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Thursday, September 7, 2006


VATICAN CITY, SEP 7, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Nine prelates from the Canadian (Ontario) Conference of Catholic Bishops on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Marcel Andre J. Gervais of Ottawa.

    - Bishop Richard William Smith of Pembroke.

    - Bishop Vincent Cadieux O.M.I., of Moosonee.

    - Bishop Nicola De Angelis C.F.I.C., of Peterborough.

    - Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Alexandria-Cornwall, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Eugene Philippe LaRocque.

    - Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe of Sault Sainte Marie, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Robert Harris.

    - Bishop John Stephen Pazak C.SS.R., of Saints Cyril and Methodius of Toronto of the Slovaks of Byzantine Rite.

 - Archbishop James Patrick Green, apostolic nuncio to South Africa, Namibia and Lesotho, and apostolic delegate to Botswana, accompanied by members of his family.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 7, 2006 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, Msgrs. Gabriele Giordano Caccia and Pietro Parolin, respectively councillor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State and under-secretary for Relations with States of the same secretariat, presented a book by Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano entitled: "Il lievito del Vangelo. La presenza della Santa Sede nella vita dei popoli" (The Leaven of the Gospel. The presence of the Holy See in the life of peoples).

  The Italian-language volume contains twelve speeches by Cardinal Sodano, who has occupied the post of secretary of State for almost 16 years, serving under Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

  Msgr. Parolin highlighted how the long period of Cardinal Sodano's service to the Church has been "particularly complex and restless, bearing in mind the end of the Cold War, the two Gulf conflicts, the Balkans war and the outbreak of international terrorism following the events of September 11 2001."

  "The central importance of human beings as the main inspiration of the Holy See's diplomatic activity" is, said Msgr. Parolin, one of the cardinal's favored themes, featuring, for example, in his address to heads of State and government at the March 1995 World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen, Denmark. Another of the chapters of his book dedicates great attention to the theme of "solidarity and the duty to show solidarity."

  The under-secretary for Relations with States went on to consider a further aspect emphasized by Cardinal Sodano in his book, his "considerations on the need to place ethical values at the foundation of all forms of social structure and human coexistence."

  In closing, Msgr. Parolin dwelt on Cardinal Sodano's concern for the "human factor," explaining that "it is the Lord Who guides history, but He is wont to use many 'humble servants of his vineyard' who, animated by a great love for the Church and a profound sense of service to humanity, give body and soul to the international activity of the Holy See."

  For his part, Msgr. Caccia pointed out that Cardinal Sodano's book "brings together experiences matured over time as a pastor of souls; a pastor not directly entrusted with a portion of the people of God, but with the privilege of cooperating in the care of the entire flock of the Lord, alongside the Successor of the Apostle Peter."

  Reading the text, said Msgr. Caccia, "from between the lines there emerges a desire to answer a question ... on the meaning and significance of the Holy See's presence in the life of peoples. ... In order to illustrate this mission, ... Cardinal Sodano chooses the evangelical image of leavening, ... and explains the activity of the Holy See as a presence that 'leavens,' a 'ferment' of truth, of love and of peace, a presence that discreetly, patiently and silently, acts within history and the often conflict-ridden situations of humanity. An evangelical and evangelizing presence that summons everyone belonging to the Holy See always to proclaim ... only the Gospel in all situations, using real institutions to achieve this end."

  "From the very opening pages Cardinal Sodano illustrates the pastoral mission of the Holy See, that aims 'to introduce the leavening of Christianity into the life of nations';" and stresses "the importance of the Holy See's presence in many fields of international activity 'to infuse the heart of modern society with that innovative ferment that is the Gospel of Christ'."

  Still quoting from Cardinal Sodano's work, the councillor for General Affairs said: "The Church has no other raison d'etre in the world than that of continuing the work of the Lord. She has, in fact, been well defined as Christ ... prolonged over the centuries.' This is even truer in our own times," Msgr. Cacccia concluded, "when the greatest challenges are not economic or technical, but first and foremost ethical and spiritual."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 7, 2006 (VIS) - On September 1, Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi C.S., Holy See permanent observer to the Office of the United Nations and Specialized Institutions at Geneva, addressed the 15th Session of the Group of Governmental Experts of States Parties to the CCW ("Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects"). The session was held from August 28 to September 6.

  "Thus far," said Archbishop Tomasi in his French-language address, "we have heard no convincing evidence from those who consider these arms [sub-munitions] to be legitimate. In any case, all arms are called legitimate before being prohibited or regulated. Was that not true of chemical, biological, incendiary and laser weapons? The fact of declaring a particular armament legitimate does not make it more acceptable or less inhuman."

  After highlighting how the Holy See considers "it vital to undertake a profound reflection on the nature and use of sub-munitions," Archbishop Tomasi pointed out that the victims of conflict "cannot wait for years of negotiations and discussions. For this reason, there must be a moratorium on the use of these arms. At the same time, the States parties to the CCW must set themselves to work."

  The permanent observer concluded his address by indicating that "the review conference being prepared must be capable of adopting a specific mandate to begin discussions and negotiations on an effective instrument to eradicate the risks associated with sub-munitions."
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