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Wednesday, December 1, 2004


VATICAN CITY, DEC 1, 2004 (VIS) - Msgr. Piero Monni, permanent observer of the Holy See to the World Tourism Organization, is participating in the 74th session of the executive council of the same organization and in the World Tourism Forum for Peace and Sustainable Development on December 1-4 in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.

  According to a communique published by the office of the permanent observer to the World Tourism Organization, during the meetings there will be a seminar on the "Prevention of the sexual exploitation of children in tourism," a phenomenon "which unfortunately continues to be an issue of actuality" and which requires "specific policies, capable of eliminating the causes of this widespread deviation."

  During the executive council's meeting, the following questions will be discussed: the analysis of topics related to the transformation of the organization into a specialized institution of the United Nations, the operative developments promoted by the committee on ethics in tourism, and the report on the initiatives that have been implemented in this field in the ST-EP (Sustainable Tourism-Eliminating Poverty) Project.

  In his speeches, Msgr. Monni will highlight the importance of the phenomenon of tourism as an instrument of dialogue, peace and well-being.  In addition, he will speak about the need to confront the widespread phenomenon of sex tourism and the Holy See's desire to underscore the good qualities and formative aspects of tourism.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 1, 2004 (VIS) - On the occasion of World AIDS Day, which is dedicated to women this year, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, wrote a message in which he says that AIDS "is one of the most devastating epidemics of our times; it is a human drama that is one of the greatest challenges in health care around the world due to its gravity and diffusion."

  The president of the council writes that since the first cases of AIDS were discovered in the 1980s, more than 22 million people have died due to the deadly disease and currently 42 million suffer from it.

  "I share the concern of the international community," he continues, "for the dramatic consequences of this disease on health, life conditions, perspectives, the statute and dignity of women and girls in many regions of the world.  The impact of HIV/AIDS on women aggravates inequality and impedes progress toward the universality of rights.  The more the disease spreads among women, who are the nucleus of the family and of communities, the greater the risk of social devastation."

  Cardinal Lozano recalls that John Paul II in his Message for the World Day of the Sick 2005 indicates that in order to fight the AIDS crisis "in a responsible way it is necessary to increase prevention through education with respect to the sacred value of life and the formation and correct practice of sexuality."

  Referring to possible ways of contracting AIDS, the cardinal emphasizes that "they must be fought effectively in order to be eliminated.  In terms of sexual contact, let's remember an increase in cases can be prevented through responsible conduct and the observance of the virtue of chastity."

  The president of the council concludes by highlighting some ways to fight AIDS with greater efficacy. Among them, he indicates "asking industrialized countries to help countries who need it in the campaign against AIDS, while avoiding every form of colonialism, and lowering the price of the necessary drugs as much as possible in order to cure those afflicted with AIDS."
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 1, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father's general prayer intention for the month of December is: "That children may be considered as precious gifts of God and may be given due respect, understanding and love."

  His missionary intention is: "That Jesus Christ's Incarnation may be the model of genuine inculturation of the Gospel."
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 1, 2004 (VIS) - In today's general audience which took place in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father dedicated his catechesis to Psalm 71, "a royal hymn which the Fathers of the Churches meditated on and interpreted in a Messianic light."

  The psalm opens, the Pope explained, with an "intense choral appeal to God to grant the sovereign the basic gift to govern and administer justice, especially with the poor who are often the victims of power."

  "If the rights of the poor are violated, not only does a politically incorrect and morally evil act occur. According to the Bible, an act against God is perpetrated, a religious offense, because the Lord is the guardian and defender of the poor and oppressed, widows and orphans, those who have no one to protect them on earth."

  "It is easy to understand how tradition has substituted the often disappointing king ... with the luminous and glorious physiognomy of the Messiah...who will judge the poor justly and who will make fair decisions in favor of the poor of the land."
  "After this lively and passionate plea for the gift of justice," said John Paul II, "the psalm looks beyond and contemplates how the Messianic kingdom is spread on two coordinates, those of time and space. ... A rich and serene kingdom based on the basic values of justice and peace.  These are the signs of the entrance of the Messiah in our history."
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