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Friday, June 10, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUN 10, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences five prelates from the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Liborius Ndumbukuti Nashenda O.M.I., of Windhoek, Namibia.

    - Bishop Joseph James Potocnak S.C.I., of De Aar, South Africa.

    - Bishop Joseph Shipandeni Shikongo O.M.I., apostolic vicar of Rundu, Namibia.

    - Bishop Fritz Lobinger, emeritus of Aliwal, South Africa.

    - Fr. Klaus Lettner, diocesan administrator of Keetmanshoop, Namibia.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 10, 2005 (VIS) - Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland, spoke June 7 at the 93rd International Labor Organization conference. His talk highlighted the ILO commitment to make the continuing process of globalization inclusive and to remove all obstacles that obstruct its beneficial impact.

  He said, in his talk in English, that "the road towards decent work for a decent life in a world where the globalization of solidarity is an active agenda starts indeed with young women and men and the promotion of their employment. ... Decent jobs for young people have a critical pay off. Their creativity supported by an adequate technical culture and a sound sense of responsibility can make up for their limited experience and even open additional jobs through the micro-enterprises they may launch with the granting of appropriate credit."
  Archbishop Tomasi then cited Pope Benedict's words to workers on May 1, 2005 when he underlined how "solidarity, justice and peace should be 'the pillars on which to build the unity of the human family'."

  "The creation of decent work for all in a sustainable world," the nuncio added, "has been a long-standing common base for a fruitful dialogue between the ILO and the social doctrine of the Church. It is the dignity of every human person that requires access to work in condition of personal security, health, fair remuneration, a safe environment. Work is a right and the expression of human dignity. My delegation, therefore, sees unemployment as a 'real social disaster'."

  He affirmed that "a more determined outreach to the most vulnerable categories of workers is called for. Coherent action against forced labor ... can eradicate this most indecent work which should have no place in the modern world. ... An important sign of the continued dynamism of the ILO is its persevering commitment to focus on forced labor as well as on all segments of the world of work that are most marginalized."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 10, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received bishops from South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia and Lesotho, who have just completed their five-yearly "ad limina" visit.

  In his address in English, the Pope noted how Catholics represent a minority in the region, and said that, for this reason "it is essential that the bishops promote the crucial work of catechesis in order to ensure that God's people are truly prepared to witness by word and deed to the authentic teaching of the Gospel."

  Benedict XVI gave thanks to God for "the many priests, religious and lay men and women who have given their lives to" the "noble task" of evangelization in Africa over the course of last century.

  The Pope went on: "Even though your region still needs more priests, one cannot help but thank God for the large number of vocations to the priesthood you are currently witnessing in Sub-Saharan Africa. ... It is your grave responsibility to help them develop into men of the Eucharist. Priests are called to leave everything and become ever more devoted to the Blessed Sacrament. ... I encourage you, therefore, in your ongoing efforts to conscientiously select candidates for the priesthood. Likewise, these young men should be formed with great concern to guarantee that they are prepared for the many challenges they will face."

  "A world filled with temptations needs priests who are totally dedicated to their mission," and who serve others "as Christ did by embracing the gift of celibacy.  Bishops should assist them by ensuring that this gift never becomes a burden but always remains life-giving. One of the ways this can be achieved is by bringing ministers of word and sacrament together for continuing education, retreats and days of recollection."

  Benedict XVI stressed how "family life has always been a unifying characteristic of African society," but expressed concern that "the fabric of African life is threatened by divorce, abortion, prostitution, human trafficking and a contraceptive mentality, all of which contribute to a breakdown in sexual morality."

  After explaining how he shared the bishops' "deep concern over the devastation caused by AIDS and related diseases," the Pope said: "I especially pray for the widows, the orphans, the young mothers and all those whose lives have been shattered by this cruel epidemic. I urge you to continue your efforts to fight this virus which not only kills but seriously threatens the economic and social stability of the continent."

    "The traditional teaching of the Church has proven to be the only failsafe way to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. For this reason, the companionship, joy, happiness and peace which Christian marriage and fidelity provide, and the safeguard which chastity gives, must be continuously presented to the faithful, particularly the young."
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