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Friday, October 10, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 10, 2003 (VIS) - The Pope met this morning with participants in the parlimentary assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) at the conclusion of their two-day Conference on Freedom of Religion in Rome which began on October 9.

After expressing gratitude for the OSCE's "commitment to ensure ... this basic human right," freedom of religion, the Holy Father emphasized that "it is important that, while respecting a healthy sense of the State's secular nature, the positive role of believers in public life should be recognized. This corresponds, among other things, to the demands of a healthy pluralism and contributes to the building up of authentic democracy, to which the OSCE is truly committed."

"When States are disciplined and balanced in the expression of their secular nature, dialogue between the different social sectors is fostered and, consequently, transparent and frequent cooperation between civil and religious society is promoted, which benefits the common good."

John Paul II said that "just as damage is done to society when religion is relegated to the private sphere, so too are society and civil institutions impoverished when legislation - in violation of religious freedom - promotes religious indifference, relativism and religious syncretism, perhaps even justifying them by means of a mistaken understanding of tolerance."

"On the contrary, benefit accrues to all citizens when there is appreciation of the religious traditions in which every people is rooted and with which populations generally identify themselves in a particular way. The promotion of religious freedom can also take place through provisions made for the different juridical disciplines of the various religions, provided that the identity and freedom of each religion is guaranteed."

The Pope concluded by emphasizing that "the respect of every expression of religious freedom is therefore seen to be a most effective means for guaranteeing security and stability within the family of Peoples and Nations in the twenty-first century."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 10, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop David Allen Zubik, auxiliary of Pittsburgh, U.S.A., as bishop of the diocese of Green Bay (area 27,775, population 951,159, Catholics 375,708, priests 333, permanent deacons 92, religious 800), U.S.A. He succeeds Bishop Robert Joseph Banks whose resignation was accepted by the Holy Father upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Fr. Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz, of the Personal Prelature of Opus Dei, as bishop of San Bernardo (area 1,153, population 756,000, Catholics 568.000, priests 46, permanent deacons 8, religious 166), Chile. The bishop-elect was born in 1956 in Santiago de Chile, Chile and was ordained a priest in 1993. The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese presented by Bishop Orozimbo Fuenzalida upon having reached the age limit.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 10, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Three prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Leopoldo S. Tumulak of Tagbilaran.

- Bishop Jose S. Palma of Calbayog, with Bishop emeritus Maximiano T. Cruz.

- Bishop Artemio Rillera, S.V.D., of Bangued.

Later this afternoon, he is scheduled to receive Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 10, 2003 (VIS) - In an address yesterday in New York, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke on Agenda Item 60, Follow-up to the Outcome of the Millennium Summit. This summit was held from September 6 to 8, 2000 at U.N. headquarters.

The nuncio noted that "the struggle for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is a struggle for the globalization of ethics, equity, inclusion, human security, sustainability and development. Such goods can be delivered by market forces only if attention is paid to the preservation and enhancement of human, community and environmental resources." Our challenge, he added, is to ensure that "globalization works for the good of people and not just for profit."

"When we speak about the MDGs," the archbishop said, "we are addressing our immediate future and, thus, we are talking about children." He pointed out that when the U.N. General Assembly established UNICEF in 1946, the acronym meant "United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund." The meaning has changed to "educational fund," he noted, adding that the Holy See delegation "reaffirms the centrality of education." However, he said, there is also an "emergency" when "children are not welcomed, where their rights are tampered, and their plights abandoned."

Archbishop Migliore also addressed "the feminization of poverty and some historical forms of marginalization of women that have deprived the human race of untold resources, ... the elusive conditions for peace, ... the dramatic increase of human traffic, specially women and children, spawning drug related crimes, ... and chronic environmental degradation (which) is becoming today's silent emergency."

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