VATICAN CITY, JUL 24, 1996 (VIS) - Pope John Paul chatted with journalists prior to his early evening departure yesterday from Lorenzago di Cadore in Italy's Dolomite mountains, where he has been vacationing since July 10.
Answering questions, the Pope said he "felt rejuvenated" and that leaving the mountains was a bittersweet experience: "It is sad on the one hand, but we are returning to a milieu which is close to us, Castelgandolfo, which is traditional. The mountains, the Dolomites, were not a papal tradition. But now they are."
One journalist asked the Holy Father if he had written any poetry during his mountain vacation, to which the pontiff replied: "No. In recent days I read my old poetry, poems which have already been published."
Questioned about the possibility of a trip to Sarajevo, the Pope said: "We don't know yet. But one must ... ." On going to Jerusalem, he said: "When it would be possible to go, I don't know. But certainly it is close to my heart."
In response to a journalist's observation that the World Council of Churches has proposed holding a universal council for all Christians, the Pope said: "It is a great theme. It seems that things are going forward in that direction."
Just as he boarded the helicopter for his return trip to Rome and Castelgandolfo, John Paul II was asked what was the most memorable moment of his vacation. "The meeting with you journalists," he replied.
VATICAN CITY, JUL 24, 1996 (VIS) - In today's general audience in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father commented on Mary's response to the angel who announces to her the conception and birth of Jesus: "How can this be, since I do not know man?", which shows her intention of always remaining a virgin and her perfect readiness to follow God's plan.
The Pope noted that in the Jewish environment virginity was not considered a value. Nonetheless, as the Christian era approached, in some Jewish circles it began to be seen as an ideal.
"But the fact that John the Baptist probably lived a celibate life, and that this fact was much esteemed within the community of his disciples, might make one suppose that Mary's firm intention to remain a virgin too was inscribed in this new cultural and religious context."
John Paul II explained that Mary's virginity "should not make us fall into the error of completely relating her inner dispositions to the mentality of the environment, emptying the uniqueness of the mystery that took place in her. In particular, we must not forget that Mary had received from the beginning of her life a surprising grace acknowledged by the Angel at the moment of the Annunciation: 'Full of grace.'"
"Presenting herself to God as a poor person, and aspiring to a solely spiritual fertility, fruit of divine love, Mary discovers at the moment of the Annunciation that the Lord transforms her poverty into wealth: She will be the Virgin Mother of the Son of the Most High. Later on, she will also discover that her motherhood is destined to all men, whom her Son came to save."
Before the general audience, the Pope had met with 4,000 pilgrims from Poland in St. Peter's Basilica.
VATICAN CITY, JUL 24, 1996 (VIS) - At today's general audience Pope John Paul highlighted the tense situation in Burundi and appealed for an end to the violence there:
"The dramatic news relative to the killing in Burundi of hundreds of Tutsi who are evacuees and unarmed, and the forced repatriation of thousands of Rwandan Hutu refugees in their country can only cause us to feel horror and firm reprobation.
"Burundi continues to drown in an abyss of violence which reaps many victims among the most defenseless: children, women, old people, and which suffocates the voice of the most moderate persons and social forces.
"Uniting myself to the appeal of the bishops of Burundi I ask the leaders of that beloved nation in a heartfelt way to enact, without delay or hesitation, every possible initiative so that civil dialogue will prevail over the evil logic of ethnic suppression.
"May the international community contribute to a prudent political agreement and humanitarian aid!
"Let us pray together to the Lord for the dead and the living: May He help all Burundians to think of themselves as brothers who must love each other because they are sons of the same God!"
VATICAN CITY, JUL 24, 1996 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano sent a telegram today in John Paul II's name to Mrs. Luisa Marini-Bettolo for the death of her husband, Giovanni Battista Marini-Bettolo, former president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences:
"On learning of this sad news ... the Holy Father expresses his condolences and keenly shares in the sorrow for the grave loss of a coherent Catholic and faithful servant of the Church in the field of scientific research. As he remembers the genuine faith and generous dedication of such an authorized scholar and lover of truth, the Supreme Pontiff offers fervent prayers invoking divine goodness for peace and eternal repose for he who, in the responsibilities he carried out, offered a constant Christian and human witness, and sends to you and your family his heartfelt and consoling Apostolic Blessing. I add my personal condolences, assuring you of a special remembrance in the Eucharistic celebration."
VATICAN CITY, JUL 24, 1996 (VIS) - The Holy Father nominated Msgr. Francis X. Irwin and Fr. Emilio S. Allue, S.D.B., as auxiliaries to the archbishop of Boston (area 6,382, population 3,764,200, Catholics 1,962,432, priests 1,840, religious 4,473), U.S.A. Bishop-elect Irwin, of the clergy of the same archdiocese, was born in Medford, U.S.A., in 1934 and was ordained a priest in 1960. Since 1993 he has been pastor of Saint Agnes Parish in Arlington. Bishop- elect Allue was born in Huesca, Spain, in 1935, made his perpetual profession in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1966. Until now he was parish vicar for Hispanic ministry at Mary, Help of Christians Parish in New York.
Speaking at the end of his Wednesday general audience here, the pope strongly decried the killing of hundreds of Tutsis in Burundi and the forced repatriation of thousands of homeless Rwandan Hutus.
''Burundi continues to sink in an abyss of violence which
sows victims among the most defenseless - children, women, the
elderly...'' the pope continued.
He particularly urged Burundi leaders to undertake ''every possible initiative'' that would allow dialogue to prevail over ethnic conflict and hatred and he voiced the heartfelt hope that the international community would stage concerted political action in this direction, as well as provide humanitarian aid.