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Tuesday, June 3, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 3 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Bishop Angelo Cella M.S.C., emeritus of Frosinone-Veroli-Ferentino, Italy, on 27 May at the age of 84.

 - Bishop Luca Milesi O.F.M. Cap., emeritus of Barentu, Eritrea, on 22 May at the age of 84.

 - Bishop John Aloysius Morgan, former auxiliary of Canberra, Australia, on 21 May at the age of 98.

 - Bishop Pierre Sagna C.S.Sp., emeritus of Saint-Louis du Senegal, Senegal on 25 May at the age of 75.
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VATICAN CITY, 3 JUN 2008 (VIS) - In New York on 10 June the Path to Peace Foundation will bestow the 2008 Path to Peace Award on Elias Antonio Saca Gonzalez, president of El Salvador. Every year, the foundation awards the prize in recognition of acts of individual leadership in the international community. The president of the foundation, which was founded in 1991, is Archbishop Celestino Migliore, apostolic nuncio and Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations.

  An English-language communique released by the foundation explains that among the reasons for deciding to award this year's prize to the president of El Salvador were his decision "to trace out 'the map of poverty' that identifies the areas of extreme poverty in order to work towards eradicating it", and "his collaboration on the Agreement Peace Process".

  Elias Antonio Saca Gonzalez was elected as president of the Republic of El Salvador in 2004. "One of his first actions as president", the communique notes, "was to appoint a commissioner for democratic governing who, in turn, created a group that includes representatives of all the political parties to discuss and find solutions to issues of national interest".


VATICAN CITY, 3 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office issued the following declaration at midday today:

  "With reference to certain journalistic suppositions that have been circulating in the media over the last few days, the Press Office feels it appropriate to specify that the Holy Father Benedict XVI was not able to respond positively to the requests for private audience he received from heads of State and government who have come to Rome for the High-Level Conference on World Food Security, promoted by the FAO. This was because of the number of requests, the limited time available, and prior commitments. In this context, the Cardinal Secretary of State has written personally to each of the leaders concerned, informing them of the Holy Father's disappointment at the impossibility, on this occasion, of meeting them personally, and reaffirming his willingness to receive them on a future occasion.

  "It must, furthermore, be remembered that this is in no way a new practice because, as of April 2006, the Secretariat of State had opportunely informed the diplomatic missions to the Holy See that it would be difficult to accept such requests for audience on the occasion of international conferences and congresses".
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VATICAN CITY, 3 JUN 2008 (VIS) - This morning at the Rome headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. met with Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, president of the Republic of Argentina, during the course of the "High-Level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bio-energy" currently being held at FAO headquarters.

  "In the course of the cordial discussions", says a communique on the meeting, "attention focused on various bilateral questions of mutual interest, expressing a reciprocal readiness to face them through frank dialogue and in an atmosphere of sincere collaboration, also in the light of the centuries-long role the Catholic Church has played in the country and the contribution she continues to make in favour of the spiritual and material wellbeing of the Argentinean people.

  "Finally, opinions were exchanged on regional and international matters of topical importance, with particular attention to the question of food, which is the subject of the meeting promoted by the FAO".
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VATICAN CITY, 3 JUN 2008 (VIS) - This morning at the Rome headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. read out a Message from the Holy Father during the opening session of the "High-Level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bio-energy". The conference is being held at FAO headquarters from 3 to 5 June.

  In his Message, the Holy Father writes that "hunger and malnutrition are unacceptable in a world which has, in fact, levels of production, resources and knowledge sufficient to put an end to such dramas and their consequences. The great challenge of today is to 'globalise', not just economic and commercial interests, but also the call for solidarity, while respecting and taking advantage of the contribution of all components of society".

  To the 50 heads of State and government participating in the conference, Benedict XVI reiterates the hope he expressed before the U.N. General Assembly in April: that of overcoming "the obvious paradox of a multilateral consensus that continues to be in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a few".

  After calling on leaders "to collaborate in an increasingly transparent way with ... organisations committed to closing the growing divide between rich and poor", the Holy Father exhorts them "to continue with structural reforms which, at the national level, are indispensable in order to face the problems of underdevelopment, of which hunger and malnutrition are direct consequences".

  "Poverty and malnutrition are not a simple fatality, provoked by adverse environmental situations or by disastrous natural calamities", writes the Pope, noting at the same time that "purely technical and economic considerations must not prevail over the duties of justice towards people suffering from hunger".

  The "primary right to food is intrinsically linked to the safeguarding and defence of human life", he says. "Each person has the right to life. Hence it is necessary to promote the effective implementation of this right, and peoples suffering from lack of food must be helped to become gradually capable of satisfying their own need for healthy and sufficient nourishment".

 Referring to the current problem of rising prices of agricultural products, the Pope calls for the drawing-up of "new strategies to fight against poverty and to promote rural development, ... through structural reform processes which enable the challenges posed by security and by climate change to be faced".

  "The global increase in agricultural production will, nonetheless, be effective only if accompanied by the effective distribution of that production, and if it is primarily destined to satisfying essential needs".

  Modern technologies, notes Benedict XVI, "are not enough to meet shortfalls in food", and he goes on to mention the need for "political action which, inspired by those principles of natural law written in man's heart, protects the dignity of the individual. ... Only by protecting the person, then, is it possible to combat the main cause of hunger".

  If negotiations and decisions were to take respect for human dignity into account, "it would be possible to overcome otherwise-insurmountable obstacles, and to eliminate - or at least diminish - disinterest towards the good of others. ... The defence of human dignity in international activity, even in emergencies, would also help to limit superfluity, with a view to the needs of others, and to administer the fruits of creation with justice, placing them at the disposal of all generations.

  "In the light of such principles", the Pope adds in conclusion, "it is my hope that the delegations present at this meeting may take on new commitments and set themselves to pursue them with great determination. The Catholic Church, for her part, wishes to unite herself to these efforts".
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