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Tuesday, March 8, 2005


VATICAN CITY, MAR 8, 2005 (VIS) - Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, spoke in Luanda on March 5 at the end of the Second 'Pro Pace' Congress which was held March 2 to 6 in the Angolan capital on the theme "Builders of Democracy." The congress, which was organized  by the Church in Angola and took place at Luanda's Catholic University, concluded with a Eucharistic concelebration, presided over by the cardinal.

  In his speech, published yesterday afternoon, Cardinal Martino made reference to long-established democracies and to those just emerging from "aggressive systems, tribal domination, and colonial rule." He said that the latter must be careful not to fall prey to the type of "moral and institutional crisis that historical democracies are going through," including "absolute individualism, materialism, hedonism, ethical indifference and the prevalence of acquisitive and competitive economic logic."

  He said that "ethical relativism is one of the greatest risks for current democracies" because it denies "objective and universal criteria for establishing the basis for and correct hierarchy of values." The council president affirmed the indispensable relationship between moral values and political life in building true democracy.


VATICAN CITY, MAR 8, 2005 (VIS) - Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, yesterday delivered an address on, "Hope and Anguish: the Church's Involvement with Science," during a one-day conference on "Science, Faith and Culture," jointly organized by the pontifical council and by Blackfriars Hall of Oxford University in England.

  In his talk, the French cardinal explained how "reason and faith cannot contradict each other, since both seek to understand the truth about nature, human nature, and God, the author of all created reality."

  "Today," he went on, "cultural trends marked by relativism, indifference, irrationalism and ignorance continue to impede the human search for truth. ... The Church's teaching that reason is at the heart of every human act has come to the aid of science, and science provides insights to further understand Revelation."

  The president of the Pontifical Council for Culture concluded by affirming that "a part of the Church's hope is in science, and a part of science's current anguish finds resolution in the Church's humanistic teaching."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 8, 2005 (VIS) - Professor Mary Ann Glendon, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, spoke yesterday at the United Nations to the Economic and Social Council Commission on the Status of Women in the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women which was held in Beijing in September 1995. Prof. Glendon was the head of the Holy See delegation to that U.N. conference.

  "In 2005," she noted, "the United Nations will mark the anniversaries of five historic moments when the family of nations gave encouragement and impetus to women on their quest for recognition of their equal rights and dignity. The first and most consequential of these moments ... was in the spring of 1945 when the founders of the U.N. astonished many by proclaiming their 'faith…in the dignity and worth of the human person' and 'in the equal rights of men and women'." This was followed, she added, by four U.N. conferences on women: Mexico City, Copenhagen, Nairobi and Beijing.

  Notwithstanding gains for women, many are suffering "new forms of poverty" and "new threats to human life and dignity." The Beijing Platform, Prof. Glendon noted, "proclaimed that 'the key to moving women and their families out of poverty is education'. ... The Holy See, with its longstanding dedication to educating women and girls, notes with concern, therefore, that improvements on this front have been slow."

  Another problem, said Prof. Glendon, is "the changing age structure of the world's populations. The combination of greater longevity, falling birth-rates, rising costs of health care, and shortage of care-takers is already giving rise to tensions between younger and older generations."

  "In its Final Statement at the Beijing Conference," she stated, "the Holy See expressed the fear that the sections of the Beijing documents dealing with women in poverty would remain empty promises unless backed up by well-thought-out programs and financial commitments. Today, with growing disparities of wealth and opportunity, we are obliged to raise that concern again."

  Humanity has the means to defeat hunger and poverty, she affirmed. However, as Pope John Paul has said, "what is needed is a vast moral mobilization of public opinion, especially in those countries enjoying a sufficient or even prosperous standard of living."

  In closing, Prof. Glendon noted that "harmonizing women's aspirations for fuller participation in social and economic life with their roles in family life" can be solved by women themselves, but not "without certain major ... changes in society. ... Policy makers must attend more closely to women's own accounts of what is important to them, rather than to special interest groups."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 8, 2005 (VIS) - Given below is the program of liturgical celebrations for Holy Week, published today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. This year the ceremonies will be presided by various cardinals.

SUNDAY, March 20: Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord, 20th World Youth Day on the theme "We have come to adore Him." The celebration will begin at 10 a.m. in St. Peter's Square with the blessing of palms and olive branches. It will be presided by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome. This will be followed by a procession and the celebration of the Mass of the Lord's Passion.

THURSDAY, March 24: Holy Thursday. In St. Peter's Basilica at 9:30 a.m., Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, will preside at the concelebration of the Chrism Mass and blessing of the holy oils with cardinals, bishops, and diocesan and religious priests present in Rome, as a sign of the close union between the pastor of the universal Church and his brothers in the priestly ministry. The Easter Triduum of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection will begin in St. Peter's Basilica at 5:30 p.m. with the Mass of Our Lord's Last Supper. Cardinals, bishops and priests are invited to concelebrate Mass, presided by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family. After the homily, the rite of the washing of the feet of 12 priests will take place. During this rite, those present will be invited to give alms for the people of Venezuela, hit by devastating floods in the month of February. The sum collected will be given to the Holy Father. At the end of the celebration the Blessed Sacrament will be transferred to the chapel of reposition.

FRIDAY, March 25: Good Friday. In St. Peter's Basilica at 5 p.m., Cardinal James Francis Stafford, major penitentiary, will preside at the celebration of the Passion of Our Lord. The celebration will be divided into three moments: Liturgy of the Word, the adoration of the Cross, and Eucharistic communion. The Stations of the Cross will take place at the Colosseum at 9:15 p.m. After the traditional 14 stations, the ceremony will conclude on Rome's Palatine hill.
SATURDAY, March 26: At 8 p.m. the Easter Vigil, presided over by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will begin with the blessing of the new fire in the atrium of St. Peter's Basilica. After the entrance procession with the Easter candle and the singing of the "Exsultet," the liturgies of the Word, of Baptism and of the Eucharist, will be concelebrated by the cardinals.

SUNDAY, March 27: Easter Sunday. At 10:30 a.m., Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano will celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Square. After the celebration, at midday, the Holy Father will impart the "Urbi et Orbi" ("to the city and the world") blessing.
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