February 9, 2007

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

The following, in it's entirety, is a copyrighted transcript of the Vatican Information Service.

SUMMARY:


COLOMBIA: CONTINUE EFFORTS TOWARDS PEACE

 VATICAN CITY, FEB 9, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Juan Gomez Martinez, the new ambassador of Colombia to the Holy See.

   The Holy Father observed in his talk that the diplomat represents a nation "which throughout its history has been distinguished by its Catholic identity," a characteristic also apparent "in the appreciation shown by the faithful to bishops and their collaborators as they seek to uphold the traditions and virtues inherited from their forebears."

   Benedict XVI commended Colombia's efforts "in search of peace and reconciliation, and its commitment to encourage progress and more solid democratic institutions." He also had words of praise for objectives attained in the field of "greater security and social stability, and in the fight against poverty," and highlighted the advances made in education, which have favored "access by all citizens to school and university programs, because education is the cement of a more human and cohesive society."

   However, alongside such achievements, Benedict XVI also recalled the persistence in the country of problems threatening "the dignity of people and the unity of families, evenly balanced economic development and an appropriate quality of life." And he encouraged "all Colombians to continue in their efforts to achieve agreement and the harmonious growth of the nation."

   The Holy Father expressed his appreciation for the emphasis given in the ambassador's talk to "the important work of the Catholic Church towards national reconciliation." He also mentioned "the direct participation in activities aimed at rebuilding the country of certain bishops, priests and religious" who remind people of "the indispensable foundations of true human progress and peaceful coexistence."

   Pope Benedict then went on to express his concern "over laws involving such delicate questions as the transmission and defense of life, illness, the identity of the family and respect for marriage. On these themes, ... the Catholic Church will ceaselessly continue to proclaim the inalienable greatness of human dignity. It is also necessary to appeal to the sense of responsibility of lay people in legislative bodies ... to ensure that laws always reflect principles and values in keeping with natural law, and that they promote the genuine common good."

   "It is my ardent wish that in your country the cruel scourge of kidnapping, which so seriously affects the dignity and rights of individuals, may come to an end. I accompany in prayer all those who are unjustly denied their freedom and express my closeness to the families, trusting in their imminent release.

   "On this subject," he added, "the numerous charitable institutions, following the pastoral plans of the episcopal conference and of the dioceses, are called to offer humanitarian assistance to the most needy - and especially to internally displaced peoples who are so numerous in Colombia - and to victims of violence. In this way, they also bear witness to the efforts of the Church which, ever within the limits of her own mission and of the circumstances being experienced by the nation, is architect of communion and hope."

 

NEW PROJECT TO COMBAT PANDEMIC DISEASES

 VATICAN CITY, FEB 9, 2007 (VIS) - The Pope today received finance ministers from Italy, United Kingdom, Canada and Russia, for the presentation of the "Advance Market Commitment" project. The ministers were accompanied by Queen Rania of Jordan and by Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank.

   Addressing them in English, the Holy Father said that the new project aims "at developing and producing vaccines against pandemic diseases, and making them available to poorer countries. ... [It] is meant to help resolve one of the most pressing challenges in preventative healthcare, one which particularly affects nations already suffering from poverty and serious needs."

   "I wholeheartedly encourage your efforts for this new program and its goal of advancing scientific research directed to the discovery of new vaccines. Such vaccines are urgently needed to prevent millions of human beings, including countless children, from dying each year of infectious diseases, especially in those areas of our world at greatest risk.

   "In this era of globalized markets," Benedict XVI added, "we are all concerned about the growing gap between the standard of living in countries enjoying great wealth and a high level of technological development, and that of underdeveloped countries where poverty persists and is even increasing."

   "I assure you of the Holy See's full support of this humanitarian project, which is inspired by that spirit of human solidarity which our world needs in order to overcome every form of selfishness and to foster the peaceful coexistence of peoples. As I said in my Message for this year's World Day of Peace, every service rendered to the poor is a service rendered to peace, for 'at the origin of many tensions that threaten peace are surely the many unjust inequalities still tragically present in our world'."

 

PROMOTING FULL EMPLOYMENT AND DECENT WORK FOR ALL

 VATICAN CITY, FEB 9, 2007 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, delivered a talk before the 45th session of the Commission for Social Development of the U.N. Economic and Social Council, on "Item 3 (a): Priority Theme: promoting full employment and decent work for all."

   In his English-language address, Archbishop Migliore expressed the view that "it falls to the international community and governments to ensure both an enabling economic environment and the availability of work which is decent and properly remunerated."

   "The equality of women and men should be evident also in their treatment in the workplace, in salaries and in the acquisition of pensions. ... It is also important that men and women with families receive adequate and fair wages that are sufficient to meet ordinary family needs, especially in view of their responsibilities towards their children."

   The permanent observer stressed that "the extreme poor should ... be the particular concern of every government and every civilized society."

   On the subject of the elderly, Archbishop Migliore called for "greater flexibility in pension systems and job markets so as to encourage the aged to contribute what they can to society for as long as they are willing and able."

   Concluding his address by considering the question of migrants, the archbishop pointed out how "they are often motivated by the simple wish to work in order to support their families. They too deserve equal pay and equal protection under the law, not least because the jobs they do are often the ones that no one else wants. ... Too often a lack of normal family life leads to evils such as human trafficking and prostitution on the margins of migrant communities.

 

AUDIENCES

 VATICAN CITY, FEB 9, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

  - Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

  - Archbishop Faustino Sainz Munoz, apostolic nuncio to Great Britain.

  - Archbishop Vincenzo Pelvi, military ordinary for Italy, on his "ad limina" visit.

 - Msgr. Michael W. Banach, Holy See permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (AIEA), to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and to the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), and Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations Organization for Industrial Development (ONUDI), and to the Office of the United Nations in Vienna, Austria.

   This evening, he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 VATICAN CITY, FEB 9, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Luis Tineo Rivera of the clergy of the archdiocese of Caracas, Venezuela, pastor of the parish of "la Anunciacion del Senor" and director of the diocesan weekly "la Iglesia Ahora," as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 790, population 4,760,000, Catholics 3,465,000, priests 545, permanent deacons 13, religious 1,941). The bishop-elect was born in Cumana, Venezuela in 1948 and ordained a priest in 1980.

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