July 11, 2005

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

The following is a copyrighted release of the Vatican Information Service.

- Condolences for Death of Egyptian Ambassador

- Audiences

- Pope Recalls St. Benedict, a Founder of Civilization

- To Terrorists: Stop, in God's Name

- Holy See Financial Statements for 2004

- Presentation of Holy See Financial Statements for 2004

- Holy Father Begins a Brief Holiday in Valle D'Aosta

- Other Pontifical Acts

 

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CONDOLENCES FOR DEATH OF EGYPTIAN AMBASSADOR

 

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."

 

 

 

AUDIENCES

 

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".

 

 

 

POPE RECALLS ST. BENEDICT, A FOUNDER OF CIVILIZATION

 

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."

 

 

 

TO TERRORISTS: STOP, IN GOD'S NAME

 

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."

 

 

 

HOLY SEE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR 2004

 

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.

 

 

 

PRESENTATION OF HOLY SEE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR 2004

 

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.

 

 

 

HOLY FATHER BEGINS A BRIEF HOLIDAY IN VALLE D'AOSTA

 

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.

 

 

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 

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, religio

us 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.

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