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Thursday, April 1, 2004


VATICAN CITY, APR 1, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Archbishop Antonio Lucibello, apostolic nuncio in Paraguay.

- Five prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien, military ordinary, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Francis Xavier Roque, Joseph J. Madera, and John J. Keising.

    - Bishop John Huston Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee.

- Bishop Wilhelm Schraml of Passau, Germany.

- Nonsrichai Jullapong, ambassador of Thailand on his farewell visit.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 1, 2004 (VIS) - Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, spoke yesterday in Mexico City at the concluding session of the Third World Congress of Families, denouncing materialism, violence and permissiveness as being among the most dangerous threats to families in the world.

  The object of this meeting, said a press release from the council, "is to create an intercultural and inter-religious space for encounters, reflections, dialogue and proposals to build together a world suitable for families."

  Cardinal Martino said that "the family is the key for the future of mankind," and, in order to make society more human and just, the family as society's basic institution must be strengthened. He said "we must direct our greatest efforts, our best ideas and refine our imaginations and our creativity to make this action of strengthening the family more efficacious."

  "It is within the family," he underscored, "that those forms of anti-culture must be fought, those forms that contradict the vocation inscribed in the hearts of all human beings to a full life, to fraternity and to solidarity." He then remarked on the serious threats to families, citing "a materialistic culture which places things over people, the culture of violence which considers violence as the only way to produce a more just society and the culture of permissiveness which challenges rules on sexual behavior, interpersonal relations within the family and relations of authority."

  Noting that it is impossible for societies today not to be open to globalization, the cardinal said that "it is important, however, to educate to discernment and to defend the riches of every culture, avoiding what can place these cultures in danger. A people that loses its cultural identity becomes fertile terrain for inhuman practices and places its own future at risk."


VATICAN CITY, APR 1, 2004 (VIS) - Pope John Paul's general intention for the month of April is: "That solid preparation of the candidates for holy orders and permanent training of ordained ministers may be carefully provided for."

  His missionary intention is: "That the missionary spirit of 'ad gentes' may become a theme of reflection and a matter of constant commitment in the ordinary pastoral activity of the Christian community."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 1, 2004 (VIS) - This morning John Paul II received the rector, superiors and students from the Pontifical Pio Brasiliero College in Rome on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of its founding.

  The Pope said that the college, founded at the request of Pope Pius XI and the Brazilian episcopate, especially Cardinal Sebastiao Leme, "provides a positive environment for more profound academic and spiritual formation which is so necessary in your priestly mission. Living in Rome for some years offers many possibilities to come into contact with the history of the first centuries of Christianity, to open yourselves up to the universal dimension of the Church, to encourage ecclesial communion and a good disposition to accept the teachings of the Church."

  Referring to the importance of formation, the Holy Father emphasized that "it is a responsibility that your instructors have, not only in the universities that you attend but also especially for the religious of the Society of Jesus who are responsible for the direction of this college. May God want the spiritual foundation of St. Ignatius to spur you on continually since the Brazilian episcopate and all of God's people want holy and learned priests, true pastors of souls. This responsibility is even greater if we consider that some priests come from other Latin American countries and from Africa, Oceania and Europe."

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