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Tuesday, January 24, 2006


VATICAN CITY, JAN 24, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Msgr. Victor Manuel Ochoa Cadavid of the clergy of the archdiocese of Medellin, Colombia, official at the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Medellin (area 708, population 3,012,847, Catholics 2,625,494, priests 909, permanent deacons 39, religious 3,661). The bishop-elect was born in Bello, Colombia in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1986.

 - Msgr. Nicola Girasoli, counsellor at the apostolic nunciature to Argentina, as apostolic nuncio to Zambia and Malawi, at the same time raising him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Ruvo, Italy in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1980.

 - Msgr. Jean Laffitte, under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, as vice president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 24, 2006 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a telegram sent, in the name of Benedict XVI, by Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano to Bishop Zef Gashi S.D.B., apostolic administrator of Prizren, Srbija i Crna Gora, for the death last Saturday, January 21, of Ibrahim Rugova, president of Kosovo.

  "Having learned the sad news of the death of President Ibrahim Rugova, the Supreme Pontiff charges Your Excellency to offer his heartfelt condolences for the bereavement that has struck the people and government of Kosovo; at the same time, he gives assurances of his spiritual closeness at this moment of trial. In recalling the solid civic virtues that inspired the life of the dear departed, and his generous service to his fellow citizens, His Holiness calls on God to bring down abundant blessings upon the beloved inhabitants of Kosovo."
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 24, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today, Feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists, was Benedict XVI's first Message for the World Day of Social Communications, which this year is due to be celebrated on May 28, on the theme: "The Media: A Network for Communication, Communion and Cooperation."

  The Holy Father's Message has been published in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese. Extracts from the English language version are given below:

  "Technological advances in the media have in certain respects conquered time and space, making communication between people, even when separated by vast distances, both instantaneous and direct. This development presents an enormous potential for service of the common good. Yet, ... daily we are reminded that immediacy of communication does not necessarily translate into the building of cooperation and communion in society.

  "To inform the consciences of individuals and help shape their thinking is never a neutral task. Authentic communication demands principled courage and resolve. It requires a determination of those working in the media not to wilt under the weight of so much information nor even to be content with partial or provisional truths. Instead it necessitates both seeking and transmitting what is the ultimate foundation and meaning of human, personal and social existence. In this way the media can contribute constructively to the propagation of all that is good and true.

  "The call for today's media to be responsible - to be the protagonist of truth and promoter of the peace that ensues - carries with it a number of challenges. While the various instruments of social communication facilitate the exchange of information, ideas, and mutual understanding among groups, they are also tainted by ambiguity. ... Certain tendencies within the media engender a kind of monoculture that dims creative genius, deflates the subtlety of complex thought and undervalues the specificity of cultural practices and the particularity of religious belief. These are distortions that occur when the media industry becomes self-serving or solely profit-driven, losing the sense of accountability to the common good.

  "Accurate reporting of events, full explanation of matters of public concern, and fair representation of diverse points of view must, then, always be fostered. The need to uphold and support marriage and family life is of particular importance, precisely because it pertains to the foundation of every culture and society. In cooperation with parents, the social communications and entertainment industries can assist in the difficult but sublimely satisfying vocation of bringing up children, through presenting edifying models of human life and love."

  "To encourage both a constructive presence and a positive perception of the media in society, I wish to reiterate the importance of three steps, identified by my venerable predecessor Pope John Paul II, necessary for the service of the common good: formation, participation, and dialogue.

  "Formation in the responsible and critical use of the media helps people to use them intelligently and appropriately. ... Precisely because contemporary media shape popular culture, they themselves must overcome any temptation to manipulate, especially the young, and instead pursue the desire to form and serve. In this way they protect rather than erode the fabric of a civil society worthy of the human person.

  "Participation in the mass media arises from their nature as a good destined for all people. As a public service, social communication requires a spirit of cooperation and co-responsibility with vigorous accountability of the use of public resources and the performance of roles of public trust, including recourse to regulatory standards and other measures or structures designed to effect this goal.

  "Finally, the promotion of dialogue through the exchange of learning, the expression of solidarity and the espousal of peace presents a great opportunity for the mass media which must be recognized and exercised. In this way they become influential and appreciated resources for building the civilization of love for which all peoples yearn.

  "I am confident that serious efforts to promote these three steps will assist the media to develop soundly as a network of communication, communion and cooperation, helping men, women and children, to become more aware of the dignity of the human person, more responsible, and more open to others especially the neediest and the weakest members of society."

  In conclusion, the Pope recalls the "encouraging words of St. Paul: 'Christ is our peace. In Him we are one.' Let us together break down the dividing walls of hostility and build up the communion of love according to the designs of the Creator made known through His Son!"
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