Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Pope Releases Messages for World Day of the Sick

Vatican Information Service (VIS) reports that the Pope today made public his statement regarding the World Day of the Sick, coming up on February 11. The Pope's special message for the Day is "Christ: Hope for Africa." Celebrations for the day will take place at the Shrine of Our Lady, Queen of Apostles in Cameroon.

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

He further wrote, "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'... The celebration of the World Day of the Sick 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."

25th Anniversary of Pope's Visit to Ireland

On this date in 1979, Pope John Paul II became the first reigning Pope to ever visit Ireland. He called for an end to all violence and pleaded that the people return to "the ways of peace."

BBC News recalls the event by republishing this story which first appeared on September 29, 1979:

He was loudly applauded at Drogheda when he said, in a direct address to the consciences of both terrorists and politicians: "I appeal to you in language of passionate pleading.

"On my knees I beg you to turn away from the paths of violence and return to the ways of peace."

He continued: "To Catholics, to Protestants, my message is peace and love. May no Irish Protestant think the Pope is an enemy, a danger or a threat."

Read more: 1979: Pope calls for peace in Ireland

Friday, September 24, 2004

Pope to Meet with Romanian, Pakistani Leaders

On September 30, Pope John Paul II will return to the Vatican after spending his summer at Castel Gandalfo. On this day, he will meet with Romanian president Ion Iliescu and Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf.

According to Catholic World News:

The Pope's talks with the Romanian leader will likely focus on the tense relations between Eastern-rite Romanian Catholics, who make up 5 percent of the population, and the Romanian Orthodox majority. The Roman Catholic Church, having suffered brutal persecution under the Communist regime, is still seeking to regain control of church properties that were confiscated and handed over to the Orthodox.

Read more: Romanian, Pakistani leaders to meet wtih Pope

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Pope Reminds New Zealand of Sunday's Sanctity

The Pope addressed eight Catholic leaders from New Zealand and told them that they were not keeping the sabbath sacred but were giving in to a tide of "unrestrained secularism."

According to the New Zealand Herald:

But this country's Catholic football players seem unlikely to hang up their boots on the sabbath on the basis of the papal scolding, as a spokesman for the Marist Rugby Federation indicated yesterday there was time for both prayer and sports.

Pope John Paul II told an eight-strong delegation of New Zealand Catholic leaders on a five-yearly visit to the Vatican that their supreme day of faith must not be unduly dominated by entertainment and sport.

When Sunday became subordinate to a popular concept of weekend, people remained trapped in a relentless and often meaningless pursuit of novelty, the 84-year-old pontiff and occasional rugby fan said in a partly-read address on Tuesday to Cardinal Tom Williams and his New Zealand bishops.

Read more: Pope: Too much fun and games in NZ

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Pope Condemns Russian School Violence

At least 326 people were murdered last week in the school hostage siege at Beslan in Russian province of Ossetia. The Pope spoke out against the violence, blamed on Chechen separatists.

According to Reuters:

Speaking on the day Roman Catholics commemorate the birth of the Madonna, the Pope said it was outrageous that children had found hate and death within the walls of a school.

"Looking at the infant Mary, how can we not think of all the little innocents at Beslan, in Ossetia, victims of a barbarous kidnapping who were tragically cut down," he said, having some difficulty pronouncing his words at his general audience.

"They were in a school, a place where one learns values that give meaning to history, to culture and the civilisation of peoples: mutual respect, solidarity, justice and peace," he said in halting Italian.

Read more: Reuters AlertNet - Pope says Russian children victims of cruel fanaticism