MONDAY     February 14, 2000    vol. 11, no. 31    SECTION THREE

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SECTION THREE Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Moving ceremony at St. Peter's for World Day for the Sick
  • Archbishop Tauran lashes out at UN for embracing culture of death
  • Sudan bombs village, hits Catholic school killing 15 injuring several others
  • Father Welch takes on Sexual Symposium, charging them with lies
  • Congo Archbishop in harm's way as hostage of rebels
  • Red Chinese rearrest archbishop who has spent 30 years in communist prisons
  • Face-lift throughout Rome benefitting Jubilee pilgrims
  • Latest ShipLogs of visitors sailing on the DailyCATHOLIC

  • WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant


        VATICAN ( -- The Jubilee celebration for the sick reached its culmination at the Vatican on February 11-- the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes-- as Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in St. Peter's Square for a congregation of thousands of people suffering from various forms of illness.

        "My dear suffering brothers and sisters, we owe you a debt. The Church owes you this debt, and the Pope as well. Pray for us!" the Pope said in his remarks at the conclusion of the Eucharistic celebration. The Holy Father was doing his best to emphasize a message that he has delivered frequently during his pontificate: that the sufferings of the sick, along with their prayers, are a powerful source of grace for the universal Church. On the day after his election to Peter's throne, the Pope visited the Gemelli Hospital in Rome, to ask a friend (Cardinal Andrej Deskur) to offer up his sufferings for the success of the pontificate.

        More than 1,200 volunteers were on hand to assist the members of the unusual congregation for this papal Mass. There were at least 2,400 wheelchairs in use in St. Peter's Square, and 280 specially equipped buses were used to shuttle the faithful from their hotels to the Vatican and back. Special first-aid stations had been set up for the occasion, and portable heaters were installed around the altars in case of cold weather. (As it happens, the weather was mild throughout the day, and the heaters were not needed.)

        "You are welcome here," the Pope said in his homily during the Mass. "You are close to the heart of Peter's successor, who feels your worries and your pains as his own." He continued, in a firm voice: "Some of you have been confined on a bed of suffering for years. I pray to God that this meeting and this day will be a source of physical and spiritual comfort for such people." He added that even healthy people should recognize and contemplate on "the redemptive value of suffering."

        The Pope pointed out that the Church, "following the example of Christ," pays particular attention to those who suffer from physical illness, and that one of the seven sacraments is dedicated specifically to their pastoral needs. During the day's ceremony he anointed 10 people with Sacrament of the Sick.

        The day's celebration was a logistical tour-de-force for organizers who were led by the Italian group UNITALSI, which arranged transportation for 15,000 people in special trains and buses from around Italy and France.

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        VATICAN ( -- The Vatican's chief foreign-policy representative has condemned UN programs that seek to promote contraception and abortion.

        Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Secretary for Relations with States, issued a somber warning against "threats to human life" in his February 11 remarks to the Pontifical Academy for Life. The Academy was meeting in Rome to discuss Pope John Paul's encyclical Evangelium Vitae, which was published in March 1995.

        Archbishop Tauran lamented that many offenses against the dignity of human life are now treated as if they were fundamental rights. He pointed out that the drive to promote contraception and abortion began several years ago, amid fears that the earth's population would outstrip the availability of food and other basic necessities. "Those fears are now recognized as unfounded," he observed. But now the proponents of abortion and contraception have shifted their rhetorical strategy, saying that these measures are necessary in order to give 'individuals freedom over their own bodies."

        The archbishop said that UN conferences-- such as the Cairo conference on population in 1994, and the Beijing conference on women in 1995-- had seen important battles between proponents and foes of abortion and contraception. He explained to his audience that some groups use these conferences to introduce new theories in international law-- theories that will later be invoked to justify changes in international policies or in the laws of smaller nations. He pointed out that many international bodies-- such as the World Health Organization and the Red Cross-- have now been enlisted in efforts to promote "emergency contraception" in places such as Rwanda and Kosovo.

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    Fourteen Children Killed Outright, Many More in Serious Condition

        KAUDA, SUDAN, FEB 13 (ZENIT).- On Tuesday, government bombs fell on Holy Cross School in Kauda, Sudan, in the Nuba Mountains. Fourteen children and one teacher were killed outright, and seventeen other students were wounded, some critically.

        Local eyewitnesses stated that the government plane dropped eight more bombs on two villages close to the school and the whole attack lasted no more than 15 minutes. A three-foot wide crater marks the spot where one bomb fell near the classrooms. Most of the victims were part of a first-grade class studying English outside under the shade of a tree.

        According to a Feb. 11 Reuters report, Sudanese government officials defended the attack, saying that schools are a legitimate target in the country's long-running civil war. "The bombs landed where they were supposed to land," Dirdiery Ahmed, an official in the Sudanese embassy in Nairobi, told Reuters. Government officials claimed that the school was part of a military camp.

        Bishop Macram Max Gassis of El Obeid, whose jurisdiction includes the Nuba Mountains, and who founded Holy Cross School, is presently in the United States raising funds to help the people of his diocese. He made a statement on the attack on February 11.

        Bishop Gassis stated that Holy Cross is the only well-established school in the area, with more than 300 students. "Truly, this is a 'slaughter of the innocents,' an unbridled attempt to destroy the Nuba's hope, and, indeed, their future by destroying their children," stated the Bishop, recent recipient of the William Wilberforce Award for his work with his people.

        According to the Bishop, the Khartoum regime will not rest until the Christian and animist population of Southern Sudan is wiped out. "I have time and time again told the world that the National Islamic Front regime in Khartoum has been, and is conducting a campaign of genocide aimed at exterminating the Christian, African, and non-Arab populations of Sudan in order to establish a uniform Arab-Islamic fundamentalist state in the heart of Africa. This terrible, heart-breaking incident is yet another piece of evidence, if more were still needed, that the war in Sudan is a religious and ethnic war launched by Khartoum and aimed at the destruction of my people."

        The Bishop closed his statement with an appeal for help from the world. The Peter's Voice web site has set up a home page for Bishop Gassis to provide more information about Sudan: . ZE00021320

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    University Invited Prostitutes and Planned Parenthood Affiliates as "Experts"

        SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, JAN 13 (ZENIT).- Fr. Richard Welch, President of Human Life International, has challenged the leaders of a symposium hosted by the University of Puerto Rico to a public debate. He claims that the symposium is presenting a false and dangerous image of human sexuality to the young people in attendence.

        The forum was held from Februay 9-11. Speakers included prostitutes from various countries speaking on the "criminalization" of sexuality, such as pornography and prostitution, and affiliates of Planned Parenthood explaining "services" in sexual matters. A government minister also explained about the U.S. Territory's sex education programs.

        Fr. Welch said that the University "has given a wide forum to prostitution, pornography, sexual experimentation, abortion and contraception. Is this what education is about? What sex educators are really doing is raising a generation without God, a generation taught too soon about the mechanics of sex and not taught at all about God's Plan for love and intimacy."

        According to the priest, this is ultimately a question of parents' rights and responsibilities. "I am asking parents to say NO to sex education. Parents have the primary and grave responsibility to teach their children about human sexuality, and that means a teaching based on moral principles and the tender ages of the children."

        Fr. Welch, who served as a parish priest in Puerto Rico for 12 years, concluded, "Let's see if the leaders of this symposium can stand up to the truth. Let's bring this debate into the public forum and let people hear and decide what is best for their children." ZE00020823

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        NAIROBI, KENYA, FEB 13 (ZENIT).- The Assumptionist Community of Nairobi reports that Archbishop Kataliko Emmanuel of Bukavu, Republic of the Congo, has been taken hostage by the military forces of Kigali, Rwanda. The Archbishop left Nairobi Friday evening, headed for Kampala. The Assumptionists received contradictory phone-calls about the Archbishop's whereabouts thereafter. His life appears to be in danger.

        Reuters reported February 11 that the Congolese rebels against President Laurent Kabila, who are supported by the Rwandan military, had declared Archbishop Kataliko "persona non grata," claiming that he was inciting hatred against the Tutsis. This apparently refers to a pastoral letter the Archbishop wrote in December calling for residents of south Kivu to peacefully oppose the "oppression" and "occupation" of their land by Rwandans aided by Congolese nationals. President Kabila originally came to power supported by Congolese and Rwandan Tutsis. Since then, there has been a falling out, and his support comes from Zimbabwe and Angola.

        According to the information given to the Assumptionists by Congolese authorities, the Archbishop is being held in Kigali. The religious do not know any way to send aid to him, and are waiting in prayer, trying to encourage the population. ZE00021322

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        STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT, FEB 13 (ZENIT).- The Cardinal Kung Foundation today reported that the Chinese government has arrested another underground Bishop, faithful to the Holy Father. On February 10, Archbishop John Yang Shudao of Fuzhou was arrested at about midnight by some 150 policemen. Archbishop Yang is eighty years old, at least thirty years of which have been spent in prisons. His first arrest (which brought a sentence of life imprisonment) was in 1955, on the charge of treason for refusing to denounce the Pope as supreme authority of the Catholic Church and refusing to cooperate in the formation of the Catholic Patriotic Association. Since his release in 1981, he has been re-arrested several times.

        Joseph Kung, President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, said, "Contrary to the claims by the Chinese totalitarian government that there is religious freedom in China, there are at least eight Roman Catholic underground bishops, scores of priests and lay persons now in jails. In addition, many underground Catholic bishops and priests are also under house arrest or under severe surveillance. For every person we reported as arrested, many of others arrested are unreported because we do not have the information."

        Kung continued by appealing to the world that China not be permitted to join the World Trade Organization. He holds that "any invitation or encouragement to China's entry into the WTO would be immoral and amounts to condoning the five decades of religious persecutions in China." ZE00021324

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    Travertine Marble Regains its Original Color

        ROME, FEB 13 (ZENIT).- Rome has gotten a face-lift. The old city once again shines on the restored facades on numerous monuments and buildings. Thanks to funds raised on occasion of the Jubilee, the Eternal City wears a brighter and happier face.

        According to the experts, the brilliant white of travertine marble is the city's original color. Rome has gone from a dingy black to a gleaming white in only a matter of months -- fifty years of pollution has been wiped away.

        "Rome has recovered the bright and luminous color tones that were abandoned at the beginning of the last century", stated by Patrizia Marchetti, who is responsible for the restoration of the Monastery of Saint Cecilia in the Trastevere district.

        Bright white colors are in vogue today for government building facades. "Red brick," according to Francesco De Tomasso, "imposed by the Piedmonts when they declared Rome Italy's capital, is disappearing." De Tomasso is vice superintendent for Rome's Architectural Treasures; with others he coordinates more than 70 restoration projects, including churches and historic palaces.

        St. Peter's is not the only church whose facade has recovered it original color. All the most important churches in the heart of Rome once again gleam in their original state, notably Santa Maria della Pace, St. Gregory in Celio, St. Agnes at Piazza Navona, Santa Maria in Campitelli, St. Sebastian Outside the Walls, Santa Maria in Traspontina, St. Charles at the Four Fountains, the church of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem, Santa Maria in Montesanto, and Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

        Not only churches have been restored. All manner of building has been shielded by scaffolding over the past months. As the scaffolding comes down, many people are, in effect, seeing these monuments for the first time in their brilliant original state. ZE00021302

        CWN also reported that Rome's city government on Friday ordered an adult sex shop near the Vatican to close because it had violated zoning laws.

        A city council spokesman said zoning laws forbid sex shops near the Vatican. Italian newspapers had reported the shop was targeted because of a regulation barring sex shops along routes used by pilgrims coming to Rome for Holy Year celebrations.

        Officials said the shop would either have to close or revert to its previous business of selling musical instruments.

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    February 14, 2000     volume 11, no. 31
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