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Friday, March 3, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAR 3, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Felix Lian Khen Thang, secretary to the bishop and chancellor of the diocese of Hakha, Myanmar, as auxiliary of the same diocese (area 32,280, population 923,637, Catholics 74,866, priests 51, religious 93). The bishop-elect was born in Gam Ngai, Myanmar in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1990.
NEA/.../THANG                                VIS 20060303 (70)


VATICAN CITY, MAR 3, 2006 (VIS) - Yesterday in New York, the Holy See Delegation participated in the 50th session of the Commission on the Status of Women of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), which is meeting to consider themes arising from the Fourth World Conference on Women and from the 23rd special session of the General Assembly entitled "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century."

  The delegation recalled how the purpose of the Commission "is to prepare recommendations and reports to the ECOSOC on promoting women's rights," and expressed the view that "policies should be designed that restore balance and fairness to social and political structures in such a way that their very success persuades all people to work towards the true advancement of women."

  The Holy See delegation had words of praise for the recently-completed Year of Microcredit which was particularly aimed at women entrepreneurs in developing countries, pointing out that this phenomenon "has had the support of local Catholic Churches for many years." On a different matter, the delegation again drew attention to the dangers of human trafficking which "has a particularly negative impact on women," and highlighted the fact that "in armed conflicts, women and girls are also victims of systematic rape for political purposes."

  The delegation issued a stern condemnation of "the sexual violence that frequently has women and girls for its object," and encouraged "the passing of laws that will effectively defend them from such violence." It also condemned "the widespread culture which encourages the systematic exploitation of sexuality and corrupts even very young girls into letting their bodies be used for profit in a world-wide three billion dollar industry."
DELSS/PROMOTION WOMEN/ECOSOC                    VIS 20060303 (300)


VATICAN CITY, MAR 3, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict XVI visited the headquarters of Vatican Radio, which this year is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The station was inaugurated in 1931 under the pontificate of Pius IX, and all Popes since then have visited its headquarters at least once during their pontificates, with the exception of John Paul I, the brevity of whose pontificate did not enable him to do so.

  Benedict XVI was welcomed by the three directors of Vatican Radio: Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director general, Fr. Andrej Koprowski S.J., director of programs, and Alberto Gasbarri, technical and administrative director.

  The Pope went first to the fourth floor of the Radio building in order to bless a plaque with the inscription "Cardinal Karol Wojtyla" affixed to the wall of recording studio 3, in which the last pontiff had taped various interviews in the days when he was still a cardinal. After the blessing, Benedict XVI sat before the microphones in the same studio and delivered some off-the-cuff remarks which were transmitted live.

  "Today the voice of Vatican Radio can reach to every part of the world, to many homes," he said. "There is above all great reciprocity, not only speaking but also welcoming replies, in a true dialogue that aims to understand and respond, and so to build the family of God. This, I feel, is the significance of a means of communication such as this: to help build the great family that knows no frontiers and in which, with their multiplicity of languages and cultures, all are brothers and sisters and thus represent a force for peace. I would like everyone now listening to me to feel they are truly involved in this great dialogue of truth. In the world of the communications media there is no lack, as we know, of contrasting voices. So it is all the more important that this voice should exist, which truly desires to place itself at the service of truth and of Christ, thus placing itself at the service of peace and reconciliation in the world."

  The Pope continued his visit by greeting the editorial staff of "One-O-Five Live," the station's new FM and Internet channel. He then paused for a few moments of prayer in the Chapel of the Annunciation, before going on to visit the editorial offices of each of the language groups.

  Finally, he arrived in the building's Marconi Hall where he delivered a brief address in which he greeted all Vatican Radio personnel, reserving a particular greeting for Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach S.J., superior general of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) whom he thanked "for the service that, ever since the initial stages of Vatican Radio, the Jesuits have rendered to the Holy See, faithful to St. Ignatius' charism of complete dedication to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff."

  He then went on to trace certain aspects of the station's history, recalling Pius XI's awareness "of the importance that the new means of communication ... would have for disseminating the pontifical Magisterium around the world," and how during the Second World War, thanks to the station, Pius XII was able to ensure that the whole world heard his "impassioned exhortations for hope and peace."

  The Pope referred to the years of Communism, during which the station "increased its programs and its languages, in order to assure Christian communities oppressed by totalitarian regimes of the closeness and solidarity of the Pope and the Universal Church." He also mentioned Vatican Council II, which stressed "the importance communications media would have in spreading the evangelical message in our time."

  "Yours is 'the good fight of the faith' to spread the Gospel of Christ." said the Holy Father. "This consists, as it says in your Statutes, in announcing the Christian message freely, faithfully and effectively, and linking the center of Catholicism with the countries of the world. ... This is always an important mission, though the circumstances and ways of carrying it out change over time."

  Vatican Radio today, the Pope concluded, "is a chorus of voices sounding out in more than 40 languages, and capable of maintaining dialogue with different cultures and religions." He encouraged the staff to continue "to work in the great Areopagus of modern communications, drawing upon the wealth of the extraordinary experience you underwent during the Great Jubilee 2000, and even more so on the occasion of the death of the beloved John Paul II, an event that showed how much humanity wishes to understand the reality of the Church."
BXVI-VISIT/VATICAN RADIO/...                        VIS 20060303 (770)


VATICAN CITY, MAR 3, 2006 (VIS) - Yesterday, in the Hall of Blessings in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, Benedict XVI celebrated the traditional Lenten meeting between the Pope and the clergy of the diocese of Rome. Participating in the event were Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's vicar general for Rome, the auxiliary bishops, and more than 800 priests who work in the city's 337 parishes.

  The Holy Father chose not to pronounce an address, and instead dedicated the meeting to answering questions from the assembled pastors. The event, which lasted around two hours, began with a remembrance of Fr. Andrea Santoro, the Roman priest murdered recently in Trabzon, Turkey.

  The Pope called on the priests of Rome to pay "particular attention" to the position of families in the capital. He also dwelt on the subject of the defense of life, recalling how "above all during Lent, we must reaffirm our vocation, which is a fundamental choice in favor of life." In this context he also recalled John Paul II's Encyclical "Evangelium Vitae."

  Benedict XVI also spoke on the question of opening reflection of the role - including the institutional role - of women in the Church, and he quoted the examples of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Bridgit and St. Hildegard, who all made such extraordinary contributions to Church life.

  Throughout the meeting, the Holy Father made various references to his recent meetings with bishops from Africa, affirming how we are debtors of the people of that continent and must transmit them a living and joyful faith.

  The Pope also quoted from his own recent Encyclical "Deus caritas est," expressing his thanks to all those who, as witnesses of Christian love, dedicate themselves to the service of others, especially the poor and the sick. The "ultimate significance of the Cross," he stressed, is the offer of one's life for others.
AC/CLERGY/ROME                                VIS 20060303 (330)

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