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Monday, May 21, 2007


VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2007 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Bishop Pierre Duprey M. Afr., former secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, on May 13 at the age of 84.

 - Bishop Rafael Angel Gonzalez Ramirez, emeritus of Barinas, Venezuela, on May 10 at the age of 90.

 - Bishop Lorenzo Rodolfo Guibord Levesque O.F.M., former apostolic vicar of San Jose del Amazonas, Peru, on May 9 at the age of 83.

 - Bishop Federico Bonifacio Madersbacher Gasteiger O.F.M., emeritus of San Ignacio de Velasco, Bolivia, on April 28 at the age of 88.

 - Bishop Walter Joseph Schoenherr, former auxiliary of Detroit, U.S.A., on April 27, at the age of 87.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Corrado Maggioni S.M.M., official at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, as bureau chief at the same congregation.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy and president of the Italian Episcopal conference, accompanied by Bishop Giuseppe Bertori, secretary general of that conference.

 - Four prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Jaime Pedro Goncalves of Beira, apostolic administrator of Quelimane.

    - Bishop Francisco Joao Silota M. Afr., of Chimoio.

    - Bishop Manuel Chuanguira Machado of Gurue.

    - Bishop Paulo Mandlate S.S.S., of Tete.

  On Saturday, May 19, he received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome.

 - Archbishop Francesco Monterisi, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops.

 - Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2007 (VIS) - Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi C.S., Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations at Geneva, has delivered a speech on the subject of "the Holy See and modern challenges in health promotion," during the course of the 60th World Health Assembly, being held in Geneva from May 14 to 23.

  Opening his English-language talk, the archbishop congratulated Margaret Chan, the new director of the World Health Organization (WHO). "We welcome," he said, "her designation of the health of women and of the people of Africa as major concerns during her tenure in office. The Catholic Church has traditionally been in the front line in the promotion of the authentic health of women, by helping them to harmonize their physical, psychological and social well-being with moral and spiritual values. In this line, the Catholic Church is also convinced of the God-given, equal, and complementary dignity of women and men."

  "Regarding Africa, the Popes have repeatedly expressed deep concern over its anguished history 'where many nations are still in the grip of famine, war, racial and tribal tensions, political instability and the violation of human rights,' and Pope Benedict XVI has exhorted the international community, 'we must not forget Africa'."

  The permanent observer called attention to "resolutions and recommendations with regard to the pandemics of tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV," and recalled how last November "the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care convened more than 500 experts to reflect on 'Pastoral aspects of the treatment of infectious diseases.' In addressing those gathered, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI emphasized the need to implement social justice in the sensitive area of treatment and nursing and therefore to ensure a fair distribution of resources for research and treatment. In this same perspective, as the chancellor of Germany prepared to assume the presidency of both the G8 countries and the European Union, the Holy Father, in a letter to her," emphasized the "need to make available medical and pharmaceutical technology and health care expertise without imposing legal or economic conditions."

  The archbishop dwelt upon the Holy See's concern "for the tragic loss of life each year among some 10.5 million children under five years of age; many of these children die of diseases that are treatable in adults but for which appropriate dosages and formulations have not yet been developed for pediatric use." He also noted, "with much regret, that only 15 percent of HIV-positive children in need of anti-retroviral treatment actually have access to these life-saving therapies."

  "In all the deliberations during this Assembly and in the subsequent implementation of World Health Assembly resolutions," Archbishop Tomasi concluded, "my delegation urges a perspective on health security that is grounded on an anthropology respectful of the human person in his or her integrity and looks far beyond the absence of disease to the full harmony and sound balance of the physical, emotional, spiritual and social forces within the human person."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message, dated April 3, from the Holy Father to Paul Kagame, president of the Republic of Rwanda, for that country's annual day of national mourning to mark the beginning of the 1994 genocide. The anniversary day fell on April 7, Easter Saturday.

  "I wish to participate," writes the Pope in his Message, "in the national mourning and especially in the prayers for all the victims of that horrendous bloodbath, without distinction of creed, ethnicity or political opinion."

  The Holy Father also expresses his hope "that all Rwandans, guided by their civil and religious authorities, commit themselves with greater generosity and effectiveness in favor of national reconciliation and the building of a new country, in truth and justice, in fraternal unity and peace."

  "Religious motivations, which are the foundation of Catholics' commitment to family and social life, and the moral principles that derive therefrom, represent a point of encounter for Christians and for all men and women of good will."

  Benedict XVI concludes his message by affirming that "the Christian faith, which is shared by the majority of Rwandans, if lived coherently and fully, is a real help in overcoming a past of errors and death, the culminating point of which was the 1994 genocide. At the same time, such faith stimulates trust in the possibility offered to all Rwandans, reconciled to one another, to build a better future together, rediscovering the novelty of love which is the only power that can lead to personal and social perfection and orient history towards good."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2007 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Pope received the Letters of Credence of Justino Maria Aparicio Guterres, the first ambassador from the Democratic Republic of East Timor. The Holy See established diplomatic relations with the country on the same day that East Timor declared its national independence, May 20, 2002.

  In his talk to the diplomat the Pope expressed the view that the large turnout in recent presidential elections, won by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Jose Ramos Horta, "demonstrate the great civic maturity of the people of Timor, and the hope they have in the process of constructing a democratic State."

  "Those in charge of the political, social and economic life of East Timor," he said, "face an arduous journey not without obstacles: there is no lack of internal and external misunderstandings; resources are insufficient to answer the many needs of health, education and employment; and not everyone is ready to abandon their personal or party interests."

  The Church and her pastors in East Timor, where 98 percent of the population is Catholic, said the Holy Father, "inspires and promotes a culture of solidarity and peaceful coexistence in justice, encouraging people to collaborate in favor of progress and the common good, without forgetting the attention due to the poorest and least privileged."

  After recalling how on Easter Sunday this year he had mentioned the population of East Timor's "need of reconciliation and peace," the Pope launched an appeal to the authorities in the country "to do everything possible to restore public order effectively, using legal means, and to ensure security for citizens in their daily lives, thanks also to a renewed confidence in the legitimate institutions of the State."

  The Holy Father also emphasized how the Church, "in enlightening the moral conscience of political, economic and financial leaders," highlights "the principle of solidarity as the basis for a true economy of communion and distribution of wealth, both in the international and the national spheres. Such solidarity requires that the efforts to resolve problems of underdevelopment, and the sacrifices necessary to overcome economic and political crises, be shared equally, bearing in mind the needs of those least able to defend themselves."

  "By means of technical assistance and appropriate training, it is vital to help those countries that are coming out of difficult periods to support stable democratic institutions, and to use their wealth for the good of all inhabitants, ensuring people a dignified moral, civic and intellectual education. ... Through the integral promotion of people, it will be possible to help countries develop, and to help them become the main players in their own progress and partners in international life, facing the future with confidence."

  Benedict XVI concluded by giving assurances that bishops, priests and lay faithful in East Timor "will tirelessly continue their mission of evangelization, assistance and charity, ... bearing witness of selfless commitment to the most needy."


VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2007 (VIS) - After praying the Regina Coeli today with thousands of people filling St. Peter's Square, the Pope made an appeal for an end to the violence in the Gaza Strip.

  "The clashes between Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip," he said, "and the launching of rockets against the inhabitants of nearby Israeli cities which provoked armed retaliation, are causing a bloody deterioration of the situation which fills us with alarm.

  "Once more, in the name of God, I plead for an end to this tragic violence. At the same time, to the much tried Israeli and Palestinian people, I wish to express my solidarity and closeness, and to give assurances of recollections in my prayers.

  "I appeal to the sense of responsibility of all the Palestinian authorities so that, through dialogue and with firmness, they may return to the arduous path of agreement, neutralizing the violent elements. I invite the Israeli government to moderation and exhort the international community to increase its commitment in favor of a relaunch of negotiations. May the Lord sustain and support those who work for peace!"
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square to greet pilgrims gathered below and pray the Regina Coeli with them.

  In his remarks the Pope recalled his recent apostolic trip to Brazil, which is due to be the subject of his next general audience on Wednesday, and he invited all the faithful to continue to pray for the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean currently being held in the Brazilian city of Aparecida, and for "the journey of all the People of God who live in South America."

  Benedict XVI also referred to the annual celebration of the World Day of Social Communications, the theme of which this year is "Children and the Media, a challenge for education." He said: "The educational challenges in the modern world are often linked to the influence of the mass media, which compete with school, Church and even the family.

  "In such a context," he added, "appropriate training in the correct use of the media is essential. Parents, teachers, and the ecclesial community are called to work together to educate children and young people to be selective and to develop critical attitudes, cultivating a taste for what is aesthetically and morally valid. But the media must make their own contribution to this educational commitment, promoting the dignity of the human being, marriage and the family, the triumphs and achievements of civilization.

  "Programs that inculcate violence and anti-social behavior, or that vulgarize human sexuality, are unacceptable, and even more so when directed at children. Therefore, I renew my appeal to leaders of the media industry and to those who work in social communications, to safeguard the common good, respect the truth and protect the dignity of the person and of the family."

  Finally, the Pope recalled the fact that many countries celebrate the Ascension of the Lord today. "The Risen Jesus returns to the Father," he said, "and thus He opens the way to eternal life and makes possible the gift of the Holy Spirit." In closing, the Holy Father appealed to the Virgin to ensure "a renewed Pentecost" for the entire Church "


VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father received members of the "Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice" Foundation, which was established by Servant of God John Paul II in 1993 for religious and charitable purposes.

  Addressing them, the Pope recalled how during their recent annual meeting they had considered the "most pertinent aspects of the Church's social doctrine with reference to the most pressing problems and challenges in the world today." He also expressed his thanks for the members' contributions "in response to the many requests for help that reach the Pope from all over the world."

  Over these days, he said, "your attention has been focussed on Asian countries characterized by strong economic growth which, however, does not always lead to real social development, and on African nations where, unfortunately, economic growth and social development face many obstacles. What these peoples really need, as peoples all over the world need, is harmonic social and economic progress of truly human dimensions."

  After recalling how this year marks the 40th anniversary of Servant of God Pope Paul VI's Encyclical "Populorum progressio," Benedict XVI pointed out how "that great pontiff strongly affirmed that 'development ... cannot be restricted to economic growth alone'."

  "Concern for human beings' real needs, respect for the dignity of each individual, and a sincere search for the common good: these are the motivating principles that must be borne in mind when planning the development of a nation. Unfortunately, however, this does not always happen. Modern globalized society is often marked by paradoxes and dramatic imbalances.

  "Indeed," the Holy Father added, "when one considers the sustained levels of economic growth, when one pauses to analyze the problems associated with modern progress - including pollution and the irresponsible consumption of natural and environmental resources - it is evident that only a process of globalization that remains attentive to the requirement of solidarity can ensure humanity a future of real wellbeing and stable peace for all."

  "I know that you, professionals and lay faithful actively committed in the world, wish to contribute to resolving these problems in the light of the Church's social doctrine. You also aim to promote a culture of solidarity and to favor a form of economic development attentive to the real expectations of individuals and of peoples. ... Only by bringing together the three indispensable aspects of development - economic, social and human - can a free and united society grow."

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