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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

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Friday, November 26, 2004


VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation to the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Antofagasta, Chile, presented by Archbishop Jose Patricio Infante Alfonso upon having reached the age limit. Coadjutor Archbishop Pablo Lizama Riquelme succeeds him.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father received today in separate audiences:

- Ali Abdullah Saleh, president of the republic of Yemen, and an entourage.

- Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of  Columbus.

- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2004 (VIS) - John Paul II this morning received the participants in a conference in Rome of directors of prison administrations of the 45 States that adhere to the Council of Europe.

  He noted that they "are reflecting on how to make European prison rules better respond to the needs of prisoners. ... In every civil nation there must be shared concern for preserving the inalienable rights of every human being." Therefore, he said, "you must correct eventual laws and norms which hinder (these rights), especially when it is a matter of the right to life and to health, the right to culture, to work, to the exercise of freedom of thought and to the profession of one's own faith.

  "Respecting human dignity is a value of European culture whose roots are based in  Christianity; it is a universal human value and, as such, is open to the broadest consensus. Every State must take care to see that full attention to basic human rights is guaranteed in all prisons."

  The Holy Father said that "measures that are simply repressive or punitive, to which one normally has recourse today, are inadequate for reaching the objective of an authentic recuperation of inmates. ... It is necessary to abolish those physical and moral treatments that are harmful to human dignity, and to commit yourselves to better qualifying professionally the role of those who work within penal institutes."

  After urging them to seek penalties that are alternatives to prison, "with programs of human, professional and spiritual formation," the Pope spoke of the work of chaplains, whose duty, he said "is a delicate task and in many ways irreplaceable." Further, he said, "how can we fail to note the volunteer institutions and associations dedicated to the welfare of prisoners and to their reinsertion into society?"

  John Paul II underscored that "respect for the human dignity of prisoners must not occur to the detriment of concern for society. For this reason, citizens must be defended, even with those forms of deterrence that are represented by penalties that serve as examples. But the dutiful application of justice to defend citizens and public order must not contrast with the due attention to the rights of prisoners and to rehabilitating them; on the contrary, this is a question of two aspects that must be integrated. Prevention and repression, detention and rehabilitation, are complementary acts."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2004 (VIS) - As they end their "ad limina" visit, bishops from the ecclesiastical provinces of Dubuque, Kansas City in Kansas, Omaha and St. Louis, were received by the Pope this morning who continued his reflections on the exercise of episcopal governance, especially "the relationship which unites you to your closest co-workers in the apostolate, your brother priests."

  He underscored that the fellowship uniting bishops and their priests comes from "the grace of Holy Orders and the one mission entrusted by the Risen Lord to the Apostles and their successors in the Church."

  "Together with fostering mutual trust and confidence, dialogue, a spirit of unity and a common missionary spirit in his relationship with his priests," added the Holy Father, "the bishop is also responsible for cultivating within the presbyterate a sense of co-responsibility for the governance of the local Church" which "demands a sound ecclesiological vision. ... A fundamental goal of your governance should be that of encouraging and coordinating the pastoral work carried out in the great network of parishes and related institutions which make up the local Church. The parish, in fact, is 'pre-eminent among all the other communities in the diocese'."

  John Paul II stated that renewal of ecclesial life "should rightly begin with the revitalization of the parish community, centered ... on preaching the Gospel and celebration of the Eucharist. The Bishop is to play an indispensable role in this revitalization by authoritatively promoting the Church's teaching and proposing a unified pastoral plan capable of inspiring and directing the apostolate of clergy and laity alike." He said that "the entire Christian community needs to be encouraged to move from 'Mass to mission', in the pursuit of holiness and the service of the new evangelization."

  "An essential concern of responsible governance must also be to provide for the future," affirmed the Holy Father. "No one can deny that the decline in priestly vocations represents a stark challenge for the Church in the United States, and one that cannot be ignored or put off. The response to this challenge must be insistent prayer according to the Lord's command. ... I would propose for your consideration that the Catholic community in your country annually set aside a national day of prayer for priestly vocations."

  Concern for the future, said the Pope in concluding remarks,, also involves "attention to seminary training, ... a commitment to holiness and spiritual wisdom, formation in prudent leadership and selfless dedication to the flock" and "a sound continuing education for the clergy."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2004 (VIS) - John Paul II this morning welcomed Ali Abdullah Saleh, president of the republic of Yemen and, in brief remarks in English, thanked him "for the kind sentiments you have expressed on behalf of the people of Yemen."

  "During this period of unrest in your region," said the Pope, "I urge you and all men and women of good will to combat terrorism, striving for peace and justice. This is only possible when people recognize the ongoing need for tolerance and mutual understanding. In this regard, I encourage you in your efforts to foster the spirit of frank and open dialogue between the different religions and peoples of the Arabian Peninsula.   It is my fervent prayer that Almighty God may impart to you and all the Yemeni people, the gifts of peace, harmony and reconciliation."
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