SPECIAL DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY ISSUE   FRI-SAT-SUN-MON    April 28-May 1, 2000    vol. 11, no. 84    SECTION FOUR

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SECTION FOUR Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Guatemalans march to honor slain bishop
  • Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace releases teaser of more to come but still frustrated with industrial nations
  • Extortion in Colombia by Marxist rebels frustrates Catholics and Archbishop
  • Senate Judiciary Committee upholds ban against assisted suicide
  • Cardinal Sodano in Brazil for 500th Anniversary
  • Ecuador to host Jubilee Eucharistic Congress in June
  • Catholic and Muslim leaders unite to solve crisis in Philippines
  • Latest ShipLogs of visitors sailing on the DailyCATHOLIC



        GUATEMALA CITY (CWNews.com) - About 1,000 people marched in Guatemala City on Wednesday, observing the second anniversary since Auxiliary Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi Conedera was murdered at his home.

        The group marched from Metropolitan Cathedral, where the bishop is buried, to a nearby church where a bronze memorial plaque was unveiled. The 75-year-old bishop was bludgeoned in the garage of his home on April 26, 1998, two days after releasing a human rights report that blamed most of the deaths in the country's 36-year civil war on the army and its paramilitary allies.

        Although human rights groups and Catholic leaders have insisted the investigation should focus on the link to the report, prosecutors have instead charged a priest living with the bishop, his housekeeper, and two members of an elite security unit in the crime.

        Many critics have been frustrated with the slow pace of the investigation, partly caused by the resignation of two prosecutors and a judge who have said they motivated by death threats against them.

        The UN Mission in Guatemala issued a statement calling the bishop an outstanding defender of human rights and revealed "the existence of new evidence about the possible involvement in the crime of people linked to illegal or underground security agencies."

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      A Sample of the Catechism on Social Teaching released by Archbishop Van Thuan's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Holy See frets over lack of cooperation by industrial nations

          On Thursday, April 27th the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace released a 226-page volumen, which stresses key texts on Catholic social teaching. The volume is, in essence, just an "appetizer" to a future work on social teaching which is being prepared by the end of the Jubilee Year under the supervision of the president of the council, Archbishop Francois Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan. His and the Holy Father's efforts will show that Social Justice and Peace are not hte will of man, but rather the will of God, Who must be first in the hearts and minds of all those in social work positions. At the same time Bishop Diarmuid Martin, secretary for the council, has stated that the process for convincing powerful nations to reduce debt to third world countries is moving at a snail's pace as the haves drag their proverbial pocketbook. It is the goal of the Pope and Pontifical Council that all third world debts be reduced or erased by the end of the Jubilee Year. continued inside


        VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- On April 27, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace released a 225-page volume, containing the key texts of Catholic social teaching.

        The book, which is published in English, is entitled The Social Agenda: A Collection of Magisterial Texts. It contains portions of 75 different texts relating to the Church's social teaching, including the writings of the Church fathers and the social encyclicals of 20th-century popes. The text will be available in several other languages by the end of May.

        Archbishop Francis Xavier Van Thuan, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, told reporters that the text is not meant as a replacement for a forthcoming "social catechism." On the contrary, he said, this book should be seen as an "appetizer," stimulating interest in the topic and preparing for the larger work on Catholic social teaching, which will be available before the end of the Jubilee year.

        The Social Agenda is divided into 10 chapters, which cover the range of topics from human dignity and family life to subsidiarity, private property, and Church-state relations. The texts come from writers ranging from Sts. Clement and Augustine to Pope John Paul II. The book also has an extensive index.

        As he introduced a new collection of key texts in Catholic social teachings, Bishop Diarmuid Martin commented that the world's wealthiest countries are moving "too slowly" in the drive to reduce Third World debt.

        Bishop Martin, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, made his remarks at a press conference on April 27, as he briefed reporters on a newly published book which brings together the papal encyclicals and other magisterial documents on social issues.

        The bishop said that the Jubilee year poses an ideal occasion for action on the issue of international debt, and he added that it would be a shame to let that opportunity pass. Yet Bishop Martin pointed out that only five countries-- Bolivia, Uganda, Mauritania, Mozambique, and Tanzania-- have seen tangible results from the reduction of their debt burden. He said that the goal should be to wipe out the debt of 19 impoverished countries before the end of the year.

        Bishop Martin also pointed out that the implementation of debt-reduction efforts has been painfully slow. The leaders of the influential "G7" countries- - the world's leading financial powers-- have agreed to put $100 million into a debt-reduction campaign. But only $11 million of that funding has actually been made available. Political opposition has stalled debt-reduction efforts in Europe and the United States, he reported.

        The Vatican official also mentioned that international leaders should make special efforts to ensure that the funds freed up by debt relief are allocated to the people of the poor countries, rather than being diverted for the personal use of the political elite. He mentioned the situation in Uganda, where debt-relief efforts were suspended after the country's president used international aid to buy an airplane for his private use. Bishop Martin insisted that the countries receiving debt relief should avoid using their newly available funds for military hardware or "prestige" projects. Instead, he said, they should adopt "clear and transparent" policies in their efforts to fight poverty.

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      Colombian Archbishop charges rebels with extortion through threats

          Catholic in Bogata, Colombia are being extorted by Marxist rebels. The latter are taking thousands of dollars from parishes. Archbishop Pedro Rubiano Saenz of Bogata has related that the rebels demand that any collection taken up must be turned over to them. The Archbishop told his sheep, and those Marxist rebels, that the demand for money is outright extortion and cannot and should not be granted despite the threats. continued inside


        BOGOTA (CWNews.com) - Marxist rebels in Colombia are extorting thousands of dollars from Catholic churches in the country to finance their war against the government, said Archbishop Pedro Rubiano Saenz of Bogota.

        Archbishop Rubiano said the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have stepped up the pressure on priests to come up with huge sums of money. "They've sought 50 million, 100 million pesos (US$25,000 to $50,000) from certain parishes," he said.

        He added that many pastors have resisted the extortion. "The parishes have been very clear that it's a matter of principle that they cannot hand over ... monies collected for social and evangelical projects," Archbishop Rubiano said.

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      Assisted Suicide struck strong blow by conscientious Senate Judiciary Committee

         Evidently God is getting through to many members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who, on Thursday, upheld the ban which denies doctors the ability to prescribe medications for the purpose of suicide. The ban came from a case originating in Oregon and insturcts doctors to be merciful in helping those with severe illnesses and pain, allowing them the dignity due to every person. To many "mercy killing" is a misnomer for sadly, in truth, many doctors and helpers don't want to be bothered and encourage the patient to take the "easy way out" and put themselves out of their misery. True mercy is what the medical profession needs to cultivate with their patients and ask God for His Mercy as well. continued inside.


        WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a proposed law that would ban federally-licensed doctors from prescribing drugs for assisted suicide.

        The panel voted 10-8 in favor of the bill, with Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, voting with the Republican majority and Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, voting against. The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration. A similar bill passed the House last year.

        The measure is targeted at Oregon's first-in-the-nation law legalizing doctor-assisted suicide by preventing doctors from administering federally-controlled drugs. Instead, the bill promotes better pain management for terminally-ill patients. "In my judgment, terminally ill patients deserve better pain control management because their lives have the same worth and dignity as other human beings," committee chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said.

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      Cardinal Sodano celebrates Brazil's Quintennial at site where Christianity was first brought to South America's shores 500 years ago

         Bringing with him a special Papal Message to the Brazilian Bishops, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano celebrated an outdoor Holy Mass on the beach in Porto Seguro, Brazil yesterday with 200,000 worshippers on the site where the first Mass was first said in Brazil in 1500 on April 26th, a major holiday in Brazil. He is in South America's largest country to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral bringing Christianity to Brazil. In attendance were many ethnic groups including ancestors from the original Indian tribes first evangelized. Just prior to the Mass, Bishop Jayme Chemello offered a statement in the spirit of reconciliation and in the name of the Church asking forgiveness from Indians and Afro-Brazilians. A Matalaue native came forward and embraced the bishop in a sign of true reconciliation witnessed by all. continued inside.


        VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, is in Brazil for celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the evangelization of that South American country.

        On April 26, Cardinal Sodano presided at ceremonies in Coroa Vermelha, near the spot where the first Mass was celebrated in Brazil on April 26, 1500. As the cardinal celebrated Mass, behind the altar was a 10-foot cross, erected on the site where the first cross was planted on Brazilian soil by the Franciscan missionary Henrique de Coimbra. An estimated 200,000 people participated in the services, despite a steady rainfall.

        In his homily, Cardinal Sodano said that today's Brazilians "owe much to the work of missionaries." While he conceded that some missionaries had been guilty of "disfiguring the face of Christ," the cardinal pointed out that the Church had also firmly opposed slavery, and protected the dignity of the indigenous tribes in Brazil.

        The celebration of the 500 years of Christian civilization was a major event in the public life of Brazil. April 26 was declared a national holiday, and President Marco Maciel attended the celebrations. However, some Indian leaders protested the events; a spokesman for the Matalaue tribe said that the holiday pointed toward "500 years of suffering, massacres, and devastation" that followed the Christian "invasion" of the land.

        Minutes before the Mass started, the president of the Brazilian Episcopate, Bishop Jayme Chemello, read a statement publicly requesting forgiveness from Indians and Afro-Brazilians. "In this Eucharist in which we remember the suffering, the massacres, the slavery of our black and Indian brothers and sisters; To the Indians and to all those taken from Africa as slaves, we do not cease to ask for forgiveness," the statement said.

        After the bishop finished his statement, a Matalaue native read a highly critical statement denouncing "500 years of suffering, massacre, devastation." After his statement, he embraced Bishop Chemello, symbolizing forgiveness.

        At the end of the Mass, Bishop Jose de Santana, of Eunapolis -- the diocese in which the Mass was held -- erected an image of Our Lady of Aparecida, Patroness of Brazil, for a brief time of prayer. At noon, the bells of all Catholic Churches in Brazil rang to celebrate the 500 years of evangelization.

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      Jubilee Eucharistic Congress in Ecuador on Feast of Corpus Christi to center on Jesus and Mary

         While Brazilians celebrate now, in Quito, Ecuador a Eucharistic Congress will be held from June 18-25 during which time the Solemnity of Corpus Christi will be celebrated. At this Congress, the theme will be "Jesus Christ, Through Mary, Bread of Life for the World." It will be a celebratory time for ordinations, First Communions, and of apostolates bestowed on priests and laity alike as well as vows of religious congregations being received by the presiding Auxiliary Bishop Julio Teran Dutari of Quito.continued inside.

    Eucharistic Congress Announced for Corpus Christi

        QUITO, ECUADOR, (ZENIT.org).- A Marian Eucharistic Congress is being organized in Quito, Ecuador, to coincide with the International Eucharistic Congress being held in Rome from June 18-25, the week that includes the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi).

        The event will have a decided liturgical dimension, given the large-scale Mass that will be celebrated on Sunday, June 18. The closing Mass will be held in the AUCAS Sports Club Stadium, in the south of the city, at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 25, followed by a solemn procession with the image of the Blessed Virgin of Quinche.

        The theme of the Congress is "Jesus Christ, Through Mary, Bread of Life for the World." One of the objectives of the Congress is to promote theological reflection, by means of a Symposium that will be held in the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. Other theological meetings, which are not strictly academic, are also being planned for high school and university students, as is catechesis among parishes.

        During the Congress, many children will make their First Communion, a priest will be ordained, ministries will be assigned to future priests and lay persons, and a group of religious will take their vows.

        The coordinator of the Congress, a great Jubilee festival of faith, is Auxiliary Bishop Julio Teran Dutari of Quito. Youth will be responsible for energizing the meeting and will celebrate their own Congress simultaneously. Several artistic and cultural events are included in the program. ZE00041803

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      Religious leaders from both the Catholic Church and the Islam faith urge Philippine government to use caution in standoff with mountain terrorists in Basilan

         The sad saga continues as Catholic and Muslim religious leaders try desperately to seek an immediate cease-fire between government troops and Abu Sayyaf rebels in the Island of Basilan in the southern Philippines where they hold 27 Catholic hostages, a result of demands that all Christians get out of the area leaving it solely to the Muslims. Two Catholic men have already been beheaded and the terrorists have threatened more if the Filipino government doesn't give in to demands, one of which is to seek more representation in government affairs. Dialogue, accompanied by prayer and sacrifice, seem to be the only way to allow God to intervene in this crisis, but present efforts and the stubbornness on the part of both the rebels and government make the situation perilous. continued inside.


        MANILA (CWNews.com/Fides) - The Bishops-Ulama Forum, headed by Archbishop Fernando Capalla of Davao and Dr. Mahid Mutilan, president of the Muslim Ulama League of the Philippines, on Wednesday asked for an immediate cease-fire in fighting between government troops and extremist Muslim rebel groups in the southern Mindanao region.

        The religious leaders said in a joint statement, "Many evacuees are suffering from the present hostilities. (There are presently about 60,000 displaced evacuees.) We are asking for assistance for all displaced communities - Muslim, Christian, and Lumad (indigenous peoples)."

        The Bishops-Ulama Forum (BUF), organized in 1996, is a dialogue forum consisting of the Catholic bishops of Mindanao, Ulama (Muslim religious leaders), and Protestant National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) bishops who affirmed their common commitment to the peace process on the island.

        The leaders made a distinction between the hostage issue in Basilan and the conflict in Central Mindanao. "The conflict in Basilan involves the Abu Sayyaf, a group whose tactics are condemned even by Islam and concerned Muslim leaders," they said. "The situation in Central Mindanao, particularly in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, involves the Muslim Independent Liberation Front (MILF) which represents the aspirations of the Muslim community for a genuine participation in the running of their own political and economic affairs." The rebel groups are fighting to establish an independent Muslim homeland in the area.

        They reiterated that this is not a religious war between Christian and Muslim communities, but an armed confrontation between the Philippine military and the MILF. They strongly "condemn the formation of any extremist vigilante groups, which will only polarize cultural communities."

        "We ask for the peace process to continue. Peace talks should resume and be given more time. We support the initiative of women leaders who have recently talked to the leadership of both the MILF and the Philippine government," the religious leaders said.

         For more headlines and articles, we suggest you go to the Catholic World News site at the CWN home page and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and the Dossiers, features and Daily Dispatches from ZENIT International News Agency CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC, but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

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