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Tuesday, March 1, 2005


VATICAN CITY, MAR 1, 2005 (VIS) - Pope John Paul's general prayer intention for the month of March is: "That governments of every nation, in their policies and development plans, should always take account of the poor, emarginated and oppressed."

  His mission intention is: "That each individual Church should be aware of the ever greater urgency of preparing holy Christians, capable of confronting challenges to the new evangelization."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 1, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was the address given by Archbishop Juliusz Janusz, head of the Holy See delegation to the 14th Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Regional and Local Government. The meeting was held in Budapest, Hungary, on February 24 and 25.

  In his talk given in English, Archbishop Janusz, who is also the apostolic nuncio to Hungary, affirmed that the "reason that public administration exists ... is to serve the human being at every level of a State in order to build a more free and responsible society."

  "Good local and regional governance," said the archbishop, "is indeed the 'conditio sine qua non' for local and regional authorities to faithfully keep to their mission of serving the common good of the communities. This local and regional governance, in order to be good, requires a democratic form of government," which should promote "the participation in public life of all people living within the community, without neglecting the stranger among them. ... Adequate information is, in fact, among the principal instruments of democratic participation."

  Archbishop Janusz highlighted the fact that "good governance at a local and regional level implies respect for the principle of subsidiarity," which "does not exclude the necessity of solidarity;" in other words, "without overlooking the broader interests and the possible needs of less influential sectors of society."

  "A good government," he concluded, "is that government in which political authorities do not forget or underestimate the moral dimension of political representation. ... Indeed, political corruption causes a growing distrust with respect to public institutions, bringing about a progressive disaffection in the citizens with regard to politics and its representatives, with a resulting weakening of institutions. At any level - national, regional, local - political power shall be put into practice as a service to the dignity and rights of the human person."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 1, 2005 (VIS) - An international study seminar on the human rights of prisoners opened this morning at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which organized the event along with the International Commission of Catholic Prison Ministries (ICCPPC). An estimated 80 experts, scholars and chaplains are in attendance from over 20 countries on five continents.

  The council president, Cardinal Renato Martino opened the meeting this morning. His remarks were followed by a report from Ugo Vetere, director of the Treaty Affairs Division of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, on the theme "Respecting the Human Rights of Prisoners: A Global Challenge." A round table discussion on the question "Are the Human Rights of Prisoners at Risk?" closed out the morning session with interventions from, among others, Silvia Casale, president of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), Jean-Paul Laborde, director of the U.N. Terror Prevention Sector in Vienna, and Baroness Vivien Stern, secretary general of Penal Reform International.

  Tomorrow, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, will speak on "Respecting the Dignity of Every Human Being: Discovering the Face of Christ in Every Human Being." Christian Kuhn, president of ICCPPC, is scheduled to talk on "Prison Ministry: The Mission of the Church." A second round table will then take place with participation by workers in prison ministry from five countries. The seminar will conclude with a Eucharistic concelebration in Rome's Regina Coeli prison.


VATICAN CITY, MAR 1, 2005 (VIS) - Although a new medical bulletin on Pope John Paul's condition will not be released until Thursday, March 3, Holy See Press Office spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls told journalists today that "the Pope is well, and his condition is improving, as I told you yesterday." He spoke briefly as he entered Gemelli Hospital this morning just before 9 a.m.

  An hour later, following his daily visit to the Holy Father, Navarro-Valls indicated to journalists that "everything is normal." He said that the Pope's fifth night in the hospital was "tranquil," he "is a good patient and is continuing his voice exercises." The press office director also said that, as he was leaving Pope John Paul's 10th floor hospital suite, "the Pope was preparing to celebrate Mass."

  A brief visit to the Pope by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was on today's agenda.
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