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September 24, 2002
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                           TWELFTH YEAR - N.161
                           TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2002
                           - THEME OF WORLD DAY OF COMMUNICATIONS 2003
                           - AUDIENCES
                           - OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
                           VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2002 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director,
                           Joaquin Navarro-Valls, made the following statement late this morning on the
                           situation in the Middle East:
                           "Worried about the serious attack on the headquarters of the
                           Palestinian National Authority, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano has
                           sent a message to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon asking, in the name of
                           the Holy Father, for a suspension of such actions which compromise the
                           already slender hopes for peace in that region, and expressing hope for an
                           immediate resumption of dialogue between the parties in reciprocal
                           respect and mutual understanding.
                           "At the same time, the cardinal secretary of state assured
                           President Arafat, at this sad hour for the Palestinian people and the National
                           Authority, of the closeness of His Holiness John Paul II, and  his own
                           closeness, while repeating that the Holy See will continue its
                           commitment for the defense of the right of all peoples to live in peace with
                           secure borders and in a climate of mutual respect."
                           OP/MIDDLE EAST/SODANO:SHARON:ARAFAT     VIS 20020924 (180)
                           VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2002 (VIS) - Archbishop Renato Martino,
                           permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke yesterday in New York before
                           the Ad Hoc Committee On An International Convention Against The Reproductive
                           Cloning of Human Beings. He reiterated the Holy See's "well
                           known" position on this question, saying it "supports and urges a world-wide
                           comprehensive ban on human embryonic cloning for both reproductive and scientific
                           "Based on the biological and anthropological status of the
                           human embryo and on the fundamental moral and civil rule," he affirmed,
                           "it is illicit to kill an innocent even to bring about a good for society."
                           The apostolic nuncio noted that "the Holy See looks upon the
                           distinction between 'reproductive' and so-called 'therapeutic' (or 'experimental')
                           cloning to be unacceptable. This distinction masks the reality of the
                           creation of a human being for the purpose of destroying him or her to
                           produce embryonic stem cell lines or to conduct other experimentation."
                           On the other hand, he asserted, "the Holy See supports
                           research on stem cells of post-natal origin since this approach ... is a sound,
                           promising and ethical way to achieve tissue transplantation and cell therapy
                           that could benefit humanity."
                           "Attempts at human cloning with a view to obtaining organs for
                           transplants, ... insofar as they involve the manipulation and
                           destruction of human embryos, are not morally acceptable." He underscored
                           that the prospect of "cloning a human embryo, while intentionally
                           planning its demise ... is repugnant to most people, including those who properly
                           advocate for advancement in science and medicine."
                           Archbishop Martino pointed out that with some modern techniques
                           "there is a risk of a new form of racism, for the development of these
                           techniques could lead to the creation of a 'sub-category of human beings',
                           destined basically for the convenience of certain others." Furthermore,
                           if certain characteristics are selected and propagated through cloning,
                           "this would be akin to the practice of eugenics leading to the institution of a
                           'super race'."
                           He concluding by noting that "the Universal Declaration of
                           Human Rights reiterates the sanctity of all human life" and that
                           "international law guarantees the right to life to all, not just some, human
                           DELSS/CLONING/UN:MARTINO        VIS 20020924 (370)
                           VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2002 (VIS) - Friday September 27 marks the 23rd
                           World Tourism Day, sponsored by the World Tourism Organization. Its theme
                           is: "Ecological Tourism, key to sustainable development."
                           As is tradition on this day, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine
                           Chapel and the Vatican Historical Museum, located at St. John Lateran, will be
                           open to the public free of charge.
                           In addition, on September 28 and 29, the Holy See will participate
                           in "European Heritage Days," an initiative sponsored by the
                           Council of Europe which comprises over 40 countries. This year's theme is: "The
                           discovery of the origins and traditions of our Christian heritage in Europe."
                           On this occasion, on Saturday September 28 entrance to the
                           archeological area of the sacred necropolis of St. Peter's Basilica will be free,
                           and on Sunday September 29 the Vatican Museums and the catacombs of Rome
                           will be open to visitors at no charge. The catacomb of Via Latina, which is
                           normally closed to the public, will also be open to visitors.
                           .../WORLD TOURISM DAY/...       20020924 (180)
                           THEME OF WORLD DAY OF COMMUNICATIONS 2003
                           VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2002 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council for Social
                           Communications announced today that the theme chosen by John Paul II
                           for the World Day of Communications 2003 is "The Communications
                           Media at the Service of Authentic Peace in the light of 'Pacem in Terris'."
                           Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the dicastery, affirmed
                           that the "theme chosen by the Holy Father reflects the importance of the
                           media in promoting authentic peace, based on truth, justice and love, as
                           Blessed John XXIII indicated in his famous encyclical letter of 1963, 'Pacem
                           in Terris'."
                           The World Day of Communications is the only celebration of
                           universal reach expressly desired by Vatican Council II in the document
                           "Inter Mirifica" of 1963. It is celebrated in most countries on the
                           Sunday before Pentecost at the suggestion of bishops from all over the world. In
                           2003, it falls on June 1st.
                           The Holy Father's message is traditionally published on January
                           24, the feast day of St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists, to allow the
                           episcopal conferences and diocesan organizations to prepare material
                           for national and local celebrations of this event.
                           CON-CS/WORLD DAY OF COMMUNICATIONS/...  VIS 20020924 (200)
                           VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2002 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in
                           separate audiences:
                           - Eight prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil
                           (Northeast 2) on their "ad limina" visit:
                           - Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, O. Carm., of Olinda and
                           Recife, accompanied by his auxiliary, Bishop Fernando Antonio Saburido, O.S.B.
                           - Archbishop Jose Carlos Melo, C.M., of Maceio, accompanied by
                           Archbishop Edvaldo Goncalves Amaral, emeritus.
                                - Bishop Jose Freire de Oliveira Neto of Mossoro.
                                - Bishop Jorge Tobias de Freitas of Nazare.
                                - Bishop Paulo Cardoso da Silva, O. Carm., of Petrolina.
                                - Bishop Fernando Iorio Rodrigues of Palmeiras dos Indios.
                             - Colonel Pius Segmuller, captain commander of the Pontifical Swiss
                           Guards, accompanied by his family, on his farewell visit.
                             - Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, archbishop of Milan, Italy.
                           AL:AP/.../...   VIS 20020924 (110)
                           OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
                           VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2002 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr.
                           Rutilo Munoz Zamora, vicar for ministries of the diocese of Veracruz,
                           Mexico, as bishop of the diocese of Coatzacoalcos (area 10,500, population
                           1,039,562, Catholics 849,469, priests 50, permanent deacons 4, religious 90),
                           Mexico. Fr. Munoz was born in 1951 in Tulictic, Mexico, and was ordained a
                           priest in 1977. He succeeds Bishop Carlos Talavera Ramirez whose resignation
                           the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.
                           NER:RE/.../MUNOZ:TALAVERA       VIS 20020924 (80)
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