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Tuesday, July 8, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 8 JUL 2008 (VIS) - For the occasion of Benedict XVI's forthcoming apostolic trip to Sydney, Australia, due to take place from 12 to 21 July for the 23rd World Youth Day, statistics concerning the Catholic Church in that country have been published. The information, updated to 31 December 2006, comes from the Central Statistical Office of the Church.

  Australia has a population of 20,700,000 of whom 5,704,000 (27.56 percent) are Catholic. There are 33 ecclesiastical circumscriptions, 1,390 parishes and 109 pastoral centres of other kinds. Currently, there are 65 bishops, 3,125 priests, 7,950 religious, 40 lay members of secular institutes and 8,192 catechists. Minor seminarians number 83, and major seminarians 244.

  A total of 736,288 children and young people attend 2,252 centres of Catholic education, from kindergartens to universities. Other institutions belonging to the Church, or run by priests or religious in Australia include 58 hospitals, 5 clinics, 407 homes for the elderly or disabled, 164 orphanages and nurseries, 210 family counselling centres and other pro-life centres, 480 centres for education and social rehabilitation, and 24 institutions of other kinds.
OP/STATISTICS AUSTRALIA/...                    VIS 20080708 (190)


VATICAN CITY, 8 JUL 2008 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, participated on 2 July in the High-Level Segment of the 2008 Economic and Social Council, which was meeting to reflect upon the importance of addressing the development needs of rural communities.

  In his English-language talk, the prelate recalled how a recent resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on the "Right to Food" highlights "the obligation of States, with the assistance of the international community, to make every effort to meet the food needs of their populations through measures which respect human rights and the rule of law".

  "The roots of the current food crisis seem to stem from a series of concomitant causes. Short-sighted economic, agriculture and energy policies which caused a clash between the increasing demand for food items and the insufficient production of food on the one hand, and the increase in financial speculations on commodities, uncontrollable increase of oil prices and adverse climate conditions on the other".

  "While today's debate", he added, "will rightly focus on the structural defects of the world economy and on the causes of the emergency, we must work to ensure that this discussion is accompanied by immediate and effective action.  Failure to take action will result in this meeting being merely an exercise in rhetoric and procrastination of our responsibilities".

  "At the outset, immediate action must be taken to assist those in immediate danger and suffering from malnutrition and starvation. It is difficult to think that in a world which spends over 1.3 trillion dollars (851 billion euro) per year in armaments, the necessary life-saving funds to address the immediate needs of people are unavailable", said Archbishop Migliore.

  "In the medium- to long-term, the initial economic emergency aid must be accompanied by a concerted effort of all to invest in long-term and sustainable agriculture programs at the local and international levels. ... To this end, agrarian reforms in developing countries must be sped-up in order to give smallholder farmers the tools for increasing production in a sustainable manner as well as access to local and global markets".

  "My delegation", Archbishop Migliore concluded, "welcomes the recommendations of the recent High-level Conference on World Food Security held in Rome at the FAO. These recommendations offer a practical guide on how to deal with short- and long-term consequences of the food crisis and gives guidance on how to guard against future crises".
DELSS/FOOD CRISIS/MIGLIORE                    VIS 20080708 (420)


VATICAN CITY, 8 JUL 2008 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a communique released late this morning by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, concerning recent events within the Anglican Communion.

  "We have regretfully learned the news of the Church of England vote that paves the way for the introduction of legislation which will lead to the ordaining of women to the episcopacy.

  "The Catholic position on the issue has been clearly expressed by Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. Such a decision signifies a break with the apostolic tradition maintained by all of the Churches since the first millennium and is, therefore, a further obstacle to reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England.

  "This decision will have consequences on the future of dialogue, which had up until now borne fruit, as Cardinal Kasper clearly explained when on 5 June 2006 he spoke to all of the bishops of the Church of England at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

  "The Cardinal has been invited once again to express the Catholic position at the next Lambeth Conference at the end of July".

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