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Friday, February 25, 2005


VATICAN CITY, FEB 25, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from Pope John Paul to Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, and to all the participants in the meeting of the Special Council for Africa of the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops. The Letter, written in French, is dated February 23.

  After thanking the archbishop and the synod for the "important work you have accomplished and will continue to accomplish in service to the Church in Africa," he observes that the special council was formed in 1994 after the Special Assembly for Africa, and adds that it "now has the task of preparing for the Second Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa" which is scheduled for 2009. "Noting the dynamism born of the first African synodal experience, this assembly will seek to deepen and prolong it, resting on the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation 'Ecclesia in Africa', and taking into account the local churches and their pastors, helping them in their pastoral projects, thus preparing the future of the Church on the African continent, which is living difficulty circumstances on the political, economic and social levels as well as regards peace."

  He thanks the Lord for the impetus the Church has experienced since the last synod and adds: "However, Africa is still afflicted by terrible plagues such as armed conflicts, persistent poverty, illnesses and their devastating consequences, starting with the drama of AIDS, widespread insecurity and finally, the corruption, All this weakens Africa, saps its energies, decimates its new generations and mortgages its future." He added that for Africa to have "a stable and prosperous society," needs the efforts of all of its people, especially "the sons and daughters of the Church."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 25, 2005 (VIS) - A Letter of condolences from Pope John Paul for the death on Tuesday of Communion and Liberation founder, Msgr. Luigi Giussani, 82, was read during the funeral Mass, celebrated at 3 p.m. yesterday in Milan's cathedral by Pontifical Legate, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. An estimated 30,000 people, both inside and outside the Duomo, were present for the Mass.

  "I learned with great emotion," wrote the Pope, "the news of the death of dear Msgr. Luigi Giussani, which came at the end of a long illness, accepted by him in a spirit of serene abandonment to the divine will and generous participation in the mystery of the Cross of Christ."

  The Holy Father said that he had met Msgr. Giussani on many occasions "and admired his ardent faith which was translated into a Christian witness capable of stimulating, especially in young people, a broad and convinced welcome of the Gospel message. I thank the Lord for the gift of his life that was spent without reserve in coherent adhesion to his own priestly vocation, to constantly listening to the needs of contemporary man, and in courageous service to the Church. His entire apostolic action could be summed up in the open and decisive invitation that he knew how to extend to all who came to him, to a personal encounter with Christ, the full and definitive answer to the deepest longings of the human heart."

  The Pope noted how Msgr. Giussani had "proposed Jesus as 'a companion' to young people," having forsaken an academic career to dedicate himself to the formation of students. "His evangelizing activity began in the 1960s, presenting the truth of faith with an open and ceaseless dialogue, with coherent docility to the Magisterium of the Church and above all with an exemplary witness of life. Thus was born Communion and Liberation, which grew over the years thanks to the apostolic ardor of this fervent Ambrosian priest." St. Ambrose, Father and Doctor of the Church, is the patron of the archdiocese of Milan.

  "Christ and the Church: here is the synthesis of his life and his apostolate. Without ever separating one from the other, he communicated to those around him a true love for the Lord and for the various Popes whom he personally knew."

  In concluding remarks, the Pope wrote: "A defender of man's reason, Fr. Giussani had a profound knowledge of literature and music and was convinced of the value of art as a path leading to mystery. Followed by the members of the movement he founded, now in many countries of the world, and listened to as well with respect by persons of different faiths and different professions, I love to remember him as a master of mankind and defender of the religiosity written in the human heart."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 25, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following declaration to journalists this morning regarding the Pope's condition following last evening's tracheotomy at Gemelli Polyclinic:

  "The Holy Father spent a night of tranquil rest.

  "This morning he ate breakfast with a good appetite.

  "The post-operative situation continues regularly.

  "He is breathing on his own and cardio-circulatory conditions remain good.

  "Upon the advice of his doctors, the Pope must not speak for several days so as to favor the recovery of the functions of the larynx.

  "A new medical bulletin is not foreseen until next Monday, February 28 at 12:30 p.m."

   At a 12:30 press conference today for journalists, Dr. Navarro-Valls stated the following:

  "I wish to review the circumstances prior to the Holy Father's admittance yesterday to the hospital.

  "From the moment that the Pope left the hospital on February 10, he had no fever. This allowed him to undertake his normal activity: Mass in the morning, 'ad limina' audiences, receiving his collaborators, etc.

  "Certainly, there is not now - nor was there ever - any bronchial-pulmonary infection.

  "Naturally, he followed a normal diet.

  "Rather, as I said in my communique yesterday, there were 'new episodes of acute respiratory insufficiency, caused by a pre-existing functional restriction of the larynx'. The Pope was watched over in his apartment, in case the need arose, by a doctor specialized in reanimation and by Dr. Camaioni, whom I mentioned yesterday."

  "The tracheotomy that the Pope underwent yesterday was called an 'elective tracheotomy': this means that it was not an emergency procedure. As we said yesterday, it was a question of 'assuring adequate breathing for the patient and to favor the resolution of the larynx pathology'.

  "He is now breathing better, feels notable relief and does not need assistance in breathing - from a machine or otherwise."

  In answer to journalists' questions, the press office director stressed that the Pope did not have a fever either yesterday or today. He added that Pope John Paul had his "usual" breakfast of coffee with milk, several small cookies and yogurt, and "he ate it all."

  As to the Sunday Angelus, the director added that he would be speaking to the Pope's secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz and to his doctors to see what could be arranged for the Angelus prayer and reflections and would let the media know in a timely fashion.

  Responding to a journalist who asked how the Pope communicates, he said: "It is rather difficult to explain. What I can say is that when he went back to his room, the anesthesia was very light, given the light surgery that he had, and he made a gesture saying he wanted to write. And he wrote, jokingly, 'What have they done to me? But right afterwards he wrote (his motto): 'Totus tuus' (I am all yours)."

   Last evening Navarro-Valls, made the following declaration on the condition of Pope John Paul II:

  "The flu syndrome, which was the reason behind the Pope's admittance this morning to Gemelli Polyclinic, in recent days was complicated by new episodes of acute respiratory insufficiency, caused by a pre-existing functional restriction of the larynx.

  "This clinical picture pointed to an elective tracheotomy to assure adequate breathing for the patient and to favor the resolution of the larynx pathology.

  "The Holy Father, duly informed, gave his consent.

  "The procedure, which began at 8:20 p.m. and ended at 8:50 p.m., was successfully completed. The immediate post-operative situation is regular.

  "The Holy Father is spending the night in his hospital room.

  "The surgery was performed by Dr. Gaetano Paludetti, professor of  otorhinolarynology at Sacred Heart Catholic University and by Dr. Angelo Camaioni,  head of otorhinolarynology at St. John's Hospital in Rome, assisted by Dr. Giovanni Almadori.

   "The anethesia was administered by Dr.Rodolfo Proietti, professor of anesthesiology and reanimation at Sacred Heart Catholic University, with the collaboration of Doctors Massimo Antonelli and Filippo Zanghi.

  "Also present at the surgery were Dr. Enrico De Campora, professor of otorhinolarynology at the University of Florence and consultant for the Health Department of Vatican City State and by Dr. Renato Buzzonetti, the personal physician of the Holy Father."
OP/HEALTH POPE/NAVARRO-VALLS                VIS 20050225 (710)

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