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Wednesday, October 27, 2004


VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Assis, Brazil presented by Bishop Antonio de Sousa, C.S.S., upon having reached the age limit. Coadjutor-Bishop Mauricio Grotto de Camargo succeeds him.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Archbishop Dominique Mambertim, apostolic nuncio in Sudan and Eritrea.

  Yesterday evening, he received two prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Angola and Sao Tome on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Fernando Guimaraes of Ondjiva.

    - Bishop Abilio Rodas de Sousa Ribas, C.S. Sp., of Sao Tome and Principe.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2004 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke yesterday in New York before the Third Committee on Item 105b: Elimination of All Forms of Religious Intolerance.

  He defined religious freedom as "man's pursuit of the 'last things', those things that satisfy the deepest, inmost and unfettered longings of the human spirit," adding that "religious beliefs and freedom ... should be considered as a positive value and not be manipulated or seen as a threat to peaceful coexistence and mutual tolerance." 

  Archbishop Migliore pointed out that "religious leaders have a special responsibility in dispelling any misuse or misrepresentation of religious beliefs and freedom. They have in their hands a powerful and enduring resource in the fight against terrorism; and they are called to create and spread a sensitivity which is religious, cultural and social, and which will never turn to acts of terror but will reject and condemn such acts as a profanation. ... Similarly, public authorities, legislators, judges and administrators carry a grave and evident responsibility to favor peaceful coexistence between religious groups and to avail themselves of their collaboration in the construction of society."

  He underscored that "the attitude of those who would like to confine religious expression to the merely private sphere, ignores and denies the nature of authentic religious convictions." Believers, he added,  should be allowed to "maintain appropriate charitable or humanitarian institutions, ... to work in the social, educational and humanitarian field, and to be at the same time religiously distinct, to act in harmony with their respective mission, and without having to disregard any religious commitments or moral values in providing a social good. Attempts to secularize or to interfere in the internal affairs of religious institutions would undermine their raison d'être as well as the very fabric of society."

   "The Holy See," concluded Archbishop Migliore, will continue to vigorously human dignity as well as "freedom of conscience and religious liberty, at both the individual and societal level."


VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2004 (VIS) - Following the catechesis of today's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square in the pouring rain, John Paul II greeted the pilgrims in Dutch, Croatian, Slovenian, Hungarian and Polish. He also had special words for Iraq, pointing out that "every day I accompany in prayer the dear Iraqi population who are so intent on rebuilding the institutions of their country."

  "At the same time," he added, "I encourage Christians to continue with generosity to offer their own basic contribution for a reconciliation of hearts. And lastly, I express my affectionate participation in the pain of the families of victims and in the suffering of hostages and of all innocent people struck by the blind barbarity of terrorism."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2004 (VIS) - During today's general audience, the Pope spoke about the second part of Psalm 48, "Human riches do not save," which "condemns the illusion created by the idolatry of riches."

  Addressing the 20,000 people present in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father affirmed that the psalm proposes "a realistic and severe meditation on death, the unavoidable end of the human existence."

  "Often," he continued, "we try to ignore this reality in every way possible, putting off thinking about it.  But this effort, besides being useless, is also inopportune.  Reflecting on death is beneficial because it puts into perspective so many things that we have made absolute, such as money, success and power."

  John Paul II explained that "then, the psalm suddenly changes. If money cannot 'save' us from death, there is somebody who can redeem us from the dark and dramatic reality, God."

  "In this way," he affirmed, "a horizon of hope and immortality opens up for the just man. … God rescues him and snatches the faithful from the hands of death because He is the only one who can conquer death, inevitable for man."

  The Holy Father indicated that for this reason the psalmist "invites us 'not to fear' and not to envy the arrogant rich man in his glory because when he dies he will be stripped of everything, and will not be able to take with him his gold or silver, fame or success.  However," he concluded, "the faithful will not be abandoned by the Lord Who will show him 'the path of life, the fullness of joy in His presence, endless happiness at His right hand." 
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