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Thursday, September 2, 2004


VATICAN CITY, SEP 2, 2004 (VIS) - This morning at Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father received American bishops from the ecclesiastical provinces of Boston and Hartford as they conclude their quinquennial "ad limina" visit.

  He began his talk by stating that "throughout these reflections on the exercise of the 'munus episcopale propheticum', I have more than once drawn attention to the importance of the evangelization of culture. A fundamental challenge in this area is surely that of bringing about a fruitful encounter between the Gospel and the new global culture which is rapidly taking shape as a result of unprecedented growth in communications and the expansion of a world economy. I am convinced that the Church in the United States can play a critical role in meeting this challenge, since this emerging reality is in many ways the fruit of contemporary Western, and particularly American, experiences, attitudes and ideals."

  "The Church in the United States," he went on, "has long been committed to making her voice heard in public debate in the defense of fundamental human rights, the dignity of the person and the ethical requirements of a just and well-ordered society. In a pluralistic nation like your own, this has necessarily involved practical cooperation with men and women of various religious beliefs ... As the tragic events of 11 September 2001 have made clear, the building of a global culture of solidarity and respect for human dignity is one of the great moral tasks confronting humanity today."

  John Paul II expressed his "personal gratitude for the traditional generosity of the faithful of the United States to the Church's mission 'ad gentes' through the training and sending forth of generations of missionaries and through the contributions of countless Catholics to the foreign missions. ... May the Church in your country discover the sources for a profound interior renewal through a revitalization of missionary zeal."

  "More than once in the course of these meetings," he remarked, "I have told you of my admiration for the outstanding contribution which the Catholic community in the United States has made to the spread of the Gospel, the care of the poor, the sick and those in need, and the defense of fundamental human and Christian values."

  The Pope then noted that "the Church in your country has been chastened by the events of the past two years, and much effort has rightly been expended on understanding and addressing the issues of sexual abuse which have cast a shadow on her life and ministry.  As you continue to confront the significant spiritual and material challenges which your local Churches are experiencing in this regard, I ask you to encourage all the faithful - clergy, religious and lay -  to persevere in their public witness of faith and hope."
  "In a particular way I would ask you to be strongly supportive of your brother priests, many of whom have suffered deeply because of the much-publicized failings of some of the Church's ministers. ... Convey my personal gratitude for the generous and selfless service which mark the lives of so many American priests, as well as my deep appreciation of their daily efforts to be models of holiness and pastoral charity in the Christian communities entrusted to their care. ... In a word, tell your priests that I hold them in my heart!"
AC/AD LIMINA/USA                        VIS 20040902 (560)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 2, 2004 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence from the new ambassador of Guatemala, Juan Gavarrete Soberon. The Pope recalled his three visits to the country, in 1983 and 1996, "when there was still a painful internal armed conflict which caused so many deaths" and in 2002, "once the peace accord was signed" when, he said, "I canonized Brother Pedro de San Jose de Betancurt."

  "In the messages that I gave on these visits," he said, "I wanted to express my affection for the beloved Guatemalan people, but also my concerns due to the human and social problems that your country was experiencing. I am happy to say that the defense of human life, from conception till natural death, is constitutionally recognized in your nation, and that is a seal of honor for Guatemala.  In this field, as in others, when civil legislation assumes the principles of natural law we move toward peace and the progress of peoples."

  In response to "the desire of your government to fight corruption in all forms," John Paul II told the diplomat, "transparency and integrity in public administration promote a climate of credibility and confidence in the citizens under your authority and create the foundations for a just and appropriate development."

  "Unfortunately, even though the armed internal conflict has ended, Guatemala cannot ignore the violence that has affected many people."  In this context, he recalled Bishop Juan Gerardi, assassinated in 1998, "whose case has not yet been cleared up, as well as those of a number of priests and catechists. No effort must be spared in order to achieve peace in the country and reconciliation among all citizens."

  The Pope referred also the problem of poverty: "The effort to attend to the needs of the disadvantaged," he emphasized, "must be considered a fundamental priority. I am pleased that your government considers it a objective to which to dedicate many efforts and resources.  Among those who suffer this social blemish many are indigenous. … Accelerated transformations in the international economy and decreases in the price of agricultural products have put many of them in a difficult situation. The Church, mother and faithful teacher of her mission, is close to the many rural families that are living the consequences of this crisis."
CD/CREDENTIALS/GUATEMALA:GAVARRETE                VIS 20040902 (390)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 2, 2004 (VIS) - In recent weeks the following prelates died:

- Cardinal Marcelo Gonzalez Martin, emeritus of Toledo, Spain on August 25 at the age of 86.

- Bishop Giuseppe Amari, emeritus of Verona, Italy on August 8 at the age of 87.

- Archbishop James Masilamony Arul Das of Madras and Mylapore, India on August 30 at the age of 74.

- Bishop Augusto Beuzeville Ferro, auxiliary of Piura, Peru on August 12 at the age of 72.

- Bishop Edwin Michael Conway, auxiliary of Chicago, U.S.A. on August 9 at the age of 70.

- Bishop John Joseph Glynn, former auxiliary of the Military Ordinary of the United States on August 23 at the age of 78.

- Bishop Alvaro Raul Jarro Tobos, military ordinary emeritus for Colombia on August 11 at the age of 73.

- Bishop Francesco Minerva, emeritus of Lecce, Italy, on August 23 at the age of 100.

- Bishop Antoine Torbey, emeritus of Lattaquie of the Maronites, Syria on August 9 at the age of 78.

- Bishop Mariano Vivanco Valiente of Matanzas, Cuba on August 23 at the age of 71.
.../IN MEMORIAM/...                        VIS 20040902 (200)


VATICAN CITY, SEP 2, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father received today in separate audiences:

- Archbishop Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona, Spain.

- Bishop Vincenzo Paglia of Terni-Narni-Amelia, Italy and Prof. Andrea Riccardi of the Sant'Egidio Community.
AP/.../...                                VIS 20040902 (40)

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