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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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Friday, July 29, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 29, 2005 (VIS) - As previously advised, VIS will be closed during the entire month of August. Service will resume on Thursday, September 1, 2005.
.../.../...                                        VIS 20050729 (30)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 29, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Salomon Lezoutie of the clergy of Yopougon, Cote d'Ivoire, spiritual director of the major seminary of Anyama, as bishop of Odienne (area 51,220, population 670,000, Catholics 3,500, priests 9, religious 9), Cote d'Ivoire. The bishop-elect was born in Yopougon in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1989.

 - Appointed Fr. Markus Bernt Eidsvig of the Canons Regular of St. Augustine, master of novices in the Abbey of Klosterneuburg, Austria, as bishop of Oslo (area 154,560, population 3,449,286, Catholics 51,305, priests 55, permanent deacons 3, religious 171), Norway. The bishop-elect was born in Rjukan, Norway in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1982. He succeeds Bishop Gerhard Schwenzer SS.CC., 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.
NER:RE/.../LEZOUTIE:EIDSVIG:SCHWENZER                VIS 20050729 (160)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 29, 2005 (VIS) - Following comments made by Nimrod Barkan, an Israeli foreign ministry official, which appeared in the Jerusalem Post newspaper on July 26, the Holy See Press Office issued the following note yesterday afternoon:

  "The untenability of the groundless accusations directed against Pope Benedict XVI for not having mentioned - in comments following the Angelus prayer on July 24 - the July 12 terrorist attack in Netanya, Israel, cannot but be clear to the people who made them. Perhaps it is also for this reason that an attempt has been made to uphold the accusations by shifting attention to supposed silences of John Paul II on attacks against Israel in past years, even inventing repeated Israeli government petitons to the Holy See on the subject, and requesting that with the new pontificate the Holy See change its attitude.

  "On this matter, it should be noted that:

  "John Paul II's declarations condemning all forms of terrorism, and condemning single acts of terrorism committed against Israel, were numerous and public.

  "Not every attack against Israel could be followed by an immediate public condemnation. There are various reasons for this, among them the fact that attacks against Israel were sometimes followed by immediate Israeli reactions not always compatible with the norms of international law. It would, consequently, have been impossible to condemn the former and remain silent on the latter.

  "Just as the Israeli government understandably does not allow its pronouncements to be dictated by others, neither can the Holy See accept lessons and directives from any other authority concerning the orientation and contents of its own declarations."

  The Holy See Press Office note is accompanied by a document recalling some of the statements made by John Paul II between 1979 and February 2005, a month and a half before his death, in which he condemned violence against the civilian population and affirmed the right of the State of Israel to live in security and peace.

  "It is sad and surprising" the document concludes, "that it has gone unobserved how, for the past 26 years, Pope John Paul II's voice has been so often raised with force and passion in the dramatic situation in the Holy Land, condemning all terrorist acts and calling for sentiments of humanity and peace. Affirmations that run counter to historical truth can advantage only those who seek to foment animosity and conflict, and certainly do not serve to improve the situation."
OP/ISRAEL:ATTACKS/BARKAN                        VIS 20050729 (420)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 29, 2005 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano sent a telegram of condolence, in the Pope's name, to Abdelaziz Bouteflika, president of Algeria, for the recent murder of two Algerian diplomats in Iraq.

  "Having learnt of the murder of two Algerian diplomats in Iraq, the Holy Father unites himself with the pain of their families, of the authorities and of the Algerian people, all affected by this drama which also touches the international community. He salutes the courage and faithfulness to their mission of builders of peace and negotiation in the country, who also brought their help to reconstruction. To all those seeking to resolve conflicts by the way of violence, the Pope makes a new call to humanity and justice, in the legitimate respect of individuals. The death of a human being cannot be the solution to claims of any kind, and cannot make of the assassins partners in dialogue and peace. The Holy Father exhorts all men and women of good will to join in building a world of brotherhood among peoples and beliefs, so that differences become opportunities for sharing and friendship. Entrusting the deceased to the mercy of the Almighty, the Pope asks God to bring down abundant blessings upon their families, and upon all the people affected by this hateful act."


VATICAN CITY, JUL 29, 2005 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for the month of August is: "That World Youth Day may inspire or reawaken in young people the desire to meet Christ and find in Him the guide of their own lives."

  His mission intention is: "That the priests, religious men and women, seminarians and laity from mission countries who are completing their formation in Rome, may find their stay in the 'Eternal City' a time of spiritual enrichment."
BXVI-PRAYER INTENTIONS/AUGUST/...                    VIS 20050729 (90)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 29, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday evening, having completed his holiday in Valle d'Aosta in the Italian Alps, Benedict XVI travelled to his summer residence at Castelgandolfo, south of Rome.

  Shortly after his arrival, the Holy Father appeared at the balcony of the Apostolic Palace to greet the people waiting in the square below: "Dear brothers and sisters," he said, "I have just arrived from Valle d'Aosta where I spent two delightful weeks in the mountains; but I am happy to be with you here today in the castle of the Popes."

  "For more than a month," he went on, "I will be your fellow citizen; it is a joy for me to be in this beautiful little town, to live with you and to contemplate the splendor of the ancient Roman countryside. Thank you for your affection and friendship."

  Having imparted his apostolic blessing, and amid the cheers of the faithful, the Pope concluded by saying "thank you for your welcome, we will see one another often."

  The Pope is expected to spend this second part of his vacation resting, reading and writing. He may also travel to the Vatican if particularly large numbers of people arrive for the general audience, held every Wednesday.

  His stay at Castelgandolfo will be interrupted from August 18 to 21 when the Pope will travel to Cologne, Germany, for World Youth Day.
BXVI-VACATIONS/.../CASTELGANDOLFO                VIS 20050729 (240)

Thursday, July 28, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 28, 2005 (VIS) - Peter's attachment to his flock, priestly vocations, and the participation of divorced Catholics in the Eucharist were the central themes of Benedict XVI's meeting with the clergy of the diocese of Aosta, held at the church of Introd on Monday, July 25. The "Osservatore Romano" newspaper yesterday published the complete text of this meeting, of which some paragraphs are given below:

  "The history of the Church has always been marked, in various different forms, by questions that have truly tormented us. What must be done? ... I would like to respond briefly, but I would also like to point out that the Pope is not an oracle, he is infallible only in very rare situations, as we know. Therefore I share these questions with you. I too suffer. But all of us together wish ... to transform problems through suffering, because suffering is the way to transformation, and without it nothing is transformed. This is also the meaning of to the parable of the grain of wheat that falls to the earth."

  Going on to refer to the crisis of vocations in the West, the Pope pointed out how the western world has reached a point "in which there is no longer any evidence of the need for God, still less for Christ. ... Consequently, it becomes difficult to believe, and if it is difficult to believe it is even more difficult to offer one's life to the Lord, to be His servant. This is clearly a torment, one particular to our own historical times in which the so-called great Churches generally appear to be moribund. ... On the other hand sects, which present themselves with the certainty of a minimal faith, are growing. ... We must traverse this tunnel patiently, in the certainty that Christ is the answer and that in the end His light will reappear."

  On the subject of divorced Catholics who have remarried, Benedict XVI described as "particularly painful" the "situation of those who married in Church out of tradition, without being true believers; then, finding themselves in a new and non-valid marriage, they convert, find faith, and feel excluded from the Sacrament (of the Eucharist)."

  The Pope recalled that when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith he invited several episcopal conferences to study the question of a "Sacrament celebrated without faith," and "whether it is truly possible to find therein a reason for invalidity, because the Sacrament was lacking an essential dimension. ... The problem is very difficult and must be studied profoundly."

  In closing, the Holy Father announced that the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is preparing a document on the Church's closeness to prisoners.


VATICAN CITY, JUL 28, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father's vacation at the locality of Les Combes in the municipality of Introd in Italy's Valle d'Aosta is due to come to an end this afternoon. His airplane is scheduled to take off from the airport of Aosta at 5.30 p.m. and to land at Ciampino airport in Rome an hour later. Benedict XVI will then travel to the apostolic palace of Castelgandolfo, south of Rome.

  Beginning on Sunday, July 31, Benedict XVI will pray the Angelus from his summer residence at Castelgandolfo. General audiences will be held regularly from Wednesday, August 3.
BXVI-VACATION/.../LES COMBES                        VIS 20050728 (110)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 28, 2005 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano sent a telegram, in the Pope's name, to Cardinal Ivan Dias, archbishop of Bombay, India, for the monsoon rains which have devastated Maharashtra State in that country:

  "Deeply saddened by reports of the tragic consequences of the monsoon rains in Maharashtra State, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI sends the assurance of his profound solidarity and pastoral concern. With fervent prayers that Almighty God will grant eternal peace to those who have died and consolation and strength to the homeless, injured and suffering, he invokes the divine gifts of wisdom, strength and peace upon the civil authorities and those engaged in the massive work of relief and rebuilding."
TGR/MONSOONS INDIA/SODANO:DIAS                    VIS 20050728 (130)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 27, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Msgr. Giovanni Ricchiuti of the clergy of the archdiocese of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie, Italy, rector of the Pontifical Regional Seminary of Puglia, as archbishop of Acerenza (area 1,250, population 60,200, Catholics 60,000, priests 37, religious 60), Italy. The archbishop-elect was born in Bisceglie in 1948 and ordained a priest in 1972. He succeeds Archbishop Michele Scandiffio, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Philippe Nkiere Keana C.I.C.M. of Bondo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, as bishop of Inongo (area 100,000, population 800,000, Catholics 396,000, priests 55, religious 102), Democratic Republic of the Congo. He succeeds Bishop Leon Lesambo Ndamwize, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Francisco Carlos Bach, vicar general of the diocese of Ponta Grossa, Brazil, as bishop of Toledo (area 8,000, population 344,415, Catholics 305,496, priests 47, permanent deacons 1, religious 99), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Ponta Grossa in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1977.
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VATICAN CITY, JUL 27, 2005 (VIS) - The administrative council of the "Populorum Progressio" Foundation held its annual meeting in Lima, Peru, from July 19 to 22. The foundation was established by John Paul II to promote integral development among the poor, indigenous, mixed race and Afro-American rural communities of Latin America and the Caribbean.

  Since its creation in 1992 the foundation, which is part of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum," has financed more than 2,000 projects for a total value of almost 20 million dollars, giving concrete form to "the Church's gesture of loving solidarity towards the most abandoned and needy - such as the poor, indigenous, mixed race and Afro-American rural communities - as the fruit of love and charity."

  This year approval has been given to 212 projects aimed at the integral development of these peoples, with particular reference to the following areas: 36.29% for production, be it farming, small businesses, or community stores; 23.55% for communal infrastructure projects such as potable water, fencing, latrines and community halls; 18.15% for buildings such as schools, houses and health centers; 16.60% for education: training, communications, donations and publications; 5.49% for health-oriented projects, including donations and training."

  The countries involved include Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, as well as Argentina, Chile and the entire Caribbean area.

  Msgr. Segundo Tejado Munoz, a Cor Unum official who participated in the Lima meeting recalls that the criterion of Populorum Progressio is "the ecclesial nature of its projects."

  "The Church," said Msgr. Tejado, "cannot be reduced to becoming a humanitarian aid organization; rather her mission embraces individuals in all their facets, both material and spiritual. Hence, the projects that are presented to the foundation have to include this component of Christian charity: the announcement that in Jesus Christ man has access to a Father full of love for the poor. This testimony is carried forwards by providing aid in the Holy Father's name and by including all achievements within the framework of the local Church."
CON-CU/POPULORUM PROGRESSIO/TEJADO                VIS 20050727 (340)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 26, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Archbishop Edmond Farhat, apostolic nuncio to Turkey and Turkmenistan, as apostolic nuncio to Austria. He succeeds Archbishop Giorgio Zur, whose resignation from the same office was accepted by the Holy Father, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop William Enrique Delgado Silva of El Vigia - San Carlos del Zulia, Venezuela, as bishop of Cabimas (area 8,251, population 797,560, Catholics 739,380, priests 39, permanent deacons 6, religious 21), Venezuela.

- Appointed Rutilio J. del Riego, pastor of the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Riverside, California, U.S.A., as auxiliary of San Bernardino (area 70,662, population 3,556,631, Catholics 1,017,196, priests 244, permanent deacons 91, religious 280), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Valdesandinas, Spain in 1940 and ordained a priest in 1965.
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VATICAN CITY, JUL 26, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday evening, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following declaration to journalists:

  "Concerning the Israeli reaction to the fact that the Holy Father, in his Angelus of Sunday July 24, did not also mention Israel alongside other countries, it should be noted that Benedict XVI's words specifically referred to the attacks of 'these days.'

  "It is surprising that the Holy Father's intention should have been thus groundlessly misinterpreted, it being well known that in numerous interventions the Church, the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs, and most recently Pope Benedict XVI, have condemned all forms of terrorism, from whatever side it comes and against whomsoever it is directed.

  "Obviously, the serious attack in Netanya two weeks ago, to which the Israeli comments refer, also falls under the general and unreserved condemnation of terrorism."
.../TERRORISM:ISRAEL/NAVARRO-VALLS                VIS 20050726 (150)

Monday, July 25, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 25, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of San Carlos, Philippines, presented by Bishop Salvador T. Modesto, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Jose Rojas Rojas jr., of the clergy of Caceres (area 3,207, population 1,214,576, Catholics 1,156,277, priests 161, religious 434), Philippines, vicar general, as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese. The bishop-elect was born in Cebu City, Philippines, in 1956 and ordained to the priesthood in 1981.

On Saturday, July 23, it was made public that he appointed Msgr. Almeida Kanda, vicar general of the diocese of Uije, Angola, as bishop of Ndalatando (area 20,159, population 359,000, Catholics 189,100, priests 23, religious 58), Angola. The bishop-elect was born in Cangola, Angola, in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1986. He succeeds Bishop Pedro Luis Guido Scarpa O.F.M. Cap., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
RE:NEA:NER/.../... VIS 20050725 (180)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 25, 2005 (VIS) - Shortly before entering the church of Introd for a meeting with priests and deacons of Valle d'Aosta, the region of northwest Italy where he is spending a brief holiday, Benedict XVI spent a few moments with journalists who were waiting outside the building.

  Asked whether, three months having passed since his election, he found it difficult being Pope, the Holy Father replied: "Yes, in a certain sense it has been difficult, I had never thought of this ministry, but people are very good to me and support me."

  Another reporter asked him if he felt the closeness of his predecessor John Paul II, to which Benedict XVI replied: "I always feel him very close, through his writings and through his spiritual presence."

  For his part, Osvaldo Naudin, mayor of Introd, renewed his invitation to the Pope to return to the Valle d'Aosta next year; he also jokingly commented that the Holy Father is learning the local dialect thanks to the "crash course" he is following over these days.

  Bishop Giuseppe Anfossi of Aosta highlighted the importance of the Pope's meeting with the local clergy which, he said, reflects the "collegiality and communion on which the Church is founded."

  After the meeting, in which 140 priests, religious and deacons participated, the Pope again paused to speak to journalists. Referring to the terrorist attacks which have marked the last weeks he affirmed that it was incorrect to define them as anti-Christian: "I feel the intention is far more general, and not specifically against Christianity."

  Asked whether Islam could be considered a religion of peace, he said: "I would not like to use big words to apply generic labels. It certainly contains elements that can favor peace, it also has other elements: we must always seek the best elements."

  The Holy Father also made some brief comments on the prospects for dialogue between the Holy See and China, expressing the desire that they "continue to move forwards." Finally, replying to a reporter who asked him about the situation of divorced people who have remarried, he said: "we cannot solve large problems in just a few words."
BXVI-VACATIONS/.../NAUDIN:ANFOSSI                    VIS 20050725 (370)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 24, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, prior to praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI addressed some remarks to the 8,000 people who had gathered to hear him in an open area near his holiday chalet of Les Combes in Italy's Valle d'Aosta.

  The Holy Father recalled that tomorrow is the feast of the Apostle James, "whose relics are venerated in the famous shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the destination of countless pilgrims from all over Europe. Yesterday we marked the day of St. Bridget of Sweden, patroness of Europe, and on July 11 we celebrated the feast of St. Benedict, another great patron of the 'old continent.' Contemplating these saints, it is natural to pause and reflect on the contribution that Christianity has made, and continues to make, to the building of Europe.

  The Pope continued by recalling the pilgrimage made by "Servant of God John Paul II in 1982 to Santiago de Compostela, where he performed a solemn 'European act' during which he pronounced these memorable words: 'I, bishop of Rome and pastor of the Universal Church, from Santiago, address to you, old Europe, a cry full of love: Return to yourself! Be yourself! Discover your origins. Revive your roots. Experience again those authentic values that made your history glorious and your presence in other continents beneficial."

  Benedict XVI pointed out how, on that occasion, John Paul II launched "the project of a Europe aware of its own spiritual unity, based on the foundation of Christian values. He returned to this theme on the occasion of World Youth Day 1989, held at Santiago de Compostela, expressing his hope for a Europe without frontiers, a Europe that does not deny the Christian roots from which it grew and that does not renounce the true humanism of Christ's Gospel. How appropriate this call remains today in the light of recent events on the European continent."

  The Pope then affirmed that in less than a month's time he will make a pilgrimage "to a historic European cathedral, that of Cologne, where young people have an appointment for their 20th World Day. We pray that the new generations, drawing their vital lymph from Christ, many know how to be leavening in European society for a renewed humanism, one in which faith and reason cooperate in a fruitful dialogue for the promotion of man and the construction of true peace."

  In comments following the Marian prayer, the Pope made reference to recent bomb attacks: "Even these days of serenity and repose have been disrupted by the tragic news of the execrable terrorist attacks which have brought death, destruction and suffering to various countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Iraq and Great Britain. As we entrust to divine goodness the dead and injured and their loved ones, victims of gestures that offend both God and man, we call on the Almighty to block the murderous hand of those who, driven by fanaticism and hatred, committed these acts, and we ask that He convert their hearts to thoughts of reconciliation and peace."
ANG/CHRISTIAN ROOTS:ATTACKS/LES COMBES                VIS 20050725 (530)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 23, 2005 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano sent the following telegram, in the Pope's name, to the civil and ecclesiastical authorities of Egypt for the victims of yesterday night's terrorist attack at the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh:

  "His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was deeply saddened to learn of the terrorist attacks at Sharm al-Sheikh in Egypt and he expresses heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. In condemning such senseless acts, His Holiness appeals to all to renounce the way of violence which causes so much suffering to  civilian populations, and instead to embrace the way of peace. Praying for the eternal repose of the dead he invokes upon all the afflicted the Almighty's blessings of comfort and strength."
TGR/ATTACKS/SHARM AL-SHEIKH:SODANO                VIS 20050725 (140)

Friday, July 22, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 22, 2005 (VIS) - The Basilica of St. Mary Major will hold its traditional triduum from August 1 to 3 and two days of celebration on August 4 and 5, in commemoration of the miracle of the snowfall that occurred during the night of August 4-5 in the year 358 on the site where the basilica now stands.

  According to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared in a dream to two faithful Roman Christians, the patrician John and his wife, as well as to Pope Liberius (352-366), asking that a church be built in her honor on the site where snow would fall on the night of August 4-5. Pope Liberius traced the outlines of the church in the snow and the first basilica was built on that site. It was completed about a century later by Pope Sixtus III (432-440), after the Council of Ephesus in 431 during which Mary was declared to be the Mother of God.

  During the triduum, or three days of preparation for the feast, there will be a daily recitation of the Rosary and meditation on its mysteries. The author of the meditations is Fr. Gabriele Caranta, rector of the Shrine of St. Mary of the Gold in Terni, Italy. The Masses, one on each day of the triduum, will be celebrated by: Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, president of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, Archbishop Paolo Romeo, apostolic nuncio to Italy, and Cardinal Agostino Cacciavillan, president emeritus of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.

  The feast of August 4 will begin with the recitation of the Rosary, followed by vespers presided by Cardinal Bernard Law, archpriest of the basilica, and Mass celebrated by Bishop Domenico Sigalini of Palestrina, Italy.

  The morning of August 5 will open with the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, after which Cardinal Law will preside at the pontifical Mass. The afternoon's celebrations include the recitation of the Rosary, second vespers presided by Cardinal Law, and Mass celebrated by Bishop Lorenzo Chiarinelli of Viterbo, Italy.

  During the pontifical Mass and the second vespers, the traditional shower of flower petals will descend from the ceiling of the basilica to commemorate the August snowfall in 358.
.../FEAST OF SNOWFALL/ST MARY MAJOR                VIS 20050722 (390)

Thursday, July 21, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 21, 2005 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Bishop Mansuet Dela Biyase of Eshowe, South Africa, on June 26, at the age of 72.

 - Bishop Joseph P. Delaney of Fort Worth, U.S.A., on July 12, at the age of 70.

 - Bishop Jose Vicente Henriquez Andueza S.D.B., emeritus of Maracay, Venezuela, on July 14, at the age of 77.

 - Bishop Mario Jose Serra, former auxiliary of Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 9, at the age of 79.
.../DEATHS/...                                    VIS 20050721 (90)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 21, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, Benedict XVI made a trip to Val Grisanche in the alpine region of Valle d'Aosta in northwest Italy where he is spending his vacation. On his return to the chalet in which he is staying, he paused to greet a group of young people and to answer questions from journalists.

  As his car arrived at the chalet, the Pope requested the driver to stop, and he got out and spent ten minutes greeting people and answering reporters' questions. Asked about the July 7 attacks in London, the Holy Father said that if it is true that "terrorism is irrational" and therefore impervious to signs, then dialogue can at least "be one element, a cry of alarm, an invitation to abandon terrorism."

  Benedict XVI also pointed out that, even following the London attacks, there is no clash of civilizations in the world, only "small fanatical groups." In this context, he stressed the importance of "dialogue between the three religions that recognize Abraham as father."

  The Pope also underlined the need "to pray that the desire, which exists throughout the world and is clearly against all violence, may prevail and grow stronger."

  On the subject of his vacation in the Valle d'Aosta, the Holy Father said: "It is a marvelous holiday, everything here is beautiful, it is a paradise."

  Benedict XVI arrived in his chalet at the locality of Les Combes on July 11 and will remain until July 28 when he will travel to the pontifical residence of Castelgandolfo south of Rome.
BXVI-VACATION/TERRORISM/VALLE D'AOSTA                    VIS 20050721 (270)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 20, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Erected the diocese of Jaipur (area 129,060, population 25,828,271, Catholics 4,096, priests 32, religious 117), India, with territory taken from the diocese of Ajmer and Jaipur, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Agra. He appointed Bishop Oswald Lewis, coadjutor of Meerut, India, as the first bishop of the new diocese. The Holy Father also changed the name of the diocese of Ajmer and Jaipur to Ajmer.

 - Appointed Bishop Kiro Stojanov, apostolic administrator "sede vacante" of Skopje, ex-Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and of the apostolic exarchate for the faithful of Byzantine rite in Macedonia, as bishop of Skopje (area 21,000, population 2,350,000, Catholics 3,572, priests 6, religious 17), and exarch for the faithful of Byzantine rite in Macedonia.
ECE:NER/.../LEWIS:STOJANOV                        VIS 20050720 (140)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 20, 2005 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano sent a letter, in the Holy Father's name, to Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Immigrant Peoples, for the occasion of the World Day of Tourism, which is due to be held on September 27, 2005 and which is dedicated this year to the theme: "Travel and Transport, from the imaginary world of Jules Verne to the reality of the 21st Century."

  The cardinal recalls how the "real or imaginary" journeys of the French author "in fact represented an invitation to consult the new geographical atlas and a challenge to human responsibility in facing limits that could no longer be concealed. At the end of the 19th century, in his own incredible voyage, Verne overcame these limits which were imposed by the dominant culture and by a vision exclusively centered on Western Europe."

  The Cardinal continues: "Today too there are obstacles to overcome if we wish tourism, the fruit of travel and transport, to be open to everyone. New and unexplored opportunities for travel with ever more modern and faster means can make tourism a providential occasion to share the goods of the earth and of culture."

  "However, it is necessary to bear in mind the ethical needs associated with tourism," writes the secretary of State. And he calls upon leaders in this field "to favor the peaceful encounter of peoples, guaranteeing security and ease of communication," always bearing in mind the fact that "in all activities, and hence also in tourism, the primary goal must always remain respect for the human being."

  In closing, Cardinal Sodano stresses that tourists, for their part, must respect the "individual, cultural and religious" diversity of the peoples they visit. He also invites Christian communities to welcome tourists and offer them "the chance to discover the richness of Christ incarnate, not only in monuments and religious works of art, but also in the daily life of a living Church."
SS/WORLD TOURISM DAY/SODANO:HAMAO                VIS 20050720 (350)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 20, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was the official program of Benedict XVI's apostolic trip to Cologne, Germany, from August 18 to 21 for the 20th World Youth Day.

  The Pope will depart from Rome's Ciampino airport at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 18, and is due to arrive at the international airport of Cologne/Bonn at midday. Following a welcome ceremony he will travel by car to the archbishopric of Cologne. In the afternoon he will go to the Rodenkirchenbrucke wharf, whence a boat will take him along the river Rhine to the Rheinwiesen wharf where he will be welcomed by young people. The Holy Father will then travel back by boat to the city of Cologne where he will visit the cathedral.

  On Friday, August 19, the Pope will celebrate a private Mass in the archbishopric of Cologne before travelling by car to Villa Hammerschmidt in Bonn where, at 10.30 a.m., he is scheduled to pay a courtesy visit to Horst Kohler, president of the Federal Republic of Germany. At midday he is due to visit the synagogue in Cologne and at 1 p.m. will return to the archbishopric for lunch with a group of young people. At 5 p.m. he is due to meet seminarians at the church of St. Pantaleon in Cologne and will then return to the archbishopric to participate in an ecumenical meeting.

  On Saturday, August 20, having again celebrated a private Mass in the archbishopric, the Holy Father will receive in audience various political and civil leaders: Gerhard Schroeder, federal chancellor; Wolfgang Thierse, president of the parliament; Angela Merkel, president of the CDU (Christian Democratic Union); Jurgen Ruttgers, minister president of North Rhine Westphalia, and a number of local authorities. At 6 p.m. he will meet representatives of Muslim communities. Later he will travel by car to the large open grounds of Marienfeld where he will join young people in a vigil due to last until 10.30 p.m.

  At Marienfeld, at 10 a.m. on Sunday, August 21, Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass then pray the Angelus. After lunch in the archbishopric he will go on foot to the "Piussaal" of the seminary of Cologne where he will meet the bishops of the German Episcopal Conference. Later, and after having greeted members of the organizing committee of WYD 2005, he will travel by car to the international airport of Cologne/Bonn where the departure ceremony is due to be held at 6.45 p.m. The Pope will then board his aircraft and return to Rome, arriving at around 21.15 p.m.

  For the occasion of Benedict XVI's visit to Germany, some statistics concerning the Catholic Church in that country are given below:

  Germany has 82,520,000 inhabitants of whom 27,411,000 are Catholics, around 33.2% of the total. There are currently 105 bishops, 18,826 priests, 36,323 religious and 3,561 seminarians.

  The Catholic Church in Germany runs 10,307 educational institutes including nursery, primary and secondary schools and universities, with a total of more than 959,000 students. She also directs 536 hospitals, 1,359 clinics, 2,588 homes for the elderly and disabled, 1,298 orphanages and creches, 2.030 centers for the family and the protection of life, and 1,331 special centers for social education and re-education.
BXVI-PROGRAM/APOSTOLIC TRIP/COLOGNE                VIS 20050720 (550)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 19, 2005 (VIS) - "I wish formally to announce that the next World Youth Day will take place in 2005 in Cologne, Germany. In the great cathedral of Cologne the relics of the Magi, the Wise Men from the East who followed the star which led them to Christ, are honored."

  With these words, pronounced during the Angelus at the 19th World Youth Day (WYD) in Toronto, Canada, in 2002, John Paul II announced the next pilgrimage of young people from all over the world. WYDs were established in 1984, the Holy Year of Redemption, to reaffirm the Church's interest in youth. This year, the young people meeting in Cologne from August 16 to 21 will consider the theme: "We have come to worship Him," the words with which the Wise Men of the Gospel of St. Matthew reveal the reason for their own pilgrimage.

  The fact that the 20th WYD is being held in Cologne is also associated with a desire expressed by John Paul II to Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of that city, during the WYD held in Paris in 1997. "The Pope told me he felt it appropriate that one of the first WYDs of the new millennium should be held in Cologne," Cardinal Meisner recalls, "because last century Germany witnessed some terrible disasters for humanity, and it is right that it should now witness a great sign of hope."

  The first significant event of this 20th World Youth Day began on Palm Sunday 2003 when a delegation of Canadian youth gave the cross that symbolizes WYDs to a group of German young people. A year later, the cross and the Marian image of 'Salus Populi Romani' began a journey that, passing through all the dioceses of Germany, will end in Cologne on August 16.

  Benedict XVI's visit to Cologne will be his first outside Italy. The Pope will meet the young people (around a million according to the WYD organizers) on August 18. On the evening of August 19, he will participate in the Way of the Cross; on August 20 he will join the participants in a prayer vigil, and on August 21 he will celebrate the event's closing Mass. The altar at which he is due to celebrate stands on a hill overlooking a large field where the pilgrims will gather. The hill itself is manmade, composed of earth from all the countries of the world brought by young people who have participated in the preparatory meetings for this WYD.

  During the WYD, the famous reliquary of the Wise Men will be placed behind the altar in the cathedral, as it used to be in the Middle Ages, so the pilgrims can see it as they pass and so, in some way, take away with them the blessing of the Three Kings of the East.

  Another feature of the WYD in Cologne will be a large mosaic depicting the face of John Paul II composed of photographs sent in by young people from all over the world.

  Benedict XVI's program for the days he will spend in Cologne also includes a visit to the synagogue and various meetings with the German civil and religious authorities. He will also travel to Bonn, where he lived from 1959 to 1963 when he taught theology at the city's university. In Bonn he is scheduled to meet Horst Koehler, president of Germany.

  According to the latest information, 7,000 priests and 700 bishops will travel to Cologne where they will impart catechesis in the mornings, hear confessions, and celebrate the Eucharist in the evenings.
.../WORLD YOUTH DAY/COLOGNE                    VIS 20050719 (620)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 19, 2005 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano has written a letter, in the Pope's name, to Archbishop Jean-Claude Perisset, apostolic nuncio to Romania, for the floods that  have recently devastated that nation:

  "The Holy Father continues to follow with apprehension the drama of the Romanian people, stricken by torrential rains that have caused mourning, devastation and serious damage in that country.

  "He charges Your Excellency to inform the civil and religious authorities of his grief and his spiritual closeness in this sad and difficult situation that has struck a nation very dear to him. His Holiness, as he raises fervent appeals for those who have lost their lives in the disaster, gives assurances of his prayers to the Lord recollecting those who have suffered the death of their loved ones, who have been left homeless or forced to abandon their property, and are now undergoing grave difficulties.

  "As a comfort for these feelings, the Holy Father invokes consolation and support from the Lord for these brothers and sisters, and sends them a special apostolic blessing as a sign of his affection."
BXVI/FLOODS ROMANIA/SODANO:PERISSET                VIS 20050719 (200)

Monday, July 18, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 17, 2005 (VIS) - During an informal meeting with journalists at Les Combes, the locality in the Italian region of Valle d'Aosta where the Pope is spending his holiday, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarrro-Valls described Benedict XVI's vacation, which began on July 11 and will last until July 28, as "a real holiday, but a working holiday."

  After celebrating Mass and eating breakfast the Holy Father reads the breviary before retiring to his room to write, said Navarro-Valls. "I would not say he is writing an Encyclical," said the Holy See spokesman, suggesting that perhaps the Holy Father is working on a book. In the afternoon the Pope usually takes a walk around the local area. On Saturday, returning home, he paused to greet some of the locals.

  The Holy Father's chalet, the property of the Salesians, is the same one in which John Paul II used to stay. "Everything has remained as it was," said Navarro-Valls, save the piano which has been placed in the study. The Pope loves music and "over these days I have heard him play Mozart", the press office director added.

  This evening, Benedict XVI visited a museum dedicated to John Paul II located some 500 meters from the chalet in which he is staying. The museum was inaugurated in 1996 and brings together personal objects used by John Paul II during his holidays in the alpine mountains. It also contains many photographs of the late Pontiff including pictures of him walking in the mountains wearing sports shoes and an alpine hat.

  Before returning home, the Holy Father paused briefly in a small nearby hermitage, where he spent a few minutes in prayer.
.../VACATIONS:LES COMBES/NAVARRO-VALLS                VIS 20050718 (300)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 17, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, after praying the Angelus, the Pope greeted the bishop, priests, religious, families and local authorities of the Valle d'Aosta region in northwestern Italy where he is spending a brief vacation, and assured them of his special prayers for the sick and suffering.

  The Holy Father then approached the faithful who had gathered to see him and personally greeted the sick and disabled people occupying the front rows.

  Before leaving, he addressed some remarks to young people saying: "You have come to my first Angelus in the mountains. We are already spiritually on the march to Cologne. We will all meet in Cologne!"

  Benedict XVI is due to visit Germany from August 18 to 21 for the occasion of the 20th World Youth Day, which will be held in the city of Cologne.


VATICAN CITY, JUL 17, 2005 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI prayed the Angelus together with more than 6,000 people, including locals, holiday-makers and pilgrims, who joined him at Les Combes in Italy's Valle d'Aosta where he is spending his vacation.

  Before the Marian prayer, the Holy Father referred to his "beloved predecessor," John Paul II, "whose memory is still alive in the stupendous mountains of the Valle d'Aosta" where "for many years he came to spend brief periods of vacation."

  "This summer break," the Holy Father continued, "is a truly providential gift of God following the first months of the demanding pastoral service with which Divine Providence has entrusted me."

  "In the world in which we live it is almost a requirement to be able to restore body and spirit, especially for city dwellers, where the often frenetic lifestyle leaves little time for silence, reflection or the soothing contact with nature. Vacations are also a period in which one can dedicate more time to prayer, reading and meditation on the profound meaning of life, in the serene environment of one's own family and loved ones."

  "Through contact with nature, people again find their true dimension, they rediscover themselves as creatures, small but at the same time unique, and 'capable of God' because of an interior openness to Infinity. Driven by the need for meaning which rises from their hearts, they perceive in the surrounding world the signs of goodness and of Divine Providence and, almost naturally, they become open to praise and prayer."
ANG/VACATIONS/LES COMBES                        VIS 20050718 (270)


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

 - Appointed Cardinal Jozef Tomko, president of the Pontifical Commission for International Eucharist Congresses, as his special envoy to the closing celebrations of the Slovakian National Eucharistic Congress, due to be held in Bratislava-Petrzalka, Slovakia, on September 18, 2005.

 - Appointed Fr. Albert Vanbuel S.D.B., president of the superiors major of central Africa, as bishop of Kaga-Bandoro (area 95,000, population 230,420, Catholics 50,437, priests 17, religious 14), Central African Republic. The bishop-elect was born in Zolder, Belgium in 1940 and ordained a priest in 1967.

 - Appointed Bishop Walter Mixa of Eichstatt, military ordinary of the Federal Republic of Germany, as bishop of Augsburg (area 13,250, population 2,249,020, Catholics 1,536,294, priests 1,118, permanent deacons 129, religious 2,534), Germany.
NA:NER/.../TOMKO:VANBUEL:MIXA                    VIS 20050718 (140)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 16, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a telegram of condolence sent, in the Pope's name, by Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano to Archbishop Alain Lebeaupin, apostolic nuncio to Kenya, for the murder on Thursday night of Bishop Luigi Locati, apostolic vicar of Isiolo.

  "The Holy Father," writes Cardinal Sodano, "was deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Bishop Luigi Locati, and he extends heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his closeness in prayer to the clergy, religious and faithful of the apostolic vicariate of Isiolo. Commending the late bishop's noble soul to the infinite mercy of God our Father, His Holiness gives thanks for the selfless witness to the Gospel and the advancement of human dignity which characterized his priestly and episcopal ministry. He likewise prays that Bishop Locati's death may hasten the dawn of that peace and reconciliation to which he devoted himself to the last. To all assembled for the solemn Mass of Christian burial the Holy Father cordially imparts his apostolic blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in our Lord Jesus Christ."

  In another telegram, addressed to Archbishop Enrico Masseroni of Vercelli, Italy, the archdiocese of origin of Bishop Locati, Cardinal Sodano states that the Pope "expresses, to the diocesan community and to the relatives of the heroic missionary, his spiritual participation in their unexpected mourning. Recalling, with a spirit of gratitude to the Lord, the generous episcopal ministry undertaken by this worthy prelate among the Kenyan people, the Holy Father raises fervent prayers invoking ... the well-deserved eternal reward for the late pastor, and he sends to everyone the comfort of a special apostolic blessing in the light of the supreme certainties of faith."
TGR/MURDER BISHOP LOCATI/SODANO                VIS 20050718 (310)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 18, 2005 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano has sent a telegram of condolence, in the Pope's name, to Archbishop Edmond Farhat, apostolic nuncio to Turkey, for Saturday's bomb attack in the Turkish tourist resort of Kusadasi:

  "Informed of the deadly explosion that took place recently in Turkey, the Holy Father implores the mercy of the Almighty for the people who lost their lives in the horrific attack and the consolation of God on their suffering families. He express his heartfelt sympathy to the numerous people injured in this drama and to their families, as well as to the Turkish authorities and people."
TGR/ATTACK/TURKEY:SODANO                        VIS 20050718 (120)

Friday, July 15, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 15, 2005 (VIS) - Bishop Luigi Locati, apostolic vicar of Isiolo, Kenya, was murdered last night by a group of unidentified persons who shot him as he returned home from a parish center. The police are unaware of the motive for the killing.

The Italian bishop, who was almost 77 years old, presented his resignation upon having reached the age limit for bishops two years ago, but was still awaiting the appointment of a successor.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 14, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Camillo Ballin M.C.C.I., director of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies in Cairo, Egypt, as apostolic vicar of Kuwait (area 17,900, population 2,650,000, Catholics 158,500, priests 10, religious 13). The bishop-elect was born in Fontaniva, Italy in 1944 and ordained a priest in 1969. He succeeds Bishop Francis Micallef O.C.D., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same apostolic vicariate the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
NER:RE/.../BALLIN:MICALLEF                        VIS 20050714 (90)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 14, 2005 (VIS) - The tragedy of the tsunami that struck the coasts of southeast Asia on December 26, 2004, the aid given to those affected by the catastrophe and the task of rebuilding the countries involved were the central themes of a speech delivered by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, on July 13 to the U.N. Economic and Social Council in a session dedicated to "special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance."

  Archbishop Migliore recalled the promptness with which, following the disaster, the Holy See was able to provide four million dollars in emergency relief. "Dozens of Catholic agencies quickly followed this up, with projects for the reconstruction of homes and schools" in the countries affected, he said. "It is estimated that around 650 million dollars has been made available by agencies related to the Holy See to the peoples affected by the tsunami."

  "The funds just mentioned were firstly applied to the most urgent emergency needs: safe drinking water, food, shelter, clothing, etc. ... Refugees, internally displaced persons, and women and children especially vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation, were among the first to be helped. After the emergency phase, reconstruction and rehabilitation projects were begun, including the rebuilding of homes, schools and hospitals, not to mention the provision of agricultural and fishing equipment."

  Going on to underline the importance of spiritual and religious support, he affirmed the Holy See's commitment "in all circumstances to respect religious and cultural differences, and to work amicably to facilitate greater trust among believers of all faiths and non-believers. Inter-religious cooperation and peace-building initiatives will continue to form an important element of the Church's work."

  The archbishop also dwelt on the subject of planning and the distribution of resources: "Our agencies and institutions in the areas affected by the tsunami specifically examined ways of avoiding the creation of a bloated bureaucracy to deal with the emergency, in order to ensure the delivery of the greatest amount of funding to its proper final destination."

  In closing, Archbishop Migliore recalled how, paradoxically, the catastrophe "has actually presented the affected governments and peoples with an unprecedented opportunity for reconstruction and development. The internal, bilateral, north-south and south-south cooperation which was seen at the time is a platform, not to be squandered, but to be built upon for the good both of the survivors and of all the peoples of the region."
DELSS/TSUNAMI AID/UN:MIGLIORE                    VIS 20050714 (420)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 14, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls announced that at midday today, Benedict XVI participated in the two minutes of silence for the victims of the bomb attacks in London on July 7.

  The director of the Holy See Press Office, who is accompanying the Holy Father on his vacation at Les Combes in the Valle d'Aosta in northwest Italy, affirmed that the Pope "prayed for the victims of terrorism, for their families and, specifically, for peace. He also prayed that such acts of violence are not repeated."

  After recalling how the Pope prays the Angelus every day, the spokesman added that "on this occasion he prayed for the needs of the world."
.../POPE:PRAYER VICTIMS/NAVARRO-VALLS                VIS 20050714 (140)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 13, 2005 (VIS) - The administrative council of the "Populorum Progressio" Foundation will hold its annual meeting in Lima, Peru, from July 20 to 24. The foundation was established in 1992 by John Paul II to promote integral development among the poor indigenous mixed race and Afro-American rural communities of Latin America and the Caribbean.

  The meeting will be attended by Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of Populorum Progressio and of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", of which the foundation is part. This year, there are some 200 projects awaiting approval, for a total value of around two million dollars. The areas involved include education (60%), agriculture (20%) and small business development (20%).

  The priority of education in development is the most important element of the Church's commitment in these countries, says a Cor Unum communique made public today. Populorum Progressio is financed mainly by the Italian Episcopal Conference, although private donors from other countries also participate. On the administrative council, it is prelates from countries with the largest indigenous mixed race and Afro-American communities who decide how to use the funds.

  Apart from Archbishop Cordes and six representatives from the Latin American episcopate, the meeting will also be attended Fr. Segundo Tejado Munoz, an official of Cor Unum, and Msgr. Piergiuseppe Vacchelli, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference's committee for charitable interventions in favor of the Third World.

  After Haiti, Peru is the Latin American country with the lowest levels of education. It also suffers the serious problem of the abandonment of rural areas and the exodus of the population to the cities, which leads to the creation of shanty towns with very harsh living conditions.
CON-CU/POPULORUM PROGRESSIO/CORDES                VIS 20050713 (290)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 12, 2005 (VIS) - Made public yesterday evening was the final document of the First International Meeting of Pastoral Care for the Liberation of Women of the Street. The meeting, held in Rome from June 20 to 21, was promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

  Prostitution is "a form of modern day slavery," says the text of the document. In fact, "sexual exploitation, prostitution and trafficking of human beings are all acts of violence against women." As such they "constitute an offence to the dignity of women and are a grave violation of basic human rights."

  "The Church has a pastoral responsibility," the document continues, "to promote the human dignity of persons exploited through prostitution and to advocate for their liberation and economic, educational and formative support. The Church must take up the defense of the legitimate rights of women," and "denounce the injustices and violence perpetrated against women wherever and in whatever circumstances this may occur."

  The final document points out the need "to collaborate with the mass media to ensure correct communication about this problem." Moreover, "the Church must demand the enforcement of laws protecting women against the scourge of prostitution and trafficking. It is also important to advocate for effective measures against the demeaning portrayal of women in advertising."

  One of the closing recommendations is that "networks be strengthened among all groups involved in the provision of pastoral care, e.g., volunteers, associations, religious congregations, NGOs and ecumenical and inter-religious groups."

  Finally, the document underlines the importance of using "appropriate language and terminology when referring to the phenomena of sexual exploitation and prostitution. Society has a responsibility to provide alternative resources ... for persons seeking to 'leave the street'."
CON-SM/STREET WOMEN/...                        VIS 20050712 (310)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 12, 2005 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, yesterday delivered a speech to the "Second Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects."

  "The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons is an obvious threat to peace, development and security," said the archbishop. "That is why the Holy See adds its voice to the calls for a common approach, not only towards the illicit trade in small arms but also to related activities. ... Furthermore, as well as considering the illicit offer of arms, we must also be mindful of the dynamics of the demand for arms."

  The permanent observer highlighted another question which the Holy See considers particularly important: "The special needs of children affected by armed conflict, as described in the Plan of Action. Children need to be considered in programs of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) in post-conflict situations, in peace-keeping and peace-building, and in development programs, through community-based approaches."

  Recalling that the current meeting also served "to review the realization of the Plan of Action and see if it is still the cornerstone it should be of the new international legal framework for the control of small arms and light weapons," Archbishop Migliore affirmed: "the international community would do well to consider seriously a debate on the creation of an arms trade treaty, based on the best principles of international law on human rights and humanitarian law. Such an instrument could help contribute to the eradication of the illicit arms trade, while underlining the responsibility of States to reinforce the Plan of Action under discussion today."
DELSS/ARMS TRADE/UN:MIGLIORE                    VIS 20050712 (310)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 12, 2005 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for Relations with States, and Pierre Morel, French ambassador to the Holy See, signed an "Avenant" (modification) to the diplomatic conventions of May 14 and September 8, 1828, and to the "Avenants" of May 4, 1974 and of January 21, 1999, concerning the church and convent of Trinita dei Monti in Rome.

  A communique released today reads: "Recalling the French character of this important foundation, the international agreement expresses recognition for the work done there since 1828, with great zeal and competence, by the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

  "Taking note of the impossibility of the aforesaid society continuing its mission, the church and convent of Trinita dei Monti will be entrusted, from September 1, 2006, to the 'Fraternite monastique des Freres de Jerusalem' and to the 'Fraternite monastique des Soeurs de Jerusalem'."
OP/TRINITA DEI MONTI/LAJOLO                        VIS 20050712 (170)

Monday, July 11, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 11, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Fr. Sylvain Lavoie O.M.I., pastor and provincial consultor, as coadjutor archbishop of Keewatin-Le Pas (area 430,000, population 110,689, Catholics 42,739, priests 17, religious 11), Canada. The archbishop-elect was born in Delmas, Canada in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1974.

 - Fr. Gerard Paul Bergie, pastor of the parish of St. Margaret Mary, as auxiliary of the diocese of  Hamilton (area 16,824, population 1,657,084, Catholics 559,290, priests 225, permanent deacons 5, religious 398), Canada. The bishop-elect was born in Hamilton in 1959 and ordained to the priesthood in 1984.

  On Saturday, July 9, it was made public that he appointed Bishop Paulinus Costa of Rajshahi. Bangladesh, as metropolitan archbishop of Dhaka (area 26,788, population 30,574,441, Catholics 74,871, priests 92, religious 654), Bangladesh. He succeeds Archbishop Michael Rozario, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
NEC:NEA:NER:RE/.../...                            VIS 20050711 (170)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 11, 2005 (VIS) - At around 10.30 this morning the Pope left Rome by plane and, following an hour-long flight, arrived at the airport of Saint Christophe in the Valle d'Aosta region in northwestern Italy. He then travelled by car to the residence of Les Combes where he will spend a 17-day vacation.

  During yesterday's Angelus the Pope had announced his forthcoming holiday in the Valle d'Aosta to the 40,000 faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, saying: "I will stay in the same house that often welcomed Pope John Paul II. I thank those who accompany me with their prayers and to all of you I say with affection, 'see you soon!'"

  The Holy Father will stay in Les Combes, an alpine residence located some 20 kilometers from the city of Aosta within the municipality of Introd.

  Following his stay in Valle d'Aosta, the Pope will move to his summer residence of Castelgandolfo, 30 kilometers south of Rome, where he will stay until the end of September.
BXVI-VACATION/VALLE D'AOSTA/...                    VIS 20050711 (180)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 11, 2005 (VIS) - Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, president of the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, announced this morning in a press conference on the Holy See consolidated financial statements for 2004 that the year closed with a surplus of 3.08 million euro, the difference between an income of 205.66 million euro, and an expenditure of 202,58 million euro.

    In terms of the institutional activity of the Holy See (Secretariat of State, congregations, councils, tribunals, the Synod of Bishops and various other offices), the president indicated that the sector closed the year with a deficit of 23.2 million euro, an increase with respect to 2002 which had closed with a deficit of 19.7 million euro.

  Cardinal Sebastiani pointed out that the sector of financial activities (7 consolidated administrations, the most important of which is the Extraordinary Section of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, APSA) showed a surplus of 6.1 million euro, an improvement on last year which closed with a deficit of 11.6 million euro. For its part, the real estate sector closed with a surplus of 24.9 million euro, up on last year's closing figure of 22.4 million euro.

  The activity of the media institutions connected with the Holy See (Vatican Radio, the Vatican Printing Office, L'Osservatore Romano newspaper, the Vatican Publishing House and Vatican Television), closed with a deficit of 4.3 million euro, three million more than 2003. The final part of the economic report, concerning other income and expense, closed with a negative result of 546,000 euro.
OP/FINANCES HOLY SEE/SEBASTIANI                    VIS 20050711 (270)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 11, 2005 (VIS) - In the Vatican on Friday, July 8, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano presided at the 39th meeting of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See.

  The meeting was attended by Cardinals Thomas Stafford Williams, Roger Michael Mahony, Camillo Ruini, Jean-Claude Turcotte, Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, Ivan Dias, Claudio Hummes O.F.M., and Edward Michael Egan as well as by His Beatitude Michel Sabbah. Representatives from offices of the Holy See also participated: Cardinals Sergio Sebastiani, Attilio Nicora and Edmund Casimir Szoka, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli and Bishop Franco Croci.

  Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See presented the consolidated financial statements of the Holy See for 2004. The year closed with a surplus of 3,081,820.00 euro, an improvement over 2003 which had ended with a deficit of 9.56 million euro. Total income for 2004 was 205,663,266.00 euro, and total expenditure 202,581,446.00 euro.

  "A large part of the expenditure," said Cardinal Sebastiani, "is made up of the expenses of dicasteries and organizations of the Roman Curia which assist, each in its own way, the Roman Pontiff in his pastoral service to the Universal Church and to the particular Churches. ... A total of 2,663 people work in the Roman Curia, of whom 759 are ecclesiastics, 346 religious and 1,558 lay people. Pensioners number 1,429."

  During the meeting, the consolidated financial statements of Vatican City State for 2004 were also presented. The fiscal year closed with a surplus of 5,371,194.00 euro. "Great economic commitment has been shown," the cardinal explained, "in safeguarding, evaluating, and restoring the Holy See's artistic heritage, ... and in supporting Vatican Radio, by contributing to covering half the station's running costs. Employees of Vatican City State number 1,560, pensioners 878."

  Finally, the meeting turned its attention to Peter's Pence, the fund used to finance the Holy Father's works of evangelical solidarity, which in 2004 amounted to 43,186,899 euro, a drop of 7.4% with respect to 2003. The Pope used this money "to alleviate the suffering of peoples hit by natural catastrophes; to assist initiatives in favor of the orphans of victims of armed conflict and of AIDS; to help bring the assistance of the Church to areas of great tension; to support centers of Christian formation in the world, and other activities."

  Benedict XVI briefly attended the meeting of cardinals to inform himself on the matters being discussed, taking the opportunity to underline the importance of material goods for the announcement of the Gospel and the spiritual mission of the Church.
CCARD/2004 FINANCES/...                            VIS 20050711 (450)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 10, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, after praying the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI expressed his "profound grief over the atrocious terrorist attacks in London last Thursday."

  After calling for prayers "for those killed, for the injured and for their loved ones," the Holy Father also invited people to pray "for the perpetrators of the attack: may the Lord touch their hearts."

  He went on: "To those who nourish feelings of hatred, and to those who carry out such repugnant terrorist acts I say: God loves life, which He created, and not death. Stop, in God's name."
ANG/LONDON ATTACKS/...                            VIS 20050711 (120)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 10, 2005 (VIS) - The Pope's reflections prior to praying the noon Angelus today concentrated on the figure of St. Benedict, abbot, founder of the Benedictine Order and patron saint of Europe, whose feast day falls tomorrow.

  The Pope reminded the 40,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square of some of the episodes in the life of this saint (480-547) from Nursia, Italy, who abandoned Rome and retired to the mountains of Subiaco. There he created "a fraternal community founded on the primacy of the love of Christ, a community in which prayer and work alternated harmoniously in praise to God."

  The Pope explained how the author of the famous Benedictine Rule, "amid the ashes of the Roman empire and seeking before all else the Kingdom of God, laid, perhaps unknowingly, the seed of a new civilization which would later develop, integrating Christian values with, on the one hand, classical heritage and, on the other, Germanic and Slav cultures."

  Benedict XVI also recalled that the saint whose name he had taken "did not found a monastic institution with the aim of evangelizing barbarian peoples, as other great missionary monks of the time did, rather he indicated to his followers that the search for God is the fundamental, indeed the only, goal of existence."

  "Nevertheless, he also knew that when believers enter into a profound relationship with God, they cannot be content with living a mediocre life marked by minimalist ethics and superficial religiosity.... St Benedict said: 'Place nothing before the love of Christ.' This is sanctity, which is valid for all Christians and has become a true pastoral priority in our own times, when we feel such a need to anchor life and history to solid spiritual references."
ANG/ST. BENEDICT/...                            VIS 20050711 (300)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 9, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - His Beatitude Ignace Pierre VIII Abdel-Ahad, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon, accompanied by an entourage.

 - Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace.

 - Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

 - Archbishop Giuseppe Betori, secretary general of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

  On Friday, July 8, he received in audience Archbishop Paul J. Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".
AP/.../...                                        VIS 20050711 (100)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 9, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday, Friday July 8, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano sent a letter of condolence to Nevine Simaika Halim Abdalla, Egyptian ambassador to the Holy See, expressing his condolences for the assassination of Ihab el Sherif, Egyptian ambassador to Iraq, and affirming how the killing "fills with grief the Holy See, and all other people of good feeling."

  Cardinal Sodano writes: "In the history of humanity the person of the ambassador has always been considered sacred, as the official representative of his people and, by virtue of his office, ever committed to a mission of peace, harmony and fraternity between peoples. This barbaric killing takes place in a world context of persistent terrorism  that runs counter to all sentiments of humanity and religion. But terrorism will never be able to reduce the international community's commitment against violence or the shared efforts to seek out and eliminate its political, social and cultural causes."

  The secretary of State goes on: "Having been informed of the atrocious crime, the Holy Father wishes to express to Hosni Mubarak, president of the Arab Republic of Egypt, to his government and to all the noble and peace-loving Egyptian people, his deep pain and assurances of his prayers. He also asks that his feelings be communicated to the family of the ambassador el Sherif."

Friday, July 8, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 8, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Erected the diocese of Awgu (area 1,310, population 600,000, Catholics 360,000, priests 42, religious 34), Nigeria, with territory taken from the diocese of Enugu, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Onitsha. He appointed Fr. John Ifeanyichukwu Okoye of the clergy of Enugu, professor of Holy Scripture and rector of the Bigard Memorial Seminary in Enugu, as bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Owelli, Nigeria, in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1978.

 - Appointed Fr. Rochus Tatamai M.S.C., chaplain of the basilica of Issoudun, France, as auxiliary of the diocese of Kerema (area 34,000, population 106,898, Catholics 21,555, priests 14, religious 15), Papua New Guinea. The bishop-elect was born in Raduna, Papua New Guinea, in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1989.
ECE:NER:NEA/.../IFEANYICHUKWU:TATAMAI                VIS 20050708 (150)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 8, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Karl Lehmann, bishop of Mainz, Germany.

 - Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.

 - Vitaly Litvin, representative of the Russian Federation, on a farewell visit.

- Marcos Martinez Mendieta, ambassador of Paraguay, on a farewell visit.

- Javier Moctezuma Barragan, ambassador of Mexico, on a farewell visit.

- The Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See,

  This evening he is scheduled to meet in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
AP/.../...                                        VIS 20050708 (120)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 8, 2005 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at 11.30 a.m. on Monday, July 11, the consolidated budget of the Holy See for 2004 will be presented during a press conference given by Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, Bishop Franco Croci and Paolo Trombetta, respectively president, secretary and accountant general of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See.
OP/HOLY SEE BUDGET/SEBASTIANI                    VIS 20050708 (80)

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