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Monday, January 24, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JAN 24, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Gdansk, Poland, presented by Bishop Zygmunt Pawlowicz upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Ryszard Kasyna of the clergy of the archdiocese of Gdansk, Poland, judicial vicar of the same archdiocese, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Gdansk (area 2,500, population 977,552, Catholics 917,695, priests 728, religious 844). The bishop-elect was born in Nowy Staw in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1982.

  On Saturday, January 22, It was made public that he:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of Lucca, Italy, presented by Archbishop Bruno Tommasi upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Archbishop Benvenuto Italo Castellani, coadjutor of the same archdiocese.

 - Appointed Fr. Henryk Hoser, S.A.C., rector of the Pallotine Fathers' missionary center in Brussels, Belgium, as adjunct secretary to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and president of the Pontifical Missionary Works, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1942 and ordained a priest in 1974.

 - Appointed Msgr. Vicente Juan Segura of the clergy of the archdiocese of Valencia, Spain, head of the Spanish section of the Secretariat of State, as bishop of Ibiza (area 872, population 108,000, Catholics 93,000, priests 37, religious 64), Spain. The bishop-elect was born in Tabernes de Valldigna, Spain, in 1955, and ordained a priest in 1981.
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 24, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences seven prelates from the Spanish Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid, accompanied by his Auxiliary Bishops: Fidel Herraez Vegas, Cesar Augusto Franco Martinez, and Eugenio Romero Pose.

    - Archbishop Francisco Perez Gonzalez, military ordinary.

    - Jesus Esteban Catala Ibanez of Alcala de Henares.

    - Joaquin Maria Lopez de Andujar y Canovas del Castillo of Getafe.

  On Saturday, January 22, he received in separate audiences:

 - Bishop Jose Manuel Lorca Planes of Teruel y Albarracin, Spain, on his "ad limina" visit.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

 - Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk, apostolic nuncio to Poland.
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 24, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today, feast of St Francis of Sales patron saint of journalists, was John Paul II's message for the 39th Day of Social Communications which is due to be held on May 8, 2005, on the theme: "The Communications Media: at the service of understanding among peoples."

 Extracts from the message - which was published in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese - are given below:

 "The theme chosen for the 2005 World Communications Day - "The Communications Media: at the service of understanding among peoples" - addresses an urgent need: to promote the unity of the human family."

 "One important way of achieving this end is through education. The media can teach billions of people about other parts of the world and other cultures. ... Accurate knowledge promotes understanding, dispels prejudice, and awakens the desire to learn more. ... When others are portrayed in hostile terms, seeds of conflict are sown. ... Instead of building unity and understanding, the media can be used to demonize other social, ethnic and religious groups, fomenting fear and hatred. Those responsible for the style and content of what is communicated have a grave duty to ensure that this does not happen. Indeed, the media have enormous potential for promoting peace and building bridges between peoples."

 "If such a contribution to peace-making is one of the significant ways the media can bring people together, its influence in favor of the swift mobilization of aid in response to natural disasters is another. It was heartening to see how quickly the international community responded to the recent tsunami that claimed countless victims."

 "The Second Vatican Council reminded us: 'If the media are to be correctly employed, it is essential that all who use them know the principles of the moral order and apply them faithfully.'

 "The fundamental ethical principle is this: 'The human person and the human community are the end and measure of the use of the media of social communication; communication should be by persons to persons for the integral development of persons.' In the first place, then, the communicators themselves need to put into practice in their own lives the values and attitudes they are called to instill in others. Above all, this must include a genuine commitment to the common good - a good that is not confined by the narrow interests of a particular group or nation but embraces the needs and interests of all."

  "My prayer on this year's World Communications Day is that the men and women of the media will play their part in breaking down the dividing walls of hostility in our world, walls that separate peoples and nations from one another, feeding misunderstanding and mistrust."
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 24, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, the Pope received the first group of Spanish prelates who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  In his address, the Pope highlighted that Spain "is a country of profound Christian roots. ... The Church in your nation has a glorious history of generosity and sacrifice, of robust spirituality and altruism, and has offered the universal Church numerous sons and daughters outstanding for their practice of heroic virtues or for their witness as martyrs. I myself have had the joy of canonizing and beatifying numerous sons and daughters of Spain. ... The living Christian roots of Spain, as I highlighted in my last pastoral visit in May 2003, cannot be pulled up, rather they must continue to nourish the harmonious development of society."

  John Paul II noted that in their five-yearly reports the bishops had highlighted their concern for the vitality of the Church as well as the challenges and difficulties they have to face. Over the last few years, he said, "many things have changed in the social, economic and religious field, at times giving rise to religious indifference and a kind of moral relativism; these influence Christian practice and consequently affect social structures themselves."

  Referring to the social sphere, the Holy Father noted that "a lay-inspired mentality is also spreading, an ideology that leads - with a greater or lesser degree of awareness - to the restriction of religious liberty, even promoting scorn or ignorance of religious matters, relegating faith to the private sphere and opposing its public expression. This does not form part of the most noble Spanish tradition, because the mark left by the Catholic faith in the life and culture of the Spanish is too deep for them to fall prey to the temptation to silence it."

  Furthermore, he went on, "young people have the right, from the very beginning of the formative process, to be educated in the faith. The integral education of the youngest cannot ignore religious education, even in schools, when the parents ask for it, with an academic evaluation in keeping with its importance. For their part, the public authorities have the duty to guarantee this right to parents and to ensure the actual conditions for its effective practice, as laid down in the 1979 Partial Accords between Spain and the Holy See, which are currently in force."

  The Pope went on to talk about the religious situation, in which, according to the bishops' reports, there is "serious concern for the vitality of the Church in Spain, while at the same time various challenges and difficulties arise. Attentive to the problems and the expectations of the faithful faced with this new situation, you as pastors feel called to remain united in order to make the presence of the Lord more palpable among men and women, using the pastoral initiatives most appropriate to the new realities."

  After underlining the need for the Sacraments "in the development of Christian life" and the importance of pastors celebrating them "with dignity and decorum," John Paul II called for "pastoral activity that promotes a more assiduous participation of the faithful in the Sunday Eucharist, which must be experienced not just as a precept, but rather as a requirement profoundly inscribed in each Christian's life."

  Referring to the bishops' concern for priests and seminarians, the Pope affirmed that priests "are in the front line of evangelization," that they have special need of "your care and pastoral closeness," and that "they must recall that, in the first instance, they are men of God and, for that reason, cannot disregard their spiritual life and permanent formation. ... Among the many activities that fill the day of each priest, the most important is the celebration of the Eucharist."

  The Pope said that "one living hope is the increase of priestly vocations" and that "no fear must be felt in proposing this to young people, then accompanying them at a human and spiritual level in order for them to discern their vocational option."

  "The Catholic faithful - who are called to seek the Kingdom of God by concerning themselves with worldly reality, ordering it according to divine will - are called to be valiant witnesses of their faith in the various fields of public life. ... The young, future of the Church and of society, must be the special object of your pastoral concerns."
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 24, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, before praying the Angelus, the Pope reminded the thousands of faithful gathered in St Peter's Square that "the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is being held over these days and will end, as it usually does in Rome, with the celebration of Vespers, on January 25 in the Basilica of St Paul's Outside-the-Walls. I will be spiritually present at that liturgy in which representatives from other Churches and Christian confessions will also participate, and which will be presided by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity."

  John Paul II invited Christian communities "to experience with intensity this annual spiritual appointment which, in a certain way, gives us a pre-taste of the joy of full communion, at least in the aspiration and the choral invocation. Indeed, there is an ever growing awareness that unity is in the first place a gift of God, to be tirelessly implored with humility and truth."

  "May Mary Most Holy, Mother of the Church, help us to overcome all obstacles and obtain this gift as soon as possible. I make a heartfelt plea to all the faithful, especially the young, to extend their ecumenical commitment throughout the year and everywhere to become instruments and witnesses of the full communion invoked by Christ at the Last Supper."

  After the Marian prayer, the Holy Father recalled that today in Rome is the Day for Catholic Schools, which has as its theme "Church, family and school: together for education." He said: "In order to renew this commitment directors, teachers, parents and students of the Catholic schools of Rome are present in St Peter's Square, together with pastoral leaders of the diocese. I greet them with affection and gratitude, and in the hope that the precious service offered by Catholic schools may always be appreciated and supported by the ecclesial and civil communities."
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 24, 2005 (VIS) - Given below is the text of the telegram of condolence sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, in the Pope's name, to Bishop Salvatore Boccaccio of Frosinone-Veroli-Ferentino, Italy, following the news of the death of the Italian warrant officer Simone Cola in Nasiriya, Iraq.

  "Having learned the tragic news of the death of warrant officer Simone Cola, killed in Nasiriya, the Supreme Pontiff wishes to express, to the parents and relatives all, his heartfelt condolences for such a grievous loss to the community and the entire country.

  "While giving assurances of his fervent prayers for the young victim, who fell while on a mission of peace, His Holiness invokes heavenly consolation upon all those weeping such a dramatic death, especially his wife Alessandra, and daughter Giorgia, and imparts the comfort of an apostolic blessing."


VATICAN CITY, JAN 22, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received the rector, students, former students and superiors of the diocesan seminary of Rome, the "Almo Collegio Capranica," on the occasion of the feast day of their patroness, St Agnes. The "Almo Collegio" forms students to the priesthood for Rome, other Italian dioceses and the rest of the world.

  "In order to achieve correct discernment," the Pope said, "it is essential to hold an intense and trusting dialogue at various levels, with superiors and fellow students. Constant attention to the expectations of the Church and of the world, and especially of the poor, are also necessary."

  The Holy Father asked the seminarians to combine their theological studies with meditation on the Word of God and to maintain "an intense personal dialogue with Jesus, our divine Master. May the Eucharist be, above all, the point of reference for your lives. ... May it become in everyday life the source of grace from which your actions derive, and the apex of perfection to which you constantly tend."

  After recalling that he visited the "Almo Collegio" 25 years ago, John Paul II indicated that in order to commemorate that date the seminary had recently organized a congress on the theology of the priesthood and on the "historical forms that, from the beginning, have characterized the formative itinerary of your institute. May this important anniversary," the Holy Father concluded, "be a further stimulus for you to grow in communion with Peter's Successor and in love for the Church."


VATICAN CITY, JAN 22, 2005 (VIS) - John Paul II today received the Letters of Credence of Monique Patricia Antoinette Frank, the new ambassador to the Holy See from the Netherlands.

  Addressing her in French, the Pope underscored how the world needs "to build a future of peace among men" and "to consolidate a stable international order, guaranteed by a better sharing of resources at an international level and policies actively aimed at development." There must also be "dialogue among the different peoples that comprise a nation" which is aimed at reciprocal respect.

  The Pope pointed out that, as part of the Church's contribution to this process, "I once again took the initiative, almost three years ago, of gathering together in Assisi the leaders of the great religions of the world so as to show together our common will for peace; I called them to a deeper dialogue among all religions, and I asked them in particular absolutely to renounce any legitimization of recourse to violence for religious motives and, even more, to explicitly condemn this. Since then, the Holy See has worked to promote, at all levels, an authentic inter-religious dialogue, inviting all Christians, in all societies where they live, to act in this same spirit, as artisans of peace and dialogue, notably among the faithful of other religions with whom they live."

  The Holy Father echoed the ambassador's words about "the important part your country plays in the fight against hunger and poverty in the world and its commitment in favor of development and health assistance to populations especially exposed to the drama of pandemics such as AIDS." He also recalled the position of the Holy See on this question, which "considers it necessary ... to combat this illness in a responsible way, increasing prevention especially through education with regard to the sacred value of life, and formation in the correct practice of sexuality, which involves chastity and fidelity."

  Noting that "the Netherlands has just assumed the presidency of the European Union, at a time when it is welcoming new countries," he said "the Holy See has always followed and encouraged the European project as a constructive contribution to peace on the continent itself, but also beyond."

  "For several years now," affirmed John Paul II, "Dutch society, marked by the phenomenon of secularization, has been engaged in new policies in legislative matters concerning the beginning and the end of human life. The Holy See has never failed to make its clear position known and to invite the Catholics of the Netherlands always to bear witness to their attachment to absolute respect for the human person, from conception to natural death."

  He dedicated closing remarks to young people, saying they need "to receive a solid education which develops and integrates their personality ... and opens them most especially to meeting others, in a society which is more and more cosmopolitan and multicultural." The Church, he said, will do her part in giving an integral education to young people.

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