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Friday, June 25, 2004


VATICAN CITY, JUN 25, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Friedhelm Hofmann, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Cologne, Germany, as bishop of Wurzburg (area 8,532, population 1,342,262, Catholics 880,887, priests 746, permanent deacons 134, religious 1,699), Germany.
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 25, 2004 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences :

- Bishop George L. Thomas of Helena, U.S.A., on his "ad limina" visit.- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 25, 2004 (VIS) - Made public today was the Holy Father's Message on the occasion of the 25th World Day of Tourism which will take place on September 27 on the theme "Sports and Culture: Two vital forces for mutual understanding, culture and development among countries."

  In the Message, dated May 30, Solemnity of Pentecost, the Pope says that tourism "contributes to improving relationships between persons and groups of people which, when it is cordial, respectful and unified, is like a door open to peace and coexistence.  In effect, much of the violence in our age is due to misunderstanding and even the rejection of the values and identity of other cultures. For this reason, misunderstanding can often be overcome through greater reciprocal knowledge. In this context, I also think about the millions of immigrants who must become part of the society that accepts them, based above all on the appreciation and recognition of the identity of each person or group."

  "Therefore, the World Day of Tourism offers the opportunity not only to affirm the positive contribution of tourism to a more just and peaceful world, but also to examine the specific conditions in which it is carried out."

  "In this respect," he continues, "the Church cannot allow the focus of its vision of man and history to be lost. In effect, the supreme principle which must govern human coexistence is respect for the dignity of each person, created in the image of God, and therefore, our brother or sister. This principle must guide all economic and political activity, according to the social doctrine of the Church, and it must also inspire religious and cultural coexistence."

  The Holy Father writes that sports and tourism "are closely linked during major sports events in which countries from one region or from all over the world participate, such as the Olympic Games which do not have to renounce their noble vocation to promote the ideals of peaceful coexistence, understanding and friendship."

  "Since it is a human activity that everyone participates in, it is not surprising that, despite the noble nature of its objectives, there are many abuses and deviations in the tourism industry. The phenomena of exaggerated commercialism, aggressive competition, violence against persons and things, even the degradation of the environment and the offense of the cultural identity of those who welcome tourists, cannot be ignored."

  "The correct practice of sport must be accompanied by practicing the virtues of temperance and sacrifice; frequently it also requires a good team spirit, respectful attitudes, the appreciation of the qualities of others, honesty in the game and humility to recognize one's own limitations.  In short, sports, especially in less competitive forms, foster festive celebration and friendly coexistence. While playing sports, Christians also find help in developing the cardinal virtues - fortitude, temperance, prudence and justice."

  The Pope indicates that thanks to tourism "the occasions for encounters between peoples and different cultures in a climate of understanding and harmony have multiplied. ... Without ignoring the deviations that regrettably continue to occur, I want to earnestly and hopefully urge people to promote 'sports which encourage the weakest and do not exclude anyone, which free young people from apathy and indifference, and provoke in them a healthy spirit of competition; sports which are a factor in the emancipation of the poorest countries and help to eliminate intolerance and to build up a more fraternal and united world; sports which help people to love life and help us to understand sacrifice, respect and responsibility, leading to recognizing fully the value of every person'."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 25, 2004 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, presented the Holy Father's Message for the 25th World Day of Tourism to take place on September 27, 2004 on the theme: "Sports and Culture: two vital forces for mutual understanding, culture and development among countries." Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, council secretary, also spoke during the press conference.

  Cardinal Hamao said that sports and tourism "are presented as instruments not only for physical development, but also for the spiritual and cultural development of the individual and society."

  "The importance that our society gives to sports and the complex reality that surrounds this activity require specific pastoral care. The pastoral ministry in tourism must benefit from its criteria and initiatives. ... It is a task that this year's World Day of Tourism proposes to the Church and also to society in general which will have to increase its efforts and resources in order to develop ethical behaviour in the practice of tourism and sports."

  Archbishop Marchetto officially announced the celebration of the World Congress on Pastoral Ministry of Tourism which will take place in Bangkok, Thailand on July 5-8 on the theme "Tourism at the service of encounters among peoples." Among the many reports are "The Social and cultural dimension of international tourism, Acceptance, Evangelizing Mission, From the perspective of the peoples that welcome tourists." In addition, there will be a round table dedicated to "The dimension of sexual tourism and initiatives to combat it."

  "The choice of the conference location," said the prelate, "is a clear sign of the significance that we want to give to the congress' sessions. We are interested in promoting reflection on the understanding of tourism from the view point of the 'welcoming countries,' especially the most advanced, since in many of these countries tourism is enthusiastically welcomed and stimulated sometimes by hopes that do not always correspond to the global reality of the country."

  In this context, he explained, "the pastoral ministry for tourism must directly concern social and ethical conditions, the repercussions that it can have on religious life and the cultural identity of individuals and the community. ... Acceptance must be reciprocal in this encounter. The welcoming country's effort to receive the visitor must correspond with the effort of the visitor to do the same with his host, in terms of their customs, culture and identity. Only in this way will the encounter that tourism fosters be able to be constructive and will be a specific strength for peace and coexistence among peoples."


VATICAN CITY, JUN 25, 2004 (VIS) - President Edward Fenech Adami of Malta was received this morning by John Paul II who told him he was pleased "to welcome you to the Vatican so early in your term of office, and through you I send heartfelt greetings to the people of Malta." President Fenech Adami was elected on April 4, 2004.

  "Your visit today," said the Pope, "occurs at an important moment in the history of your country.  As Malta takes its rightful place in the European Union, it has a vital role to play in upholding the profoundly Christian identity of this Continent.  In this regard I would like to express the Holy See's sincere appreciation for the support given by Your Excellency and the government of Malta for the inclusion of a reference to Europe's Christian heritage in the Preamble of the Constitutional Treaty of the European Union."

  The Holy Father underscored that "since the time of Saint Paul, Malta has been renowned for its firm adherence to the faith. I pray that it will persevere in this and I am confident that the Maltese people, well known for their dedication to the Church and, in particular, their great respect for family life, will draw others to a deeper appreciation of the liberating message of the Gospel."

  Pope John Paul has been to Malta three times: in May 1990, a brief visit to Luqa on the way to Africa in September 1990 and again in May 2001.


VATICAN CITY, JUN 25, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today addressed the participants in the European Symposium of University Professors who have been meeting in Rome on the theme "The Family in Europe, foundations, experiences and prospects" by looking at the philosophical, juridical and theological bases of the institution of the family. As the Pope noted, the symposium is taking place within the context of the International Year of the Family.

  The Pope pointed to the importance of the meeting's theme, stating that "Europe's future depends, in fact, on the family. One can say the family is the mirror of society and even of the Europe which is being built. The evolution of the family is the most important indicator of cultural and institutional developments of the continent."

  He added that "in the first millennium the encounter between Roman law and the Christian message gave rise to what can be called the European model of the family, spread on a broad scale to the Americas and Oceania." In the last 50 years, he said, phenomena have occurred in developed societies "in a very visible fashion and symptomatic of a deep crisis, with consequences we all can see today. In the face of such crises, the family has always been an element of cohesion and strength and, even when bitterly contested, has been the object of hopes, desires, projects and nostalgia."

  "The central question," said John Paul II, "is: Can we today still speak of a model of the family. The Church is convinced, within today's context, that it is more than ever necessary to reaffirm the institutions of marriage and the family as realities which derive from the wise will of God, and fully reveal their meaning and value within His plan of creation and salvation."

  The Pope said he hoped the symposium "will contribute to allowing families in the Europe of today and tomorrow to adequately fulfill the role that is theirs because of their very high dignity."
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