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Thursday, December 4, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 4, 2003 (VIS) - John Paul II wrote a message to Ukrainian Cardinals Lubomyr Husar, archbishop of Lviv of the Ukrainians, and Marian Jaworsky, archbishop of Lviv of the Latins, for the 70(th) anniversary of the Great Famine of 1932-33, instigated by Joseph Stalin in the Ukraine.

The Soviet regime took control of all agricultural production and foodstuffs in order to impose forced collectivization in the country. This method provoked the genocide of entire populations. Although the regime hid information, it is now known that millions of people died during the famine.

With his message, written in Ukrainian, the Pope wanted 'to spiritually join everyone in the Ukraine in recalling the victims of this tragedy and inviting young people to remember past events so that similar suffering is never repeated again.'

'The memory of the past,' writes the Holy Father, 'acquires a value that transcends the borders of a nation, reaching other peoples who have been victims of events that are equally devastating and, therefore, are comforted by sharing their experience. ' The scheduled celebrations ' do not go against other nations, but intend rather to instill in everyone's soul the sense of dignity of all people, regardless of which group one belongs to. ' The awareness of past aberrations results in a constant stimulus to build a future more suitable to man, in contrast to all ideology that profanes life ' and the just aspirations of man.'

'The experience of this tragedy must guide the sense and activity of the Ukrainian people today toward peace and cooperation. Unfortunately, communist ideology has contributed to furthering division in social and religious life. It is necessary to commit oneself to sincere and effective peace. ' The sentiment of Christian prayer for the souls of the dead ' must be accompanied by the desire to build up a society where the common good ' and the rights of the people are constant guides.'

'Reaching this noble goal depends, in the first place, on Ukrainians who are entrusted with safeguarding Western and Eastern Christian heritage and the responsibility to turn it into the synthesis of culture and civilization. In this task lies the specific contribution that Ukraine is called to offer in building the 'common European house' in which all peoples may be accepted with respect for the values of their own identity.'



VATICAN CITY, DEC 4, 2003 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, a chirography by the Holy Father for the centenary of the motu proprio 'Tra le sollecitudini,' promulgated by St. Pius X and which considered sacred music in religious functions, was made public. A chirograph is a papal document which bears the signature of the Pope and which provides instructions on an administrative order.

In the message, dated November 22, the feast day of St. Cecilia, patron of music, the Pope emphasizes that 'music used for sacred rites must have sanctity as its point of reference' and he underscored that 'not all musical forms are appropriate for liturgical celebrations.'

Referring to liturgical music, John Paul II affirms that it 'must respond to the legitimate requirements of adaptation and inculturation. It is clear, however, that every innovation in this delicate material must respect specific criteria, like the search for musical expressions that respond to the necessary involvement of the entire assembly in the celebration and that avoid, at the same time, any concession to frivolity and superficiality.'

'The sacred environment of liturgical celebration must never become a laboratory for experimentation or trial compositions and performances, introduced without careful consideration,' he affirms.

The Holy Father indicates that 'among the musical expressions that properly respond to the qualities required by the notion of sacred music, especially within liturgical music, Gregorian chant occupies an important place. The Vatican Council II recognizes it as 'music of the Roman liturgy,' which should be preserved in the first place for liturgical ceremonies with hymns that are celebrated in Latin. ' Gregorian chant, therefore, continues today to be an element of unity in Roman liturgy.'

The Pope also encourages church choirs be promoted as they have a 'role as guide and accompaniment of the assembly, and in certain moments, they have a very specific role in the liturgy. ' Therefore, the musical aspect of liturgical celebrations, cannot be left to improvisation, or to the judgement of individual persons, but it must be entrusted to thoughtful direction in accordance with norms and regulations, as meaningful fruit of an appropriate liturgical formation.'

'Since the Church has always recognized and promoted progress in the Arts, it should not surprise anyone that, beyond Gregorian chant and choir music, modern music has been allowed in liturgical celebrations, as long as it is respectful of the liturgical spirit and the authentic values of art.'

John Paul II asks the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments 'to pay closer attention to the sector of sacred liturgical music. ' It is important that musical compositions used in liturgical celebrations respond to the criteria opportunely pronounced by St. Pius X and prudently developed by the Vatican Council II and the Magisterium of the Church.' In this way, the Pope urges the episcopal conferences to examine the texts of liturgical hymns and to 'pay close attention in evaluating and promoting songs that are truly appropriate for sacred use.'

At the end of the message, the Holy Father recalls that the motu proprio addresses the topic of musical instruments used in Latin liturgy. 'It is necessary,' he concludes, 'to be careful that the instruments are appropriate for sacred use, for the dignity of a church, and that they are able to accompany singing by the faithful and edify it.'

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VATICAN CITY, DEC 4, 2003 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, the Holy Father received in audience His Beatitude Emmanuel III Dely, the new patriarch of Babylonia of the Chaldeans, Iraq, elected at the end of the Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Catholic Church which took place on December 2-3 in the Vatican. The new patriarch succeeds His Beatitude Raphael I Bidawid who died this past July.

The Holy Father granted ecclesiastical communion to the new patriarch in accordance with the established canons. In brief remarks to members of the synod, John Paul II asked them to convey to the faithful of their communities his 'affection and prayers. The Pope is close to all Iraqis and knows their aspirations for peace, security and freedom.'

'Peace is so necessary if we look at your land, which needs more than ever authentic peace and tranquility. Work to 'join the efforts' of all believers for respectful dialogue that fosters building up a stable and free society at all levels.'

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VATICAN CITY, DEC 4, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Pope received members of the preparatory committees for his pastoral visit on June 22, 2003 to Bosnia Herzegovina, headed by Bishop Franjo Komarica of Banja Luka, president of the Episcopal Conference, who have come to Rome for thank him for his visit to their country.

After recalling that in Banja Luka he beatified Ivan Merz, the Pope urged that 'his bright example of holiness inspire lay Catholics to commit themselves to bear witness to the Gospel, the criterion and fundamental guide for Christians in all times.'

Referring to entries from Blessed Merz's diary in 1918, when Europe was at war and he was on the frontlines, the Holy Father recalled his words: ''Never forget God! Always seek to be one with Him!' These words have special meaning to your country which is working to overcome much suffering which is the consequence of an oppressive regime and a long war. You will be able to overcome this difficult situation thanks to the creation of democratic institutions at the political and administrative level. It is always necessary, however, to cultivate an authentic spiritual renewal which will lead to forgiveness, reconciliation and mutual respect for the cultural and religious identity by all.'

He concluded by saying: 'These are the ways that lead to the creation of a prosperous and peaceful society, one that is free and solid; this is the way that makes the long-anticipated return of refugees and exiles to their homeland possible, in an atmosphere of safety and total freedom.'



VATICAN CITY, DEC 4, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Four prelates from the French Episcopal Conference on their 'ad limina' visit:

- Bishop Pierre Auguste Pican, S.D.B., of Bayeux, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Guy Gaucher, O.C.D.

- Bishop Jacques Fihey of Coutances.

- Bishop Michel Guyard of Le Havre.

- Dragan Covic, president of the presidency of Bosnia Herzegovina.

- Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, major archbishop of Lviv of the Ukraines, Ukraine.

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