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Thursday, September 30, 2004


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

- Appointed Fr. Dominique Nguyen Chu Trinh, pastor of the cathedral and vicar general of the diocese of Xuan Loc, as bishop of Xuan Loc (area 8,414, population 3,034,920, Catholics 954,368, priests 329, religious 2,103), Vietnam.  The bishop-elect was born in 1940 in Phu Nhai, Vietnam and was ordained a priest in 1966. He succeeds Bishop Paul Marie Nguyen Minh Nhat whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese was accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Accepted the resignation form the office of coadjutor of the diocese of Palmerston North, New Zealand, presented by Bishop Owen John Dolan upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2004 (VIS) - On Wednesday afternoon, September 29, the Holy Father received six prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Colombia on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Flavio Calle Zapata of Ibague.

- Bishop Carlos Prada Sanmiguel of Duitama-Sogamoso.

- Bishop Jose Vicente Huertas Vargas of Garagoa.

- Bishop Jose Alberto Rozo Gutierrez, S.M.M. apostolic vicar of Puerto Gaitan.

- Bishop Jose de Jesus Quintero Diaz, apostolic vicar of Leticia.

- Bishop Jose Gustavio Angel Ramirez,  M.X.Y, apostolic vicar of Mitu.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 30, 2004 (VIS) - Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for the Holy See's Relations with States, yesterday spoke at the general debate of the 59th session of the United Nations General Assembly, noting this is the first time the Holy See has done so "since the Resolution of last July 1 which formalized and specified the rights and prerogatives of its status as a Permanent Observer, a status which the Holy See has enjoyed since 1964."

  He focussed his talk on the Holy See position on several of the themes on the agenda of the General Assembly.

  On the topic of poverty and development, he remarked that this "affects the right to subsistence of hundreds of millions of human beings, surviving - as best they can - below the threshold of what is necessary, as well as tens of millions of undernourished children unjustly deprived of the right to live." He added that the world "must find a lasting solution to these inhumane conditions, … progressing, under the aegis of the U.N. towards a more flexible and more just international trade system."

  For peace to occur in the world, continued the archbishop, there must be total and general disarmament. "The problem of weapons of mass destruction is clearly to be distinguished from that of conventional weapons; but the latter have a terrible and unending contemporary relevance in the numerous armed conflicts that stain the world with blood, and also in terrorism."

  On the theme of regional armed conflicts, Archbishop Lajolo highlighted the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Iraq conflict and various African countries.

   "The Catholic Church," he said of the Middle East, "present in Palestine for 2,000 years, invites everyone to turn their backs on any action likely to destroy confidence, and to utter generous words of peace and make bold gestures of peace.  And if peace is the fruit of justice, let it not be forgotten … that there can be no justice without forgiveness. Indeed, without mutual forgiveness. This clearly requires greater moral courage than the use of arms."

   On Iraq, the archbishop affirmed that "the Holy See believes it is now imperative to support the present Government in its efforts to bring the country to normality and to a political system that is substantially democratic and in harmony with the values of its historic traditions."

  He underscored how the African countries of Sudan, Somalia, those in the Great Lakes region and the Ivory coast are "scarred by bloodshed arising from mutual conflicts and even more from internal strife. They need active international solidarity, … and the African Union needs to intervene authoritatively so as to bring all legitimate interested parties around a negotiating table."

  "I have mentioned," said the archbishop, "the theme of terrorism, an aberrant phenomenon, utterly unworthy of man, which has already assumed global dimensions: today no State can presume to be safe from it.  Hence, without prejudice to the right and duty of each State to implement just measures to protect its citizens and its institutions, it seems obvious that terrorism can only be effectively challenged through a concerted multilateral approach, respecting the 'ius gentium', and not through the politics of unilateralism."

  Concluding remarks were dedicated to the theme of fundamental human rights, foremost among which is the right to life and that of freedom of religion. Archbishop Lajolo said that "in reality, such fundamental human rights stand or fall together. And man stands or falls with them.  For this reason - in the view of the Holy See - every effort has to be made to defend them in all fields. For this to happen, one particular danger must be avoided, which is found today in various countries and social settings. It is the idea that these fundamental human rights, as sanctioned by the (1948) Universal Declaration (of Human Rights), are expressions of a particular culture and are therefore highly relative."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 30, 2004 (VIS) - Made public today was Pope John Paul's Letter, written in Latin and dated August 6, to Cardinal Jozef Tomko, president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, who is the pontifical legate to the concluding celebrations of the 48th International Eucharistic Congress which will take place in Guadalajara, Mexico from October 10 to 17.   

  Joining Cardinal Tomko as members of the pontifical mission will be: Msgrs. Leopoldo Gonzalez Gonzalez of the archdiocese of Guadalajara, a member of the Board of Directors of Valle de Atemajac University in Zapopan, Jalisco, and Luis Miguel Munoz Cardaba, secretary at the apostolic nunciature in Mexico; Father Victor Antonio Garcia, M.Sp.S, rector of St. Philip's Church in Mexico City, and Dr. Jesus Carlos Camarena Martinez of the archdiocese of Guadalajara.

  Cardinal Tomko, who was appointed as legate on July 3, 2004, will be in Mexico as of October 5. He will participate in the October 6-8 theological symposium on the Eucharist that precedes the International Eucharistic Congress.


VATICAN CITY, SEP 30, 2004 (VIS) - This morning the Pope received Ion Iliescu, president of Romania, on the occasion of his visit to Rome to inaugurate an exhibit this afternoon in the Vatican Museums, "Stephen the Great, Bridge between East and West."

  John Paul II said that the meeting with the president allowed him to recall his visit to Romania in 1999 "with emotion and gratitude. As a pilgrim of faith and hope, I was welcomed enthusiastically by you and the authorities of the state, His Beatitude, Patriarch Teoctist and by the entire people of the venerable Romanian Orthodox Church. I received an especially fraternal embrace from the bishops and the beloved Catholic communities, of both the Byzantine and Latin rites."

  The Holy Father expressed "an affectionate wish for prosperity and peace" to the president, his associates and to the entire nation of Romania.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 30, 2004 (VIS) - "With pleasure I greet you, and those accompanying you, as you come to the Vatican, and I thank you for the kind sentiments you have expressed on behalf of the people of your nation," John Paul II told Pervez Musharraf, the president of Pakistan, during an audience this morning.

  "In these times of turmoil and violence," the Pope added, "I encourage you and your fellow citizens to continue to foster a spirit of dialogue and tolerance in your region. It is only by acknowledging the need for mutual understanding among peoples, through a frank and open exchange of ideas, that the world can obtain authentic justice and peace. Upon you and all the people of Pakistan I cordially invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 30, 2004 (VIS) - This morning John Paul II received prelates from the ecclesiastic provinces of Bogota, Bucaramanga, Ibague, Nueva Pamplona, Tunja and the recently-erected province of Villavicencio, at the end of their "ad limina" visit. 

  The Pope said that the bishops rely on "certain decisive factors in order to carry out the work of evangelization, such as the growing number of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, the widespread presence of religious institutions, and the existence of many centers of study and formation. All of this shows the depth of the Christian faith in the country and the dynamism of the apostolic commitment."

  Referring to "the increase in moral deterioration," as the Colombian prelates had highlighted in their talks, the Holy Father said this is "present in many different forms and affects the most varied areas of personal, family and social life, thereby undermining the intrinsic importance of moral conduct and putting the authenticity of faith in serious danger. … It is a phenomenon which is a result, in part, of ideologies that deny human beings the capacity to clearly know what is right and to put it into practice. … It is a challenge of great importance that implies distinct lines of pastoral action with Jesus a role model."

  "Proclaiming justice, truth, fidelity and love of one's neighbor, in all their specific implications," he assured them, "is inherent to announcing the Gospel in its entirety. … This teaching, complete and in full agreement with the moral doctrine of the Church, will be much more fruitful if it is united with personal example, constant unity with the faithful  and tireless courage."

  "Assuming one's own obligations is a necessary requirement for affirming the true dignity of the person, which generates interior peace and then extends to one's surroundings, especially to institutions, when they are founded on an authentic spirit of service for the common good, and when they are administered with the criteria of equality, justice, honesty and truth."

  John Paul II went on: "The need for organized Christian initiation, tailored to the cultural conditions of our times and to each place, … is a priority, especially where the social climate does not promote the faith or where the channels of transmission or development - such as the family, school and the Christian community itself - break down."

  Before concluding, the Holy Father encouraged the bishops in the face of the "difficult situation that Colombia is facing," due to the continuous "attacks on life, freedom and the dignity of persons," as well as an increase in the number of kidnappings that "shows, once again, the perversion which human baseness can reach when the moral perspective is lost in the interests of evil and when the most fundamental rights of man are not respected.  In Colombia, many of these evils find their origin in drug trafficking, with ramifications in many sectors and which has afflicted the nation for years and had numerous negative consequences in all spheres of society."

  "In light of these facts," he concluded, "I share your pain and I appreciate all your efforts to stop violence, eliminate the causes and minimize its effects, while paying attention to the victims and tirelessly encouraging those who want to abandon the language of arms in order to take up the path of peaceful dialogue."
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