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Monday, February 21, 2005


VATICAN CITY, FEB 21, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences five bishops from the Spanish Episcopal conference on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona, accompanied by his auxiliary, Bishop Joan Carrera Planas.

    - Bishop Josep Angel Saiz Meneses of Terrassa.

    - Bishop Agustin Cortes Soriano of Sant Feliu de Llobregat.

    - Bishop Jaume Pujol Balcells of Tarragona.

  On Saturday, February 19, it was made public that he received in separate audiences:

 - His Beatitude Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq.

 - Bishop Renato Corti of Novara, Italy, preacher of the Roman Curia's spiritual exercises.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 21, 2005 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announced today that at 6 p.m. on Sunday, February 27, Cardinal Josip Bozanic, metropolitan archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia, will take possession of the title of St Jerome of the Croatians in Via Tomacelli 132, Rome.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 21, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls, in a declaration to journalists today, said: "On Wednesday February 23, the Holy Father will appear at the window of his private study to greet and bless the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the customary Wednesday general audience."
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 21, 2005 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications,  presented "'Rapid Development,' the Apostolic Letter of the Holy Father John Paul II to Those Responsible for Communications." Joining him were Bishop Renato Boccardo and Angelo Scelzo, respectively secretary and under-secretary. The council begins its annual plenary session later today.

  Archbishop Foley said that both he, as a priest journalist, and Pope John Paul, as bishop and conciliar father, were in St. Peter's Basilica on December 4, 1963 for the promulgation of the Vatican Council II decree on communications, "Inter mirifica." He noted that it was "the first time a council of the Church specifically treated the theme of social communications, the decree called for a pastoral instruction on social communications and the document also called for establishing a specific Vatican department which would be concerned with all the means of social communication."

  The Letter presented today, said the archbishop, is the result of a wish expressed a year ago by the Holy Father to commemorate the anniversary of "Inter Mirifca" with a new document. "I was sincerely moved," he said, reading the Pope's words. "The document for me is a personal mediation, a challenge and a plan of action."

  "'Rapid Development'," the council president underscored, "is a masterpiece of intuition on the meaning of the means of  social communications in our times. Look at paragraph three: 'The communications media have acquired such importance as to be the principal means of guidance and inspiration for many people in their personal, familial and social behavior. ... Ours is an age of global communications in which countless moments of human existence are either spent with, or at least confronted by, the different processes of the mass media."

  Bishop Boccardo said that "many times in his interventions, John Paul II has affirmed that questions posed by the media are, at their heart, of an eminently anthropological nature. ... He thinks of the media as active agents in the building of horizons of cultures and values in which every man and women understands themselves, others and the world."

   Pointing to some of the problems in the world of communications, he said that "the media are building models of perception of reality that often obey anthropological visions that are no longer inspired by Christianity. Without appearing to be apocalyptic, but also not giving in to overly optimistic visions, we cannot be silent on the representations of the meaning of life that (the media) today toss into the arena of public debate and that are almost entirely beyond any Christian understanding of life. ... All we need to do is recall how so often television becomes a powerful instrument for personal aggression, for occasions of denigration and for battle arenas that are often vulgar and tasteless. Publicity is also part of this degenerative process."

  He pointed out that there must be a serious ethical reflection on personal and social responsibility within the world of the media, especially with new instruments such as the Internet. "The Internet redefines in a radical way the psychological relation of a person with time and space. What is tangible, useful, and immediately available draws attention," but what often is missing is a process of "deeper reflection. ... The person who is online is a person of  the present, of immediate satisfaction" who seeks answers in "the great warehouse of readily available experiences."

  "How can the Church," asked Bishop Boccardo, "help men and women who work in the media and who use it to undertake a path of new humanism, of a renewed centrality of the human person?" He said that the Holy Father, in "Rapid Development," suggests three paths: formation, participation and dialogue.

  "Believers, men and women who have man's destiny at heart, have the responsibility for cultural discernment. We are not asked to have shining armor to overcome Goliath, but simply to know how to choose a few stones, the right ones, with the wisdom and courage of David."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 21, 2005 (VIS) - John Paul II has written a Message to Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, and to participants in a study congress on the theme: "The Quality of Life and the Ethics of Health," being held in the Vatican from February 21 to 23.

  The Holy Father writes that "in the first place, it is necessary to recognize the essential quality that distinguishes each human being by the fact of being created in the image and likeness of the Creator Himself. ... This level of dignity and quality belongs to the ontological order and is constitutive of the human person, it endures in every moment of life, from the first instant of conception up to natural death, and it is fully realized in the dimension of eternal life. Consequently, man must be recognized and respected in any condition of health, illness or disability."

  "Under pressure from affluent societies," the Pope says, "a notion of the quality of life is being favored which is at the same time both reductive and selective, and which consists in the capacity to enjoy and to experience pleasure, or even in the capacity for self-awareness and participation in social life. As a consequence, any kind of quality of life is denied to human beings not yet or no longer capable of expressing their intelligence and will, and to those no longer capable of enjoying life as a series of sensations and relationships."

  Later in his Message, the Pope refers to the moral dimension of the concept of health, "that cannot be overlooked." After recalling the spread of alcoholism, drugs and AIDS, he adds: "How much of life's energy, and how many young people's lives, could be saved and kept healthy if each individual had the moral responsibility to know how to promote better prevention and the conservation of that precious good we call health!

  "Of course, health is not an absolute good," John Paul continues, "especially when it is seen as simple physical well-being, mythicized to the point that it restricts or overlooks higher ends, even proposing reasons of health in the refusal of nascent life. This is what happens in so-called 'reproductive health.' How can we not recognize in this a reductive and deviant concept of health?" Health, the Pope highlights, "can only be sacrificed to attain higher ends, as is sometimes asked in service towards God, towards the family, towards our brothers and sisters or towards society as a whole. Health must be guarded and cured as the mental-physical and spiritual equilibrium of the human being. Squandering health because of various disorders, especially those associated with the moral degradation of the individual, represents a serious ethical and social responsibility."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 21, 2005 (VIS) - This morning in St. Peter's Basilica, Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, delivered the homily at the Mass to celebrate the council's annual plenary session.

  Referring to the publication today of "Rapid Development," the Pope's Apostolic Letter on communications, he says "Pope John Paul II has urged us to use the communications media well in the service of truth and in the service of the Gospel. While there is much in the media to criticize, there is also much to praise - and the media themselves are as good or as bad as what people transmit through them.  They are media; they are means - not ends in themselves."

  "We should express our preoccupation with the bad uses to which the media can be put - pornography, character assassination, sensationalism; but we should be especially eager to praise those who do good things in the media, to encourage them, to support them; and we should not fail to use the media ourselves, not only to tell the good news - the Gospel - of Jesus Christ, but also to tell the good news of what the Church is doing in the name of Jesus."

  Archbishop Foley, at the Mass yesterday for members of the Media Committee of European Bishops at the Paul VI International residence in Rome, spoke of the Pope's Apostolic Letter on communications, saying it is "to commemorate the publication at the Second Vatican Council of the Decree 'Inter Mirifica' and to offer an insight and a challenge to all of us in the Church for a profound understanding and wise use of the media."

  "I would ask," he said, "that it be one of your major preoccupations to help to promote Catholic communications activity in what we might call the Church of the Modern Catholic Renaissance in central and eastern Europe. ... It is not only in eastern and central Europe where there is a hunger for the Gospel. There, perhaps, the opportunities to use the media are now greater - but the need to hear the Gospel and to see sound Christian values incorporated in the media is perhaps even greater in an increasingly secularized western Europe. How do we get people's attention to listen to the most important message in life - our origin, our destiny and the means to achieve it?  How do we get people really to listen to what Christ has told us - without their tuning out because they think they have heard it before or because it has struck them as dull? It will be hard work for us - but God has promised us strength."
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 20, 2005 (VIS) - Thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square this morning to greet and listen to Pope John Paul who appeared at his study window for the Angelus for the second time since leaving Gemelli hospital where he was a patient for 10 days with breathing problems as a complication of the flu. Cheers arose when the Pope read a brief message before the Angelus prayers and greeted several groups, including off-the-cuff remarks, following the Marian prayer.

  "The spiritual exercises in which I took part, together with many of my collaborators in the Roman Curia," began the Holy Father, "concluded yesterday with a solemn Eucharistic celebration, following by Adoration. The Eucharist is the source from which communion between the members of the mystical body of Christ draws ever new vigor."

  "In this perspective," he continued, "the special duty entrusted to Peter and his successors acquires full confirmation: the Petrine ministry is essentially serving the unity of the Church. 'You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church'. Other comforting words of the Lord's echo this promise of His: 'And I have prayed for you (Simon Peter) that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren'."

  "'Feed my lambs... Tend my sheep'. This invitation of Jesus' is especially alive in my soul when I contemplate the Eucharistic mystery. I entrust all the People of God to Him, the Good Shepherd, in this Lenten walk towards Easter. Let us invoke the support of Mary, Mother of the Church, with the customary Angelus prayer."

  After the Angelus, the Pope greeted all the faithful in St. Peter's Square, including a group from Slovenia, whom he addressed in their language, adding improvised words to the prepared text. Loud cheers erupted when the Pope greeted and blessed the faithful.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 19, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Lang Son and Cao Bang, apostolic administrator "sede plena" of the archdiocese of Hanoi, as archbishop of Hanoi (area 7,000, population 6,000,000, Catholics 304,000, priests 49, religious 219), Vietnam. He succeeds Cardinal Paul Joseph Pham Dinh Tung, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Virginio Domingo Bressanelli S.C.I., superior of the Dehonian Fathers' theological institute in Argentina, as bishop of Comodoro Rivadavia (area 234,000, population 412,912, Catholics 345,900, priests 44, religious 105), Argentina. The bishop-elect was in Berabevu, Argentina, in 1942 and ordained a priest in 1966. He succeeds Bishop Pedro Luis Ronchino S.D.B., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Bejoy Nicephorus D'Cruze O.M.I., superior of the O.M.I. delegation in Bangladesh and professor in the major seminary of Dhaka, as bishop of Khulna (area 28,236, population 15,000,000, Catholics 28,665, priests 39, religious 109), Bangladesh. The bishop-elect was born in Tuital, Bangladesh, in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1987. He succeeds Bishop Michael Atul D'Roxario C.S.C., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Francois Xavier Le Van Hong, pastor responsible for theological aggiornamento of priests, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Hue (area 12,227, population 2,007,300, Catholics 64,042, priests 88, religious 693), Vietnam.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 19, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter of the Holy Father, written in Latin and dated January 17, to Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany, naming him as his special envoy to the solemn celebrations for the 850th anniversary of the arrival in Finland of St Henry, bishop, and for the 50th anniversary of the erection of the diocese of Helsinki. Both celebrations are due to take place in Helsinki on February 27.

  The mission accompanying the cardinal will be composed of Fr. Teemu Sippo S.C.J., episcopal vicar for ecumenism of the diocese of Helsinki, and Fr. Manuel Prado, of the prelature of Opus Dei, judge of the diocesan tribunal of Helsinki and secretary of the presbyteral council.


VATICAN CITY, FEB 19, 2005 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica this morning, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano presided at the Mass and adoration of the Eucharist to mark the conclusion of the Roman Curia's spiritual exercises, which took place this past week. Bishop Renato Corti of Novara, Italy, preacher during the spiritual retreat, pronounced the homily.

  Following Mass, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, read a message from the Pope addressed to Bishop Corti and thanking him for the reflections he had proposed over these days, focused on the theme: "The Church at the service of the new and eternal covenant."

  These words, the Holy Father writes, "in making reference to the Blood that flowed from the wounds of the Crucified Christ, especially from the wound in his side, evoke the significance of the Eucharistic Sacrament. The Church 'de Eucharistia vivit' (lives on the Eucharist), because from that Blood she comes into being and draws vigor for her daily commitment to the task of announcing the Gospel."

  John Paul II concludes: "In the heart of the Church, we have come together around the mystery of the altar, in the knowledge that this is the pulsating center of the communion and the mission of the entire Christian people. Thanks also to the contribution that you have offered over these days - strengthened by a pastoral sensibility ripened through ministry by so many priests, seminarians and faithful - we feel a renewed and fervent zeal to start again from the Eucharistic Christ, and bear witness to the world of God's new and eternal covenant with humanity."
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