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Monday, July 26, 2004


VATICAN CITY, JUL 26, 2004 (VIS) - Made public today was a communique from  Khartoum, Sudan, dated July 25, from Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum," who has been in that African nation since July 22 as the Holy Father's envoy to show his closeness and solidarity with the Sudanese, especially with the refugees in the region of Darfur.

  The communique notes that Archbishop Cordes, after visiting the shantytowns near Khartoum where evacuees from the south have lived for more than ten years because of the war, visited the camp at Kalma near the city of Nyala in the region of Darfur. Here he met representatives of Catholic aid agencies that are preparing - together with other Christian agencies - an aid program worth $17 million. The conditions of the thousands upon thousands of persons - in Kalma alone there are 10,000 evacuees - camped in the desert under tends of straw and plastic, are indescribable.

  The local Arab-language media has given broad coverage to this trip by the papal envoy. The Church in Sudan and government representatives have repeatedly expressed their gratitude to the Holy Father for his concern for the African nation and for all those who are suffering.

  On Sunday, July 25 the president of Cor Unum celebrated Mass in the cathedral of  the capital city with Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako, archbishop of Khartoum and with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, apostolic nuncio in Sudan.

  At the end of his visit yesterday, the Holy Father's envoy reaffirmed the need for "Sudanese leaders, together with the international community, to guarantee assistance and a safe return to their villages to all of those who have been deprived of everything; they have been forced to flee and live in conditions unworthy of man. The Catholic Church, through the local Episcopal conference, Caritas and other Christian agencies, is bringing a specific and ample contribution to support all those who, in more than 20 years of conflict, have abandoned their own homes. With the contribution of all the country's populations, a better future can be built for Sudan."

  "Unfortunately," ends the communique, "the war in Sudan has been overlooked and ignored by public opinion for too long. Finally the world is following this country with attention; leaders who inspire international policies have discovered they have a duty to look beyond their own interests. However, a future worthy of man will be realized in Sudan also - and by no means least  - in obedience to what the Holy Father asked in the July 25 Angelus: 'Pray for our brothers and sisters of Africa, on whom I invoke the maternal protection of Mary."
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VATICAN CITY, JUL 25, 2004 (VIS) - Pope John Paul, in remarks made to the faithful who joined him today at Castelgandolfo to pray the Angelus, called for prayers for the peoples of regions of Uganda and Sudan, that have been marked by years of violent conflicts, and asked the international community "not to forget these brothers and sisters of ours who have been so sorely tried."

  "During these days of relaxation and rest," he said, "my thoughts turn often to the dramatic conditions of several regions of the world. Today, in particular, I would like to draw your attention to the tragic events that have marked for some time several countries of the beloved African continent."

  "For more than 18 years the north of Uganda has been devastated by an inhuman conflict that has involved millions of people, above all children. Many of them, overcome by fear and deprived of a future, feel forced to become soldiers. I turn to the international community and to the national political leaders to put an end to this tragic conflict and to offer real prospects for peace to the entire nation of Uganda."

  The Holy Father then turned to "the equally worrisome situation in which the dear populations of Darfur, the western region of the Sudan, on the border with Chad, find themselves. The war, which has intensified in recent months, brings with it ever more poverty, desperation and death. Twenty years of harsh conflicts in Sudan have caused an enormous number of deaths and refugees. How can we remain indifferent? I appeal with all my heart to political leaders and to international organizations not to forget these brothers and sisters of ours who have been so harshly tried."

  In closing, the Pope noted that "the Christian community is involved in facing these emergencies. In Uganda, the bishops, assisted by other dioceses in the world and by volunteer organizations, work with generosity for national reconciliation and to help those in difficulty. And just days ago I sent Archbishop Paul Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum' to Darfur to bring to the people the spiritual and  material solidarity of the Holy See and the universal Church."


VATICAN CITY, JUL 24, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, president emeritus of the Pontifical Councils of Justice and Peace and "Cor Unum" as his special envoy to the centenary celebrations of the Social Weeks of France, which will take place in Lille from September 24 to 26, 2004.
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VATICAN CITY, JUL 24, 2004 (VIS) - The Final Document of the Sixth World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Tourism, which was held in Bangkok, Thailand from July 5 to 8, has been published. The Congress was organized by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People in collaboration with the Catholic Commission on Tourism of the Bishops' Conference of Thailand on the theme "Tourism at the Service of Bringing People Together."

   The Document underscored that the World Tourism Organization-approved "Global Code of Ethics for Tourism has already inspired the legislation of some countries and is still to be implemented in others." Particular attention was paid to "The Dimensions of Sex Tourism" and to the initiatives suggested to combat it. It also noted that "the pastoral ministry for tourism should not forget the importance of solidarity with the disadvantaged and the poor, giving special consideration to the consequences of poverty for their family lives."

   Sixteen Recommendations were listed, including: That governments make higher allocations for the moral and human formation of people engaged in tourism; that there be promotion of the awareness that tourism is a powerful instrument for bringing about justice and peace and a true encounter of peoples, and that travel agencies, airlines and hotels inform their clients about child victims of prostitution and the criminal/legal issues concerning travelers who transgress related laws in order to combat effectively the problem of sex tourism involving children.

   "During the Congress," states the document, "it was stressed that tourism, which has now become a social and economic phenomenon of global dimensions, should contribute to bringing together nations and cultures" and, among other things "to  fighting all forms of discrimination and exploitation or, worst still, of sexual violence in relation to women and minors."
   Among those who are exploited, it says, "the most vulnerable and in urgent need of proper care are certainly, women, minors and children." Among the Recommendations and Appeals Concerning Sex Tourism are: "That compassion, legal protection and the restoration of their human rights must be given to children in this situation"; "that the child must not be criminalized in cases where the contents of the Convention of the Rights of the Child have been violated, as in the case of sexual abuse"; "that state authorities give priority and urgency to counteracting trafficking and the economic exploitation especially of children in sex tourism."
  In addition, it recommends that: "State institutions intensify the implementation of laws that protect children from sexual exploitation in tourism and bring to justice the offenders through intensive, coordinated and consistent efforts at all levels of society, and in collaboration with international organizations" and that "dioceses and communities concerned give due pastoral care to children exploited for sexual purposes in the tourist industry, ... establish structures for the pastoral care of exploited children as an important aspect of their mission of evangelization" and "support existing means of apostolate, or establish new ones, that will care for the victims with compassion and love and provide legal assistance, therapy and reintegration into society and, where Christians are involved, into the faith community."


VATICAN CITY, JUL 24, 2004 (VIS) - Made public today was the Holy Father's Letter to Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid, Spain appointing him as his Special Envoy to the concluding celebrations of the pilgrimage of European youth which will take place in Santiago de Compostela, Spain on August 7 and 8. The Letter was written in Latin and is dated July 19.

  The names of those who will accompany the cardinal were also published: Msgrs. Luigi Bianco, nunciature counselor in Spain, Salvador Domato Bua, of the clergy of Santiago de Compostela, secretary to the cardinal archbishop of Madrid, and Andres Pardo Rodriguez, of the clergy of Madrid, delegate for liturgy and master of  ceremonies of the Madrid cathedral.

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