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Wednesday, April 28, 2004


VATICAN CITY, APR 28, 2004 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke yesterday in New York at the Third Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The meeting began on April 26 and concludes May 7.

  In opening remarks, the archbishop said that, although this Treaty "has contributed to international peace and security, there is still much to accomplish," especially because the Treaty's integrity and good faith application are being challenged today. "The NPT promised a world in which nuclear weapons would be eliminated and nuclear technological cooperation for development would be widespread."

  "The current geo-political environment," stated the nuncio, "especially considering the threat posed by global terrorist networks acquiring weapons of mass destruction, requires us to reinforce these commitments. At the same time, it is becoming obvious that nuclear business as usual cannot continue." 

  He then outlined three concerns: 1)    Nuclear-weapon States have not given evidence of fulfilling their obligations related to the elimination of their nuclear arsenals; 2) Non-nuclear-weapon States Parties have Article II obligations which include not receiving, transferring, manufacturing or otherwise acquiring nuclear weapons yet "it is becoming clear that peaceful (use of nuclear energy) can be too easily diverted into weapons programs"; 3) "Yet another problem is posed by States which remain outside or withdraw from the NPT."
  Archbishop Migliore reiterated the Holy See position that "a 'peace' based on nuclear weapons cannot be the peace we seek in the 21st century. ... A global dialogue is necessary" which "should be multilateral, informed by public opinion and the views of expert analysts." He affirmed Holy See support for "an international conference to identify ways to eliminate nuclear dangers, such as those explicitly mentioned in the U.N. Millennium Declaration."


VATICAN CITY, APR 28, 2004 (VIS) - In today's general audience, which took place in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke about the second part of Psalm 26, "The prayer of the persecuted innocent." It is, he said, "a song of faith raised to the Lord on the dark day of assault by the wicked."

  "But even now, as in the first part of the psalm, the decisive element is the faith of the supplicant in the Lord Who saves us in times of trial and sustains us in tribulation."

  The Holy Father said that there are three symbolic elements in the psalm. "The first, which is negative, is the nightmare of the enemies ... described as false witnesses who breathe violence out of their nostrils. ... There is an aggressive evil in the world whose inspiration and guide is Satan."

   John Paul II said that the second image "clearly illustrates the serene confidence of the faithful, even when abandoned by their parents." In this context, he urged that these words of the psalm be a consolation to the elderly, the sick and those who are lonely, "so that they feel the fatherly and motherly hand of the Lord who silently and lovingly touches their faces which are sad and perhaps wet with tears."

  The Pope indicated that the third and last element which is repeated various times in the psalm is: "'Seek His face.  I will seek your face, Lord!  Do not hide your face from me.'  The face of God is the goal of the supplicant's spiritual search. ... In the language of the psalms 'seek the Lord's face' is often synonymous with entering the temple to celebrate and experience communion with God. ... In liturgy and in personal prayer, we obtain the grace to envision that face that we will never be able to directly see during our earthly existence."

  In concluding remarks at the audience, the Holy Father recalled that tomorrow is the feast of St. Catherine of Siena, patron of Italy and Europe. "May the example of this great saint help everyone to persevere in the faith and to bear generous witness to Christ
and His Gospel in every moment."
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