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Friday, December 10, 2004


VATICAN CITY, DEC 10, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Kabgayi, Rwanda, presented by Bishop Anastase Mutabazi in accordance with Canon 401, para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 10, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State and president of the Governatorate of Vatican City.

- Archbishop Alojzij Uran of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 10, 2004 (VIS) - On December 12 through 16 in Rome, the seventh International Congress on the Pastoral Care of Circus and Amusement Park Workers, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, will take place.  The last congress took place in 1993.

  According to a communique made public today, among the one hundred people who will participate in the meeting are bishop promoters, national directors, chaplains, and religious and lay people from various countries in Europe, as well as the United States, Chile and Mexico.  The meeting's theme is "Welcoming Circus and Fair Workers, from diversity to the coexistence of differences."

  Some circus artists of international fame will offer their Christian testimony in the workplace and will perform during the breaks and in the afternoons.

  After words of welcome by Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao, president of the dicastery, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary, will present the congress.  Talks are scheduled by Msgr. Bruno Maggioni, professor of the Faculty of Theology of Southern Italy, Bishop Lino Belotti, president of the Italian Episcopal Commission for Migration, Fr. Dominique Joly, O.F.M. (France), and Fr. Sergio Ferrera Varela (Spain).  On Thursday, December 16, participants in the congress will be received by the Holy Father.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 10, 2004 (VIS) - The Pontifical Culture for Culture, in a press release published today in English on the December 10-11 visit of council president, Cardinal Paul Poupard, to Minsk, Belarus, summarized the cardinal's keynote speech on "Christianity and the Challenges of Secularism, Unbelief and Religious Indifference."  He will speak at 5 p.m. today at a conference on spiritual values in Europe, organised by the Saints Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute and hosted by the Orthodox Church.

   "In his talk, Cardinal Paul Poupard states that the Christian faith is an essential factor of Europe and the Churches today are faced with the challenge of confronting secularism, indifference and unbelief among Europeans in order to ensure that Europe continues to be a community that thrives on veritable values. He examines what we mean by values and underlines that true values have their source in God. The natural law can be found at the basis of all values, which are universal but lived out in different cultures."

  "In order to combat relativism, secularism and indifference, producers of grave social problems and deniers of the values of truth, of the dignity of the human person, and of the inspiration of beauty, he suggests that due attention be given to the meeting between the Gospel and cultures. He points out how the faith is still a factor for Europe in the restoration of values through both lungs of Christianity, particularly through Christian cultural."


VATICAN CITY, DEC 10, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today welcomed bishops from the ecclesiastical provinces of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, noting that this is his last encounter with U.S. bishops making their "ad limina" visit. He also pointed out that "our meetings have fittingly come to an end during the week in which the Church celebrates the sesquicentenary of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness of the Church in the United States."

  The Pope said that the ad limina visits over the past eight months have been both "a source of consolation" and a time to "share the deep pain which you and your people have experienced in these last years, and I have witnessed your determination to deal fairly and forthrightly with the serious pastoral issues which have been raised as a result." He underscored the bishops' duty of "building up the Church in communion and mission."

  "I leave two charges to you and your brother bishops.". The first is a fraternal encouragement to persevere joyfully in the ministry entrusted to you, in obedience to the authentic teaching of the Church, Can we not see in the pain and scandal of recent years both 'a sign of the times' and a providential call to conversion and deeper fidelity to the demands of the Gospel. ... In her own way, the Church in the United States has been called to begin the new millennium by "starting afresh from Christ" and by making the truth of the Gospel clearly the measure of her life and all her activity.

  "In this light, I once more praise your efforts to ensure that each individual and group in the Church understands the urgent need for a consistent, honest and faithful witness to the Catholic faith, and that each of the Church's institutions and apostolates expresses in every aspect of its life a clear Catholic identity".

  "The second charge is a heartfelt appeal to keep your gaze fixed on the great goal set before the whole Church at the dawn of this third Christian millennium: the proclamation of Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of humanity." Citing "Ecclesia in America," he said: "'The Church in America must speak increasingly of Jesus Christ, the human face of God and the divine face of man', devoting the best of her efforts to a more compelling proclamation of the Gospel, the growth of holiness, and the more effective transmission of the treasure of the faith to the younger generation."

  John Paul II closed by noting "two urgent tasks" facing the Church in the U.S.:  "the need for an evangelization of culture in general" and "the need for Catholics to cooperate fruitfully with men and women of good will in building a culture of respect for life."
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