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Tuesday, December 4, 2007


VATICAN CITY, DEC 4, 2007 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Bishop Francois Gourguillon, former auxiliary of Reims, France, on November 23 at the age of 79.

 - Archbishop Nicodemus Kirima of Nyeri, Kenya, on November 27 at the age of 71.

 - Bishop James Daniel Niedergeses, emeritus of Nashville, U.S.A., on November 16 at the age of 90.

 - Bishop Germano Zaccheo of Casale Monferrato, Italy, on November 21 at the age of 73.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 4, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Francesco Buranelli, director of the Vatican Museums, as secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church and inspector of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology.

 - Antonio Paolucci, president of the scientific committee for art exhibitions at the "Scuderie del Quirinale" in Rome, and vice-president of the Higher Council for Cultural Patrimony and consultant to the mayor for the civic museums of Florence, as director of the Vatican Museums.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 4, 2007 (VIS) - The 13th session of the conference of States parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is being held on the Indonesian island of Bali from December 3 to 14.

  A communique made public yesterday afternoon affirms that the Holy See will be present at the Bali meeting with a delegation led by Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, apostolic nuncio to Indonesia, and composed of Msgr. Andrew Thanya-anan Vissanu, nunciature counsellor in Jakarta, and of three local experts from the Philippines and Indonesia: Fr. Benito B. Tuazon, Fr. Alexius Andang Listya Binawan S.J., and Vera Wenny Setijawati.

  "Given that the sessions of the Convention on Climate Change are held once a year in various countries," the communique reads, "the Holy See is usually represented at such meetings with a delegation led by the apostolic nuncio and made up of experts from the area, so as to take advantage of local resources and to achieve a broader and more differentiated vision of the questions being examined."
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 4, 2007 (VIS) - On Monday, December 3, the Holy See and the Republic of Albania signed an agreement concerning certain economic and fiscal matters.

  The agreement, signed in the office of the Albanian minister of finance in Tirana, comes in the wake of the accord between the two countries concluded in 2002, and creates a juridical framework for the fiscal treatment of ecclesiastical institutions recognized as non-profit juridical entities. In particular, it regulates the fiscal status of Catholic Church organizations in Albania, the economic administration of such structures, and the contributory-insurance scheme for the non-Albanian religious and lay personnel who serve in them."

  The agreement, which will come into effect following the exchange of the instruments of ratification, was signed for the Holy See by Archbishop Giovanni Bulaitis, apostolic nuncio in Tirana and, for the republic of Albania, by Ridvan Bode, finance minister.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 4, 2007 (VIS) - On November 29, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, addressed the 15th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The event was held in Madrid, Spain, from November 29 and 30, and was attended by foreign ministers of the 56 member States of the OSCE.

  Addressing the gathering in English, Archbishop Mamberti noted that in "the fight against terrorism, it is imperative to protect critical energy infrastructure from attack. It will also be important, on the issue of environmental protection, for the organization to support the various initiatives concerning water management, thus contributing to cooperation, stability and the equitable and sustainable development of each country."

  After highlighting how the OSCE is called "to create an area of freedom and the rule of law," the leader of the Holy See delegation indicated that to this end it must "ceaselessly promote the dignity of the human person and defend the intrinsic rights and values of all men and women. In this respect, I also believe," he added, "that it is essential that we continue to oppose human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children."

  "If the OSCE is to promote human dignity in an integral way, it must also effectively combat intolerance and discrimination against Christians, Jews, Muslims and members of other religions. In fact, this question has moved up to become an important political and security theme. Religious discrimination can only effectively be addressed if all religions are equally respected and protected."

  The secretary for Relations with States recalled the fact that the European Parliament "has recently adopted a resolution deploring various episodes which endanger the very existence of Christian and other religious communities. The OSCE can be rightly proud that it was one of the first organizations to raise the alarm concerning discrimination against Christians, but it must remain alert. Christians continue to suffer from prejudice, stereotypes, discrimination and violence. Disengagement from these problems cannot be an option!

  "We must not hide behind the principle of 'consensus' in order to avoid effective action," he added, "and neither should we be satisfied with blanket condemnations. Rather this consensus should be a catalyst for action to protect fundamental freedoms, and, above all, the religious freedom of every believer and of each religious community."

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