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Wednesday, October 6, 2004


VATICAN CITY, OCT 6, 2004 (VIS) - Made public today was the speech given on October 4 by Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations at Geneva at the 55th Session of the Executive Committee of the Program of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The meeting runs October 4 to 8. 

  The archbishop opened his talk by noting that the refugees rights that are recognized "in international instruments too often remain mere words. In many countries,  refugees are not allowed to work, a basic right, and thus earn a livelihood," many are "dependent on food rations," and for many others "their movements are usually limited to the immediate surroundings of camps, often located in remote regions. ... The institutional  capacity of the international community to realize the rights of refugees seems insufficient. ... Guaranteeing refugees their rights will assist them in  becoming 'agents of development', even in their host country."

  On the question of voluntary repatriation, the nuncio stated that "what makes all the difference between successful and unsuccessful voluntary repatriation is how people are returned home: (are they returning) in and to conditions of safety and dignity; what kind of guaranteed benefits they receive and which follow-up activities are developed. … Provisions also need to be in place for settling property questions and land rights."

  Archbishop Tomasi declared that "international human rights and humanitarian law oblige governments to provide for the security and well-being of all those under their jurisdiction. In particular, each citizen has a right to protection by his or her country. If however a State fails to or cannot take this responsibility and the human rights of a population continue to be trampled upon, then the international community can and should assert its concern, step in and take on this obligation."
DELSS/REFUGEES/GENEVA:TOMASI                VIS 20041006 (300)


VATICAN CITY, OCT 6, 2004 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, participated in an October 4 joint debate at the U.N. Plenary Session on Item 52, Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly and on Item 54, Strengthening of the United Nations System. On October 5 he addressed the Third Committee of the 59th session of the General Assembly on the question of Social Development and that same day he also spoke before the Second Committee on Item 8, Sustainable Development.

  In the October 4 debate, the archbishop noted that that "the United Nations is a community of States that shares fundamental values, well outlined in the Millennium Declaration: freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature and shared responsibility. Strengthening the United Nations system implies the acknowledgement that this is a system founded on cooperation rather than on competition among States and actively nourished by constructive will, trust, keeping of commitments and collaboration among equal and reciprocally responsible partners. Making these founding principles irreversible is a primary task.

   "The bottom line is the recognition of the principle that all States are by nature equal in dignity," he said. "It is true, however, that the nations that have attained a superior degree of scientific, cultural and economic development have the responsibility to make a greater contribution to the common cause."

  "On a more practical note," affirmed Archbishop Migliore, "the essential criteria that should be taken into account for reshaping the structures and revisiting the procedures of this Organization are as follows: for the structures: representation and inclusiveness; for the procedures: impartiality, efficiency and efficacy; for the outcomes: accountability and responsiveness."  

  In his October 5 talk on Social Development, the nuncio touched upon questions relating to the world social situation and to youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family. He said that young and old, the sick, indigenous peoples, migrants, women and the family "have all been sidelined to some degree and have become more prone to poverty. Economic progress does not suffice in itself but should be accompanied by socio-political progress which will assure that a part of the general benefits have a social purpose."

  Archbishop Migliore, in his statement on sustainable development, stated that "it would be most helpful if persons living on or beyond the margins of society were actually considered as true actors in their own development. People are not tools but central participants in the determination of their future. In their specific economic and political circumstances, they should be left to exercise the creativity that is characteristic of the human person and upon which the wealth of nations depends. Sustainable development should thus be aimed at inclusion, something that will only be attained through equitable international cooperation, participation, and partnership."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 6, 2004 (VIS) - Members of the International Theological Commission are holding their annual plenary session October 4-8 in the Vatican under the presidency of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Fr. Luis Landaria, S.J., the new secretary general, is leading the work sessions.

  According to a communique made public today, participants are preparing the program and work procedures for the next five years. In addition, they continue to reflect on the theme - which they began to consider at the end of the previous five-year  term - of the fate of children who die without receiving the sacrament of baptism in the context of the universal salvation plan of God, the uniqueness of the mediation of Christ and the sacramental character of the Church in terms of salvation."

  "Another topic chosen for study is the natural moral law. In light of the Holy Father's teaching in the encyclicals 'Veritatis Splendor' and 'Fides et Ratio,' participants will promote a reflection that will contribute to a constructive renewal of doctrine on natural moral law."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 6, 2004 (VIS) - In today's general audience, which took place in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke about the second part of Psalm 44, "The Kingdom and the bride."

  Addressing a crowd of 13,000, the Holy Father said that "we can dedicate this nuptial song to all couples who live their marriage with intensity and interior zeal, … which is a sign of a great mystery, … the love of the Father for humanity and of Christ for His Church."

  The psalmist, he said, exalts the beauty of the bride "as a reflection of God's splendor." In addition, he continued, "genuine joy, deeper than simple happiness, is an expression of love which participates in the good of the person loved with serenity of heart."

  John Paul II indicated that the psalm makes reference to fertility. "It speaks about 'children' and 'generations.' … It is a relevant theme in our days, in the West so often incapable of entrusting its own existence to the future by generating and caring for new creatures that they might continue the civilization of peoples and fulfill the history of salvation."

  Many fathers of the Church, he concluded, have applied the figure of the royal bride to Our Lady, Mother of God, who received "the joyous announcement of the redemption of the world."

  When greeting Polish pilgrims present, the Pope recalled that tomorrow is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. "I entrust the Holy Church and my ministry to her protection.  I also entrust her with my hopes for peace in the world, as well as in families and in the human conscience."

  Before the audience, the Pope blessed a statue of the Chilean saint, Teresa of Jesus of the Andes, canonized in 1993, that was placed in an external niche of the Vatican basilica.
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