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Wednesday, September 21, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Jose Belisario da Silva O.F.M., of Bacabal, Brazil, as metropolitan archbishop of Sao Luis do Maranhao (area 13,118, population 1,195,000, Catholics 887,000, priests 103, religious 298), Brazil. The archbishop-elect was born in Carmopolis de Minas, Brazil, in 1945, ordained a priest in 1969 and consecrated a bishop in 2000. He succeeds Archbishop Paulo Eduardo Andrade Ponte, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with Canon 401, para. 2, of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Msgr. Jacinto A. Jose of the clergy of the diocese of Laoag, Philippines, diocesan administrator, as bishop of Urdaneta (area 1,616, population 625,855, Catholics 531,970, priests 41, religious 42), Philippines. The bishop-elect was born in Laoag City in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1975.

 - Erected the diocese of Serrinha (area 17,169, population 505,787, Catholics 467,742, priests 16, religious 31), Brazil, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Feira de Santana and from the diocese of Paulo Afonso, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Feira de Santana. He appointed Fr. Ottorino Assolari C.S.F., master of novices at Peabiru in the diocese of Campo Mourao, Brazil, as the first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Scanzorosciate, Italy, in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1973.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2005 (VIS) - Following this morning's general audience, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, apostolic nuncio in the United States of America, permanent observer to the Organization of American States.

 - Archbishop Mounged el-Hachem, apostolic nuncio to Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen and Qatar, and apostolic delegate to the Arabian Peninsula.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, with reference to an article entitled "Vatican accused of shielding 'war criminal'" that appeared in the Daily Telegraph newspaper on September 20, 2005, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls issued the following declaration to journalists. The article concerned accusations that the Vatican is shielding General Ante Gotovina, suspected of having committed war crimes during the conflict in former Yugoslavia:

  "During the meeting between Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for Relations with States, and Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor of the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, in response to her request for information and support, Archbishop Lajolo made it clear that the Secretariat of State is not an organ of the Holy See that can collaborate institutionally with the tribunals.

  "Archbishop Lajolo also requested Ms. Del Ponte to specify with some precision the evidence leading her to believe that General Ante Gotovina had taken refuge in certain religious buildings in Croatia, in order to be able to enter into contact with the competent ecclesiastical authorities; earlier investigations had, in fact,  yielded negative results. Archbishop Lajolo's request has not yet received any response from Ms. Del Ponte."


VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2005 (VIS) - In his greetings to Italian-speaking pilgrims present at today's general audience, the Holy Father addressed some remarks to delegations from the executive committee of UEFA and from the Italian "Gioco Calcio" Federation, accompanied by a large group of young people.

  The Pope indicated that the young people, from 16 countries and accompanied by their respective ambassadors, are participating in the "Calcio-Cares" project, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum."

  "Your presence," said Benedict XVI, "gives me the opportunity to throw light on the importance of sport, a discipline which, if practiced in respect for the rules, becomes an educational instrument and a vehicle for important human and spiritual values. May today's initiative also serve to revitalize in each of you the commitment to ensure that sport contributes to building a society characterized by mutual respect, loyalty of behavior, and solidarity between peoples and cultures."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2005 (VIS) - In today's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke about the second part of Psalm 131, "the choice of David and of Zion."

  The Holy Father explained to the 26,000 people present that this canticle "evokes a crucial event in the history of Israel: the transfer of the Ark of the Lord to the city of Jerusalem."

  In fact, King David "had made a vow not to dwell in the royal palace if he had not first found a resting place for the Ark of the Covenant, the sign of the presence of the Lord alongside His people. That oath of the king's is now answered by God's own promise: 'the Lord swore to David a sure oath from which He will not turn back'."

  Benedict XVI stressed how "the promise and the gift of God ... must find a response in mankind's faithful and active adherence, in a dialogue that integrates two freedoms: the divine and the human."

  The psalm then "becomes a hymn exalting the marvelous effects both of the gift of the Lord and of the faithfulness of Israel. In fact, the Lord's presence among the people will be felt: He will be like one more inhabitant among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, like a citizen who, with other citizens, experiences the events of history, yet offering the power of His blessing."

  The Pope went on to point out how in this second part of the psalm, as in the first part, there appears "the figure of the 'Anointed One,' in Hebrew 'Messiah,' thus linking descent from David to Messianism which, in the Christian re-reading, is fulfilled in the figure of Christ."

  "Psalm 131 becomes, then, a celebration of God-Emmanuel Who remains with His creatures, living with them and benefiting them, so long as they remain united to Him in truth and justice. The spiritual core of this hymn is already a prelude to St. John's proclamation: 'And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us'."
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