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Monday, May 24, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
 - Fr. Colin Campbell, rector of the National Seminary in Auckland, New Zealand, as bishop of Dunedin (area 64,747, population 282,183, Catholics 35,307, priests 57, religious 139), New Zealand. The bishop-elect was born in 1941 in Dunedin, New Zealand and was ordained a priest in 1966. He succeeds Bishop Leonard Anthony Boyle whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted in accordance with Canon 401, para. 2, of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Bishop John Atcherley Dew, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Wellington, New Zealand, as coadjutor archbishop of the same archdiocese (area 35,810, population 559,350, Catholics 81,189, priests 122, religious 284), New Zealand.

   On Saturday May 22, it was made public that the Holy Father:

 - Appointed Msgr. Gerardo de Jesus Rojas Lopez, vicar general of Juarez City, Mexico as bishop of Nuevo Casas Grandes (area 7,257, population 671,321, Catholics 657,721, priests 58, religious 69), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in 1957 in Teocaltiche, Mexico and was ordained a priest in 1983. He succeeds Bishop Hilario Chavez Joya,  M.N.M whose resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, apostolic nuncio in Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, Granada, Guyana, Surinam, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint-Vincent and Granadinas, Santa Lucia and apostolic delegate in the Antilles, as apostolic nuncio in Korea.

 - Appointed Fr. Fernando Vergez Alzaga, L.C., study assistant in the Pontifical Council for Laity,  as bureau chief of  the Ordinary Section of the Administration of the Apostolic Patrimony of the Holy See. 
 - Appointed Ivan Ruggiero, general accountant of the Prefecture of Economic Affairs of the Holy See, as consultant of the same dicastery. 
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Branko Orvenkovski, president of the Republic of Macedonia, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

- Three prelates from the United States Catholic Bishops' Conference (Region VII) on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Wilton Daniel Gregory of Belleville.

    - Bishop Joseph Leopold Imesch of Joliet in Illinois, accompanied by Bishop Roger Louis Kaffer, former auxiliary of the same diocese.

- Oghnjan Gerdjikov, president of Parliament in Bulgaria, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

On Saturday May 22, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Raul Nicolau Gonsalvez, emeritus of Goa and Damao, India.

 - Four prelates from the United States Catholic Bishops' Conference (Region VII) on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop James Anthony Tamayo of Laredo.

    - Bishop Placido Rodriguez,  C.M.F. of Lubbock.

    -  Bishop Alvaro Corrada del Río, S.J. of Tyler.

    - Bishop David Eugene Fellhauer of Victoria in Texas.

- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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THE HOLY FATHER SENT A MESSAGE to Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, who will inaugurate this week a social and health center run by the Congregation of the Benedictine Reparatrix Sisters of the Holy Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in Bacau, Romania. In the Message, dated May 13, the Pope writes that this new center called "The House of the Holy Face of Jesus," will welcome the elderly and handicapped, beginning with priests. It is an important service for the poor and sick and they do not have family members who are capable of attending to their needs."

POPE JOHN PAUL TODAY WELCOMED A DELEGATION  from Macedonia on the occasion of their visit to Rome for "the traditional and affectionate homage which you pay to Sts. Cyril and Methodius, Apostles of the Slavonic peoples, whose memory is preserved in the venerable Basilica of St. Clement." The Pope noted that "your country has wisely reaffirmed its commitment to follow the path of peace and reconciliation.. ... You eyes are turned legitimately towards Europe. ... I truly hope that your desires will receive just consideration and that the citizens of your republic may be one day rightful members of a united Europe."

A DELEGATION FROM BULGARIA WAS RECEIVED BY THE POPE this morning for their traditional visit on the occasion of the feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius. "For some years now," said the Pope in French, "your country has rediscovered its place on the international scene and it is pursuing this path of freedom and democracy, seeking thus to consolidate harmony within the nation. It is involved in a patient effort to rejoin in a stable fashion the institutions of the European union. In this regard, I hope that Bulgaria can realize its legitimate aspirations in bringing .... its own contribution to the building for Europe."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2004 (VIS) - Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, arrives today in Jerusalem where he will stay until May 28, during which time he will meet with Catholic authorities, hold ecumenical meetings, meet with Jewish leaders, including the Chief Rabbi of Israel and with Israeli government officials as well.

  The cardinal's visit is the result of an invitation extended by the Ecumenical Institute of Advanced Theological Studies in Tantur asking him to take part in a colloquium organized by the institute in collaboration with Notre Dame University. He will deliver a talk entitled "Pardon and Purification of Memories."

  Cardinal Kasper's visit will include meetings with the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, the Catholic ordinaries, the custos of the Holy Land and superiors and members of various religious institutes and congregations. On the ecumenical level, encounters are scheduled with the Greek Orthodox patriarch and the Armenian patriarch, in addition to authorities from other churches and ecclesial communities.


VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2004 (VIS) - This afternoon Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general of Rome, read a Message from the Pope to the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, during a commemorative service for the centenary of the synagogue in the Italian capital. The Holy Father was also represented in the ceremony by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism.

  In the message, the Holy Father sends special greetings to the former Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff, who received him during his historic visit made on April 13, 1986. "This event," he writes, "remains instilled in my memory and in my heart as a symbol of the newness that has characterized in the last few decades relations between the Jewish people and the Catholic Church, after periods which were sometimes difficult and sad."

  John Paul II says that despite the fact that the Catholic Church and Vatican Council II rejected "clearly and definitively anti-semitism in all its expressions,... it is not enough to deplore and condemn hostility against the Jewish people; ... it is necessary to also foster friendship, esteem and fraternal relations with them." He then recalled the victims of the Holocaust, and especially members of the Jewish community of Rome who in October of 1943 were taken to Auschwitz. "May their memory lead us to work as brothers."

  "Thus," he added, " it is necessary to recall all those Christians ... who acted with courage, also in the city of Rome, to help persecuted Jews, offering them their solidarity and help, sometimes even risking their own lives. ... We also cannot forget, along with official pronouncements, the Apostolic See's action, often hidden, which in many ways helped Jews in danger, something which has been recognized by their representatives also."

  The Pope indicates that the Church has deplored the mistakes of its daughters and sons and has asked for forgiveness "for their responsibility related to the plagues of anti-semitism." In addition, he recalls the homage he paid to the victims of the Shoah at Yad Vashem in March 2000.

  "Unfortunately," he writes, "thinking about the Holy Land causes concern and sadness in our hearts for the violence that continues in that area, for the great quantity of innocent blood shed by Israelis and Palestinians. ... Therefore, today we want to direct to the Eternal God a fervent prayer ... so that enmity ... gives way to clear awareness of the bonds that link them and to the responsibility that weighs on everyone's shoulders."

  "Nevertheless," concludes the Holy Father, "we still have a long way to go: the God of justice and peace, of mercy and reconciliation, calls us to collaborate without vacillating in our modern world, scarred by conflict and hostility. If we know how to unite our hearts and hands in order to respond to the divine call, the light of the Eternal One will draw close to illuminate all peoples, showing us the ways of peace, of Shalom.  We would like to go along these paths with one heart."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2004 (VIS) - Before praying the Regina Coeli with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope recalled that on this Sunday many countries celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, as well as the World Day of Social Communications.

  The Holy Father said that the Church "wants to establish a frank and open dialogue with those who work in this field in order to encourage their commitment to humanity's authentic progress."

  After recalling the theme of this year's World Day of Social Communications, "The Media in the Family: Risk and Enrichment," John Paul II said that "thanks to modern technology, many families are able to directly access the vast resources of communication and information, and to take advantage of the opportunity to educate, be culturally enriched and to grow in the spirit.  However, the media can do serious damage to the family when they offer an inadequate vision or a deformed vision of life, family, religion and morality."

  "Therefore," he continued, "it is necessary to learn how to use the media wisely and prudently. It is a duty that concerns all parents, who are responsible for providing a healthy and balanced education of children.  It is also a duty of public institutions who are called to create regulations that assure that the media always respect the truth and common good."

  After greeting pilgrims in different languages and praying the Regina Coeli, the Pope said that on May 29, eve of the Solemnity of Pentecost, he will preside at 6 p.m. in St. Peter's Basilica at the celebration of Vespers.  "I invite all the faithful," he said, "in particular those who belong to the movements of renewal in the Spirit, to participate in the prayer vigil in order to invoke upon us and on all the Church an abundant effusion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 22, 2004 (VIS) - Made public today was the speech given on May 20th by Msgr. Renato Volante, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture and head of the Holy See delegation to the 27th FAO conference for Asia and the Pacific, which was held in Beijing from May 17 to 21.

  In opening remarks, Msgr. Volante said that the "the international presence of the Holy See is motivated exclusively by the desire to render a common service to the human family as a whole. She wishes in this way to testify to her constructive interest in the cause of human person, the attention to its fundamental needs, beginning with the primary right to nourishment that is an essential component of the right to life."

  "It seems to us," he underscored, "that the situations of food security are becoming more serious, the growth of systems of production that are more and more linked to the large-scale methods, and the environmental degradation which for the world of agriculture concern 'inter alia' the land degradation and the water scarcity. This clearly lowers the levels of food security. In the perspective of these challenges, it becomes always more necessary to look to the future, to understand what can be the role of  FAO in the coming years in this region."

  Msgr. Volante then quoted from Pope John Paul's speech in 1996 at the World Food Summit: "It is to be hoped that your reflections will also inspire concrete measures to combat the food insecurity, which claims as its victims too many of our brothers and sisters in humanity, for nothing will change at the world level, if national leaders do not put into practice the commitments written in your plan of action for implementing economic and food policies based not only on profit but also on sharing in solidarity."


VATICAN CITY, MAY 22, 2004 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon in the Vatican there was a workshop, organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace on the social and economic development of Africa in the era of globalization.

  In a Message sent to participants, the Pope writes that "the many hotbeds of violence that plague Africa, including AIDS and other epidemics, as well as dramas of misery and injustices, continue to weigh upon the future of the continent and to produce negative effects that impede the overall development of Africa and the restoration of a stable peace and a just society."

  "The continent," he continues, "urgently needs peace, justice and reconciliation and also the help of industrialized countries who are called to sustain its development so that the African peoples are truly protagonists of their own future, actors and subjects of their destiny. ... May the international community be able to contribute with determination and generosity to promoting a society of justice and peace on the African continent."

  Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the pontifical council, in his talk, emphasized that Africa should not be considered "an immense weight and an irresolvable problem but an extraordinary resource of good for all of humanity. The greatest evil that plagues Africa is the general sense of resignation and distrust at all levels which surrounds this continent like an iron curtain of selfishness and indifference.  The real battle is to create an environment of renewed confidence and generous and intelligent creativity."

  The cardinal announced the publication of a document on poverty in the era of globalization and the creation of a permanent group of reflection on the social and economic development of Africa.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 22, 2004 (VIS) - John Paul II today welcomed bishops from the United States provinces of San Antonio and Oklahoma City as they conclude their "ad limina" visit. "In this my final reflection on the sanctifying office (of bishops)," he told them, "I wish to concentrate in a special way on one of the cornerstones of the Church itself, namely, the complex of interpersonal relationships known as the family."

  "Family life is sanctified in the joining of man and woman in the sacramental institution of holy matrimony," he affirmed.  "Many today have a clear understanding of the secular nature of marriage, which includes the rights and responsibilities modern societies hold as determining factors for a marital contract. There are nevertheless some who appear to lack a proper understanding of the intrinsically religious dimension of this covenant."

  The Holy Father remarked that "modern society rarely pays heed to the permanent nature of marriage." He asked that "the Church seek to offer better pre-marital instruction aimed at forming couples in this vocation and insist that her Catholic schools and religious education programs guarantee that young people, many of whom are from broken families themselves, are educated from a very early age in the Church's teaching on the sacrament of matrimony."
  "The communion of love present in family life serves as a model of the relationships which must exist in Christ's family, the Church," the Pope added. "The family is placed at the service of the building up of the Kingdom of God in history" and the Church's duty is to assist it, especially parents as "the main catechists in the family." And, he said, the Church must "share the hurts and struggles of parents and families, as well as their joys."

  "Like a family, the Church is a place where its members feel free to bring their sufferings, knowing that Christ's presence in the prayer of His people is the greatest source of healing." Thus, the Church must maintain an active "family ministry and especially in those areas which reach out to youth and young adults. Young people, faced with a secular culture which promotes instant gratification and selfishness over the virtues of self-control and generosity, need the Church's support and guidance."
   John Paul II noted that "as in any family, the Church's internal harmony can at times be challenged by a lack of charity and the presence of conflict among her members.  This can lead to the formation of factions within the Church which often become so concerned with their special interests that they lose sight of the unity and solidarity which are the foundations of ecclesial life and the sources of communion in the family of God. To address this worrisome phenomenon Bishops are charged to act with fatherly solicitude as men of communion to ensure that their particular Churches act as families, so that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another." 

  In concluding, he noted how the United States, whose patroness is Mary Immaculate, is marking in a special way the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
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