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Wednesday, September 29, 2004


VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Bishop Anuar Battisti of Toledo, Brazil, as metropolitan archbishop of Maringa (area 6,325, population 582,191, Catholics 403,369, priests 59, permanent deacons 13, religious 158), Brazil. Archbishop-elect Battisti was born in Lajeado, Brazil in 1953 and was ordained a priest in 1980.

- Bishop Vincent Barwa of Purnea, India as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Ranchi (area 5,299, population 2,796,892, Catholics 115,201, priests 183, religious 945), India.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2004 (VIS) - It was announced today by Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, that the theme chosen by Pope John Paul II for the 2005 World Communications Day is: "The Communications Media: At the Service of Understanding between Peoples."

  The announcement of the theme is traditionally made on September 29, the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Raphael and Gabriel, the latter having been designated as the patron of those who work in radio.

  Archbishop Foley said in a communique that this theme "reflects the Pope's desire that the media contribute to an authentic dialogue and mutual comprehension among peoples, leading to understanding, to justice and to an enduring peace." Among the responsibilities of this council is the preparation of study materials on the theme for distribution to bishops' conferences.

  "World Communications Day," underscored Archbishop Foley, "is the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican Council" as outlined in the document "Inter Mirifica" of 1963. "It is celebrated in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday before Pentecost" which next year is May 8.

  He notes that "the Holy Father's message for World Communications Day is published every year on January 24, the memorial of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers, to allow bishops' conferences and diocesan offices sufficient lime to prepare audiovisual and other materials for national and local celebrations."


VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2004 (VIS) - Made public today was the Pope's Message  for the World Day of the Sick which will take place on February 11, 2005 and whose theme is, "Christ, hope for Africa."  The main celebration will take place at the Shrine of Our Lady, Queen of Apostles in Yaounde, Cameroon.

  In the message, dated September 8, the Pope says that the conflicts and wars in many parts of Africa "make intervention to prevent and cure the diseases that devastate the continent very difficult."

  "I encourage those who are able to dedicate themselves to stopping these tragedies. I remind those responsible for selling arms of what I have written: 'Those who perpetuate the wars in Africa through arms trafficking are accomplices to hateful crimes against humanity'."

  Referring to the specific problem of AIDS, John Paul II recalls that "in order to fight  it in a responsible way, prevention must be increased through education on life issues and the proper view of sexuality." In this way, he emphasizes, sexually-transmitted infections can be avoided "especially through responsible behavior and the observance of the virtue of chastity."

  The Pope focuses on the duty of the government and civil authorities to provide accurate information about AIDS and to invest in the education of young people and health care. After praising the "pharmaceutical industries that are committed to keeping the cost of drugs low," the Holy Father recalls "with admiration the numerous health care workers, religious helpers and volunteers, who, like good Samaritans, spend their lives caring for AIDS victims and their families."

  "The celebration of the World Day of the Sick," he writes, "offers us all the possibility to understand better the importance of pastoral health care. … It is precisely in the moment of illness that one urgently needs to find appropriate answers to the deepest questions regarding man's life: questions on the meaning of pain, suffering and death, considered not only as a mystery which must be confronted with strength but as a mystery in which Christ incorporates our life to Him."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2004 (VIS) - In today's general audience, which took place in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke about Psalm 44, "The king's wedding feast," which is a poem in honor of the Jewish sovereign, composed by a scribe.

  John Paul II explained that according to Jewish tradition this text "is a hymn to the Messiah-King. Christian tradition, however, reads the passage in a Christological light, and, with the queen's presence, also in a mariological perspective."

  "The profile of the royal bridegroom," he continued, "is introduced to us in a solemn way," highlighting his "beauty, a sign of interior splendor and divine blessing: 'You are the fairest of the sons of men.' Based on this verse, Christian tradition represented Christ in the form of a perfect and fascinating man. In a world marked frequently by the ugliness of sin, this image is an invitation to renew the 'via pulchritudinis' in the faith, in theology and in society and to begin our ascent towards divine perfection."

  The Holy Father indicated that in the text the "relationship between beauty and justice is highlighted. … Beauty must be joined with goodness and holiness of life so that the face of God who is good, admirable and just, may shine brightly."

  "The Letter to the Hebrews," he concluded, "applying the psalm to Christ, does not hesitate to recognize the divine plenitude, which is not merely symbolic, of the Son of God who enters into His glory."

  Addressing his fellow Poles at the end of the audience, the Pope greeted in a special way the participants in a pilgrimage of the Solidarity movement. "This movement, born in Poland, opened up the doors to freedom in many countries in Europe. I am happy because the spirit of 'Solidarity' continues to unite so many people in our country.  I hope that this healthy spirit may also penetrate a united Europe."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2004 (VIS) - Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office, said in a statement to journalists last evening, following the release in Iraq of  the two Italian women who had been kidnapped on September 7 as they worked as volunteers in that country: "The Pope learned with great joy the news of the release of the two Italian women volunteers. His thoughts also went to their families and, together with them and with all other people of good will, thanks God for this humane gesture."


VATICAN CITY, SEP 29, 2004 (VIS) - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, presided at Mass last evening in St. Peter's Basilica at the Altar of the Chair for the deceased pontiffs, Paul VI and John Paul I. He focused his homily on love and truth, calling them "the two poles of the mission entrusted to the successors of Peter."

  "Guiding the flock of Christ and loving the Lord are the same thing," he said. "It is love of Christ that guides the sheep on the straight path and builds the Church." He said this was at the center of Pope Paul's vision of Vatican Council II and of the primacy of the Pope: "All of us at the feet of Christ, to serve Christ, to serve the Gospel: The essence of Christianity is Christ - not a doctrine, but a person, and evangelizing is leading in friendship with Christ - to communion with the Lord Who is the true light of our lives."

  Cardinal Ratzinger said that papal primacy "in its most intimate essence is not the exercise of power but is 'carrying the weight of others', it is the responsibility of love. And love is precisely the opposite of indifference with respect to others. ... The love of Christ is love for the poor, the suffering. We know well that our Popes have been committed strongly against injustice, and for the rights of the oppressed, the powerless."

  "Love would be blind without truth," the cardinal stated. He noted that "the prayer after communion asks the Lord to allow the Supreme Pontiffs, His servants, 'to enter into full possession of the truth, in which, with apostolic courage, they confirm their brothers'.  ... Paul VI and John Paul I confirmed, 'with apostolic courage', their brothers. At a time where we see Satan 'sift through' the disciples of Christ 'like a grain, the imperturbable faith of the Popes was the visible rock on which the Church sits."
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