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Thursday, February 3, 2005


VATICAN CITY, FEB 3, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following statement late this morning to journalists about the Holy Father's health:

  "The Holy Father's general and respiratory conditions show positive developments.

  "The acute laryngeal-tracheitis is regressing and there have been no repetitions of the episodes of laryngospasm that were the reason for his being admitted to the hospital.

  "The Holy Father spent the night resting quietly.

  "At 12 noon tomorrow, Friday, a new communique will be published."

  Navarro-Valls arrived at Gemelli Polyclinic shortly before 9 this morning. Following a visit to the papal apartments, he met with reporters, telling them that "the Holy Father rested well last night, and laboratory results are satisfactory." He said, "it will be the doctors who decide" how long the Pope will remain at Gemelli. Navarro-Valls, also a doctor, added that, "from my experience, I think his stay could be about seven days."

  Prayers, and wishes for a speedy and complete recovery have arrived from around the world for John Paul II, who was hospitalized in Rome Tuesday evening with respiratory problems.

  More than 700 Polish pilgrims who expected to attend yesterday's weekly general audience offered two bouquets of red and white roses, the colors of the Polish flag, to the Pope. A priest and a nun from the Pope's native land delivered them. Those pilgrims gathered in prayer in St. Peter's Square, whereas a number of Poles residing in Rome have decided to undertake a pilgrimage to San Giovanni Rotondo to the shrine of St. Padre Pio. Prayer vigils were held in a number of Roman churches, including the Polish church of St. Stanislaw.

  Fifteen red roses were also brought to the hospital for the Pope by a delegation of residents of towns that have been built on land, now part of Poland, adjacent to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 3, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Holy Father to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in which he notes that the academy "has chosen to dedicate this session of the Study Group - as on two earlier occasions during the 1980s - to a theme of particular complexity and importance: that of the 'signs of death', in the context of the practice of transplanting organs from deceased persons."

  He speaks of the Church's "constant and informed interest in the development of the surgical practice of organ transplant, intended to save human lives from imminent death and to allow the sick to continue living for a further period of years." She has  "encouraged the free donation of organs, ... underlined the ethical conditions for such donation," and "indicated the duties of the specialists who carry out this procedure of organ transplant."

  John Paul II says there must be "ongoing research on the technical-scientific level" by those who perform transplants and "a constant dialogue with experts in anthropological and ethical disciplines, so as to guarantee respect for life and for the human person."

  He turns to the question of "'the signs of death' on the basis of which a person's clinical death can be established with moral certainty, in order to proceed with the removal of organs for transplant. Within the horizon of Christian anthropology, it is well known that the moment of death for each person consists in the definitive loss of the constitutive unity of body and spirit.

  "From the clinical point of view, however, the only correct way - and also the only possible way - to address the problem of ascertaining the death of a human being is by devoting attention and research to the individuation of adequate 'signs of death', known through their physical manifestation in the individual subject. ... Pius XII declared that 'it is for the doctor to give a clear and precise definition of 'death' and of the 'moment of death' of a patient who lapses into a state of unconsciousness'."

  He assures academy members they will be aided in their research by offices of the Apostolic See, "especially the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 3, 2005 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica yesterday, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Archbishop Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, presided at a Eucharistic celebration in the Pope's name.

  Before the start of Mass, the liturgy of light took place, with the blessing of candles and the procession. Following a recitation from the Gospel, Archbishop Rode read a message from the Holy Father.

  "Today we celebrate the Ninth Day of Consecrated Life," writes John Paul II in his Message, "a propitious occasion for giving thanks to the Lord together with those who have been called by Him to practice the evangelical counsels."

  After recalling that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of the decree "Perfectae caritatis," by which "Vatican Council II laid down the guiding principles for the renewal of consecrated life," the Pope affirms: "Over these 40 years, in keeping with the guidelines of the Church's Magisterium, the institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life have followed a fruitful road of renewal. ... I am certain that, thanks also to this aggiornamento, the fruits of sanctity and of missionary dedication will grow, so long as consecrated people maintain an unchanged ascetic fervor and turn it into apostolic works."

  "The secret of this spiritual ardor," the Holy Father writes, "is the Eucharist, the inexhaustible source of faithfulness to the Gospel, because in this Sacrament, the heart of ecclesial life, we achieve intimate identification and total conformity with Christ, to whom consecrated men and women are called."

  John Paul II concludes by calling on the Virgin Mary, "Eucharistic woman" to "help those called to a special intimacy with Christ to be assiduous frequenters of the Mass and to obtain for them the gift of ready obedience, faithful poverty and fruitful virginity. May she make them saintly disciples of the Eucharistic Christ."
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