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Friday, May 6, 2005


VATICAN CITY, MAY 6, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Three prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka, on their 'ad limina' visit:

    - Bishop Anthony Leopold Raymond Peiris of Kurunegala.

    - Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar.

    - Bishop Joseph Kingsley Swampillai of Trincomalee-Batticaloa.

 - Thabo M. Mbeki, president of South Africa, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 6, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls made the following declaration:

  "This morning, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Thabo M. Mbeki, president of South Africa, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

  "During the meeting, the president explained the situation in South Africa to His Holiness, also with reference to the rest of the African continent.

  "The Holy Father emphasized the role the Republic of South Africa can play as a factor for peace throughout the continent.

  "He also underlined the Church's responsibility in promoting moral values in the Republic of South Africa and in the world."


VATICAN CITY, MAY 6, 2005 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall, the Pope received the 31 new recruits who this afternoon will take the oath as members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard at the swearing-in ceremony in the San Damaso courtyard of the Vatican Apostolic Palace. Family members and friends of the new recruits accompanied them in their meeting with the Pope.

  Speaking in German, French and Italian, Benedict XVI expressed his joy "that the traditional oath of recruits is taking place a few days after the start of my pontificate, so I can express to you my recognition, my thanks and my encouragement."

  After addressing a special greeting to the new recruits, the Holy Father expressed the desire that over these days "you may deepen your faith and your union with Peter's Successor, the visible head of the Universal Church. May your service further improve the liturgical acts and the numerous meetings."

  Despite the fact that the reasons for joining the Swiss Guard "are different for each of you," the Pope pointed out that what is important now is to live the experience fully so as to "give rise to a true spiritual bond between you. This spirit of the Swiss Guard is nourished by the glorious tradition of almost five centuries of a small army with great ideals." These ideals, said the Pope are "firmness of Catholic faith, a convinced and convincing Christian way of life, unshakeable trust and a profound love for the Church and for the Vicar of Christ, conscientiousness and perseverance in the small and great tasks of daily service, courage and humility, attention to others and humanity."

  "In the person of the Pope," he concluded, "you serve the entire Church; put your youthful energy, and your interior vitality and freshness at her service. Looking at you, dear friends, I remember what I said during the inaugural liturgical celebration of my pontificate: 'the Church is young. She holds within herself the future of the world and therefore shows each of us the way towards the future.' You, dear guards, can and must provide an example and a living witness of this."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2005 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announced today that on Sunday, May 8 at 12 noon, Cardinal Luigi Poggi, archivist and librarian emeritus of Holy Roman Church, will take possession of the title of San Lorenzo in Lucina on Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina in Rome.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2005 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke in New York on May 4 to the Seventh Review Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, calling on all State Parties to the NPT to uphold the integrity of the Treaty.

  The Holy See, one of the 188 States Parties to the Treaty, adhered to it in 1971, he said, "convinced that it was an important step forward in the creation of a system of general and complete disarmament under effective international control, something that would be possible only if it were completely observed both in detail and in its entirety." Over the years, he added, "the Treaty has become a cornerstone in the global security framework since it has, to some extent, helped slow the arms race."

  When it entered into force in the 1970s, there were "at the same time profound social and geopolitical changes. An awareness began to grow of the close correlation and interdependence between national and international security, while new challenges sprang up, like transnational terrorism and the illegal spread of materials for making weapons of mass destruction."

  "Since the Treaty," stated Archbishop Migliore, "is the only multilateral legal instrument currently available, intended to bring about a nuclear weapons free world, it must not be allowed to be weakened. Humanity deserves no less than the full cooperation of all States on this grave matter." He stressed that "the non-proliferation side of the NTP must be strengthened" and "compliance with its nuclear disarmament provisions is also required."

  "The time has gone," said the nuncio, "for finding ways to a 'balance in terror': the time has come to re-examine the whole strategy of nuclear deterrence. ... The Holy See has never countenanced nuclear deterrence as a permanent measure, nor does it today when it is evident that nuclear deterrence drives the development of ever newer nuclear arms, thus preventing genuine nuclear disarmament."  He said in conclusion that "we must always remember that the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated."


VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2005 (VIS) - At 3:30 p.m. today, Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, the Holy Father Benedict XVI traveled by helicopter to the town of Castelgandolfo, south of Rome, on his first visit to the pontifical villas where Popes traditionally spend the summer months. He was accompanied by Archbishops Leonardo Sandri and James Harvey, respectively substitute of the Secretariat of State and prefect of the Pontifical Household.

  On his arrival at Castelgandolfo, the Pope was received by Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, the diocese in which Castelgandolfo is located, Saverio Petrillo, director of the pontifical villas, and by Maurizio Colacchi, mayor of the town. After meeting a group of representatives from the local religious communities - Salesians of the local parish, Jesuits of the Specola (the Vatican Observatory at Castelgandolfo), and Filippini Religious Teachers - the Pope greeted the people who work in the pontifical villas and then visited the Apostolic Palace.

  At 5 p.m., the Pope appeared at the central balcony of the Apostolic Palace. Addressing the people gathered in the square below,  he said, "I have come today to meet you for the first time, dear friends of Castelgandolfo. Thank you for your presence and for your cordiality. On this visit I wish to make contact with the Apostolic Palace and the pontifical villas where, God willing, it is my intention to spend the summer months, just as my venerated predecessors did. This is therefore the first of many appointments that I hope to have with you in this beautiful town of yours."

  Benedict XVI then greeted Cardinal Angelo Sodano and the religious and civil authorities present, extending his greetings and "cordial wishes for serenity and peace" to all residents of both Castelgandolfo, "which always welcomes tourists and pilgrims," and of the surrounding hill towns.
  After visiting the gardens, at 7.30 p.m. he returned to the Vatican by helicopter.
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