Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

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...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Monday, January 31, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JAN 31, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Giovanni Francesco Brugnaro, bureau chief at the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, as Holy See permanent observer to the World Tourism Organization. He succeeds Msgr. Piero Monni, whose resignation from the same office was accepted by the Holy Father.

  On Saturday, January 29, it was made public that the Holy Father appointed as consultors to the Congregation for Catholic Education: Bishops Allen Henry Vigneron of Oakland, U.S.A.; Stanislaw Wojciech Wielgus, of Plock, Poland; Jean Louis Brugues of Angers, France; Diego Coletti of Livorno, Italy; Rainer Woelki, auxiliary of Cologne, Germany, and Fabio Duque Jaramillo of Armenia, Colombia; Frs. Carlo Bresciani, professor at the diocesan seminary of Brescia, Italy, and Lawrence B. Terrien, P.S.S., superior general of the Suplician Fathers, France; Msgr. Krzysztof Pawlina, rector of the major seminary of Warsaw, Poland; Fr. Francisco Mateos Gil, L.C., professor at the "Regina Apostolorum" Pontifical University, Rome; Sister Lydia M. Allen, R.S.M., expert in psychology from Mainz, Germany; Frs. Hubertus Blaumeiser, professor at the faculty of theology of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome; Bernhard Korner, professor at the faculty of theology in Graz, Austria, and Javier Canosa Rodríguez, professor in the faculty of canon law at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome; Msgr. Guy Real Thivierge, secretary general of the F.I.U.C., France; Fr. James Conn, S.J., professor in the faculty of canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome; Msgr. Alfredo Horacio Zecca, rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Buenos Aires, Argentina; Frs. David M. O'Connell, C.M., president of the Catholic University of America, Washington, U.S.A.; Franco Imoda, S.J., rector emeritus of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and Antonio Maria Perrone, Sch.P., president of the F.I.D.A.E., Rome; Sister Ausilia Chang Hiang Chu, F.M.A., head of the "Auxilium" Pontifical Faculty for the Educational Sciences, Rome. Frs. Kevin Doran, national coordinator for diocesan vocations of the Irish Episcopal Conference, Dublin, Ireland, Antonio Fiorenza, R.C.I., vicar general of the Rogationist Fathers, Rome, and Jesus Arriero Pulido, of the Brotherhood of Worker Priests, Rome; Msgr. Paolo Selvadagi, rector of the Minor Pontifical Seminary, Rome; Fr. Ludovico Caputo, S.D.V., superior general of the Vocationist Fathers; Sister Maria De Luca, director of the young people's educational magazine "Se Vuoi," Italy; Manuel António Garcia Braga Da Cruz, rector of the Portuguese Catholic University, Lisbon, Portugal, and Etienne Verhack, secretary general of the C.E.E.C., Brussels, Belgium.
NA/.../...                                        VIS 20050131 (400)


VATICAN CITY, JAN 31, 2005 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father was presented with the "Annuario Pontificio" or Pontifical Yearbook for 2005.

  A note published today highlights some of the updated information included in the new edition. In 2004, the Pope erected ten new episcopal sees and one apostolic vicariate. Six metropolitan sees were created, and a total of 171 bishops appointed.

  The number of baptized faithful rose from 1,071 million in 2002, to 1,086 million in 2003. As for the geographical distribution of Catholics, the note highlights the fact that 49.8 percent of them live in the Americas, 25.8 percent in Europe, 13.2 percent in Africa, 10.4 percent in Asia and 0.8 percent in Oceania.

  According to the communique, there are 405,450 priests (268,041 diocesan and 137,409 religious), and the total number of priests in 2003 increased with respect to the year before. The number of priestly ordinations also went up from 9,247 in 2002 to 9,317 in 2003. However, the number of seminarians in philosophical and theological seminaries fell from 112,643 in 2002 to 112,373 in 2003. The numbers of seminarians divided by continent are as follows: the Americas 37,191, Asia 27,931, Europe 24,387, Africa 21,909, and Oceania 955.
AP/PONTIFICAL YEARBOOK 2005/...                    VIS 20050131 (210)


VATICAN CITY, JAN 31, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls stated this morning that "the Holy Father, due to flu-like symptoms which began yesterday, has been advised to suspend the audiences scheduled for today. However, the 2005 Pontifical Yearbook was presented to him."
OP/POPE:FLU/NAVARRO-VALLS                VIS 20050131 (50)


VATICAN CITY, JAN 30, 2005 (VIS) - Prior to praying the Angelus, the Pope greeted numerous children and young people from Italian Catholic Action present in St Peter's Square, who are concluding their "month of peace."

  John Paul II recalled how, "in today's Gospel, Jesus says 'blessed are the peacemakers.' Even the young can be peacemakers! They too must be educated in dialogue and learn to 'overcome evil with good,' as I reminded everyone in the recent Message for the World Day of Peace. Injustice must be overcome with justice, lies with truth, vengeance with forgiveness, hatred with love."

  The Pope continued: "This lifestyle cannot be improvised, but calls for education from infancy. An education made up of wise teachings and, above all, of appropriate family models, in school and in all areas of society. Parishes, oratories, associations, movements and ecclesial groups must become ever more privileged places for this education of peace and love, places to learn and grow together."

  The Holy Father called on "Mary, Queen of Peace, to help the young, who desire peace so much, to become its courageous and tenacious constructors."

  After praying the Angelus, the Pope recalled that today is the World Day of Leprosy. "In the poorest areas of the world this illness, though curable, continues to strike millions of people, including many children. I send special greetings to all these brothers and sisters, which I also extend to all those who, in various ways, assist them.  I hope that the commitment of the international community will manage to eliminate this social scourge completely."

  Prior to concluding, the Pope listened to a message of peace read by a boy and a girl from Catholic Action. The children then released two white doves in a symbol of peace. One of the doves flew back into the Holy Father's study and the Pope himself sought to make it leave, but it came back in. In the end, one of the Holy Father's assistants managed to make it fly away.
ANG/PEACE:LEPROSY/...                            VIS 20050131 (350)


VATICAN CITY, JAN 29, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Msgr. Antoni Stankiewicz, dean of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, and the College of  Prelate Auditors of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
AP/.../...                                        VIS 20050131 (60)


VATICAN CITY, JAN 29, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls made the following declaration:

  "As anticipated, the mixed commission for the examination of norms in cases of accusations of sexual abuse against minors will meet in the Vatican on January 31 and February 1.

  "The commission is made up of delegates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and representatives from dicasteries of the Roman Curia.

  "The aim of the commission is to study the application of norms, approved on December 8, 2002, 'ad experimentum' for two years, and to evaluate guidelines for the future in the context of the universal law of the Church."


VATICAN CITY, JAN 29, 2005 (VIS) - Published today was a Message, dated January 22, from the Holy Father to Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum," and the Pope's envoy to Southeast Asia, asking him "to convey the assurance of my concern and my closeness in prayer to all affected by the (tsunami) tragedy and its aftermath." The archbishop is visiting Indonesia from January 29 to February 1 and will be in Sri Lanka from February 2 to 4.

  In his Message, John Paul II noted that "the enormous devastation and loss of life associated with the recent earthquake and tidal wave in Southeast Asia has been followed by a remarkable outpouring of sympathy throughout the world, together with a massive mobilization of humanitarian aid.  I am deeply grateful for the efforts of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and numerous international Catholic charitable agencies to contribute to the relief of the peoples struck by this immense natural disaster."
  "I pray," he wrote, "that the solidarity shown by our brothers and sisters throughout the world will prove a source of encouragement, perseverance and hope to everyone in the great work of rebuilding that lies ahead. I likewise urge the followers of the different religions to work together in offering comfort and assistance to those in need.  May this catastrophe lead, by God's grace, to a future of greater generosity, cooperation and unity in the service of the common good on the part of individuals, peoples and nations."
  "I hope," he closed, "the Christian community will be led to a deepened trust in God's mysterious providence and an ever closer union to the Lord Jesus in the mystery of His suffering and resurrection. Upon the civil authorities and all engaged in the relief efforts I invoke the divine gifts of wisdom and strength."

  A communique from Cor Unum notes that the aim of the trip to Asia by Archbishop Cordes, who will bring the Pope's Message to the devastated populations, "is to witness in person to the closeness and solidarity of the Pope and the Church to all those suffering from the tsunami and, at the same time, to contribute to coordinating the multiple initiatives of Catholic agencies working in the territory since that dramatic December 26."

  The archbishop, who is accompanied by council under-secretary, Msgr. Giovanni Dal Toso, will also meet with religious and civil authorities, as well as with Caritas and the Catholic NGOs (non-governmental organizations) present in these countries. He will celebrate several Masses for the repose of the souls of the deceased victims.


VATICAN CITY, JAN 29, 2005 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry has just published the Message of its president, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, for the celebration tomorrow, January 30, of the 52nd World Day of Leprosy.

  The Message begins with the Apostle Paul's exhortation, in a Letter to the Church in Rome, "to cry with those who are crying," because "if one member suffers, then all members suffer together." The cardinal notes that while we can celebrate man's dominion over leprosy, or Hansen's disease, "it is still lethal in at least nine countries." Often worse than the disease itself, he writes, is the shame and "absurd discrimination" suffered by lepers. There will be no victory over leprosy until "the concept of the indelible 'mark of infamy' is eliminated."

  Cardinal Lozano underscores the Holy Father's remarks on January 21 to members of the council as they celebrated their plenary that Church leaders must pay special attention "to those (health) structures where the patient suffers forms of marginalization and a lack of social support," especially "in those parts of the world where the ill, notwithstanding medical progress, lack medicines and adequate assistance."

  Noting that "there is no lack of medicines," and that there are various world organisms that specialize in treating leprosy, the council president emphasizes, however, the need for more adequate health structures and competent, well-trained personnel. Quoting statistics from national episcopal conferences for the year 2003, he pointed out that, worldwide, the Church runs 656 leprosariums (Africa 254, Americas 69, Asia 327, Europe 4, Oceania 2).

  Referring to the Year of the Eucharist, Cardinal Lozano quotes Pope John Paul's "Mane nobiscum Domine": "The Eucharist is not only an expression of communion in the life of the Church; it is also a project of solidarity for all of mankind."

  He had special thanks for those "missionaries who care for these brothers of ours, fulfilling the specific pastoral ministry of 'the Gospel of Hope'. They are living and teaching the entire world that taking care of a body so afflicted is fraternal sharing and at the same time a communication of faith in Christ Who died and arose. A 'sign' of hope and the total victory of life."

  "In the mystery of the 'Mystical Body of the Church'," says the Message, "in union with the suffering Christ, the leper will feel at the center of the project of cooperation in the salvation of mankind,"  especially with the help of those missionaries who care for them.
CON-AVA/WORLD DAY LEPROSY/LOZANO            VIS 20050131 (410)


VATICAN CITY, JAN 29, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from Pope John Paul, written in Latin and dated January 11, 2005, to Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, who is the Pope's special envoy to the celebrations of the 13th World Day of the Sick which will take place in Yaounde, Cameroon, February 9-11. The cardinal's nomination as envoy was published on December 23, 2004.

  Also made public today were the names of the members of the pontifical mission who will accompany Cardinal Lozano: Fathers Theodore Toko, adjunct secretary general of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon and Paul-Marie Philemon Mbida, head of the Health Care Ministry for the archdiocese of Yaounde.


VATICAN CITY, JAN 29, 2005 (VIS) - As is traditional in late January, the Pope today received the dean, prelate auditors, officials, and lawyers of the tribunal of the Roman Rota, for the inauguration of the judicial year.

  The Holy Father's reflections this year concerned the moral dimension of the activity of judges in ecclesiastical tribunals, "especially regarding their duty to abide by the truth about marriage, as it is taught by the Church."

  "Individual and collective interests," said the Pope, "can, indeed, induce the parties to resort to various kinds of falsehood and even corruption with the aim of obtaining a favorable sentence. There is no immunity from this risk, even for canonical hearings which seek the truth concerning the existence or non-existence of matrimony."

  John Paul II highlighted the fact that, "in the name of supposed pastoral requirements, some voices have been raised to propose declaring the annulment of unions that have failed completely. To obtain this outcome, it has been suggested using expedients to maintain outward procedural appearances, and hide the absence of a true judicial process. In this way, there is a temptation to impose and find proof for a decree of annulment in contrast with the most elementary principles of the Church's norms and Magisterium."

  The Holy Father went on: "The objective juridical and moral danger of such behavior is clear, and it certainly does not constitute a pastorally valid solution to the problems raised by matrimonial crises."

  The Pope recalled how in various addresses to the Roman Rota he had referred to the "essential relationship that its proceedings have with the search for objective truth. Responsibility for this falls, in the first place, on bishops, who by divine law are the judges of their communities." Bishops must also "consider the suitability of members of the tribunals ... and assess whether the sentences are in conformity with right doctrine."

  The Pope stressed that a judge must be "convinced that the truth exists," he must "resist fear of the truth," and not allow himself to be "conditioned by feelings of false compassion, or by false trends of thought, though they be widespread. He knows that unjust sentences never constitute a true pastoral solution, and that the judgment of God on his own actions is what counts over eternity."

  John Paul II pointed out that a judge must "keep to canonical laws, correctly interpreted," without "separating the laws of the Church from magisterial teachings, as if they belonged to two different spheres of which the first is the only one to have juridically binding force, while the second is merely for guidance and encouragement. Such an approach reveals a positivist mentality."

  "One important moment in the search for truth is that of the preliminary investigation and hearing." On this subject, the Pope added that, although prompt judicial proceedings are "a person's right, nonetheless a false rapidity, at the expense of truth, is even more seriously unjust."
AC/.../TRIBUNAL ROMAN ROTA                        VIS 20050131 (500)

Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service