pope sent a Message for the Campaign for Brotherhood, an initiative promoted for 40 years by the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops. This campaign's theme this year is: "Water, source of life."

In the just-released Message, dated January 7 and addressed to Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo, archbishop of San Salvador and primate of Brazil, the Holy Father writes that water, in addition to being important for the earth, is used to wash and purify, but "it is in Christian baptism where it acquires its full spiritual meaning as the source of supernatural life."

"As a gift from God, water is a vital instrument, necessary for survival, and therefore, a right for all. It is necessary to pay careful attention to problems that come from its evident scarcity in many parts of the world, not only in Brazil."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 27, (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Pablo Lizama Riquelme, military ordinary for Chile, as coadjutor archbishop of Antofagasta (area 84,506, population 347,939, Catholics 243,558, priests 43, permanent deacons 17, religious 118), Chile. Archbishop Lizama will keep his office as military ordinary for Chile.


VATICAN CITY, FEB 27, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Four prelates from the French Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Francois Maupu of Verdun.

- Archbishop Joseph Dore, P.S.S., of Strasbourg, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Christian Kratz.

- Msgr. Bernard Clement, vicar general of Metz.

- Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Early this evening the Pope is scheduled to receive Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
AL:AP/./. VIS 20040227 (90)
Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service