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Wednesday, June 30, 2004


VATICAN CITY, JUN 30, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Fr. Norbert Jose Henri Turini, vicar general of the diocese of Nice, France, as bishop of Cahors (area 5,228, population 160,124, Catholics 142,900, priests 93, permanent deacons 5, religious 102), France. The bishop-elect was born in 1954 in Cannes, France and was ordained a priest in 1982.

- Archbishop Hector Cubillos of Bucaramanga, Colombia, as bishop of Zipaquira (area 7,163, population 548,000, Catholics 544,300, priests 129, religious 341), Colombia.

- Fr. Juan Vicente Cordoba Villota, S.J., dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the Pontifical Xaverian University in Bogota, Colombia, as auxiliary bishop of Bucaramanga (area 5,397, population 1,176,660, Catholics 1,149,284, priests 215, permanent deacons 20, religious 200), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in 1951 in Quito, Ecuador and was ordained a priest in 1979.

- Fr. Pascal Delannoy, episcopal vicar in the diocese of Lille, France, as auxiliary bishop of the same diocese (area 2,288, population 1,558,000, Catholics 1,060,000, priests 637, permanent deacons 55, religious 1,048), France.  The bishop-elect was born in 1957 in Comines, Belgium and was ordained a priest in 1989.
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 30, 2004 (VIS) - Today's general audience which took place in St. Peter's Square was the last audience that the Holy Father will celebrate before his short vacation in Valle D'Aosta in the Italian Alps from July 5 to 17. 

  The Pope recalled that yesterday the Church celebrated the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, who are so venerated in Rome, "where they sealed their admirable witness of love for the Lord with blood." He said the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, participated in the Eucharistic liturgy in order to commemorate "the forty years of the historical embrace" between Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I in Jerusalem.

  During the celebration, he continued, "forty-four metropolitan archbishops received the pallium. This "special liturgical insignia," which is a white stole made of lambs' wool worn around the neck, expresses "communion with the Bishop of Rome."

  John Paul II said that the pallium "expresses the fundamental principle of communion that gives shape to ecclesial life in all aspects; it reminds us that this communion is organic and hierarchal; it expresses the fact that the Church, since it is one, needs the special service of the Church of Rome and its bishop, head of the Episcopal college."  The rite of the pallium, he added, also highlights "the universality of the Church," sent "by Christ to announce the Gospel to all nations and to serve humanity."

  The Pope concluded by inviting the faithful to help the metropolitans, "to remain united to them and to pray for the pastoral mission that they have been entrusted with. I also am thinking of the eight metropolitans who are not present today and who received the pallium in their own sees."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 29, 2004 (VIS) - Today, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, at 6 p.m. in St. Peter's Square in the presence of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Pope John Paul celebrated Mass, during which he blessed and  bestowed palliums on 44 metropolitan archbishops from different countries throughout the world. Both the Pope and the Patriarch pronounced homilies, following the reading of the Gospel in both Latin and Greek. The Nicene-Constantinople Creed was then recited in Greek according to the liturgical use of the Byzantine Churches.

  Patriarch Bartholomew, whose homily was introduced by Pope John Paul, spoke of the progress that had been made since the embrace 40 years ago between Paul VI and Patriarch Athengoras, but added that "it has not been possible to eliminate in these 40 years the opposition that has accumulated during over 900 years. ... We hope that what has not been possible up to now will be obtained in the future, a near future. ... Our presence here today shows our sincere desire to remove all ecclesial obstacles which are not dogmatic or essential, so that our interest is concentrated on the study of the essential differences and the dogmatic truths that up to today have divided our Churches, as well as on the manner of living the Christian truth of the united Church."

  The ecumenical patriarch said that the unity of the Churches in not like that of a business or of States, "but is a spiritual search that aims at living together our spiritual communion with the person of  Our Lord Jesus Christ. ... In this delicate spiritual effort difficulties emerge due to the fact that the greater part of us men most often present our own positions, opinions and evaluations as if they were expressions of the mind, of the love and, in general, of the spirit of Christ. Since such personal opinions and evaluations ... do not coincide, either among themselves or with how Christ lived, discord emerges." What we must seek, he said, is not only external union, but union of spirit, in the spirit of Christ.

  Pope John Paul's homily centered on Christian unity and he noted that the presence of Patriarch Bartholomew at this evening's liturgy marked the 40th anniversary of "the fraternal embrace" in 1964 between Pope Paul VI and then Patriarch Athenagoras. He called that meeting "not just a memory, but a challenge for us, indicating the path of reciprocal discovery and reconciliation."

  Quoting his 1995 Encyclical "Ut Unum Sint," the Holy Father said: "To believe in Christ means to desire unity; to desire unity means to desire the Church; to desire the Church means to desire the communion of grace which corresponds to the Father's plan from all eternity. Such is the meaning of Christ's prayer: 'Ut unum sint'." He added that the commitment to communion "is not a question of a vague relationship of good neighbors but rather the indissoluble bond of theological faith for which we are destined to communion, not to separation."

  The Pope remarked  that "Whatever, over time, has broken our bond of unity in Christ we find painful today. Thus, today's encounter is not just a gesture of courtesy but is an answer to the Lord's command." He stated that "The Church of Rome has moved with firm will and with great sincerity on the path of full reconciliation, through initiatives that have shown themselves to be, everytime, possible and useful.. ... We know that unity is above all a gift from God, ...but bringing about its realization depends also on us."

  The Holy Father told Patriarch Bartholomew that he has "always been guided on the path to unity by the sure compass of the teaching of Vatican Council II. ... I repeat today that the commitment undertaken by the Catholic Church with Vatican Council II is irrevocable. We cannot renounce this!"

  In conclusion, the Holy Father addressed the archbishops about to receive the pallium, telling them that this "is a sign of the communion that unites you in a special way to the apostolic witness of Peter and Paul. It links you to the Bishop of Rome, Successor of Peter, called to undertake a special ecclesial service with regard to the entire episcopal college."


VATICAN CITY JUN 29, 2004 (VIS) - At 11 a.m., the Pope received in audience His Holiness Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, accompanied by an entourage, on the 40th anniversary of the historic embrace that Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I exchanged in Jerusalem in January of 1964. 

  Referring to this "blessed encounter" of forty years ago, John Paul II exclaimed, "How providential was that courageous and joyful encounter for the Church!  Driven by faith and love for God, our enlightened predecessors were able to overcome centuries-old prejudices and misunderstandings, and offered a wonderful example of pastors and leaders of the People of God. Rediscovering themselves brothers, they experienced a feeling of profound joy, which drove them to take up again with confidence the relations between the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople.  May God reward them in His kingdom!"

  After highlighting that in these forty years the Catholic and Orthodox Churches "have experienced important occasions of contact which have fostered the spirit of reciprocal reconciliation," the Holy Father said that "the memories of painful events in the past have a certain weight," as in April 1204 when an "army that departed to retake the Holy Land for Christianity, went to Constantinople to capture and sack it, shedding the blood of brothers in the faith. How can we also, eight centuries later, not share the indignation and pain that Pope Innocent III immediately expressed about what happened? ... Let us pray together so that the Lord of history will purify our memories of every prejudice and resentment, and grant us to proceed freely on the path of unity." 

  "To this we are invited also by the example left by Patriarch Athenagoras I and Pope Paul VI," John Paul II said. "May the memory of that meeting foster a step forward in the dialogue and consolidation of mutual fraternal relations. Theological dialogue, through the 'mixed Commission' continues to be an important tool. Therefore, I hope that it may be reactivated as soon as possible. I am convinced, in fact, of this urgency and it is my will and that of my collaborators to provide all the means to nourish a spirit of acceptance and reciprocal understanding in fidelity to the Gospel and our common apostolic tradition."

  After the meeting with the patriarch, John Paul II appeared at the window of his private study to pray the Angelus together with thousands of people who where gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  The Pope recalled that today the Church celebrates the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul:  "the fisherman from Galilee who was the first to profess faith in Christ; the master and doctor who announced salvation to the people. Due to the will of divine Providence, both came to Rome where they suffered martyrdom in the course of a few short years.  Since then, the city which was the capital of the great empire was called to a very distinct glory: to house the Apostolic See which presides over the universal mission of the Church to spread the Gospel of Christ, Redeemer of man and history, in the world."

  "I entrust the beloved diocese of Rome as well as the entire civil community to these two remarkable patrons.  Invoking their intercession and that of Our Lady, 'Salus populi romani', let us pray so that every man and woman may welcome the message of love for which Peter and Paul were martyred."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2004 (VIS) - The following telegram was sent today in Pope John Paul's name by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, to His Excellency Sheikh Ghazi Ajeel Al-Yawar, president of Iraq:

   "On the happy occasion of the transfer of power to the Interim Government of the State of Iraq, the Holy Father sends his cordial greetings to Your Excellency and to the citizens of your country. He prays that, as a new chapter begins in the life of the nation, the hopes of the Iraqi people for peace, freedom and prosperity will soon be fulfilled. His Holiness has always been deeply concerned for the suffering people of Iraq. He has expressed his solidarity with them on many occasions, not least through the constant presence among them of his personal representative, the Apostolic Nuncio. Now, as you take up the office of President, the Catholic Church throughout the world offers you every support and encouragement in the task of building a new Iraq. Your noble country, once home to Abraham, is now home to a rich variety of faith traditions. The Holy Father is confident that all religious groups within the country will be able to make their voices heard and to play their rightful part in forging a new society, committed to true freedom of conscience, to justice for all and to peaceful dialogue. Assuring Your Excellency and all the Iraqi people of his prayers, the Holy Father invokes upon you the abundant blessings of Almighty God."

  Analogous messages were sent from Cardinal Sodano to His Excellency Mr Iyad Allawi, Prime Minister of Iraq, and from Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for Relations with States, to His Excellency Mr Hoshyar Zebari, Iraqi Minister for Foreign Affairs.

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