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Pope's message to Berlusconi on hero Nicola Calipari

A telegram from Pope John Paul II has added to pressure on Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to bow to the will of the people on the country's involvement in Iraq, following the death of special services agent Nicola Calipari, a brother of Pontifical Academy for Life bioethicist Fr Maurizio Calipari.

The Missionary Service News Agency reports that the Pope sent two telegrams following the revelation that Calipari was fatally wounded as he shielded released Italian hostage Giuliana Sgrena from US military bullets at a Baghdad checkpoint.

The telegrams were sent to Berlusconi, and Calipari's brother, who is a permanent member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The Pope also noted that he admired "the heroic gesture borne of a sense of duty and by the feelings of Christian virtue".

A memorial ceremony took place in a Vatican chapel to commemorate the life of "hero Nicola".

Meanwhile Pope John Paul II yesterday blessed a cheering crowd gathered at his Rome hospital, where he is recovering from breathing problems, as the traditional Angelus blessing was conducted in his absence at St. Peter's Square.

Vatican Deputy Secretary Archbishop Leonardo Sandri read a statement from the Holy Father as the blessing commenced.

In it, the pope expresses gratitude for "many signs of affections I am receiving," in particular thanking Jews and Muslims along with cardinals, priests and bishops and political leaders. "This is a very important sign for me, which makes me give thanks to God."

The Vatican, the pope said in his message, has been inundated with e-mails regarding his condition.

The appearance at his window in Gemelli Polyclinic was much longer than that of a week ago. He made the sign of the cross several times to several hundred people gathered outside.

Earlier, cameras showed the pope in his wheelchair, flanked by Vatican officials and doctors, as he followed the blessing, bowing his head in prayer. His image was broadcast in St. Peter's Square.

Pope saddened by the death of Nicola Calipari (Missionary Service News Agency 6/3/05)
Morte Calipari: cerimonia di ricordo in cappella vaticana (
Pope blesses crowds from hospital (CNN 6/3/05)

Gioia e dolore. I telegrammi del papa (
Pontifical Academy for Life

Pope hoping to be home for Easter (CathNews 4/3/05)
Cardinal urges pope to keep World Youth Day commitment (CathNews 4/3/05)
Pope celebrates Mass in hospital room (CathNews 2/3/05)
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Pell backs Pope resolve to carry on (CathNews 28/2/05)
Pope set for tracheotomy procedure (CathNews 25/2/05)
Mixed signals on Pope recovery (CathNews 23/2/05)
New Pope book hits Jewish sensitivities (ICathNews 21/2/05)
Pope tells media to promote truth, not trash (CathNews 22/2/05)
Vatican official urges effort to reach lapsed Catholics (CathNews 4/6/04)
Pope again encourages use of Internet for evangelisation (CathNews 18/2/04)
Vatican official urges advertising that promotes human dignity (CathNews 29/10/03)
64% in US use Internet for religious reasons (CathNews 19/5/04)
Pope says truth in media serves cause of peace (CathNews 26/3/03)

Slain agent was seasoned negotiator (Associated Press/CNN 5/3/05)
Italian reporter Giuliana Sgrena released in Iraq ( 4/3/05)
Catholics await pope's second blessing from hospital room in week (Yahoo/AFP 6/3/05)
Pope waves to pilgrims outside hospital (Big News Network/UPI 6/3/05)
Finding Their Own Way to Pray (Pew Forum/Chicago Tribune 4/3/05)
An Angelus twice over: the Pope from hospital and Mgr Sandri from St Peter's Square ( 6/3/05)
Pope Listens to Angelus, Waves to Pilgrims From Hospital Window (Bloomberg 6/3/05)
The Deafening Silence of Pope Karol Wojtyla (L'Espresso 6/3/05)
Silent papal appearance set for Sunday (Catholic World News 4/3/05)
Worshippers in Moscow's Catholic cathedral shed tears as they pray for the Pope. Also at times like this the Pope shows the strength of his faith and sends us a message: "Be strong in your faith", Catholic Archbishop Kondrusiewicz tells Fides (Fides 4/3/05)
Frail Pope Reappears at Hospital Window (The Guardian/Associated Press 6/3/05)
John L Allen: John Paul's Memory and Identity
John L Allen: The meaning of John Paul's suffering (National Catholic Reporter 6/3/05)
Ailing Pope's Easter duties in doubt (The Age 5/3/05)
Pope gives thanks for support (The Age/AFP 7/3/05)
Pope silent again for Angelus (The Australian/AFP 6/3/05)
Pope adds hope to 'silent' blessing (The Australian/AFP 7/3/05)
John Paul II Keeping Busy at the Hospital (Zenit 3/3/05)
John Paul II Applauds Liberation of Italian Journalist (Zenit 4/3/05)
Pope Hopes to Appear at Hospital Window Sunday (Zenit 4/3/05)
Well-Wishers Visit Gemelli From Around the World (Zenit 4/3/05)
Pope's Personal Physician Heads Team of Doctors (Zenit 4/3/05)

7 Mar 2005