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Holy Father's Message for World Food Day 1998

Holy See Speaks on Sanctions to UN Committee

Intervention of the Holy See to the 3rd Committee of the UN General Assembly (Beijing Women's Conference process)

Vatican meeting on human rights and rights of the family

Vatican ready to recognize Palestinian state

Vatican Information Service


VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 1998 (VIS) - The Second Meeting of Politicians and

Legislators of Europe, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Family,

will take place in the Vatican from October 22 to 24 on the theme "Human

Rights and the Rights of the Family."

The meeting, states a council communique published today, takes place

within the context of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of

Human Rights. Approximately 200 politicians, legislators, professors and

ambassadors from European countries accredited to the Holy See are expected

to attend. Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, council president, will deliver

the opening speech.

Members of the Roman Curia scheduled to participate include Cardinal

Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, Archbishops Giovanni Battista Re,

substitute of the Secretariat of State, Jean-Louis Tauran, secretary for

Relations with States and Renato Martino, Holy See permanent observer to

the United Nations.

The work sessions will be presided by Cardinals Bernardin Gantin, dean of

the College of Cardinals; Lucas Moreira Neves, prefect of the Congregation

for Bishops; Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, prefect of the Congregation for

Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Alfons Maria Stickler,

archivist and librarian emeritus of Holy Roman Church; Dario Castrillon

Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy; Thomas Joseph Winning,

archbishop of Glasgow; James F. Stafford, president of the Pontifical

Council for the Laity, and Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of the

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Cardinal Francis Bernard Law, archbishop of Boston, is also expected to



From Vatican Information Service


VATICAN CITY, OCT 15, 1998 (VIS) - Msgr. James Reinert, member of the Holy

See delegation before the Second Committee of the 53rd Session of the

United Nations General Assembly, spoke in New York on October 13 on Item

92A, "Business and Development," highlighting in particular the issue of


Msgr. Reinert reiterated the Holy See's opposition to "the use of

indiscriminate coercive economic sanctions against a nation." He added:

"The Holy See recognized that there are legitimate reasons that the

international community may resort to sanctions. But starvation may not be

a means of warfare or a consequence of a legal decision. Sanctions should

be a temporary means of exerting pressure on decision makers, whose choices

threaten international peace. Sanctions should be proportionate to the

goals they hope to achieve and they must always be accompanied by a

dialogue between the parties involved."




Vatican ready to recognise Palestinian state TOP

By Marwan Sudah

Jordan Times, October 15, 1998

AMMAN (Petra) - The Vatican's chargi d'affaires in Jordan,

Monsignor Dominique Rezeau, Wednesday said the Vatican is

ready to recognise a Palestinian state and opposes Israel's

expansion of the western borders of Jerusalem and the

construction of Jewish settlements in Palestine.

"The Vatican is deeply interested in Palestinian legislation and

freedom of worship in Palestine, and it is ready to recognise a

Palestine state," said Rezeau in a statement marking the 20th

anniversary of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II.

"As we recognised the state of Israel, we will be ready to recognise

the state of Palestine as part of the rest of the world community,"

Rezeau added.

He noted that the Vatican was among the first nations to recognise

the independence of Bosnia and Croatia.

The Palestinians have the right to life and security, and the Vatican

will back the rights of people in conformity with religious and

humanitarian principles, Rezeau said.

"The Palestinians have full rights to their land, and Israel cannot

exercise its own rights without recognising those of the Palestinian

people," added the envoy.

Referring to Jerusalem, Rezeau noted the pope's declared stand

and the Vatican's rejection of the Israeli government's expansion of

the boundaries of Jerusalem.

"The Israeli measures do not help current efforts for holding a

dialogue on the future of the Holy City, which is the cradle of the

monotheistic religions," he said.

Rezeau said the Vatican supports the U.N. General Assembly

decision condemning the building of Israeli settlements in

Jerusalem and calling for a just, comprehensive and lasting

settlement of the Jerusalem issue through the final status


Asserting that any solution should guarantee the rights of worship

for all, Rezeau said the Vatican appeals to the world community to

refrain from taking any decisions that might negatively affect the

future of Jerusalem.

"The Holy See calls on all parties concerned with the Middle East

problem... to pursue efforts to help achieve peace based on the

principles and concepts of the 1991 Madrid peace conference and

respect signed agreements and accords and the principles of

justice," Rezeau added.

Voicing the Vatican's appreciation of the efforts exerted by His

Majesty King Hussein and HRH Crown Prince Hassan, the Regent,

with regard to Jerusalem, Rezeau said the Vatican also considers

Jordan part of the Holy Land, as it is home to shrines, churches

and the site where Jesus was baptised in the Jordan River.

Describing Jordanian-Vatican relations as "strong and

progressing," Rezeau said the Pope may visit Jordan in the course

of celebrations marking the end of the second Christian

millennium, adding that the Vatican is currently coordinating with

the Jordanian government over this event. He did not elaborate.

From Vatican Information Service


VATICAN CITY, OCT 16, 1998 (VIS) - Pope John Paul, through Cardinal

Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, sent a message to Jacques Diouf, director

general of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), for

the celebration today of World Food Day.

The Pope remarks that the theme chosen for this year's commemoration,

"'Women Feed the World,' moves FAO's range of concerns ... to a

consideration of the essentially human aspects of the struggle against

hunger and malnutrition."

"The Church honors and respects 'the feminine genius' in all its forms

and recognizes that in many practical ways women in rural areas are the

point where the life of the family and the life of the community merge.

This means that there can be no separation of women's life in the family as

wives and mothers and their life in society as workers and economic

producers. What emerges at both points is their legitimate desire to play

their part in working for the common good. Such a vision calls for a

recognition of the equality of women and especially their equal rights."

The Pope says he hopes that this World Food Day "will lead in turn to a

deeper understanding of women not only as 'feeders of the world', but as

peace-makers and guardians of true human values."


Intervention of the Holy See to the 3rd. Committee of the General meeting of the U.N., 19.10.1998 TOP

Mr. Chairman,

The Holy See, by joining the consensus which adopted the Beijing Platform

for Action, signalled its approval for what it considered "the living heart of the

Platform" - its sections on the neeeds of women in poverty, on ending

violence against women, on access for women to employment, land, capital

and technology, on strategies for the advancement of women which included

calls for increased literacy and education. Despite the reservation the Holy

See was forced to raise to certain sections of the Beijing Platform, it did join

the consensus, convinced of the fact that there exists a close correspondence

between that "living heart" and Catholic social teaching.

In the time since the Conference ended, as always in the past, the Church has

not ceased to be concerned over these matters. She is still uneasy that women

bear so disproportionate an amount of the suffering in the world. Too many

women continue to be poor, powerless and victims of violence. According to

the 1997 UNDP Human Development Report which focused on poverty,

worldwide income-poor persons are less likely to be adult males, and more

likely to be children, elderly persons or women. Female wages are likely to be

only three-fourths of male wages. Men need to spend 47% of their time in

work, while women have a triple workload of child-rearing, household

management and of income- generating work.

Many women in the world are still illiterate. Although between 1970 and

1995, adult illiteracy declined greatly, there remains a significant backlog.

Today 538 million women worldwide are illiterates. Female enrollment in

schools, even at the primary level, remains far lower than male enrollment and

drop-outs are always higher for girls than for boys.

Although in the past three decades, women's access to health care has greatly

improved, the number of deaths from pregnancy- and delivery - related

causes is still rising. More than half the pregnant women in developing

countries suffer from anaemia. In many sections of the world, trained health

personnel are not available to attend deliveries.

Last year alone, the terrible disease of AIDS took the lives of 1 million

women, raising the number of AIDS orphans under the age of 15 to 8 million.

Aware of the injustices that women have endured, the Church has committed

herself to renewed efforts to lift the status of women. On the eve of Beijing

(Message to the Delegation of the Holy See to the Fourth World Conference

of Women, 29 August 1995), Pope John Paul II pledged the Church to an

option particularly in favor of girls and women. He called on all Catholic

caring and educational institutions to adopt a concentrated and priority

strategy directed to girls and women, especially to the poorest, over the

coming years.

He called on congregations of religious Sisters to identify and reach out to girls

and young women most on the fringes of society.

He asked all the educational services linked to the Church to guarantee equal

access for girls, to educate boys to a sense of women's dignity and worth, to

provide additional possibilities for girls who have suffered from disadvantages,

and to identify and remedy the reasons for girls leaving schools before they

complete their education. He appealed to Catholic medical institutions,

especially those concerned with primary health care, to make basic health

care for girls a hallmark of their service.

He requested Catholic universities and colleges to ensure that, in the

preparation of future leaders of society, they acquire special sensitivity to the

concerns of young women. He urged women's organizations within the

Church to establish patterns of solidarity so that their leadership and guidance

can be put at the service of girls and young women.

Earlier, on 29 June 1995 in his Letter to Women, Pope John Paul II, stressing

the importance of women's role, had stated, "Thank you, every woman, for

the simple fact of being a woman! Through the insight which is so much a part

of your womanhood you enrich the world's understanding and help to make

human relations more honest and authentic".

This year the United Nations and the whole world community are beginning a

solemn reassessment of the progress made in implementing the measures of

the Beijing Conference to better the lot of women in the world. The Church is

fully aware of the importance of this undertaking. It urges all people, society

as a whole and political authorities everywhere to make a genuine contribution

to the goal of advancing the status of women as a guarantor of a civilization

which honors the dignity of the human person. The Holy See considers itself in

solidarity with all authentic international initiatives to improve the situations of

women, those aimed at bettering women's living conditions, and those aimed

at creating a new awareness in society of the need for respect for women, for

their equal dignity and for their inalienable rights.

In this spirit, the Holy See looks forward to closely following the preparations

for Beijing + 5.