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Thursday, July 1, 2004


VATICAN CITY, JUL 1, 2004 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, president of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

- Bishop Fabio Bernardo D'Onorio, ordinary abbot of Montecassino, Italy.

- Pedro Jose Ribeiro de Menezes, ambassador of Portugal, on his farewell visit.

- His Holiness Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople.
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ARCHBISHOP SILVANO TOMASI, HOLY SEE PERMANENT OBSERVER to the  Office of the United Nations and International Organizations in Geneva, spoke in that city on June 28 at the Second Preparatory Meeting of the First Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention. The review conference is scheduled to take place in Nairobi, Kenya from November 29 to December 3, 2004. The Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction was established on September 18, 1997 and entered into force on March 1, 1999. In his talk, the archbishop noted that, since March 1999, 116 countries have destroyed a total of 31 million mines; the cost of realizing the Convention's objectives so far has been $1.6 billion and up to February of 2004, 141 countries have become parties to this convention. Calling the Convention "a pioneer and efficacious," Archbishop Tomasi said "mines have made the poor even poorer, victims without hands and feet, children without a future, farmers without land to cultivate and young generations with a future on their ancestral land and whose only alternative is uprooting and migrating towards an uncertain tomorrow."

MARY ANN GLENDON, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY of Social Sciences and head of the Holy See delegation to the ECOSOC 2004 High Level Segment of Least Developed Countries (LDC), addressed the assembly on June 29 in New York on its theme, "Resource Mobilization and Enabling Environment for Poverty Eradication in the Context of the Implementation of the Program of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2002-2010." ECOSOC is the United Nations' Economic and Social Council. Prof. Glendon said that "the Holy See joins its voice to those that are urgently calling the family of nations to attend to the needs of its most vulnerable members. ... For as Pope John Paul II has insisted, 'The poor cannot wait.' No one can deny that the challenge to reverse what often appears to be a self-perpetuating cycle of poverty, especially of LDCs, is formidable." These challenges must not be used as excuses, but rather to spur us on to greater effort, she added. "The Holy See wishes to emphasize that any measure to promote authentic and lasting development must be protective of human dignity and culture. ... What is needed is a change of heart, that the international community may be ever bolder, more generous, more creative, more energetic in its struggle to finally end the division of the world into areas of poverty and plenty."
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VATICAN CITY, JUL 1, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father's general prayer intention for the month of July is: "That all those who are able to benefit from a holiday period during this time of the year may be helped during their vacation to rediscover in God their inner harmony and to open themselves to the love of human beings."

  His missionary intention is: "That in the young Churches the lay faithful may receive more attention and may be turned to greater account for evangelization."
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VATICAN CITY, JUL 1, 2004 (VIS) - Made public yesterday afternoon was the Holy Father's speech of June 29 in which he addressed Bishop Makarios, auxiliary of the Greek-Orthodox archdiocese in Switzerland, and the rector and students of the Institute of Higher Studies of Orthodox Theology of the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambesy, Switzerland.

  The Pope expressed his joy at the visit of the group to Rome on the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, in light of the relations maintained in recent years between the Orthodox Center and the Catholic Committee for cultural collaboration that is within the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

  "I hope," John Paul II said, "that the spiritual aspect of your life and your gathering with the great tradition of faith nourished by the Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul allows you to discover once again everything that we share in our millennium-long effort to proclaim the Gospel of Christ."

  The Holy Father emphasized that the Institute's "first 'study and information visit'" has coincided "with the fortieth anniversary of the historical embrace of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I in Jerusalem. I thank God for this marvelous witness of fraternity offered to the Church and I encourage you to work so that the commitment established in the land of Our Lord may become a responsibility for everyone."

  Since the Institute was founded in 1997, seventy-one students from ten Orthodox Churches have studied there, half of whom have received a certificate in specialization in Orthodox theology. In the past, the Catholic Committee for cultural collaboration has given scholarships to students to study French. These students provide an important service to the Churches and to the ecumenical dialogue of the Orthodox Church with other Christian Churches.

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