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Thursday, January 13, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JAN 13, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Francesco Storace, president of the Region of Lazio, Italy.

 - Walter Veltroni, mayor of the City of Rome.

 - Enrico Gasbarra, president of the Province of Rome.

 - Walter Greinert, ambassador of Austria, on his farewell visit.

 - James R. Nicholson, ambassador of the United States of America, on his farewell visit.

 - A delegation from the University of Katowice, Poland.
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 13, 2005 (VIS) - This morning the Pope received the rector and a delegation from the University of Slesia in Katowice, Poland. The group was also accompanied by the mayor and the bishop of the city.

  "In the classical concept," the Pope said, "a university could not exist without its theological faculty, as it would have been incomplete. Today this has changed. It is clear, however, that the presence of the theological sciences among other areas of study within the university creates the possibility for a worthwhile exchange of views. 'Fides et ratio' (faith and reason) are found in the quest for knowledge. They use different tools and methods, but they enrich one another in discovering the multiple dimensions of the truth."

  The Holy Father expressed the hope that the University of Slesia "may enjoy the abundant fruits of this collaboration."
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 13, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father this morning received the mayor of Rome and the presidents of the region of Lazio and the province of Rome, together with 250 employees of the city, region and province, for the traditional exchange of New Year greetings.

  He began his talk by expressing his "great pleasure for the approval of the Statute of the region of Lazio," noting that it "underlines the role that Rome has as the center of Catholicism, and explicitly recognizes the primacy of the person and the fundamental value of life. It also recognizes the rights of the family as a natural society founded on marriage and it proposes to support it in fulfilling its social function." He added that the Statute "also provides for the region to guarantee the right to study and the freedom of educational choices."

  Pope John Paul expressed satisfaction at the protocol signed between the vicariate, the city and the region of Rome which intends to realize new parish complexes on Rome's periphery.

  The Pope then turned his attention to "problems worthy of particular attention, above all that of housing, especially for young families with modest economic resources." He expressed the hope that joint efforts by institutions would be made to remedy the housing problem, "given the social implications that a lack of adequate housing brings with it." He noted that "the sad phenomena of drug addiction and, more broadly, the frustration of youth, call for ... an ever vigilant commitment."

  "What can we say of city traffic," he asked, "which becomes more congested and difficult every year? It is the cause of notable difficulties in the daily lives of many persons and families." He said he hoped "the question of traffic flow and city transport can be handled in an organic way."

  The Pope closed with an apostolic blessing which he extended to the citizens of Rome, the province and the region.

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