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Friday, June 9, 2006


VATICAN CITY, JUN 9, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

 - Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

 - Archbishop Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona, Spain.

 - Juan Manuel Suarez del Toro Rivero, president of the International Federation of the Red Cross.
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 9, 2006 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano sent a message, in the Holy Father's name, to participants in the 36th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), which closed on June 6 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

  The principle theme of the assembly, the message says, "is the dignity of human beings and the absolute value of human life from conception to natural end." On this subject, the cardinal recalls how the American continent "has a long tradition of respecting life, now threatened by the pressure of opinions contrary to its nature."

  "In the field of protecting human dignity," he writes, "another priority is to favor the conditions that reduce violence in its various forms: terrorism, attacks against innocent civilians, kidnappings, threats and drug trafficking."

  Cardinal Sodano identifies another essential theme associated with that of human dignity: "The promotion of the family based on marriage. Promoting the family is an essential task for the development of society throughout the continent. The family is a place of education, knowledge, and of the basic formation of the future protagonists of social life. For this reason, the principal entity that States must protect and promote is the family."

  "The role played by parents is fundamental," the message continues, "and it cannot be replaced by the State or by any other institution, which are a necessary and very beneficial complement but do not substitute the primordial role of parents, who must also choose the kind of education they want for their children."

  After highlighting that the family "cannot adequately carry out its mission if it does not have the minimum material requirements to do so, the cardinal secretary of State deplored "the persistence, at times aggravated persistence, of poverty, and the growing gap between the richest and the poorest."

  "It is not only a matter of fairer distribution of what is available, but also of improving production conditions and of seeking new ways to develop in peace and harmony for all. In this context. the Church's social doctrine offers a framework for laying the foundations of a society that has at its center man, not money or ideology."

  Cardinal Sodano concludes his message by making a call "to continue down the path of constant dialogue between States," it being one of the OAS's functions "to guarantee such dialogue. The vast majority of inhabitants of the OAS countries are Christians, and Christian roots can make a decisive contribution to the social and political life of American States."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 9, 2006 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a telegram sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, in the name of Benedict XVI, to Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, military ordinary for Italy, for the death of Corporal Alessandro Pibiri, a member of the Italian contingent in Iraq. Corporal Pibiri was killed in an attack on Monday, June 5. The telegram was read out during the course of his funeral, held this morning in the Roman Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls.

  "Having learnt the news of the most recent of so many terrorist attacks in Iraq, which caused the death of Corporal Alessandro Pibiri and injured four other members of the Sassari Brigade, the Supreme Pontiff expresses his paternal spiritual closeness to relatives of the victim, to the injured and to the entire nation, which once again weeps a son fallen while generously accomplishing his duty at the service of order, security, justice and the peaceful recovery of the Iraqi people. Giving assurances of his fervent prayers for the young life so barbarously cut down, His Holiness sends those who are mourning the comfort of his apostolic blessing."

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