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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

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Monday, February 28, 2005


VATICAN CITY, FEB 28, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls today transmitted to journalists the following medical bulletin on the Pope's health:

  "The Holy Father's post-operative phase is taking place without complications.

  "His general condition and biological parameters continue to be good.

  "The Holy Father is eating regularly, spends some hours in an armchair and has begun  exercises to rehabilitate breathing and phonation.

  "The next communique will be on Thursday, March 3."
OP/POPE:HEALTH/NAVARRO-VALLS                VIS 20050228 (90)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 27, 2005 (VIS) - Shortly after the Angelus prayer recited in St. Peter's Square yesterday by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Secretariat of State, Pope John Paul appeared unannounced at the window of his hospital room, and waved to and blessed the crowd that had gathered at Gemelli Polyclinic. This was the first time in more than 26 years of pontificate that the Holy Father did not personally recite the Angelus.

  As the Pope was ordered by his doctors not to talk for several days, Archbishop Sandri led the Marian prayer, read the Pope's customary Sunday reflections and, in the Pope's name, imparted the apostolic blessing. Photos taken by the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano photographer were released that showed John Paul II, surrounded by doctors and several collaborators, as he followed the Angelus on television in his hospital suite.
 "Once again, dear brothers and sisters," said the Pope's message, "I address you from Agostino Gemelli hospital. I thank you affectionately and I feel your spiritual closeness. I am thinking of all of you gathered in St. Peter's Square, both individuals and groups, and of those from around the world who have expressed interest in me. I ask you to continue to be with me, especially with your prayers.

  "The penitential climate of Lent, which we are now living, helps us to better understand the value of suffering that in one way or another, touches all of us. It is in looking at Christ and following Him with patient trust that we are able to understand how every human form of pain has within it the divine promise of salvation and joy. I would like this message of comfort and hope to reach everyone, especially those who are going through difficult moments, those who suffer in body and spirit.

  "To Mary, Mother of the Church, I renew my entrustment: 'Totus tuus'. May she help us in every moment of life to fulfill God's holy will. May my paternal blessing reach everyone."
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 26, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Archbishop Giacomo Guido Ottonello, apostolic nuncio to Panama, as apostolic nuncio to Ecuador.

 - As members of the Congregation for Bishops: Archbishops Franc Rode, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and Pier Giacomo De Nicolo, apostolic nuncio.

 - Viviane Verlinde-Boutelegier, president of the "Comite International Catholique des Infirmieres et Assistantes Medico-Sociales (International Catholic Committee of Nurses and Medical-Social Assistants)" of Belgium, as a member of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 26, 2005 (VIS) - The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments announced today in a communique that its annual plenary assembly will start at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 1 in the Bologna Room of the Apostolic Palace. Fifty-one congregation members, including 32 cardinals and 19 archbishops and bishops, are scheduled to participate in the meeting which ends late morning of Friday, March  4. Cardinal Francis Arinze is the prefect of the congregation.

  Four topics are on the agenda: "Ars celebrandi," presented by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires; "Formation, Spirituality and the Liturgical Ministry," by Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon; "Homilies" by Cardinal Ivan Dias, archbishop of Bombay, and "Meaning, Method and Extension of the 'recognitio'" by Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 26, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon at the Lateran University in Rome, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council Justice and Peace, and Juan Somavia, director of the International Labor Office, presented the  conclusions of the Report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization. This commission was established by the ILO in 2002 and the Report  was published in 2004.

  A communique announcing the event at the Lateran, summarized the findings of the Report: "The current functioning of the world economy suffers from deeply rooted and profound imbalances that are unacceptable from an ethical point of view and politically indefensible. For the majority of men and women in the world globalization does not respond to their legitimate aspirations to have a dignified job and a better future for their children."

  The communique also summarized Cardinal Martino's talk, in which he underlined the need to re-think policies and institutions of world governance. He said that now is the moment to place the question of human work and its dignity in the front line of action for a just and fair globalization. He stated that work is the key to the social question which today is a global question. Work, when recognized and appreciated, is the path for individuals to get out of situations of  absolute poverty in a sustainable way and is also the key for a change in societies and institutions. The possibility of work transforms a poor person from being a "problem" that has to be taken care of to becoming a "resource."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 26, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls made the following declaration to journalists at midday today:

  "Today, February 26, the head of  the Azerbaijani State, Ilham Aliev, paid a visit to Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano.

  "Elmar Mammadyarov, foreign minister of Azerbaijan, and Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for Relations with States, also participated in the meeting.

  "The illustrious guest asked the cardinal secretary of State to pass on his greetings to the Holy Father, as well as those of the Azerbaijani people who well remember the Holy Father's visit to Baku on May 22-23, 2002. President Aliev also presented Pope John Paul II with an artistic portrait done by Memmedov Sakit Qulama Oglu.

  "In the course of the discussion, consideration was given to relations between the Holy See and Azerbaijan, as well as to problems in the Caucasus, with a common commitment to favor the material and spiritual progress of that region, in particular the necessary religious freedom and dialogue between the various components of society."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 26, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Pope addressed to Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, archbishop of Prague, Czech Republic, and to bishops, friends of the Focolare Movement, who from February 19-25 participated in a congress at Castelgandolofo on the presence of the Risen Lord as a vital principle of the Church.

  In the Message, dated February 19, the Holy Father writes that "this providential initiative, falling appropriately in the context of the year dedicated to the Eucharist, will surely be a source of renewed apostolic vitality and missionary daring for everyone as they face the not inconsiderable number of social and religious challenges of our time. Indeed, during these days of study and prayer it is your shared intention to discern the most appropriate ways to bear witness, in modern society, to the presence of the Risen Christ, the center of the Church."

  "With ever-living ardor, contemplate Christ in the mystery of the Eucharist. Following His example, be ready in all circumstances to make yourselves instruments of mercy and communion. The secret of pastoral success is the crucified and risen Lord, Whom we adore in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. As you well know, in order to be eloquent signs of His love and instigators of His peace in all environments, everyone is first of all asked to cultivate an intimate and constant familiarity with Him. From intense participation in the Eucharist springs the spiritual energy needed to bring all projects of goodness to fruition."

Friday, February 25, 2005


VATICAN CITY, FEB 25, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from Pope John Paul to Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, and to all the participants in the meeting of the Special Council for Africa of the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops. The Letter, written in French, is dated February 23.

  After thanking the archbishop and the synod for the "important work you have accomplished and will continue to accomplish in service to the Church in Africa," he observes that the special council was formed in 1994 after the Special Assembly for Africa, and adds that it "now has the task of preparing for the Second Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa" which is scheduled for 2009. "Noting the dynamism born of the first African synodal experience, this assembly will seek to deepen and prolong it, resting on the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation 'Ecclesia in Africa', and taking into account the local churches and their pastors, helping them in their pastoral projects, thus preparing the future of the Church on the African continent, which is living difficulty circumstances on the political, economic and social levels as well as regards peace."

  He thanks the Lord for the impetus the Church has experienced since the last synod and adds: "However, Africa is still afflicted by terrible plagues such as armed conflicts, persistent poverty, illnesses and their devastating consequences, starting with the drama of AIDS, widespread insecurity and finally, the corruption, All this weakens Africa, saps its energies, decimates its new generations and mortgages its future." He added that for Africa to have "a stable and prosperous society," needs the efforts of all of its people, especially "the sons and daughters of the Church."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 25, 2005 (VIS) - A Letter of condolences from Pope John Paul for the death on Tuesday of Communion and Liberation founder, Msgr. Luigi Giussani, 82, was read during the funeral Mass, celebrated at 3 p.m. yesterday in Milan's cathedral by Pontifical Legate, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. An estimated 30,000 people, both inside and outside the Duomo, were present for the Mass.

  "I learned with great emotion," wrote the Pope, "the news of the death of dear Msgr. Luigi Giussani, which came at the end of a long illness, accepted by him in a spirit of serene abandonment to the divine will and generous participation in the mystery of the Cross of Christ."

  The Holy Father said that he had met Msgr. Giussani on many occasions "and admired his ardent faith which was translated into a Christian witness capable of stimulating, especially in young people, a broad and convinced welcome of the Gospel message. I thank the Lord for the gift of his life that was spent without reserve in coherent adhesion to his own priestly vocation, to constantly listening to the needs of contemporary man, and in courageous service to the Church. His entire apostolic action could be summed up in the open and decisive invitation that he knew how to extend to all who came to him, to a personal encounter with Christ, the full and definitive answer to the deepest longings of the human heart."

  The Pope noted how Msgr. Giussani had "proposed Jesus as 'a companion' to young people," having forsaken an academic career to dedicate himself to the formation of students. "His evangelizing activity began in the 1960s, presenting the truth of faith with an open and ceaseless dialogue, with coherent docility to the Magisterium of the Church and above all with an exemplary witness of life. Thus was born Communion and Liberation, which grew over the years thanks to the apostolic ardor of this fervent Ambrosian priest." St. Ambrose, Father and Doctor of the Church, is the patron of the archdiocese of Milan.

  "Christ and the Church: here is the synthesis of his life and his apostolate. Without ever separating one from the other, he communicated to those around him a true love for the Lord and for the various Popes whom he personally knew."

  In concluding remarks, the Pope wrote: "A defender of man's reason, Fr. Giussani had a profound knowledge of literature and music and was convinced of the value of art as a path leading to mystery. Followed by the members of the movement he founded, now in many countries of the world, and listened to as well with respect by persons of different faiths and different professions, I love to remember him as a master of mankind and defender of the religiosity written in the human heart."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 25, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following declaration to journalists this morning regarding the Pope's condition following last evening's tracheotomy at Gemelli Polyclinic:

  "The Holy Father spent a night of tranquil rest.

  "This morning he ate breakfast with a good appetite.

  "The post-operative situation continues regularly.

  "He is breathing on his own and cardio-circulatory conditions remain good.

  "Upon the advice of his doctors, the Pope must not speak for several days so as to favor the recovery of the functions of the larynx.

  "A new medical bulletin is not foreseen until next Monday, February 28 at 12:30 p.m."

   At a 12:30 press conference today for journalists, Dr. Navarro-Valls stated the following:

  "I wish to review the circumstances prior to the Holy Father's admittance yesterday to the hospital.

  "From the moment that the Pope left the hospital on February 10, he had no fever. This allowed him to undertake his normal activity: Mass in the morning, 'ad limina' audiences, receiving his collaborators, etc.

  "Certainly, there is not now - nor was there ever - any bronchial-pulmonary infection.

  "Naturally, he followed a normal diet.

  "Rather, as I said in my communique yesterday, there were 'new episodes of acute respiratory insufficiency, caused by a pre-existing functional restriction of the larynx'. The Pope was watched over in his apartment, in case the need arose, by a doctor specialized in reanimation and by Dr. Camaioni, whom I mentioned yesterday."

  "The tracheotomy that the Pope underwent yesterday was called an 'elective tracheotomy': this means that it was not an emergency procedure. As we said yesterday, it was a question of 'assuring adequate breathing for the patient and to favor the resolution of the larynx pathology'.

  "He is now breathing better, feels notable relief and does not need assistance in breathing - from a machine or otherwise."

  In answer to journalists' questions, the press office director stressed that the Pope did not have a fever either yesterday or today. He added that Pope John Paul had his "usual" breakfast of coffee with milk, several small cookies and yogurt, and "he ate it all."

  As to the Sunday Angelus, the director added that he would be speaking to the Pope's secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz and to his doctors to see what could be arranged for the Angelus prayer and reflections and would let the media know in a timely fashion.

  Responding to a journalist who asked how the Pope communicates, he said: "It is rather difficult to explain. What I can say is that when he went back to his room, the anesthesia was very light, given the light surgery that he had, and he made a gesture saying he wanted to write. And he wrote, jokingly, 'What have they done to me? But right afterwards he wrote (his motto): 'Totus tuus' (I am all yours)."

   Last evening Navarro-Valls, made the following declaration on the condition of Pope John Paul II:

  "The flu syndrome, which was the reason behind the Pope's admittance this morning to Gemelli Polyclinic, in recent days was complicated by new episodes of acute respiratory insufficiency, caused by a pre-existing functional restriction of the larynx.

  "This clinical picture pointed to an elective tracheotomy to assure adequate breathing for the patient and to favor the resolution of the larynx pathology.

  "The Holy Father, duly informed, gave his consent.

  "The procedure, which began at 8:20 p.m. and ended at 8:50 p.m., was successfully completed. The immediate post-operative situation is regular.

  "The Holy Father is spending the night in his hospital room.

  "The surgery was performed by Dr. Gaetano Paludetti, professor of  otorhinolarynology at Sacred Heart Catholic University and by Dr. Angelo Camaioni,  head of otorhinolarynology at St. John's Hospital in Rome, assisted by Dr. Giovanni Almadori.

   "The anethesia was administered by Dr.Rodolfo Proietti, professor of anesthesiology and reanimation at Sacred Heart Catholic University, with the collaboration of Doctors Massimo Antonelli and Filippo Zanghi.

  "Also present at the surgery were Dr. Enrico De Campora, professor of otorhinolarynology at the University of Florence and consultant for the Health Department of Vatican City State and by Dr. Renato Buzzonetti, the personal physician of the Holy Father."
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Thursday, February 24, 2005


VATICAN CITY, FEB 24, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Archbishop Andre Dupuy, apostolic nuncio to Venezuela, as apostolic nuncio to the European Communities.

 - Archbishop Giacinto Berloco, apostolic nuncio to El Salvador and Belize, as apostolic nuncio to Venezuela.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 24, 2005 (VIS) - On February 22, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, addressed the 59th General Assembly informal consultations on the Report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change and the Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 

  The archbishop underlined the Holy See's interest in Recommendation No. 7, namely, that ODA (official development assistance) should be based on actual needs, rather than assigned targets. He said that "many experts concur that extreme poverty and hunger derive in great part from the inequality in the distribution of income on the one hand and in conspicuous over-consumption on the other."
  "My delegation strongly believes that the entire system of solidarity needs to be reshaped; ODA must be increased, not just spent better; and above all, policies to eradicate poverty must continue to concentrate not only on 'what' or 'how', but firstly on 'who'. A clear idea of who the poor are, followed by practical, direct, personal assistance to them through people-centered policies must always be borne in mind."

  "The Holy See," stated Archbishop Migliore, "is pleased to align itself with delegations which support a social policy which includes distributive justice," adding that such policies should "become the basic yardstick for measuring the quality and pace of development."

  As to the Practical Plan, he said, "emphasis must continue to be placed on investments to empower poor people, especially women, in ways that respect the individual's will and do not lead to unacceptable conditions being placed on the liberty of those to whom assistance is offered. ... We are convinced that the MDGs ... can only be achieved if poverty eradication policies are aimed squarely at the poor as persons of equal worth; if serious progress is made in good governance and combating corruption; if financial and trade reform is adequately introduced to make markets work in favor of developing countries; if the long-standing 0.7% GNP (gross national product) pledges are truly honored in justice and solidarity; and if debt is cancelled in all the applicable cases."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 24, 2005 (VIS) - Lenten sermons will begin tomorrow, Friday February 25, in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace at 9 a.m.. The theme of the four meditations, which will be led by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M. Cap., preacher of the Papal Household, is: "O Memorial of my Savior Dying" (Reflections on the Eucharist in the light of the hymn "Adoro te devote").

  According to a communique issued by the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, "continuing the reflections that began in Advent, the remaining four verses of 'Adoro te devote' will be commented on. These are verses which have as their theme the Eucharist and the resurrection; the Eucharist as remembrance and communion; the Eucharist and the return of creatures to God."

  Cardinals, archbishops, bishops and prelates of the Roman Curia, of the Vicariate of Rome and of the Pontifical Household are invited to the meditations, as are the superior generals of orders that form part of the "Cappella Pontificia." The other three Lenten sermons will take place on the following Fridays: March 4, 11 and 18.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 24, 2005 (VIS) - This morning the Pope wrote a letter to Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, delegating him to preside at the Ordinary Public Consistory for the canonization of five Blesseds, which was held this morning in the Clementine Hall.

  "For reasons of prudence," the Holy Father writes, "I have been advised to follow (the consistory) from my apartments via an internal television link. Therefore I entrust to you, Cardinal Sodano, the task of presiding that gathering, and authorize you to proceed, in my name, with the various acts scheduled to take place. Please, then, announce that:

  "Following the favorable opinion, already expressed in writing by cardinals from all over the world, and by archbishops and bishops resident in Rome, I intend to set the date of Sunday October 23, 2005, for the canonization of the following five Blesseds: Jozef Bilczewski, bishop; Gaetano Catanoso, priest, founder of the Congregation of the Veronica Sisters of the Holy Face; Zygmunt Gorazdowski, priest, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph; Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, priest of the Society of Jesus; Felice Da Nicosia (Filippo Giacomo Armoroso), religious of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.

  "It is also my intention to assign presbyteral titles to Cardinals Luigi Poggi, Carlo Furno and Gilberto Agustoni. To Cardianl Luigi Poggi is assigned the presbyteral title of St Lawrence in Lucina; to the other two cardinals, in keeping with their own wishes, the diaconates they have held up to now are elevated "pro hac vice" to presbyteral titles: to Cardinal Carlo Furno, the title of the Sacred Heart of Christ the King; to Cardinal Gilberto Agustoni, the title of Sts Urban and Lawrence at Prima Porta.

  "Finally, I confirm the new cardinal proto-deacon in the person of Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez.

  "United in prayer with those who participate in the Ordinary Public Consistory, I ask you, Cardinal Sodano, to preside at the celebration of the Sixth Hour, while I impart to everyone a heartfelt apostolic blessing."
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 24, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following statement to journalists this morning: "As of yesterday afternoon, Wednesday February 23, the Holy Father showed signs of a relapse of the flu syndrome which had affected him in preceding weeks. For this reason the Pope was admitted this morning to Gemelli Polyclinic for opportune specialized treatment and for further tests."
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Wednesday, February 23, 2005


VATICAN CITY, FEB 23, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Gerhard Feige, auxiliary of Magdeburg (area 23,000, population 2,750,000, Catholics 167,500, priests 185, permanent deacons 25, religious 218), Germany, as bishop of the same diocese.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 23, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday evening, John Paul II's latest book, "Memory and Identity," was presented at a press conference in Rome's Palazzo Colonna. Those present included Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office, and Paolo Mieli, editor of the Italian newspaper "Corriere della Sera," which is published by the Rizzoli group which also produced the Italian edition of the Pope's book.

  The book, said Navarro-Valls, is a result of conversations the Pope had with two Polish philosophers, Josef Tishner and Krystof Michalski, in his summer residence at Castelgandolfo in 1993. The conversations were recorded and later transcribed. The manuscript was saved for some years until the Pope read it and decided to make it into a book after having made some corrections.

  "In his book, John Paul II does not reflect on cosmic evil, that is, on catastrophes and tragedies, but on the evil that derives from human behavior," said the press office director. "It could be said that this is a book about the theology of history. The Pope does not wish to guess at or define the place that events occupy in the divine plan, or to decipher the ways of Providence. When he writes about the ideologies of evil, national socialism and communism, he explores their roots and the regimes that resulted. He also undertakes a theological and philosophical reflection about how the presence of evil often ends up being an invitation to good."

  The closing pages, in which he describes the attempt on his life of May 13, 1981 are, says Navarro-Valls, "not a mere addendum, although the style is different from the rest of the book; they have the tone of one speaking about a directly lived experience. The Pope opens his heart and explains how he experienced - and experiences - that evil." In a dialogue with his private secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Pope recalls each moment from when he was shot, to his arrival at Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic, his recovery, his pardon of would-be assassin Ali Agca and his visit to him in prison.

  Cardinal Ratzinger indicated how the Pope speaks of Agca as the "victim of a logic that is, from every point of view, flawed. He is a Muslim, and perhaps also for this reason he fell into a spiral of fear from which he has never recovered because he continues to believe he is a part of some premonition contained in the third secret of Fatima. But over and above these considerations, Agca has never asked himself about what he did, the plain fact of the attempt on the Pope's life has never distressed him. His only real concern is that he missed his target." The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the would-be assassin had written to him frequently to ask if the mystery of Fatima contains an answer. "But as is well-known, Agca's only link with Fatima is the date of May 13, and his reflections are limited to this level."

  In his book, the Holy Father also recalls the attack of September 11, 2001 on the Twin Towers in New York, that of May 11, 2004 in Madrid, and the massacre of Beslan, Russia, in September 2004. "Rereading the transcripts of the conversations (of 1993)," he writes, "I note that expressions of violence have reduced considerably" since the 1970s, "yet so-called 'networks of terror' have spread throughout the world, and constitute a constant threat to the lives of millions of innocents." He asks: "Where will these new eruptions of violence lead us?"

  "Memory and Identity" is 200 pages long and has been published in 11 languages. It is John Paul II's fifth book. In 1994 he published "Crossing the Threshold of Hope," in 1996 "Gift and Mystery," in 2003 a book of poetry entitled "Roman Triptych" and in 2004 "Arise, Let us be Going."
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 23, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, as previously announced, John Paul II addressed a few words to participants in today's general audience.

  Because of bad weather in Rome, the Pope, who was scheduled to greet pilgrims in the square from his study window, spoke to them instead via a television link from the library of his private apartments to the Paul VI Hall: "I greet you with affection and I thank you for your attendance."

  "We are following a Lenten journey," he went on, "assisted and stimulated by the liturgy which calls us to a special commitment to prayer, fasting and penitence, and to greater solidarity towards our fellow man, especially towards the poor and needy.

  "Let us open our hearts to the inner suggestions of grace. May selfishness give way to love, that we may have the chance to experience the joy of forgiveness and of intimate reconciliation with God and with our brothers and sisters."

  In closing, the Pope greeted the participants in several languages, expressing the hope that their stay in Rome may help them deepen their "love of the Universal Church."
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Tuesday, February 22, 2005


VATICAN CITY, FEB 22, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the suburbicarian diocese of Albano, Italy, presented by Bishop Paolo Gillet, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Sydney, Australia, presented by Bishop David Cremin, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Gianni Danzi, secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State, as prelate of Loreto, Italy, and pontifical delegate to the Shrine of Loreto, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop.

 - Appointed Bishop Renato Boccardo, secretary general of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, as secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 22, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Ivo Sanader, president of the Republic of Croatia, accompanied by an entourage.

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

    - Bishop Carles Soler Perdigo of Girona.

    - Bishop Francesc-Xavier Ciuraneta Aymi of Lleida.

    - Bishop Jaume Traserra Cunillera of Solsona.

    - Bishop Javier Salinas Vinals of Tortosa.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 22, 2005 (VIS) - Today is the Feast of the "Cathedra" or Chair of St. Peter, a recurrence dating back to the fourth century that honors and celebrates the primacy and authority of St. Peter.

  The word "cathedra" means seat or throne and is the root of the word cathedral, the church where a bishop has his throne and from whence he preaches. Another word for "cathedra" is "sede" (seat or see): the "see" is the place from which a bishop governs his diocese. Thus, for example, the Holy See is the see of the bishop of Rome, the Pope.  

  Last year, on this day, in reflections made during the Angelus, Pope John Paul remarked that "the liturgical feast of the Chair of Peter underscores the singular mystery, entrusted by the Lord to the leader of the Apostles, of confirming and guiding the Church in the unity of faith. This is what the 'ministerium petrinum' is, that particular service that the Bishop of Rome is called to render to all Christians. An indispensable mission that is not based on human prerogatives but on Christ Himself as the cornerstone of the  ecclesial community. Let us pray that the Church, in the variety of cultures, languages and traditions, will be unanimous in believing and professing the truth of faith and morals transmitted by the Apostles."

  The Chair of St. Peter is actually a throne that Charles the Bald, the grandson of the Emperor Charlemagne, gave to Pope John VIII at the former's coronation as emperor on Christmas Day 875. For many years the chair was used at liturgical events by Pope John and his successors: it was ensconced in Bernini's Altar of the Chair in 1666. 

  A mixture of tradition, legend and belief held for many years that this was actually a double chair, parts of which dated back to the early days of Christianity and to St. Peter himself. This chair or cathedra has been studied over the centuries and the last time it was removed from its niche in the Bernini altar was a six-year period from 1968 to 1974 where studies pointed to a single chair whose oldest parts date to the sixth century. What appeared to be an outer or second chair was a covering which served both to protect the throne and to carry it in procession.

  Every year on this feast, the monumental altar housing the Chair of Peter is illuminated by scores of candles throughout the entire day. A number of Masses are celebrated at this altar, from early morning to early evening, concluding with the mass of the Canons of St. Peter.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 22, 2005 (VIS) - Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office, early this afternoon, released a declaration to journalists stating: "The funeral of Msgr. Luigi Giussani, founder of the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation, who died this morning, will take place on Thursday, February 24 at 3 p.m. in the Duomo of Milan. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will preside at the Mass in the name of the Holy Father."

Monday, February 21, 2005


VATICAN CITY, FEB 21, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences five bishops from the Spanish Episcopal conference on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona, accompanied by his auxiliary, Bishop Joan Carrera Planas.

    - Bishop Josep Angel Saiz Meneses of Terrassa.

    - Bishop Agustin Cortes Soriano of Sant Feliu de Llobregat.

    - Bishop Jaume Pujol Balcells of Tarragona.

  On Saturday, February 19, it was made public that he received in separate audiences:

 - His Beatitude Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq.

 - Bishop Renato Corti of Novara, Italy, preacher of the Roman Curia's spiritual exercises.
AL:AP/.../...                                    VIS 20050221 (110)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 21, 2005 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announced today that at 6 p.m. on Sunday, February 27, Cardinal Josip Bozanic, metropolitan archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia, will take possession of the title of St Jerome of the Croatians in Via Tomacelli 132, Rome.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 21, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls, in a declaration to journalists today, said: "On Wednesday February 23, the Holy Father will appear at the window of his private study to greet and bless the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the customary Wednesday general audience."
OP/POPE:AUDIENCE/NAVARRO-VALLS            VIS 20050221 (60)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 21, 2005 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications,  presented "'Rapid Development,' the Apostolic Letter of the Holy Father John Paul II to Those Responsible for Communications." Joining him were Bishop Renato Boccardo and Angelo Scelzo, respectively secretary and under-secretary. The council begins its annual plenary session later today.

  Archbishop Foley said that both he, as a priest journalist, and Pope John Paul, as bishop and conciliar father, were in St. Peter's Basilica on December 4, 1963 for the promulgation of the Vatican Council II decree on communications, "Inter mirifica." He noted that it was "the first time a council of the Church specifically treated the theme of social communications, the decree called for a pastoral instruction on social communications and the document also called for establishing a specific Vatican department which would be concerned with all the means of social communication."

  The Letter presented today, said the archbishop, is the result of a wish expressed a year ago by the Holy Father to commemorate the anniversary of "Inter Mirifca" with a new document. "I was sincerely moved," he said, reading the Pope's words. "The document for me is a personal mediation, a challenge and a plan of action."

  "'Rapid Development'," the council president underscored, "is a masterpiece of intuition on the meaning of the means of  social communications in our times. Look at paragraph three: 'The communications media have acquired such importance as to be the principal means of guidance and inspiration for many people in their personal, familial and social behavior. ... Ours is an age of global communications in which countless moments of human existence are either spent with, or at least confronted by, the different processes of the mass media."

  Bishop Boccardo said that "many times in his interventions, John Paul II has affirmed that questions posed by the media are, at their heart, of an eminently anthropological nature. ... He thinks of the media as active agents in the building of horizons of cultures and values in which every man and women understands themselves, others and the world."

   Pointing to some of the problems in the world of communications, he said that "the media are building models of perception of reality that often obey anthropological visions that are no longer inspired by Christianity. Without appearing to be apocalyptic, but also not giving in to overly optimistic visions, we cannot be silent on the representations of the meaning of life that (the media) today toss into the arena of public debate and that are almost entirely beyond any Christian understanding of life. ... All we need to do is recall how so often television becomes a powerful instrument for personal aggression, for occasions of denigration and for battle arenas that are often vulgar and tasteless. Publicity is also part of this degenerative process."

  He pointed out that there must be a serious ethical reflection on personal and social responsibility within the world of the media, especially with new instruments such as the Internet. "The Internet redefines in a radical way the psychological relation of a person with time and space. What is tangible, useful, and immediately available draws attention," but what often is missing is a process of "deeper reflection. ... The person who is online is a person of  the present, of immediate satisfaction" who seeks answers in "the great warehouse of readily available experiences."

  "How can the Church," asked Bishop Boccardo, "help men and women who work in the media and who use it to undertake a path of new humanism, of a renewed centrality of the human person?" He said that the Holy Father, in "Rapid Development," suggests three paths: formation, participation and dialogue.

  "Believers, men and women who have man's destiny at heart, have the responsibility for cultural discernment. We are not asked to have shining armor to overcome Goliath, but simply to know how to choose a few stones, the right ones, with the wisdom and courage of David."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 21, 2005 (VIS) - John Paul II has written a Message to Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, and to participants in a study congress on the theme: "The Quality of Life and the Ethics of Health," being held in the Vatican from February 21 to 23.

  The Holy Father writes that "in the first place, it is necessary to recognize the essential quality that distinguishes each human being by the fact of being created in the image and likeness of the Creator Himself. ... This level of dignity and quality belongs to the ontological order and is constitutive of the human person, it endures in every moment of life, from the first instant of conception up to natural death, and it is fully realized in the dimension of eternal life. Consequently, man must be recognized and respected in any condition of health, illness or disability."

  "Under pressure from affluent societies," the Pope says, "a notion of the quality of life is being favored which is at the same time both reductive and selective, and which consists in the capacity to enjoy and to experience pleasure, or even in the capacity for self-awareness and participation in social life. As a consequence, any kind of quality of life is denied to human beings not yet or no longer capable of expressing their intelligence and will, and to those no longer capable of enjoying life as a series of sensations and relationships."

  Later in his Message, the Pope refers to the moral dimension of the concept of health, "that cannot be overlooked." After recalling the spread of alcoholism, drugs and AIDS, he adds: "How much of life's energy, and how many young people's lives, could be saved and kept healthy if each individual had the moral responsibility to know how to promote better prevention and the conservation of that precious good we call health!

  "Of course, health is not an absolute good," John Paul continues, "especially when it is seen as simple physical well-being, mythicized to the point that it restricts or overlooks higher ends, even proposing reasons of health in the refusal of nascent life. This is what happens in so-called 'reproductive health.' How can we not recognize in this a reductive and deviant concept of health?" Health, the Pope highlights, "can only be sacrificed to attain higher ends, as is sometimes asked in service towards God, towards the family, towards our brothers and sisters or towards society as a whole. Health must be guarded and cured as the mental-physical and spiritual equilibrium of the human being. Squandering health because of various disorders, especially those associated with the moral degradation of the individual, represents a serious ethical and social responsibility."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 21, 2005 (VIS) - This morning in St. Peter's Basilica, Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, delivered the homily at the Mass to celebrate the council's annual plenary session.

  Referring to the publication today of "Rapid Development," the Pope's Apostolic Letter on communications, he says "Pope John Paul II has urged us to use the communications media well in the service of truth and in the service of the Gospel. While there is much in the media to criticize, there is also much to praise - and the media themselves are as good or as bad as what people transmit through them.  They are media; they are means - not ends in themselves."

  "We should express our preoccupation with the bad uses to which the media can be put - pornography, character assassination, sensationalism; but we should be especially eager to praise those who do good things in the media, to encourage them, to support them; and we should not fail to use the media ourselves, not only to tell the good news - the Gospel - of Jesus Christ, but also to tell the good news of what the Church is doing in the name of Jesus."

  Archbishop Foley, at the Mass yesterday for members of the Media Committee of European Bishops at the Paul VI International residence in Rome, spoke of the Pope's Apostolic Letter on communications, saying it is "to commemorate the publication at the Second Vatican Council of the Decree 'Inter Mirifica' and to offer an insight and a challenge to all of us in the Church for a profound understanding and wise use of the media."

  "I would ask," he said, "that it be one of your major preoccupations to help to promote Catholic communications activity in what we might call the Church of the Modern Catholic Renaissance in central and eastern Europe. ... It is not only in eastern and central Europe where there is a hunger for the Gospel. There, perhaps, the opportunities to use the media are now greater - but the need to hear the Gospel and to see sound Christian values incorporated in the media is perhaps even greater in an increasingly secularized western Europe. How do we get people's attention to listen to the most important message in life - our origin, our destiny and the means to achieve it?  How do we get people really to listen to what Christ has told us - without their tuning out because they think they have heard it before or because it has struck them as dull? It will be hard work for us - but God has promised us strength."
CON-CS/MEDIA:EUROPE/FOLEY                VIS 20050221 (440)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 20, 2005 (VIS) - Thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square this morning to greet and listen to Pope John Paul who appeared at his study window for the Angelus for the second time since leaving Gemelli hospital where he was a patient for 10 days with breathing problems as a complication of the flu. Cheers arose when the Pope read a brief message before the Angelus prayers and greeted several groups, including off-the-cuff remarks, following the Marian prayer.

  "The spiritual exercises in which I took part, together with many of my collaborators in the Roman Curia," began the Holy Father, "concluded yesterday with a solemn Eucharistic celebration, following by Adoration. The Eucharist is the source from which communion between the members of the mystical body of Christ draws ever new vigor."

  "In this perspective," he continued, "the special duty entrusted to Peter and his successors acquires full confirmation: the Petrine ministry is essentially serving the unity of the Church. 'You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church'. Other comforting words of the Lord's echo this promise of His: 'And I have prayed for you (Simon Peter) that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren'."

  "'Feed my lambs... Tend my sheep'. This invitation of Jesus' is especially alive in my soul when I contemplate the Eucharistic mystery. I entrust all the People of God to Him, the Good Shepherd, in this Lenten walk towards Easter. Let us invoke the support of Mary, Mother of the Church, with the customary Angelus prayer."

  After the Angelus, the Pope greeted all the faithful in St. Peter's Square, including a group from Slovenia, whom he addressed in their language, adding improvised words to the prepared text. Loud cheers erupted when the Pope greeted and blessed the faithful.
ANG/EUCHARIST:PETRINE MINISTRY/...            VIS 20050221 (310)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 19, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Lang Son and Cao Bang, apostolic administrator "sede plena" of the archdiocese of Hanoi, as archbishop of Hanoi (area 7,000, population 6,000,000, Catholics 304,000, priests 49, religious 219), Vietnam. He succeeds Cardinal Paul Joseph Pham Dinh Tung, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Virginio Domingo Bressanelli S.C.I., superior of the Dehonian Fathers' theological institute in Argentina, as bishop of Comodoro Rivadavia (area 234,000, population 412,912, Catholics 345,900, priests 44, religious 105), Argentina. The bishop-elect was in Berabevu, Argentina, in 1942 and ordained a priest in 1966. He succeeds Bishop Pedro Luis Ronchino S.D.B., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Bejoy Nicephorus D'Cruze O.M.I., superior of the O.M.I. delegation in Bangladesh and professor in the major seminary of Dhaka, as bishop of Khulna (area 28,236, population 15,000,000, Catholics 28,665, priests 39, religious 109), Bangladesh. The bishop-elect was born in Tuital, Bangladesh, in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1987. He succeeds Bishop Michael Atul D'Roxario C.S.C., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Francois Xavier Le Van Hong, pastor responsible for theological aggiornamento of priests, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Hue (area 12,227, population 2,007,300, Catholics 64,042, priests 88, religious 693), Vietnam.
NER:RE:NEA/.../...                                VIS 20050221 (270)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 19, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter of the Holy Father, written in Latin and dated January 17, to Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany, naming him as his special envoy to the solemn celebrations for the 850th anniversary of the arrival in Finland of St Henry, bishop, and for the 50th anniversary of the erection of the diocese of Helsinki. Both celebrations are due to take place in Helsinki on February 27.

  The mission accompanying the cardinal will be composed of Fr. Teemu Sippo S.C.J., episcopal vicar for ecumenism of the diocese of Helsinki, and Fr. Manuel Prado, of the prelature of Opus Dei, judge of the diocesan tribunal of Helsinki and secretary of the presbyteral council.


VATICAN CITY, FEB 19, 2005 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica this morning, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano presided at the Mass and adoration of the Eucharist to mark the conclusion of the Roman Curia's spiritual exercises, which took place this past week. Bishop Renato Corti of Novara, Italy, preacher during the spiritual retreat, pronounced the homily.

  Following Mass, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, read a message from the Pope addressed to Bishop Corti and thanking him for the reflections he had proposed over these days, focused on the theme: "The Church at the service of the new and eternal covenant."

  These words, the Holy Father writes, "in making reference to the Blood that flowed from the wounds of the Crucified Christ, especially from the wound in his side, evoke the significance of the Eucharistic Sacrament. The Church 'de Eucharistia vivit' (lives on the Eucharist), because from that Blood she comes into being and draws vigor for her daily commitment to the task of announcing the Gospel."

  John Paul II concludes: "In the heart of the Church, we have come together around the mystery of the altar, in the knowledge that this is the pulsating center of the communion and the mission of the entire Christian people. Thanks also to the contribution that you have offered over these days - strengthened by a pastoral sensibility ripened through ministry by so many priests, seminarians and faithful - we feel a renewed and fervent zeal to start again from the Eucharistic Christ, and bear witness to the world of God's new and eternal covenant with humanity."
AC/EUCHARIST:SPIRITUAL RETREAT/CORTI                VIS 20050221 (280)

Friday, February 18, 2005


VATICAN CITY, FEB 18, 2005 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

- Cardinal Corrado Bafile, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, on February 3, 2005, at the age of 101.

- Cardinal Jan Schotte C.I.C.M., secretary general emeritus of the Synod of Bishops, on January 10, 2005, at the age of 76.

- Bishop Joseph Anthony De Palma S.C.I., emeritus of De Aar, South Africa, on February 3, 2005, at the age of 91.

- Archbishop Benito Gennaro Franceschetti of Fermo, Italy, on February 4, 2005, at the age of 69.

- Bishop Alberto Giglioli, emeritus of Montepulciano-Chiusi-Pienza, Italy, on January 3, 2005, at the age of 80.

- Bishop Manuel Guirao, emeritus of Santiago del Estero, Argentina, on January 2, 2005, at the age of 85.

- Archbishop Jean Hengen, emeritus of Luxembourg, on January 29, 2005, at the age of 92.

- Bishop Karl Heinz Jacoby, auxiliary emeritus of Trier, Germany, on January 29, 2005, at the age of 86.

- Archbishop Paul Karatas of Diarbekir of the Chaldeans, Turkey, on January 15, 2005, at the age of 70.

- Bishop Marc Leclerc, auxiliary of Quebec, Canada, on January 3, 2005, at the age of 71.

- Bishop Charles Paty, emeritus of Lucon, France, on December 31, 2004, at the age of 88.

- Bishop Jackson Berenguer Prado, emeritus of Paulo Alfonso, Brazil, on February 8, 2005, at the age of 86.

- Bishop Pascasio Rettler O.F.M., emeritus of Bacabal, Brazil, on September 16, 2004, at the age of 89.

- Bishop Francis Keiichi Sato O.F.M., emeritus of Niigata, Japan, on January 2, 2005, at the age of 76.

- Archbishop Yacoub Denha Scher of Arbil of the Chaldeans, Iraq, on January 8, 2005, at the age of 70.

- Bishop Ricardo Antonio Surinach Carreras, emeritus of Ponce, Puerto Rico, on January 19, 2005, at the age of 76.

- Bishop Luigi Zanzottera O.S.I., auxiliary emeritus of Huaraz, Peru, on January 18, 2005, at the age of 78.
.../DEATHS/...                                    VIS 20050218 (340)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 18, 2005 (VIS) - On the afternoon of March 3, at the U.N. headquarters in New York, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations and its co-sponsors - AVSI (Association of Volunteers in International Service, U.S.A., Inc.), New Humanity and Pax Romana - will participate in a meeting on socio-ethical thought on the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

  According to a communique made public today, the presentation will be given by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland, former Holy See permanent observer to the Office of the United Nations and Specialized Institutions in Geneva. The second part of the meeting will take place late in the same day in the auditorium of the Church of the Holy Family.
.../SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT/UN: MARTIN            VIS 20050218 (140)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 18, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, to Archbishop Seraphin Rouamba of Koupela, Burkina Faso and president of the Administrative Council of the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel, thanking him on the part of the Pope for the work that he and the Foundation have done since it was founded in 1984, and renewing the Pope's appeal to help the peoples of the Sahel.

  The Letter, written in French and dated February 8, starts with a reference to Pope John Paul's trip to five African nations in 1980 where, on May 10, from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, he issued an appeal to the international community to aid the peoples suffering from severe desertification in the Sahel region of Africa. That appeal led to the institution of the John Paul II Foundation, with a Chirograph by the Holy Father on February 22, 1984.
  The Sahel is the sub-Saharan region of Africa, which includes countries on the west coast and central part of the continent.

  Cardinal Sodano expresses the Holy Father's gratitude to "all those who, from diverse parts of the world, responded quickly to his invitation and who generously cooperated with his concern for the many people who found themselves in truly precarious circumstances." The concrete initiatives that answered the Pope's appeal, writes the cardinal, led to the formation of the Foundation for the Sahel, "whose administration is directed by the episcopacies of the nine countries involved, whereas the legal representation is entrusted to the Pontifical Council Cor Unum." The nine countries are: Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia and Chad.

  The cardinal notes the "fruits" of the "efficacious and intense work of the Foundation" since the Pope's 1980 Africa trip and appeal. He adds that the Holy Father hopes "that these works will continue with a growing and renewed elan to support the communities that have been its beneficiaries, allowing them to be ever more responsible for their integral and harmonious development."

  Notwithstanding these initiatives, writes the secretary of State, "the situation of these regions continues to be very worrisome. That is why the Holy Father takes this occasion to renew his appeal, encouraging the efforts used to surmount the many problems and the many needs that still persist and which concern available resources, unfortunately insufficient," especially drinkable water.

  Cardinal Sodano concludes by stating that Pope John Paul hopes that "this anniversary will be a propitious occasion for a renewed stimulus of solidarity to assure the worthy Foundation the means which will allow it to pursue its human and Christian mission with success."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 18, 2005 (VIS) - According to a Holy See Press Office communique made public today: "His Holiness John Paul II, readily accepting the kind invitation of Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, president of the Italian Republic, will make an official visit to the presidential palace of the Quirinal on Friday April 29, 2005, feast of St Catherine of Siena, patroness of Italy."
OP/VISIT QUIRINAL:CIAMPI/...                        VIS 20050218 (80)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 18, 2005 (VIS) - The following telegram of condolences was sent by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, on behalf of Pope John Paul, to Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon, upon the assassination on February 14 of former Prime Minster Rafik Hariri of Lebanon:

  "Following the terrible attack which cost the life of Rafik Hariri, former president of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Lebanon, as well as of numerous other people, the Holy Father greatly deplores this criminal gesture which offends God and men, created in His image and likeness. While praying ardently for the beloved land of Lebanon, he implores once again God's mercy on the Middle East, which aspires to a just and lasting peace. The Pope invites all the Catholic faithful of Lebanon to a  lasting commitment to peace and collaboration with all men of good will in order to build, through dialogue, a future of harmony in the country and among the peoples of the region."
TGR/DEATH HARIRI/SODANO:SFEIR                VIS 20050218 (180)

Thursday, February 17, 2005


VATICAN CITY, FEB 17, 2005 (VIS) - Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication, will present Pope John Paul's Apostolic Letter "Rapid Development" on the Means of Social Communications on Monday, February 21 at 11:30 a.m. in the Holy See Press Office. Joining him will be Bishop Renato Boccardo and Angelo Scelzo, respectively secretary and under-secretary of the pontifical council.
OP/APOSTOLIC LETTER:MEDIA/FOLEY            VIS 20050217 (80)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 17, 2005 (VIS) - Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, opened the press conference this morning in the Holy See Press Office for the presentation of the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life which will meet in the Vatican from February 21 to 23 on the theme "The Quality of Life and the Ethics of Health."

  The bishop said the assembly will focus on "two current and weighty concepts: 'the quality of life' and that of 'health'." He said that "developed societies push for attaining a better level of the quality of life and international organizations intend to assure a better level of health," noting that "what exactly is meant by 'quality of life', is not yet clear to the public and perhaps not even to politicians themselves."

  The academy president, in defining "quality of life" remarked that there are many parameters: medical-health, socio-economic, with a greater consumption of material goods today than in the past, and even ecological. But at the same time, he said, "a very different meaning has progressively emerged," a "reductive" meaning where "it is affirmed that where an acceptable level of quality of life does not exist, life loses its value and does not merit being lived." Here, he said, we see that "the quality of life becomes absolute and the sacredness of life becomes relative."

  There are also problems in defining the word "health," Bishop Sgreccia said. "Even if health does not represent the ultimate good of the person, it is however a very important one which demands the moral duty to preserve, support and recover it." He noted the problems that have arisen since the World Health Organization defined health "as 'complete physical, mental and social well-being': this value has become utopian and mythical" and sometimes has "lethal meanings," such as "the fact that, motivated by  women's health, abortion was legalized. ... Up to what point does 'the right to health' go? Is there a right to health 'at all costs'? Or rather, is there a right to care?"

  Jean Marie Le Mene, a magistrate and academy member, in his presentation focused on health and health care in both rich countries, where "it has evolved into a demand for well-being," and where medical expenses are ever higher and poorly regulated, and in poor countries where, he said, "the administration of health care is penalized by unsuitable situations."

  He said that in wealthy countries "new needs are created", where often the sole criteria is "desire" - the desire to have - or not have - a child, to be beautiful, attractive, forever young. Such desires, he said, have led to medically assisted procreation techniques for those who desire and cannot have children, abortions for the undesired child, techniques to suppress unborn children who are abnormal or handicapped, therapeutic cloning for those seeking youth.

  The health systems of developing countries, he added, are "victims of ideologies" and of "piracies," the latter, he said, incorporating "biological piracy, the privatization of the biological patrimony of the South" and "juridical piracy, the attempts at the United Nations to authorize cloning, ... even though the majority of the countries present are for this interdiction."

  Fr. Maurizio Faggioni O.F.M., theologian and moralist, pointed out that "health is not simply an absence of disease, but the harmony and integration of all individual, physical, mental and spiritual energies towards a life project that is particular to each individual."

  With reference to the right to health, he affirmed that "it is not limited to people who enjoy specific standards of living, but derives from the right to life, a right that is rooted in each human being. ... Persistently-emerging schools of thought estimate the value of each person's life and his right to health care in a way proportional to the current or potential quality of his life, in contrast Catholic morality prophetically announces the value of each human life and the duty to care for others; a duty that is all the more significant the greater its response to the appeal of simpler, poorer and more defenseless lives."

  Dr. Manfred Lutz, a neurologist, psychiatrist and member of the academy, said that "today we live in the age of the real existence of the religion of health. ... Health, goodness, like almost everything in our society, is seen as a product that can be manufactured."

  "If health represents the highest value," he went on, "then the healthy man is also the true man. And whoever is not healthy, and above all whoever can never be healthy again, tacitly becomes a second or third class man."

  Dr. Lutz underlined the fact that "salvation, according to Christian conviction, is not to be found primarily in so-called good health, but rather in the extreme situations of human life, situations that are disdained by the religion of health as realities to avoid or deficits to eliminate. Yet it is precisely in disability, illness, pain, old-age dying and death that one may perceive the truth of life more vastly and clearly than in the passing of time without significant problems."
OP/QUALITY LIFE/SGRECCIA                        VIS 20050217 (890)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


VATICAN CITY, FEB 16, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Bishop Jaime Vieira Rocha of Caico, Brazil, as bishop of Campina Grande (area 20,051, population 830,118, Catholics 720,000, priests 55, permanent deacons 2, religious 173), Brazil.

- Fr. Edson de Castro Homem, pastor of the parishes of "Nossa Senhora da Luz," "Nossa Senhora de Fatima" and "Sao Lourenco", as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro (area 1,261, population 5,857,904, Catholics 4,059,527, priests 582, permanent deacons 34, religious 1,575), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1977.
NER:NEA/.../VIEIRA:DE CASTRO VIS 20050216 (110)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 16, 2005 (VIS) - On Thursday, February 24 at 11 a.m. in the Clementine Hall, there will be a Public Ordinary Consistory for the canonization of the following Blesseds: Jozef Bilczewski, bishop; Gaetano Catanoso, priest, founder of the Congregation of the Veronica Sisters of the Holy Face; Zygmunt Gorazdowski, priest, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph; Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, priest of the Society of Jesus; Felice Da Nicosia (Filippo Giacomo Armoroso), religious of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.
OCL/CONSISTORY:CANONIZATION/...                VIS 20050216 (100)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 16, 2005 (VIS) - Made public yesterday afternoon was a Message from the Holy Father to Bishop Albino Mamede Cleto of Coimbra, Portugal, which was read out at the funeral of Sister Lucia who died in that city on Sunday at the age of 97. Sister Lucia was the last survivor of the three children who saw the Virgin Mary in an apparition at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917.

  Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, archbishop of Genoa, Italy, presided at the funeral Mass as the Pope's special envoy.

  "For Lucia," the Pope writes in his Message, "the visit by the Virgin to her and to her cousins Francesco and Jacinta, at Fatima in 1917, was the beginning of a special mission to which she remained faithful to the end of her days. Sister Lucia leaves us an example of great faithfulness to the Lord, and of joyous obedience to His divine will."

  The Holy Father recalls with emotion his various meetings with the religious and "the ties of spiritual friendship which strengthened over time. I felt myself supported by the daily gift of her prayers, especially during difficult moments of trial and suffering. May the Lord give her ample reward for the great and hidden service she offered the Church.

  "I like to think that Sister Lucia, in her transit from earth to heaven, was welcomed by the One whom she saw at Fatima so many years ago. May the Most Holy Virgin now accompany the soul of this devoted daughter to the beatific encounter with the divine Bridegroom."

  On the eve of her death, the Holy Father had sent a fax to Sister Lucia in which he expressed his closeness and gave assurances of his prayers that she might "experience this moment of pain, suffering and sacrifice with the Paschal spirit" of death and resurrection.

  John Paul II met Sister Lucia, a Carmelite nun, on three occasions: on May 13 in the years 1982, 1991 and 2000. The first encounter took place exactly a year after the attempt on the Pope's life in St Peter's Square in which he almost died. On that occasion, the Pope went to Fatima to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for saving him, and ordered that, as a sign of gratitude, the bullet found in his jeep after the assassination attempt be set in the crown of the image of the Virgin of Fatima.

  The second meeting, in 1991, took place on the tenth anniversary of the assassination attempt. The last occasion on which the Pope and Sister Lucia met personally was on May 13, 2000, when the Holy Father beatified her cousins, the shepherd children Francisco and Jacinta, and Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano read a message concerning the third secret of Fatima.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


VATICAN CITY, FEB 15, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Harold Anthony Perera of Ratnapura, Sri Lanka, as bishop of Galle (area 5,493, population 2,170,269, Catholics 7,933, priests 25, religious 108), Sri Lanka.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 15, 2005 (VIS) - Annual retreats for the Pope and Roman Curia trace their origins to Pope Pius XI who, on December 20, 1929, marked the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination by publishing the Encyclical "'Mens nostra,' On The Promotion of Spiritual Exercises" which he addressed to "Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops and Other Local Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See."

  In that encyclical, the Pope informed the faithful that he had arranged to hold spiritual exercises every year in the Vatican, a custom still practiced by the Holy Father and ranking members of the Roman Curia. In the early years this retreat was held during the first week in Advent but now takes place in the first full week of Lent.

  Cardinal Achille Ratti, archbishop of Milan, was elected to the papacy on February 6, 1922, and took the name of Pius XI. He died on February 10, 1939.

  On January 6, 1929, feast of the Epiphany, Pius XI declared a Jubilee Year to mark the upcoming 50th anniversary of his ordination and asked the faithful to "share in the joy of their common father and to join with us in rendering thanks to the Supreme Giver of all good."

  At the end of that year, in the Encyclical "Mens nostra," he looked back at the "many and rich fruits" of the Jubilee and wrote that, as a way to "express our heartfelt gratitude, ... we have deemed it fitting ... to establish something most excellent which will, we trust, prove a source of many advantages to the Christian people. We are speaking of the practice of Spiritual Exercises, which we earnestly desire to see daily extended more widely, not only among the clergy, both secular and regular, but also among the multitudes of the Catholic laity."

  Pius XI then wrote at length on the history of "Sacred Retreats," citing the words on this subject of his predecessors, of Doctors of the Church and founders of religious orders such as Don Bosco of the Salesians and, most especially St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, "whom we are pleased to call the chief and peculiar Master of Spiritual Exercises." The Pope in fact, on July 22, 1922,  had "declared and constituted St. Ignatius of Loyola the heavenly Patron of all Spiritual Exercises and, therefore, of institutes, sodalities and bodies of every kind assisting those who are making the Spiritual Exercises."
  He underscored the "joy" and consolation" he found in Spiritual Exercises and  announced: "And in order that we may secure this joy and consolation, both for ourselves and for others who are near us, We have already made arrangements for holding the Spiritual Exercises every year in the Vatican." While highlighting the value of retreats, he admonished: "Nor should the priests of the Clergy, secular and regular, think that the time spent on the Spiritual Exercises tends to the detriment of the apostolic ministry."
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 15, 2005 (VIS) - Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace," and Juan Somavia, director of the International Labor Organization, are due to present the conclusions of the follow up to a Report published last year by the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization. The event will take place at 3 p.m. on February 25 at the Pontifical Lateran University.

  According to a communique released by the pontifical council, the report "seeks to initiate a globalization with a strong social dimension, based on universally shared values, on respect for human rights and for the dignity of each individual; a just and democratically governed globalization that offers tangible opportunities and benefits to all countries and to all peoples."
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Monday, February 14, 2005


VATICAN CITY, FEB 13, 2005 (VIS) - The annual spiritual exercises for the Holy Father and the Roman Curia began this evening at 6 p.m. in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel with Eucharistic exposition, the celebration of Vespers, an introductory meditation, adoration and Eucharistic benediction. Bishop Renato Corti of Novara, Italy, is preaching the retreat on the theme "The Church at the service of the new and eternal covenant."

  On the occasion of the Year of the Eucharist, the conclusion of the spiritual exercises will take place in the Vatican Basilica at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 19 with a Eucharistic concelebration, followed by a period of adoration. Members of the Roman Curia, the vicariate of Rome and employees of the Holy See are all invited to attend.

  As is customary during the retreat for the curia, all audiences, including the Wednesday general audience, are suspended.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 13, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope appeared at the window of his private study to pray the Angelus with thousands of people gathered below in St Peter's Square.

  Prior to the Marian prayer, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Secretariat of State, read a text prepared by the Holy Father.

  "I would like to thank you all," the Holy Father writes, "including those who are following us on radio and television, for your closeness, affection and, above all, your prayers during the days I spent in the Gemelli Polyclinic. I always feel the need for your help before the Lord, in order to carry out the mission that Jesus has entrusted to me."

  After recalling that Lent began last Wednesday with the imposition of ashes, John Paul II affirms that this liturgical time "reminds us of a fundamental truth: we do not enter eternal life without carrying our cross together with Christ. We do not achieve happiness and peace without courageously facing the interior struggle. This struggle is won with the arms of penitence: prayer, fasting and works of mercy. And all must be done secretly, without hypocrisy, in a spirit of sincere love towards God and our brothers and sisters."

  Before closing, the Pope asks the faithful to pray for him and his collaborators in the Roman Curia during their week of spiritual exercises which begins this evening. "In silence and meditation I will pray to the Lord for all the needs of the Church and of the world."

  Following the Angelus, Archbishop Sandri added in the Pope's name: "As I continue to pray for peace in the Middle East, I make a heartfelt appeal for the liberation of the Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, and of all those kidnapped in Iraq."

  The Holy Father pronounced the blessing and added before leaving: "I wish everyone a happy Sunday. Thank you."
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 12, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
 - Appointed Bishop Ernesto Antolin Salgado of Laoag, the Philippines, as metropolitan archbishop of Nueva Segovia (area 2,570, population 617,460, Catholics 524,999, priests 68, religious 167), the Philippines. The archbishop-elect was born in Santa Lucia, the Philippines, in 1936, and was ordained a priest in 1961 and a bishop in 1987. He succeeds Metropolitan Archbishop Edmundo M. Abaya, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese was accepted by the Holy Father, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Mylo Hubert Claudio Vergara of the clergy of Cubao, the Philippines, pastor of the Parish of Holy Sacrifice in the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, as bishop of San Jose (area 2,540, population 642,377, Catholics 546,021, priests 37, religious 113), the Philippines. The bishop-elect was born in Manila, the Philippines, in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1990.

 - Appointed Fr. Pedro Hernandez Cantarero C.M.F., head of the Claretian formation center for seminarians in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, as apostolic vicar of Darien (area 16,780, population 60,000, Catholics 48,000, priests 9, religious 19), Panama. The bishop-elect was born in Jinotepe, Nicaragua, in 1954 and ordained to the priesthood in 1986.

  On Friday, February 11, it was made public that the Holy Father:

 - Appointed Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois of Tours, France, as metropolitan archbishop of Paris (area 105, population 2,116,000, Catholics 1,270,000, priests 1,339, permanent deacons 95, religious 3,826), France. He succeeds Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese was accepted by the Holy Father, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Filomeno do Nascimento Vieira Dias, auxiliary of Luanda, Angola, as bishop of Cabinda (area 7,120, population 300,627, Catholics 225,150, priests 27, religious 42), Angola. He succeeds Bishop Paulino Fernandes Madeca, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese was accepted by the Holy Father, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Jose Antonio Fernandez Hurtado, vicar general of  Tula, Mexico, as bishop of Tuxtepec (area 6,000, population 689,000, Catholics 630,000, priests 40, permanent deacons 17, religious 41), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Morelia, Mexico, in 1952 and ordained to the priesthood in 1978. He succeeds Bishop Jose de Jesus Castillo Renteria M.N.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese was accepted by the Holy Father, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Julio Hernando Garcia Pelaez of the clergy of Pereira, Colombia, and pastor of the cathedral, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Cali (area 2,602, population 2,264,256, Catholics 1,924,618, priests 288, permanent deacons 17, religious 969), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in Anserma, Colombia, in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1985.

 - Appointed Frs. Pierre-Andre Fournier, episcopal vicar for pastoral care in Quebec, Canada, and Gilles Lemay, pastor of the parish of "Saint-Etienne de Lauzon, Saint-Nicholas e Tres-Saint-Redempteur," as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Quebec (area 35,180, population 1,098,212, Catholics 1,047,425, priests 860, permanent deacons 93, religious 4,269), Canada. Bishop-elect Fournier was born in Plessisville, Canada, in 1943 and ordained a priest in 1967. Bishop-elect Lemay was born in Sainte-Emmelie, Canada, in 1948 and ordained a priest in 1972.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 12, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from Pope John Paul II to Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, president of the Conference of Bishops of France, and to all the bishops of France. It focused on a topic the Pope discussed with the bishops during their "ad limina" visits during 2003 and 2004, that is, the question of relations between the Church and French civil authorities in the perspective of this year's 100th anniversary of the law of separation between Church and State in France.

  In the 3,200-word document, the Holy Father starts by noting that the 1905 law, "which denounced the 1804 Concordat, was a painful and traumatic event for the Church in France," ruling that the way of life in France "would be according to the principle of secularity" and "relegating the religious factor to the  private sphere and not recognizing a place in society for religious life and the ecclesial institution."

   The Pope notes that, since 1920 "the French government itself has recognized in a certain manner the place for religion in social life." During the past century, there has been a dialogue between Church and State, diplomatic ties were reestablished and an entente was signed in 1924, all of which has allowed "a certain number of difficulties to be overcome."

  "The principle of secularity to which your country is very attached, if it is well understood also belongs to the social doctrine of the Church. It recalls a just separation of powers which echoes Christ's invitation to His disciples: 'Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's'. ... The Church has no vocation to administer temporal affairs, ... but at the same time it is important that everyone work in the general interest and for the common good."

  "Christianity has played and still plays an important role in French society, be it in the political, philosophical, artistic or literary domains," John Paul II emphasized, pointing to great French theologians, pastors and educators. "One cannot forget the important place of Christian values in building Europe and in the lives of the peoples of the continent. Christianity in great part formed the face of Europe and it is up to the men and women of today to build a European society on the values which presided at its birth and which are part of its richness."

  France "can only rejoice" at having men and women "who draw upon the Gospel ... to serve their brothers in humanity, ...and to spread harmony, peace, justice, solidarity and good understanding among everyone." He urged the bishops to focus on teaching the Church's social doctrine to the faithful, especially the young of today who are the future of tomorrow.

  The Holy Father turns to "the crisis of values and the lack of hope that one sees in France, and largely in the West," saying "this is part of an identity crisis modern societies are going through. ... The Church questions such a situation and hopes that religious, moral and spiritual values, which are part of France's patrimony, which have fashioned its identity and forged generations of persons from the first centuries of Christianity, do not fall into oblivion."

  He invites the faithful of France to "draw from their spiritual and ecclesial life the strength to participate in public affairs" and urges collaboration, not antagonism or separation, between the religious and civil domains. He tells the bishops that "by reason of your mission, you are called to intervene regularly in public debate on the great questions of society."

  John Paul II says he knows the bishops "are very attentive to the Church's presence in places where the great and formidable questions about human existence are asked,"  especially in hospitals, health centers and schools. On education, he writes that "the State must guarantee to those families who wish it the possibility to have their children receive the catechesis they need."

  The Pope closes by expressing his "confidence in the future for a good understanding between all components of French society. ... May no one be afraid of the religious path of people and special groups! If it is lived in respect for a healthy secularity, it can only be the source of dynamism and the promotion of man."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 12, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was the speech given yesterday at the United Nations to the 43rd session of the Commission for Social Development by Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

  Addressing the commission in French, he noted that, almost ten years ago at the summit for development in Copenhagen, the final Declaration underscored the "commitment to promote a concept of social development that is 'political, economic, ethical and spiritual'."  Since then, he said, this concept "has lost the quality of being an all-embracing idea. Leaders of nations and specialists have turned to an approach of eradicating poverty that is based rather on the realization of measurable economic results."

  Acceleration in uprooting poverty is necessary, stated Bishop Crepaldi, for many peoples and nations are living this scourge. "For their development to be finally able to take off, they are undergoing what has been defined as 'a big push' in public investment." He gave several examples of innovative mechanisms employed by some countries and groups and added: "In effect, this big push, urgently needed by the economies of poor countries, must be additional, concessionary, sure and regular, four inescapable exigencies respected by the mechanisms I have just mentioned.

  The true challenge we now face," he went on, "is that of working concretely for the realization of positive economic results to eliminate poverty and to safeguard, at the same time, the concept of social development as expressed in Copenhagen. ... In addition, if it is true ... that the eradication of poverty has become a moral imperative,  we could arrive, with its realization, at effectively considering it as a primary global public good." He said "this challenge can only be met if a moral condition is fulfilled: the creation, at an international level, of the sense of social justice which seems at the moment to be lacking."

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