THURSDAY     February 17, 2000    vol. 11, no. 34    SECTION THREE

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SECTION THREE Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Congressional Gold Medal due Cardinal O'Connor for his service to the poor and sick
  • US cracking down on Sudan for religious persecution
  • Star's sex survey debunked by Denver's influential shepherd
  • New Archbishop of Westminster revealed as an athlete and a moderate
  • Latest ShipLogs of visitors sailing on the DailyCATHOLIC

  • WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant continued


        WASHINGTON, DC ( - The US House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a proposal to award Cardinal John O'Connor of New York a Congressional Gold Medal for his work with the poor, the sick, and the needy.

        The House voted 413-1 to give the award to the cardinal who turned 80 last month and is recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor last August. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, was the sole opponent, criticizing the $30,000 cost of the medal. He was also the sole opponent in a separate House vote to give a posthumous Gold Medal to "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz who died on Saturday. The Senate is expected to approve the medals next month.

        Representatives praised Cardinal O'Connor leadership in caring for inner-city children and AIDS patients as well as his work in establishing diplomatic ties between the Vatican and Israel and as a military chaplain. "John Cardinal O'Connor is a great man," said Rep. Vito Fossella, R-New York, who nominated him for the medal. "Soldiers, priests, and parishioners know in their hearts that the cardinal has always been a man of the people."

        "He has had many critics," acknowledged Rep. John LaFalce, D-New York. "But from the beginning of life to the very cessation of life, Cardinal O'Connor was consistent in his belief that all deserved justice under the law and as much human love as mankind was capable of."

        Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson added his praise for the cardinal. "I can think of no one more deserving of this honor than Cardinal O'Connor," said Nicholson. "Throughout his life, Cardinal O'Connor has been the embodiment of so many virtues -- selflessness, sacrifice, compassion, and generosity. He has been a true inspiration for so many Americans, teaching all of us to care for our neighbors and reach out to those in need." He also noted that Catholic high schools, under his leadership, have reached a graduation rate of 99 percent.

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      US cracks down on Sudan religious persecution by hitting them where it hurts: economic sanctions

        Realizing the only way to catch the attention of Sudan officials for their refusal to provide religious freedom, the United States is taking measures to hit them where it hurts, putting economic sanctions on state oil companies and forbidding American citizens or companies from dealing with certain Sudan business interests, but supporters for religious freedom say it doesn't go far enough and that it should deal with all companies in the Sudan until the Sudanese government stops trying to destroy any vestige of Christianity. continued inside.


        WASHINGTON, DC ( - The Treasury Department today announced a series of economic sanctions against Sudan's state-owned oil companies after a government commission on religious freedom recommended strong action against the African country.

        The department said US citizens or companies can no longer engage in trade or conduct financial transactions with Sudan's Sudapet Ltd. or with Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company Ltd. under a 1997 order that imposes sanctions on Sudan as a sponsor of terrorism. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom wants the sanctions also to apply to efforts by any company to raise money on US stock markets that would benefit Sudan, but the Treasury Department has not acted on those recommendations.

        At Tuesday's hearing, exiled Sudanese Bishop Macram Max Gassis alleged that a Sudanese military plane intentionally bombed a school in his diocese last Tuesday and killed 14 children. Bishop Gassis accused the government of trying to kill off the country's Catholic minority. "If you destroy the fruit, you will have no more trees tomorrow," he said.

        Rebels in the mainly Christian and animist south of Sudan have waged a decades-long civil war against the mainly Arab Islamic government based in Khartoum. Sudan is under US sanctions both for allegedly exporting terrorism and abuse of its Christian minority.

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        DENVER, 16 (NE) In an article published in the Denver Catholic Register's last issue, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver denounced as false and misleading several statistics and statements published a few days ago by the Kansas City Star regarding a supposed study on priests and AIDS.

        "Professional researchers have since dismissed the survey, and the statistical comparisons drawn from it, as biased and generally useless," wrote the Archbishop about the study, done by means of an anonymous survey. Calling to a critical reading of the story, he stressed that "one has to wonder if the paper really cared about the accuracy of its statistics," since "more specifically, it was a creative way to campaign against Catholic teachings on homosexual behavior, and also priestly celibacy."

        Given several examples of the inconsistency of the story and of its "underlying motivation", Archbishop Chaput invited people to consider the "wonderful gift of celibacy", which in "a culture so addicted to sexual activity" is so many times misunderstood. Let's pray, the Prelate concluded "for a day when the Catholic attitude toward human sexuality is properly understood as beautiful, healthy and life-giving."

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      New Westminster Archbishop ready to scrum but don't label him

         In his first press conference after being named the new Archbishop of Westminster, Bishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor made it clear he is neither conservative or liberal but rather a shepherd to his flock as he has done for the past 22 years in his Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. He said he foresaw making no changes once he is installed. Though the man replacing popular Cardinal Basil Hume, who died last June, is 67 he let it be known rugby is one of his first loves, having even played for the Vatican when studying in Rome. He also loves to take to the links and counts soccer as a great pasttime in keeping fit. continued inside.


        LONDON ( - Westminster's Archbishop-elect says he is neither a conservative nor a liberal but a bishop of the Catholic Church.

        Following his first press conference yesterday, Bishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor was asked which direction his sympathies lay but he said he did not like being labelled. "If by a liberal, you mean someone who is open to all new things that come along, then I am not," he said. "I am a Catholic Bishop who respects the tradition of the Church. If by a conservative, you mean someone who is rigid, a fundamentalist, then I am not that either. I am a man of the Church."

        He said he had no great plans for Westminster Archdiocese but would be doing "what I have been striving to do for the past 22 years in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, namely teaching and preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ and endeavoring to be a shepherd, a guide, and pastor of the people."

        A former Portsmouth Rugby Club player, Bishop Murphy-O'Connor revealed that he used to play rugby for the Vatican XV during his time in Rome and he spoke of his love of rugby, golf, and football (soccer), and admitted following the fortunes of local football clubs.

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      Catholic Bishops of India don't like where the government is taking their country

         Decrying the latest action taken by the radical pro-Hindu BJP party, the Episcopal Conference of India claimed these leaders do not have the good of the people of India in mind but it is a political ploy to railroad through their own ideas and create a further chasm between Christians and Hindus with no democratic process to alleviate the mess the country will be placed. The furor comes in light of the announcement that a pro-Hindu majority has been selected by the BJP to make changes in the Constitition. continued inside.


        NEW DELHI ( - The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) has bluntly opposed the decision of the coalition government led by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to appoint an 11-member committee to review the Indian Constitution -- joining the chorus of protests over the "controversial decision."

        "This is not meant for the betterment of the country or the people. It has a political agenda (behind it)," said Bishop Oswald Gracias, CBCI Secretary General, addressing a crowded press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.

        Earlier in the day, CBCI president Archbishop Alan Basil de Lastic of Delhi wrote to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee saying: "The Christian community together with other minorities and civil society were greatly surprised" with the announcement of the Constitution Review Committee on Sunday.

        "We would like to register our strong reservations, and our protest, at the setting up of the commission to review the statutes. The greatest institution -- the Parliament of India -- has been bypassed, the (federal) Presidency not only not consulted but ignored," wrote the archbishop. This pointed to the "undemocratic" manner in which the 11-member panel was hand-picked by the BJP-led government without even consulting the two-dozen political parties supporting the BJP-led coalition.

        "We fear no democratically acceptable result can come from a structure which is itself rooted in what the people perceive to be undemocratic decisions," said Archbishop Lastic demanding urgent convening of the 150-member National Integration Council "to discuss the circumstances in which the government set up the commission to review the constitution of India."

         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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