Archive of April 13, 2005

John Paul opened hearts to the Good News of the Gospel, says Ratzinger to world diplomats

Vatican City, Apr 13, 2005 (CNA) - In a testament to the broad travels of the late John Paul II, the College of Cardinals today received official condolences on the death of the pope from the Vatican diplomatic corps in Paul VI hall in Vatican City.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, speaking in the name of the entire college, expressed his thanks to Giovanni Galassi, dean of the diplomatic corps to the Holy See, and to the other ambassadors present.

The Holy See currently maintains diplomatic relations with 174 States.

Cardinal Ratzinger noted that John Paul II "guided the Church over 26 years, making it clear that, as Vatican Council II recalls, she is 'a sign and instrument both of a very closely-knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race.'”

“He brought the Church to hope with renewed impetus,” Cardinal Ratzinger said; “he introduced her to the third millennium, inviting Christians to carry Christ to the world and calling all human beings of good will to goodness, peace, solidarity and sharing. He opened the heart of human beings, especially the hearts of the young, to the message of the Good News.”

He said that, "We have seen the consequences over these days, when innumerable people came to render homage to His Holiness John Paul II. This Pope gave of himself to the limits of his strength in announcing the Gospel on all continents, especially during his numerous journeys, showing the face of a Pope rich in mercy, leading to Christ, man's Redeemer, inviting everyone to let the Holy Spirit dwell within them."

Cardinal Ratzinger added that the sadness of this time should be combined with "profound thanksgiving to God, Who gave us a great pastor, and with an intense thank-you to John Paul II for his actions and his teaching."

"You have been privileged witnesses of the activities of the Pope and the Church throughout the world,” he told the diplomats, “and of the development of diplomatic relations, which have more than doubled over this pontificate.”

How many times did Pope John Paul II exhort countries to find peaceful solutions and to pursue dialogue? How many times did he call on the leaders of nations to give ever more concrete attention to the people in their care, especially the weakest, the smallest and the poorest? How many times did he recall the greatness of human life?"

The cardinal pointed out the fact that the Pope's exhortations "still resound for us today as a commitment in favor of the human being, of all human beings."

They represent, he said, "a message and a call for us to greater service in favor of peace and solidarity among individuals and peoples, at the service of human beings of all continents, in order that a reconciled humanity may spring forth in a world where all are shareholders. This in particular is what the Pope tirelessly recalled to the civil authorities, and to members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See."

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Ninth General Congregation draws cardinals closer to conclave

Vatican City, Apr 13, 2005 (CNA) - As Monday’s papal conclave itself draws ever nearer; Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released a statement today on the Ninth General Congregation of Cardinals, which met this morning.

140 cardinals participated in this morning’s Congregation.

In the statement, Navarro-Valls wrote that, "The cardinals discussed several articles of Chapter IV of the Apostolic Constitution 'Universi Dominici gregis’ (Chapter IV: Faculties of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia during the vacancy of the Apostolic See), and that, they “continued their exchange of ideas on the situation of the Church and the world.

He also noted that, "The cardinals received condolences from the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.”

"Following the speech by Ambassador Giovanni Galassi of the Republic of San Marino, dean of the diplomatic corps, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, thanked the chiefs of mission, asking them to express the gratitude of the Sacred College to the authorities and the peoples whom they represent.”

"Joining the dean of the College of Cardinals,” the press director said, “Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in greeting the diplomatic corps were Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, camerlengo of Holy Roman Church, the vice dean, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the senior cardinal of the Order of Priests, Eugenio de Araujo Sales and the cardinal proto-deacon, Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez.”

The statement also noted that,"the cardinals were given the series of 'sede vacante' stamps issued by the Philatelic Office of Vatican City”, and that, "The recitation of the Regina Coeli concluded the meeting."

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Cardinal Eugenio Sales praises John Paul II’s teaching on human dignity

Vatican City, Apr 13, 2005 (CNA) - During the fifth Novendiale Mass celebrated on Tuesday for the repose of the soul of Pope John Paul II, Brazilian Cardinal Eugenio Sales noted in his homily that “John Paul II taught us fidelity to the life of Christ and continuously proclaimed the dignity of all persons.”

The cardinal, who is Archbishop emeritus of Rio de Janeiro and Proto-priest of the College of Cardinals, said the Pope “is now celebrating this eternal liturgy with all of the saints in the joyful presence of Mary.”

After Mass, which was concelebrated by numerous cardinals and attended by thousands of faithful, the cardinals descended to the crypt below St. Peter’s to pray before the tomb of Pope John Paul II.  The crypt will be open to the public on Wednesday at 7am, local time.

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Faithful able to attend Mass pro eligendo Summo Pontifice Mass

Vatican City, Apr 13, 2005 (CNA) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations has issued a statement saying the Mass pro eligendo Summo Pontifice, which will take place on Monday, April 18, for the opening of the conclave, will be open to all the faithful, so that “the communion in prayer of the entire Church at such an important moment” can be made manifest.

The statement underscores that “the entire Church, spiritually united to Mary, Mother of Jesus, called to persevere together in prayer, according to the example of the first Christian community, lifts up humble and insistent prayers to the Lord, so that He might enlighten the electors and unite them in agreement to obtain a unanimous and prompt election of the new Pope.”

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Dean of the College of Cardinals, will preside at the Mass.

“Bishops, priests, deacons, members of the institutes of consecrated life and of the societies of apostolic life, as well as the lay faithful of the entire People of God present in Rome, are invited to participate in this Eucharist.”

On Monday, April 18, at 4:30pm, the conclave will begin.  Led by the Cross and the Book of the Gospels, the cardinals will process from the Hall of Blessings to the Sistine Chapel.  As they walk they will sing the Litany of the Saints, followed by the “Veni Creator.”  Upon arriving they will take the oath, collectively and individually to respect the secrecy of the conclave.

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Vatican reveals surprising statistics on funeral Mass of John Paul II

Vatican City, Apr 13, 2005 (CNA) - The Press Office of the Holy See released statistics on Tuesday about the attendance at the Pope’s funeral and about the media coverage of the event.

More than six thousand journalists, photographers and radio and TV personnel received accreditation by the Press Office of the Holy See and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

137 television networks in 81 countries on all five continents reported to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications that they broadcast the funeral.

Vatican Radio provided commentary for the funeral in seven different languages to hundreds of stations in Europe and America.

The Holy See’s website received almost 1.5 million visits during the Papal funeral, with a maximum load of 54,000 simultaneous connections occupying a bandwidth of 9 gigabytes per second.

Regarding the Funeral:

157 cardinals concelebrated
700 archbishops and bishops were present
3,000 priests participated, of which 300 distributed Holy Communion
159 foreign delegations were in attendance
10 kings
59 heads of state
3 princes
17 prime ministers
8 vice presidents
8 vice prime ministers
12 foreign ministers
14 cabinet ministers
24 ambassadors
10 presidents, general directors, secretary generals or presidents of international organizations
23 delegations of Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox Churches
8 Churches or ecclesial communities
3 international Christian organizations

Jewish delegations

Data from the Italian Department of Civil Protection:

More than 3 million pilgrims came together in Rome.
21,000 people per hour entered St. Peter’s Basilica.
350 persons per minute.
The average wait was 13 hours.
The maximum wait was 24 hours.
The line was 5 kilometers long.
500,000 filled St. Peter’s Square and the Via della Conciliazione on the day of the funeral.
600,000 watched on large screen TVs in other areas of Rome.


8,000 volunteers: 1,300 in Tor Vergata; 1,500 in St. Peter’s; 450 at train stations and other places where large TV screens were set up; 2,000 boy scouts; 11,900 police officers and security officials—530 on the border and 8,963 in Rome;
1000 firefighters
6 helicopters
400 soldiers
2,700 neighborhood watchmen
7,000 train station workers
4 disaster managers
3,500 sanitary workers
1,500 bus drivers
1000 additional train routes, in addition to the normal ones
8,000 train riders to and from Rome
6 trains from and to Poland with 5,000 Poles on board
800,000 people total transported via train
5,200 pull men
1,800 buses in Rome
29 giant TV screens
3 million bottles of water distributed free of charge
3,600 port-a-potties
4,000 health interventions
21 medical care outposts
100 ambulances not counting those already in Rome


At Tor Vergata, 150 awnings providing more than 8,000 spaces; 8 open-air kitchens; 400 water fountains; 2 water trucks

Public transportation carried 1,100,000 additional passengers per day

The subway carried more than 290,000 additional passengers per day—that is, 120,000 people each day.

3,500 signs were distributed throughout Rome with the words: “Thank you.  Rome mourns and salutes its Pope.”

The call center answered more than 20,000 calls per day.

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Benedictine College students saw John Paul as the ‘embodiment of Catholicism’

Atchison, Kan., Apr 13, 2005 (CNA) - As cardinals from around the world prepare for the April 18th conclave in which they will elect the next shepherd of the Catholic Church, many students at Benedictine College in Kansas are recalling the singular inspiration that Pope John Paul II was for many of them.

The campus, which postponed classes and meetings to hold a Mass for the pope on April 1st, just before his death, celebrated a memorial for John Paul yesterday evening at the campus’ St. Benedict Abbey Church.

A huge number of students turned out for the time of prayer.

Mark Bartek, director of one of the school’s residence halls, said that for many, Pope John Paul II “is the embodiment of Catholicism.”

Many grieving students echoed these sentiments.

Julie Reiff, a junior at the college, recalled her time at World Youth Day in Toronto in 2003. She said that, “His influence on the youth has been infinitely felt from the beginning of his papacy to the end.”

Around campus, black banners could be seen hanging from many buildings, and students established a memorial for the pope at a statue of Mary, one of John Paul’s special devotions. In addition, all flags remain at half-mast.

Benedictine’s president, Stephen Minnis said, “I’ve been very moved, in the past week, witnessing the great love our students, faculty, and staff have shown for our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, as they commemorated his death and reflected on his life and legacy.”

“We may never see a man like Pope John Paul II again,” he added, “but Christ promised us that the Church will prevail through the end of time.  So, although we mourn our loss, we can rejoice that the Holy Father has entered his reward.” 

“His leadership has left us a church that is prepared to face the many challenges that lie ahead; I can only imagine the joy with which he heard the Lord say to him “well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Reiff agrees: “The Pope has been a great world leader.  He’s a point of light and hope in a world that has embraced a culture of death.”

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Priest defends legacy of Cuban archbishop in response to arrogant Castro

Havana, Cuba, Apr 13, 2005 (CNA) - Father Jose Conrado of the parish of St. Teresa of Jesus said this week the message pronounced by the Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba, Pedro Meurice, during the Papal visit of 1998 continues to apply to the country today.

Speaking to the website Encuentro en la Red, Father Conrado explained that “the people of Cuba continue to suffer a very difficult situation.”

A few days ago during a televised address, Fidel Castro referred to the discourse by Archbishop Meurice and said his regime “held no resentment against that archbishop,” and that it is “willing to forget” the words he pronounced on January 24, 1998, before the Holy Father during his visit to the island.

Father Conrado said the archbishop’s discourse is “absolutely valid” because what he said “was no different from what the Pope said.”

“The archbishop of Santiago explained the reality of the people to John Paul II.  He spoke against nobody, but rather simply reflected the experience he lives each day as he receives the faithful, when he receives the people who tell him of their sorrows, sufferings and desperation,” he said.

Father Conrado said this “made the relationship with the State more tense,” and although there were peaceful moments during the Pontiff’s visit, later a supposed document from the government was circulated which called for a ‘depapalization’ of Cuba.”

Father Conrado called this an attempt by the government to “displace what the visit of the Pope had meant” for a county “where fear exists.”  He also expressed his hope that the “death of the Pope, an event that has moved hearts, will also move the hearts of our government leaders.”

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Same-sex marriage amendment voted down in Parliament

Ottawa, Canada, Apr 13, 2005 (CNA) - An amendment to kill the Liberal government’s same-sex marriage legislation failed yesterday. 

Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper introduced the amendment to Bill C-38, arguing that the legislation "fails to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others."

About 30 backbench Liberal MPs voted for the amendment, indicating to what point the issue has become divisive within the Liberal party.

The final vote was 164 to 132.

A recent CBC poll suggests Canadians are deeply divided on the issue. Slightly more than half disagreed with changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.

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‘Day of Truth’ to counter pro-homosexual protest in schools

Pasadena, Calif., Apr 13, 2005 (CNA) - A Day of Truth is being organized tomorrow to counter today’s pro-homosexual Day of Silence, held in some high schools.

On the Day of Truth, promoted by the Alliance Defense Fund, students are asked to wear T-shirts and pass out cards outside of class time that read:

“I am speaking the Truth to break the silence. I believe in equal treatment for all, and not special rights for a few. I believe in loving my neighbor, but part of that love means not condoning detrimental personal and social behavior. I believe that by boldly proclaiming the Truth, hurts will be halted, hearts will be healed, and lives will be saved.”

The Day of Silence today was organized by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). According to Finn Laursen, executive director of Christian Educators Association International, GLSEN urged students to disrupt the schooling process with "a visible silence, a silence during which participants protest anti-LGBT discrimination and abuse."

GLSEN says lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students are discriminated against and abused in schools everywhere.

Laursen says he has spent his entire adult life as a public school educator, and has never witnessed such discriminatory behavior.

"This is the gay rights movement manipulating our children, who are a captive audience in public schools," he said in a statement.

Laursen suggested that teachers ignore protesters and continue with regular classroom acitivites. Students who are insubordinate or distruptive should face the same consequences as any other student exhibiting negative behavior, he said.

For details on the Day of Truth, go to:

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Pro-life groups calls a boycott of GE for its research on embryonic stem cells

Clearwater, Fla., Apr 13, 2005 (CNA) - A pro-life group is outraged by General Electric's decision to pursue research on embryonic stem cells.

Debi Vinnedge, executive director of Children of God for Life, said her organization had been longtime shareholders in GE but they are now obliged to sell their stocks. 

"Despite the declining value of the current market price of their stock, we are left with no choice but to sell it and re-invest in companies that are not involved in unethical research,” she said in a statement.

The news about GE’s involvement in embryonic stem-cell research broke in an article in the April 12 issue of the Wall Street Journal (“Big companies quietly pursue research on embryonic stem cells).

Vinnedge urges shareholders and non-shareholders alike to call the companies listed in the Wall Street Journal article, lodge a complaint and threaten a boycott.

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Lawmaker wants mandatory abortion counseling

, Apr 13, 2005 (CNA) - An pro-life lawmaker wants to legislate mandatory counselling for all women seeking abortions.

The proposal was filed this week by Rep. A.G. Crowe, of Slidell.

Crowe said women are required to have professional counseling when they give up a baby for adoption. Likewise, he said, women who want an abortion should be given the opportunity to weigh the potential long-term psychological consequences of the decision.

The bill will be presented at the next legislative session, which begins in two weeks.

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Roman tailor puts final touches on vestments for new Pope

Rome, Italy, Apr 13, 2005 (CNA) - Filippo Gammarelli is praying the new Pope doesn’t have his own tailor.

The 63-year-old is the fifth generation of this famous tailoring family, who has served the Pope and the highest echelons of the Catholic Church for more than two centuries.

Reuters interviewed the elite tailor in his tiny shop, established in 1798. Located in a square behind the Pantheon, the shop has served five Popes, including John Paul II. It crafts the wide variety of religious apparel, including chasubles and miters, stoles, lace surplices, and even cardinal red socks.

This week, Gamarelli is putting final touches on a white vestment intended for the new Pope, who will wear it when he is introduced to the world on the balcony of St. Peter’s.

Because Gammarelli has no idea who the next Pope will be, he told Reuters that he is making the silk-and-wool vestment in three sizes—small, medium and large. The vestments must be delivered before the start of the conclave on Monday.

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Thousands visit tomb of John Paul II

Vatican City, Apr 13, 2005 (CNA) - Early this morning, the Vatican reopened the grottoes beneath St. Peter’s Basilica for the first time since the death of Pope John Paul II.

Thousands of pilgrims lined up as early as 4 a.m. to enter the grottoes and pay their respects at the pope’s simple white, marble tomb.

Last night, before the tomb was opened to the public, many of the cardinals who will enter the conclave to elect John Paul’s successor on Monday, spent time in prayer before the grave.

Many faithful came bearing rosaries, holy medals and flowers, which ushers touched to the tomb for them.

The tomb itself sits in an alcove to the side of the main altar of the central nave, just a short distance from the tomb of St. Peter—the Church’s first pope.

A slab of white marble marks the Holy Father’s resting place marked with IONNES PAULUS PPII, and the dates of his 26-year long pontificate written in Roman numerals: 16 X, 1978-2 IV, 2005.

Behind the tomb are a lily and a red candle which burns beneath a painting of the Virgin Mary.

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Papal conclave participants to take oath Friday

Vatican City, Apr 13, 2005 (CNA) - As cardinals from around the world prepare to elect a new pope, the Vatican announced today that all those who will be part of Monday’s conclave will be called to take their oath on Friday, April 15th.

The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff said that all those involved in the forthcoming conclave - both clergy and laity, as approved by the cardinal camerlengo and by the three cardinal assistants, and in keeping with the norms of paragraph 48 of the Apostolic Constitution 'Universi Domini gregis' - will be obligated to swear prescribed oath on Friday.

Those who will be present, in accordance with paragraph 46 of Universi Dominici gregis, will be:

- The Secretary of the College of Cardinals.

- The master of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.

- The masters of pontifical ceremonies.

- The religious who supervise the pontifical sacristy.

- The ecclesiastic chosen by the cardinal dean to help him in his duties.

- The religious charged with hearing confessions in the various languages.

- Doctors and nurses.

- The personnel for preparing meals and cleaning.

- Technical service personnel (Universi Dominici gregis, paras. 5 and 51).

- Personnel responsible for transporting the cardinal electors from the 'Domus Sanctae Marthae' to the Apostolic Palace.

- Elevator attendants at the Apostolic Palace.

- Priests admitted as assistants to some of the Cardinals.

The participants will first be instructed as to the meaning of the oath, and will have to pronounce and personally sign the prescribed formula before Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, camerlengo of Holy Roman Church.

According to the Vatican, the signing must also take place in the presence of two masters of pontifical ceremonies (Universi Dominici gregis, paras. 48).

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