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Friday, March 5, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAR 5, 2004 (VIS) - The Pope has sent a message to Cardinal Renato R. Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, for a conference that is taking place today and tomorrow at the dicastery's main office on the theme "The Business Executive: Social Responsibility and Globalization."

"The present conference," writes the Holy Father, "is taking place at a time when the financial and commercial sector is becoming increasingly aware of the need for ethical practices which ensure that business activity remains sensitive to its fundamentally human and social dimensions."

John Paul II emphasizes that "among the important ethical issues facing the business community at present are those associated with the impact of global marketing and advertising on the cultures and values of various countries and peoples. A sound globalization, carried out in respect for the values of different nations and ethnic groupings, can contribute significantly to the unity of the human family and enable forms of cooperation which are not only economic but also social and cultural. Globalization must become something more than simply another name for the absolute relativization of values and homogenization of lifestyles and cultures."


VATICAN CITY, MAR 5, 2004 (VIS) - Made public today was the annual message from the presidency of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America for the Day of Latin America which will be celebrated in Spanish dioceses on Sunday, March 7.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re and Archbishop Luis Robles Diaz, president and vice president of the pontifical commission, write in the message dated January 6, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, that "the lands of Latin America were blessed with the gift of faith more than 500 years ago. Spain is responsible for that. Today, at the dawn of the third millenium, the continent of hope contains almost half of the world's Catholics, a culture forged on the fire of the Gospel and on a young, strong and lively Church; lacking in human resources and materials, but rich in enthusiasm and evangelizing dynamism."

"The achievement of the new evangelization, called for by John Paul II, encourages the Church in Latin America to always search for new and bold ways of making the Gospel present." In order to do so, the message continues, it is necessary "'to increase the number and promote the formation of evangelizers, consecrated persons and lay people.' . A specific response to this challenge has been the second American Missionary Congress which took place last November in Guatemala. . This evangelizing event has already begun to bear its first fruits, strengthening the missionary conscience of the Church in the Americas, looking toward the third millennium."

The president and vice president emphasize that "today, as in the past, the Church in Spain wants to help her sister Churches in Latin America in this important task. The thought-provoking theme for this year's Day of Latin America, 'We join in their missionary commitment,' expresses this desire well."

After stressing that "Spain has a rich and fruitful missionary tradition," Cardinal Re and Archbishop Robles affirm that "the evangelizing impulse cannot be suppressed; it must be permanently renewed, trying to respond to the new challenges of our time. A sign of this is the National Congress of Missions which took place recently in Spain on the emblematic theme, 'It is time to be missionaries'."

In conclusion, the message says: "The Pontifical Commission for Latin America encourages Catholics in Spain to effectively commit to this passionate endeavor, each person according to his or her own capacities; with prayer which is what sustains missionaries and the apostolic works that they promote, and with concrete participation in missionary activity. Church in Spain, it is time to be missionaries!"


VATICAN CITY, MAR 5, 2004 (VIS) - Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, is in Augsburg, Germany where he spoke today to the congress of "Aid to the Church in Need" (ACN) on the theme "Modern Media - A Blessing or a Curse."

ACN was founded on Christmas Day 1947 by Norbertine Father Werenfried van Straaten, who died January 31, 2003. It is a universal public association of the faithful that offers financial support to more than 8,000 projects worldwide. Bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful may propose projects but each must have the recommendation of the local bishop.

Archbishop Foley said he does not "think the media are a curse" but "they can represent a risk," when they fail to enrich the lives of people through offering good news and good programming. He highlighted the need in Germany - where polls indicate "only one third of Germans accept the First Commandment" - for the Catholic media to make its voice felt, to make Church teachings known, and to promote the good work done by the Church, especially its volunteers for the poor, the sick and the handicapped.

He said he was told that in the general news media "not one television news program in Germany reported on the Holy Father's World Youth Day in Manila several years ago, when seven million people joined him for Mass in Rizal Park, perhaps the largest gathering in the history of the world!"

"Thus," affirmed Archbishop Foley, "even in your own nation and in most nations of the developed world, there is a 'Church in need' ready for your aid -- in your example, in your personal commitment to the Catholic Church and to its entire teaching, in your readiness to cooperate with our Holy Father and with your bishops."

He urged his listeners to "use the press, use radio, use television, use the Internet to tell the good news of what Father Werenfried did during his life and what you continue to do in the same spirit. . Also, seek coverage not only for the work done by Aid to the Church in Need, but seek coverage of religion in general and of the many needs to which you cannot always respond; seek coverage to promote understanding, to stimulate prayer and to elicit generosity and service."


VATICAN CITY, MAR 5, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Fr. Ramon Jose Aponte Fernandez, pastor of San Alejo in Bocono, Venezuela, as bishop of Valle de la Pascua (area 37,997, population 360,000, Catholics 352,000, priests 18, religious 35), Venezuela. The bishop-elect was born in Carache, Venezuela in 1948 and was ordained a priest in 1974.

- Appointed Bishop Michel Mouisse, auxiliary of Grenoble, France, as bishop of Perigueux (area 9,225, population 390,000, Catholics 290,000, priests 137, permanent deacons 9, religious 246), France. He succeeds Bishop Gaston Poulain whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.


VATICAN CITY, MAR 5, 2004 (VIS) - On Saturday, March 13, in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father will pray the Rosary with a group of European university students at the culminating moment of their daylong meeting in Rome on the theme "The Pope and University Students, Together for Europe."

This European Day of University Students is being held to mark the May 1 entry into the European Union of ten new countries. The meeting is promoted by the Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE), the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) and by the office for university ministry of the Vicariate of Rome.

The encounter will start at 5:45 p.m. with the entrance of the Cross, accompanied by a choir of 1,700 youth from Italian universities and conservatories. Before the Pope's arrival, and in a television linkup with university students from cities in countries about to enter the European Union - Prague, Nicosia, Gniezno, Vilnius, Tallinn, Riga, Bratislava, Budapest, Valletta and Ljubljana - the young people will reflect on the Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Europe" and welcome the delegations from these ten nations.

Pope John Paul, following his arrival at 6:30 p.m., will lead the Rosary, address the university students and then inaugurate the pilgrimage that the Cross will make to the church of St. Agnes in Rome's Piazza Navona.
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